Packed with greens, these boiled dumplings easily go vegetarian by switching out the ground pork for crumbled tofu.
½ tablespoon light soy sauce
100ml (3½ fl oz / ⅓ cup) chicken stock
Shui Gao Dumpling Dough (optional):
250g (9oz / about 1¾ cups) medium-gluten wheat flour, or plain flour (all-purpose flour)
25g (1oz) tapioca flour
170ml (6fl oz / ¾ cup) boiling water
25g (1oz) vegetable oil
Finely chop the pak choi, kale, garlic, ginger, spring onion (scallion) and coriander (cilantro) and place in a large mixing bowl, then add the minced pork and the marinade ingredients and mix well.
To make the fat cat fold, place one dumpling pastry flat on a clean surface. Place roughly 1 teaspoon of the marinated mix in the centre of the pastry.
Dab a little water all around the edge of the pastry, then fold the top of the pastry over the filling until it meets the bottom edge and press down, closing the edges of the pastry to make a half-moon shape.
Now, holding the side edges of the pastry, with the half-moon still pointing downwards, pull the 2 edges (cat ears) upwards to meet in the middle, creating a ‘fat cat’ shape.
Lastly, overlap the 2 top corners of the fat cat shaped pastry together and stick together with another dab of water, pinching together tightly.
Do the same with the rest of the pastries and filling.
Fill a large pot or wok with water, add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Gently add your dumplings and boil for 3–4 minutes, or until they begin to float to the surface, signaling they are cooked. Remove using a spider or slotted spoon and serve with the following dipping sauce.
Put the flour, tapioca flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Using a spatula or a wooden spoon, gradually mix in the boiling water, until all the flour has come away from the sides of the bowl. Lastly, add the oil, then start to knead the dough well by hand for 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can use an electric dough mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment; start on a low speed for the first minute or so, then knead well on a high speed for 2–3 minutes.
Once you have a smooth dough, form it into a ball, scraping the dough off the sides of the mixing bowl. Rub with a little oil, put it back into the bowl, then cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
If making the dough itself is as adventurous as you want to be for now (or if you’re just too hungry to have patience), rolling out the dough into 2 or 3 large pieces, as thin as possible, and taking a 7cm (2¾ inch) square or round biscuit cutter (depending on the recipe and the shape you would like to fold) to it is the best way forward.
However, if you are now thinking you are closer to becoming a dumpling maverick, the traditional way to roll a round dumpling pastry is to roll each and every piece of dough into an individual sheet. This is usually done with a specific dim sum rolling pin, a thin wooden stick that looks very much like the end of a broom, and sometimes even thinner.
If you are inclined to become a true dim sum master, here’s how to practice the right movement:
First, roll a third of the rested dough into a long cylinder, roughly 1.5cm (⅝ inch) thick, keeping the remainder of the dough covered so it doesn’t dry out. Cut the cylinder into 1cm (½ inch) chunks.
Roll each piece of dough into a small ball and set aside. Before rolling each individual piece, dust the work surface with a good amount of plain flour (all-purpose flour) or medium-gluten wheat flour. Take a piece of dough and push down on it with your palm to form a small circle. With the dough still resting on the floured surface, with your left or non-dominant hand, using your thumb and fingers underneath the edge of the dough, begin to turn the dough anti-clockwise, with the base of the pastry sitting on the surface at all times. (I use my middle finger as the ‘hub’ to the wheel of pastry.)
While you are turning the pastry, using your right or dominant hand along with a small rolling pin, with a relevant amount of force roll inwards towards the centre of the forming circle, allowing your pressure to ease up when rolling outwards towards the edges of the circle. Turn the pastry anti-clockwise with your non-dominant hand and continue this rolling process, eventually forming a small circle with a slightly thicker hump of dough in the middle. This thickness will help to protect the filling from breaking through the thin pastry, keeping your dumpling perfectly intact.
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