I made some fridge-dump dumplings and they turned out DELICIOUS so obviously I must tell you guys about them!!!
We are a NO WASTE household. So when I noticed we had some cilantro and cabbage that had seen better days, I decided to combine them with ground beef and loads of spices to make some delicious pan-fried dumplings. Normally I’d dress them up with a store-bought chili oil (Lao Gan Ma and Mom’s Mala are my faves - check them out on my Amazon store here) BUT we didn’t have any here at my parents’ house so I decided to attempt my own version. The only thing is: we also didn’t have ginger, or the really spicy chili flakes I like, or Sichuan peppercorns…so per usual, I made do. I used a shitload of garlic and some Italian chili flakes and cayenne pepper to make what essentially became an extremely garlicky spicy oil and tbh: I’m not complaining, I’ll eat fried garlic any day of the week. Let’s get to it.
WHAT YOU NEED
1 lb beef (80% lean), pork, or meat alternative
1 cup cabbage, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp white or black vinegar
2 tbsp water
Salt + cracked black pepper to taste
40-50 dumpling wrappers
Spicy fried garlic oil:
2 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup neutral oil (like canola)
WHAT YOU DO
Mix all the dumpling filling ingredients together! Obviously you’re not going to taste test raw meat (i mean…unless you’re using tartare quality?? Which is totally not necessary for dumplings) so fry up a 1/2 teaspoon to check the seasoning. Adjust accordingly. I like to add a touch of water to my filling because it makes the dumplings juicier (water mixes with the natural beef fat to create yummy fatty beef juice).
Wrap your dumplings in whatever style you like: sometimes I braid them (learned this style from @hellolisalin) but this time I opted for a pretty symmetric-looking pleat that my friend Ewa of @nom_life uses. If you wanna keep things v basic, just pinch the dumplings shut into half moons and don’t worry about any of this pleating business. Regardless, make sure to keep your dumpling wrappers under a damp towel so they don’t dry out! Place the finished dumplings on a floured sheet pan.
Before you cook up the dumplings, let’s make the spicy fried garlic oil:
Add the spices and garlic to a jar. Some of you may have cute containers and Mason Jars designed for things like this but if you’re anything like the Fedner family you’re going to repurpose an ambiguous glass jar that was at one point home to some jam/dip/spread and has been sitting in your cabinet awaiting its second life.
Meanwhile, heat up your neutral oil until it is VERY hot. It’ll start to shimmer but for good measure, throw a tiny piece of minced garlic in there. If it starts to sizzle immediately, the oil is ready.
Carefully pour the oil into the spice jar and watch as everything sizzles and dances and smells amazing!!! That’s literally it. The oil is done. And it can be made in advance because it keeps forever.
Now let’s cook the dumplings. Heat about 2 tbsp of oil in a heavy nonstick pan, cast-iron pan, or wok. When the oil is hot, add the dumplings to the pan flat side down. Cook them for about 2 minutes until the bottoms start to turn golden. Then, with your lid at the ready, add about 2 tbsp of water to the skillet and cover IMMEDIATELY! It’ll start spritzing and popping like crazy and our goal here is to keep all that moisture inside the skillet where it’ll steam through the tops of the dumplings. If you notice that the water has fully evaporated but the dumplings still don’t look cooked, add more water. And watch the heat: I like to keep things med-high but if you notice the bottoms of the dumplings are getting TOO crispy, turn it down. Or flip the dumplings to a new side, your call.
You’ll have to work in batches most likely so keep this process going, depositing the finished dumplings onto a platter where they will hopefully be immediately snatched up by hungry humans!
Serve the dumplings with the spicy fried garlic oil, more cilantro, and some soy sauce/black vinegar if you’d like.
JULY 24, 2020