Dumpling-making wasn’t big in my family when I was growing up, but I’ve done it enough times with friends to know that it’s an awesome way to connect over good, home-cooked food. Everyone can make and cook a dumpling, whether Korean or Chinese style, whether boiling, frying, or some combination of the two. The basic filling ingredients: ground pork, chives, water chestnuts, mushrooms if you’re in the mood, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and rice vinegar to taste. We used circular gyoza wrappers but if you’re hardcore or have some more time, you can easily make your own dumpling skins. No doubt they’re tastier, but we must make do sometimes. N and I opted for the boil-fry method, which I had never tried before, with ambivalent results — I think we didn’t coat the pan with enough oil and added too much water, so that the dumpling skins were overcooked and stuck together and to the bottom of the pan.
Experimenting with the hat shape:
The cooked dumplings didn’t come out looking too sharp, for the aforementioned reasons. We basically had a pile of semi-stuck together, semi-falling apart, hot dumpling mess. But it was more important that they A) were cooked through and B) tasted good. So overall, it was a successfully edible trial run of the boil-fry method.
Since I bought a truckload of chives, I also stir-fried the rest with some eggs, which made for an ideal side dish alongside the dumplings. My father used to stir-fry chives a lot, and I love the flavor and aroma of chives in a bit of oil. Such copious greenery makes you feel good about eating them, too. Note to self: do NOT add salt to eggs before cooking them. Pepper yes, salt no.