Can we talk?
I've been thinking, and you need to work on your hot pot game.
I can't take another soup party without dumplings, and no, we're not going to the freezer section for them again! I'm talking homemade, fresh dumplings, perfect additions to any flavored hot pot, or just seared as a tasty snack while the pot boils. Everyone's got favorites when it comes to hotpot, but for me, dumplings are an absolute staple.
Can I be honest with you? Dumplings are actually easy! Simple to make, fun to form with a couple of friends, and a great way to stock your freezer for 'emergency' situations. I remember when I was a kid living in a small town, my mom and I would have to trek an hour just to find somewhere that sold dumpling wrappers! It got to the point where the store-owner, a lovely older lady with a thick accent, knew our names, and asked us how we were doing.
Nowadays, everyone has some sort of dumpling wrapper, whole foods, trader joe's, even food lion! Look how far we've come, huh? Dumplings for all! I know it can be a little intimidating, but these dumplings? Way better than that store-bought ' gyoza.' You know the ones; squishy, a little soggy no matter how long you cook or fry them. What's even in there, mashed potatoes? How are they always so wet inside? I digress.
The beauty of these dumplings is they can be fried, seared, even put in soup without them exploding, which is why I LOVE using them in hot pot. I have a nice divided hot pot, and because my family's a little small, we don't really want two broths most of the time. Instead, I use the other half to cook dumplings. Cool, right? Hot pot pans do a great job at keeping even heat, giving our new dumplings a pleasantly crispy bottom, just like any good dumpling should. One less pan I have to clean, and it's a nice appetizer for the main course! Or, if you eat too many dumplings, a good meal in and of itself.
Don't be scared off by the work dumpling forming entails! If you have a helper or two, have yourself a dumpling party, as well! In my house, we compete to see who has crafted the perfect looking dumpling, and it's a very competitive sport, let me tell you. Even if they don't turn out picturesque, don't worry about it! They taste good, and that's all that REALLY matters.
Don't let people tell you hot pots are single-use items! To that, I say:
EAT. MY. DUMPLINGS.
Spring onion and mushroom Pork Dumplings
1 lb ground pork
2 bunch spring onion
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 cup cremini mushrooms
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon hoisin
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 package round dumpling wrappers
Yield: 25-30 dumplings
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
All-Clad 8Qt Stock Pot: https://amzn.to/328yKFL
To prepare the filling, finely slice the spring onion, mushrooms, and garlic. Transfer to a large bowl, along with the pork.
Crack in one egg and add fish sauce, sesame oil, hoisin, and grated ginger to the bowl.
Give this a generous mix to fully incorporate all the ingredients and bind the fat.
Beat the remaining egg in a separate bowl to use a binder for our dumpling wrappers.
One wrapper at a time, add about a tablespoon of filling into the middle of your wrapper. Wipe the inside edge with egg and seal the ends by folding the wrapper over the filling and squeezing with both thumbs on the top. This is the easiest way I find sealing dumplings, but if you're more comfortable pleating it by repeatedly folding the edges over one another, do it however is easiest for you!
Leave these as a single layer. If freezing, freeze in a single layer first and then transfer to a ziplock bag or Tupperware.
To prepare, sear with a teaspoon of oil in any pan, but I recommend while you're making hotpot, use the same pan!
Sear for 4-5 minutes and add 3-4 tablespoons of water. Allow the water to evaporate and re-crisp the bottom, about 4 minutes.