I hate throwing food away. It goes against everything I believe in.
Because of my aversion to tossing away any little bit of food that is leftover I often find my freezer full of little packages of "ingredients"; packages or plastic cups with a bit of ricotta cheese left from the container that I only needed a 1/2 cup from. A cup of gravy left from a roasted turkey. A half a cup of sauteed mushrooms or a half of roasted duck left from my trip to China Town.
A few times a month I find myself foraging in the depths of my freezer, trying to come up with a meal plan that will incorporate all of my saved ingredients.
Did I mention I had a half of a roast duck in there? You may not have a duck, but you might have a chicken breast, a bit of pork roast or maybe just a few too many eggs in your fridge. This recipe will use that bit of leftover without making you or your family feel like you're eating leftovers.
Give it a try - Homemade Chinese Dumplings in under an hour.
Chinese Dumplings: makes 24 dumplings (and they freeze beautifully)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cold water
Put the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the water into the well. Using a wooden spoon stir the center well, gradually adding flour from the sides of the bowl. Keep stirring until a soft dough forms. If the dough is too dry or stringy, add more cold water a teaspoon at a time until you have a soft, somewhat sticky dough. Turn the dough out on a floured work surfaced and knead for 5 minutes. The dough is ready when you press a finger into it and it springs back.
Cut the dough in half, roll into two 6 inch logs and cover with a kitchen towel. Let rest for 30 minutes or longer.
While dough is resting, prepare the filling(s):
Duck (chicken, shrimp* or pork)
*peel, cook and chop shrimp
About 1 1/2 cups shredded duck, chicken or pork.
2 scallions (some green included) sliced thinly
1/4 cup water chestnuts, minced
1/2 cup steamed spinach, squeezed dry and minced*
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced*
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sugar
* You an substitute raw cabbage for the spinach. If you don't have fresh ginger, use 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered ginger.
Mix all the above ingredients together and set aside.
Uncover the dough. Cut each 6 inch log in half. Cut each half into 6 1 inch pieces for a total of 24 pieces. Toss lightly with flour and cover with a kitchen towel. Take one piece at a time and roll into a 3 inch disc. Place about 2 teaspoons of filling in the center, fold over and seal, crimping the edges tightly. Lay on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper and continue rolling, filling and crimping until all the dough is used. Don't lay dumplings on top of each other - they will stick.
* If you have a drink muddler, this will work great as a mini-rolling pin, it is not as heavy and easier to handle for rolling out little discs.
Place 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a 12 to 14 inch skillet. Heat over medium-high. Add dumplings, being careful not to crowd. You may have to use 2 pans or work in batches.
Cook the dumplings for about 2 minutes or until the underside is just browned. Add 1/2 cup water to skillet and cover, cook for another 2 to 3 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from pan and place on warmed plate, browned side up. Serve immediately with a variety of dipping sauces, such as plum, duck or the soy dips, below:
Soy Dipping Sauce with scallions (about 1/4 cup)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil or hot chile oil
1 small scallion, thinly sliced
Combine all the ingredients and serve at room temperature.
Soy and Ginger Dipping Sauce
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
Combine all ingredients, stirring to dissolve sugar. Serve at room temperature.
A Cook's Notes: Do you have a favorite recipe utilizing leftovers? Tell me what you do with that last bit of roast chicken or pot roast...
These dumplings have about 40 calories each. A bargain meal!! Six dumplings with a side salad make a hearty meal - for under 300 calories!!!