Monday, January 16, 2012

Lucky Dumplings

I am always looking for a reason to put a menu together. This time, it's Chinese New Year 2012 - Year of the Dragon, which begins on January 23! 
I began the menu with "Crab Dumplings with Garlic-Ginger Dipping Sauce." The preparation of dumplings is representative of packaging luck inside. (I could always use some luck!) These fantastic dumplings are full of crabmeat, scallions, garlic, ginger, and a touch of sesame oil. Yum! The best dumpling wrappers for this recipe are round "gyoza" wrappers. I couldn't find any, so I used wonton wrappers and used a 3 1/2" round biscuit cutter. In addition, the dumplings are cooked with a mix of oil and water to create a crisp bottom, and a tender, juicy top. They are very tasty and a favorite of my oldest child!

Crab Dumplings with Garlic-Ginger Dipping Sauce

Makes 36 dumplings, serving 12 as an appetizer


For the dumplings
10 ounces lump crabmeat
1/2 cup minced scallions
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
36 gyoza or wonton wrappers
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
3/4 cup water, divided

For the dipping sauce
1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil


For the dumplings
Combine crab, scallions, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, and pepper in a large bowl. Organize your work area with a small bowl of cold water, your wrappers, biscuit cutter (if needed), crab mixture, and a rimmed baking sheet lined with plastic wrap, to hold the finished dumplings.

Working with one wrapper at a time, cut with biscuit cutter (if necessary), dip your finger into the water and moisten the edges of the circle. Spoon about 1 1/2 teaspoons of filling into the center. Fold the wrapper over to form a half circle, pinching the edges together to seal.
Repeat with the remaining wrappers. Cover the wrappers and finished dumplings with moist paper towels to prevent drying. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook.

For the sauce
Mix all ingredients in a jar.

Finishing the dish
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Mix 1 tablespoon canola oil with 1/4 cup water in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, bring to a simmer. Carefully arrange 1/3 of the dumplings in the skillet (don't let them touch). Cover and cook until the dumplings puff up and are light brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Transfer the dumplings to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining dumplings. Serve hot with the dipping sauce and devour that good luck!