these are chinese dumplings version 1.1 and they weren’t great. in fact i had to throw half of them away, and the half i did eat almost made me phone my mum. it all started not last sunday, but the sunday before…
the famous dumplings at leong’s legend. i’d just lost to my brother in who-could-finish-the-last-of-seventeen-dishes-dim-sum and i had to undo the button on my jeans. i got the train home, sweaty, but with a determination to make my own dumplings for a dinner party i was attending the next night.
i found a good recipe from gastronomy domine and went shopping. i knew i wouldn’t get the wonton wrappers locally and didn’t have time to go to mr. tang’s (who would). she suggests making your own and it didn’t look that hard. so i stuck on another dr. karl and started prepping everything.
i’ve never made pastry before so wasn’t sure about the consistency or water or anything. i also didn’t have a rolling pin, but the side of a mug worked quite well (note it: ed and katie), i flattened about ten large shapes. i felt at the time that more filling would be better and made them into what i thought was slightly larger than domine’s. the first problem arose when i tried to lift my shapes off the kitchen surface. it seems pastry sticks to things. so the act of pushing the “two halves of the circle together, crimping the edges as you go” turned into carefully peel off pastry parts whilst trying to jam pork back into wonton holes. so they ended up as whatever shape i could get them to hold the filling in.
i persevered and actually remember thinking that i wouldn’t do that again next time i tried this. so i took the plate that i had transferred the ‘wontons’ to – you may already see the problem here – and started boiling the oil. the first one (on top of the others) came off quite easily and in it went. the second stuck to that shiny, shiny plate and within a few seconds i knew i was in trouble. the first one had started browning. with each wonton having a significantly strained skin due to the first peeling, most of them were ‘showing pork’ in one way or another. trying to secure a wrapping proved difficult. they looked a fucking mess, put it that way.
the next problem came when i realised that if i don’t cook these things, i might give a few people food poisoning. so i left them in. and waited. when they went a kind of creosote brown i thought they’d be alright and took them out. i had about ten minutes to leave, ate one, and thought that if they were bad i’d puke right about the time i arrived at dinner.
i gave them apologetically to the hostess and explained it was the first time i’d tried making them. i said they were “mishapen burnt pork wontons slash spring rolls”. they all got eaten though. saying that, one of the women at dinner would have eaten a wine bottle if i’d deep fried it.
i still had half the ingredients the next day and thought i’d do a better job. i put a shitload of flour down this time (it still wasn’t enough) and thought i’d make them about the same size. i don’t know why. i didn’t want that crunchy danger-to-teeth taste v1 had, so i put them in for a few minutes until they looked golden brown. the first bite was really good, the second too. i got half way through and it felt like i was eating slightly warmed up pork mince. i finished eating the ends of the others and what i thought were the ‘okay bits’.
within about ten minutes half the pork was in the bin, the other half…had left me. i thought about calling home, but then i googled ‘undercooked pork’ and read enough to make me happy i wasn’t going to get a tapeworm.
oh, and while i was reading up on trichinosis i came across this.
cheers, gastronomy domine.