One of my most favorite kitchen tools is my bamboo steamer. I have found endless uses and countless recipes. Steamed Salmon is a favorite layered on leaves of lettuce or cabbage and Dumplings are a family favorite! And the cleanup — virtually non-existent. It doesn’t get better than that.
Among my favorite recipes that I make using the steamer is a family favorite — Steamed Chinese Dumplings. Especially with the dumplings as they can become sticky, line your steamer with either lettuce, cabbage or others greens, or use a parchment liner specifically made for your steamer and available at stores that sell bamboo steamers.
5 napa cabbage or lettuce leaves (or 2-3 parchment liners)
¾ pound lean ground pork
2 tablespoons minced green onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon finely minced ginger root
4 fresh shitake mushrooms, minced
3 tablespoons minced bamboo shoots
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
40 Gyoza or round wonton skins
Fresh cilantro or parsley leaves
Place cabbage leaves on the rack of a steamer. Set over boiling water, cover pot and steam 1 to 2 minutes, or until leaves are limp.
Remove from rack, pat dry with paper towels and finely chop to measure 1 cup. Combine with all remaining ingredients except won ton skins and cilantro leaves. Test the filling by placing a teaspoon of it in a shallow dish on steaming rack over boiling water. Cover pot and steam 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
To form dumplings, loosely cup wrapper in the palm of your hand and place a tablespoon of filling in center. Bring sides up to cover the filling, making pleats around the top to resemble an opened tulip.
The wrapper should tightly hug the filling and the top of the filling should be exposed. Place a tiny cilantro or parsley leaf on the filling. Gently flatten the bottom of the dumplings by pressing with your fingertips. As dumplings are made, cover them with a towel so they don’t dry out.
Use a bamboo steamer, preferably over simmering water in a wok. Line your steamer with cabbage leaves or lettuce. Or, my preference, is to line the steamer with a parchment liner made specifically for the steamers. Place each dumpling on either a 2″ square of aluminum foil or the parchment liner and set inside the steamer. Dumplings should be at least 1″ apart. Stack baskets on top of each other and cover top with lid. Steam 20 minutes.
If you don’t have a bamboo steamer, place dumplings on a wire rack in a large pot or on the perforated tiers of an electric steamer.
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