All jokes aside, this recipe is strictly business. There’s nothing better than making something spectacular out of the empty abyss that is your fridge. It’s one of those nearly impossible tasks, like trying to understand the plot of LOST starting in Season 3 episode 6. I knew my protein would be a bag of frozen Langoustines I had procured from Trader Joes in Atlanta. I had been hoarding the little buggers for 2 months trying to think of something worthy to make with them.
I had previously planned on making Kimchi Dumplings, but that never happened. I had all the ingredients but never made the actual condiment. I even had an unopened package of pre-made wonton skins that were close to meeting their shelf life. Everything happens for a reason, so on to bigger and better things!
I opened the produce drawers and started selecting that would compliment each other well in dumpling form. Daikon Radish, a mix of Hedgehog and Shitake mushrooms, green onion, garlic, ginger, and cilantro would join my crustacean as the filling. According to my wife, the result was nothing short of magical. She is a dim sum and dumpling hound, so if she was loving them, I must have nailed the flavors. Subtle but distinctive with none of the components losing their luster. To make this even easier and possibly cheaper, you could sub out Langoustine in favor of Shrimp. You could also change the Shiitake out for Crimini or even white buttons. On the other hand, you could go Grape Ape crazy and sink my “Battleship,'” (In Theaters May 18) With Lobster and Matsutake. Either way, here’s how to recreate the magic.
To make about 20 Dumplings:
- 1/2 Pound Langoustine
- 6 oz Sautéed, then Diced Mushrooms (Shiitake Preferably)
- 1/2 Cup extremely fine diced Daikon Radish
- 1/4 Cup chopped Cilantro
- 1/4 Cup thinly sliced Green Onion
- 3 Minced Garlic cloves
- 1/2 Tbsp Minced Ginger
- 1 Tbsp Tamari or Soy Sauce. (Or more depending on your taste)
- 1/2 Tsp Coarse Sea Salt
- 1/2 Tsp Ground Pepper
- 1 Package square Wonton skins
- Sesame oil for cooking
To make the filling:
First thaw out your shellfish (remove the shells and de-turd if necessary)
Pour a teaspoon of the sesame oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Place mushrooms in and cook until the water releases from them and then evaporates out of the pan. About 7 Minutes. Set aside and let cool.
There is no simpler way of telling you the next step than to just throw the finely diced Daikon, Cilantro, Green Onions, Garlic, Ginger, and thawed Langoustine into a medium bowl along with the Tamari, Salt and Pepper. Once the Mushrooms have cooled throw those in too! That’s it for the filling.
Next is the more time-consuming part. You can either assemble all the dumplings ahead of time or make them in batches as you go.
To assemble: take 1 wonton skin in hand and place a teaspoon of the filling directly in the middle. You’ll need a bowl of warm water to dip your finger in, to create a seal for your dumpling. Brush 2 sides of the edges of the wonton and then fold over to create a triangle shape. Then pinch the wonton all the way around the edges to completely lock in the filling. You can attempt to make the dumplings look pretty by crimping them in pattern for a more authentic look. It wont change the taste really, so don’t worry too much about it. If you want a more traditional looking piece of dim sum, then by all means do work!
To cook you can take a couple approaches. You could steam them in a basket the way siu mai is prepared, which is nice and would work well. It also requires zero oil if you are concerned with fat intake. I followed more of a potsticker method.
Pour 1/2 tsp of sesame oil in a non stick saute pan on medium-low heat. Place as many Dumplings as you can fit comfortably down in a non-stick pan and let brown on one side for about 1-2 minutes. Then take about a 1/8 cup warm water and pour in pan. Put a lid over it (preferably a glass lid so you can see your dumplings cooking) until the wonton is translucent. You want to make sure you have cooked the dough through before removing the lid. This should take about 5 minutes at the most. When the are done they will be very hot inside from the steam, so let them cool for a bit.
•PRO TIP• It’s best to make 1 test dumpling before cooking a whole batch. Doing so will help you determine if your flavors are on point.
I was really tired, so I didn’t make a dipping sauce myself. I just used a premade Trader Joes Gyoza Sauce. However, if you have the ingredients you can easily make a bath for you dumplings by combining Soy Sauce, Rice Wine Vinegar, a squeeze of Lemon, finely sliced chives or green onions, ginger powder and either sesame seeds or a few drops of sesame oil.
I promise you, you can do this! Once you master the art of Dumpling assembly, a whole world will be opened to you. If it were that difficult I wouldn’t bother sharing this accidental discovery with you lovely people.