Most Chinese restaurants in the Netherlands serve some sort of dumplings. They could be “wanton” or “sui kao”, “wanton” is more minced pork based while “sui kao” more prawns based. There are several ways of cooking and eating them as well, but mainly people like boiling them in stock/soup.
I have had dumplings in two of the more “reputable” Chinese restaurants in Amsterdam namely Namkee and New King. I had posted my experience at Namkee, the experience leaves me nothing to return to. Recently I tried the next door New King (not a very Chinese name) and I found the soup noodles are better than Namkee and the dumplings are more authentic.
Dumplings are easy to make as long as you know how to chop things up. I find this recipe much better than the dumplings served in the two restaurants in Amsterdam and once you do this, you will not want to buy the frozen stuffs anymore.
Ingredients (to make 15 big dumplings):
- 100gram minced meat (here I used 70% pork and 30% beef, you can use 100% pork)
- 6-8 big prawns – shell, head and vein removed, slice into half and then cut into another half
- 1/4 capsicum – cut into small chunks
- 1/2 onion – cut into small chunks
- 4 cloves garlic – chopped finely
- 1 small carrot – chopped finely
- 4 stalks spring onions – roughly chop, separate the white bottom part from the green top part
- 1 egg
- 1/3 teaspoon 5 spice
- 1 small teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 full tablespoon flour
- 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
- Wanton pastry (you can buy this ready made from supermarket) – get one suitable for frying if you want to fry them, or it does not matter which type you get if it’s for boiling
For the soup
- Chicken/vegetable or pork stock mixed with 2 liter of water. Adjust the amount of stock to taste.
- Grounded white pepper to taste
- Pak choy or choy sam (optional)
- Noodles (optional, may use any type that you like)
- The chopped green spring onions
- Some coriander
If you want for better consistency, you can also leave the prawns out and add them individually into the pastry later, but I find no issue mixing all together.
Defrost the pastry in room temperature (or slowly in microwave) if you have bought them frozen. Add half a tablespoon of the minced meat mixture into a piece of pastry (including your prawns if you had separated them) and fold it diagonally as picture on the left. Glue the edge together with the egg white, leave some gap un-glue for air to escape during boiling process.
You may fill the dumpling with as much minced meat as you can if you are boiling them in stock soup. If you intend to fry them, do not put too much filling or they might not cook evenly.
Bring 2 liter of water to boil together with the stock (you can use instant powder, liquid stock or home made stock). When the water is boiling, add the dumplings in and let them boil for about 12 minutes. If you are eating with noodles, add the noodles into the soup as per instruction on the package for boiling time, you may fish them out from the soup and leave in bowl ready to serve.
You will see that the dumplings are cooked when the pastry look transparent and is smooth when you bite. Add the vegetable if you have, they take less than a minute to cook.
Add the vegetable and dumplings to the noodles and top up with soup. Garnish with the spring onions and coriander.
Add half a liter of cooking oil in a wok on high heat. When the oil is very hot, add the dumplings and lower the heat to medium. I would suggest you try frying one dumpling first to make sure the heat is good to cook it through out without burning the pastry too much. Add all the dumplings when you are confident with the oil temperature is right. Note that you must deep fry the dumpling and not pan fry.
If you have the Philips Airfryer (which we used), rub a little oil on the dumplings surface and leave it in the machine for 10 minutes on 200 degree. Check the pastry after 10 minutes if it’s crispy, otherwise fry for longer time.
We find the Philips Airfryer being adequate for some “frying” buy the frying without oil never tastes the same as deep frying your food. It depends on how much taste would you want to sacrifice for health. If you are not so concern about oil consumption (for deep frying food), the food always tastes much better through actual oil frying process!