Dumplings! I could go on and on about them -- they're a community food, an excuse for a bunch of people to come together and cook. Two of my favorite fillings are pork and chive, and chive, egg, and vermicelli. I've provided the measurements for a whole batch of dumplings for each type of filling. If you want half of each, then simply cut the ingredients in half. One batch will enough filling for 30 dumplings. —Betty
makes enough to fill 60 dumplings (30 with vegetarian filling, 30 with meat filling)
For the chive, egg, and vermicelli (vegetarian) filling:
vermicelli noodles, chopped and soaked in water for 10 minutes
For the vegetarian filling, pour a thin layer of eggs (divide if necessary) into a large nonstick pan over low heat. Cook through, and using a chopstick, carefully lift it out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Dice the cooked egg. If divided, repeat until all eggs are used. Combine chives, egg, and vermicelli. Hold the salt until you are just ready to wrap (step 3) in order to prevent sogginess. If you aren't making the meat filling, skip to step 3.
For the pork filling, mix all of the ingredients together using your hand or a wooden spoon. Set aside.
Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling onto the center of a dumpling wrapper. Lightly trace the perimeter with some water. Then, cradling it in your hands, fold the dumpling in half into a half-moon shape and press the sides gently together. Set aside on a baking tray, and repeat for each dumpling wrapper.
When you’re finished, either freeze the dumplings immediately, or cook. If freezing, stick the tray into the freezer until the dumplings are completely frozen, then transfer them to a plastic bag.
If cooking, heat cooking oil in a flat-bottomed pan over medium-low heat. Test heat by dropping one drop of water -- if it sizzles, the pan is ready. Gently place dumplings in the pan in one single layer without letting any touch.
When dumplings are browned to your desire, turn heat to low, and pour 1/4 cup water into the pan. Cover and steam for 10 to 12 minutes, until dumplings are thoroughly cooked through.