Well, I have a Chinese friend, Amanda (that is her English name,) that I met back in 2006. The food she craved during that first semester of college, before she returned home for Chinese New Year, was her mom’s dumplings. Amanda LOVES dumplings. In fact, I remember spending the whole day with her and at her request, lunch AND dinner consisted of dumplings.
Sure, she could buy them at a local restaurant, but she missed the unique taste of her mom’s dumplings. Just like Amanda, Tim LOVES dumplings, but has come to the realization that our friend Poppy, back in SC, makes the world’s best dumplings. Tim got a taste of them during our last Chinese lesson in the States, and hasn’t forgotten about them. Since Poppy isn’t with us in Shanghai, Tim has had to find other avenues of taking care of his dumpling cravings. Earlier this week, on our morning walk, we found a small dumpling restaurant not 300 yards from our home. He was elated! This place is filling in for Poppy until we return to the States.
Now, I am sure you have had a dumpling or two in your life. Thanks to big Chinese restaurant chains found in the USA, Chinese food may not seem as foreign as it did 50 years ago, but trust me - those chains do not do the dumpling justice. They are Americanized to fit your palate. Makes sense – they don’t want to go out of business just to hold on to authenticity. Well, please – give the authentic Chinese dumpling a chance.
The outside 'skin' is made of flour, water and salt. I have witnessed the process of making the skin and am thankful you can buy it at the supermarket – if I started making it now, we could have dumplings by next Tuesday. I do not possess the talent of making dumpling skin. PLUS the filling is what really matters anyway.
The filling typically consists of meat and/or vegetables and is seasoned with ginger, garlic, salt and pepper and sometimes includes soy sauce, vinegar or sesame oil. After the filling is put on the skin, the folding process begins.
After the dumplings are folded, they are boiled a couple times in order to cook the meat inside.
I have at least a year to work on my dumpling skills with the experts, and am thankful Tim can still satisfy his dumpling addiction.
So, needless to say, a lot of dumpling eating will happen this year. BUT, food is the way to a man’s heart.
Well, I know I already have his heart, but I LOVE to see that smile.