Beef and Leek Dumplings is a modern variation of Chinese dumplings or jiaozi. Dumpling is symbolic of Chinese cuisine. Typically a customary Northern Chinese food eaten during Chinese New Year (also called Spring Festival). As the semi-circular moon shape of the Chinese dumplings resemble olden time Chinese ingots made of either gold or silver. Likewise, Chinese dumplings give wealth, happiness and good luck during Chinese New Year eve dinner.
Normally, they hide a coin in one of the Chinese dumplings. And the person who discovers the coin will have prosperity in the New Year. They also serve dumplings during special occasions like weddings, birth of a child. As well as during the holidays in Northern China.
Besides, Chinese dumplings symbolize the warmth of home cooking. They normally name dumplings according to the type of fillings used and methods used to cook them. Moreover, you can be either boil, fry or steam dumplings. While Beef and Leek Dumplings or Chinese beef dumplings have proven to be very popular amongst the many fillings options.
History of Chinese Dumplings
The creation of Chinese dumplings or jiaozi dated back to the period of the Eastern Han dynasty (AD 25 – 220). A traditional Chinese medicine practitioner named Zhang Zhongjing invented Chinese dumplings. His idea of creating dumplings came from treating people with frostbites of the ears. Specifically during the cold winter season, mostly amongst people with low income.
Moreover, Zhang Zhongjing made his original recipe with stewed lamb, chilli peppers and some Chinese medicines with warming properties. As well as finely chopped all the ingredients and then filled the dumpling wrappers. Followed by boiling and serving these dumplings to his patients.
Types of Chinese Dumpling Fillings
Typically, fillings for Chinese dumplings can be vegetables or meat or a combination of both. Popular meat include chicken, pork, beef and lamb. Additionally, favourite vegetables commonly used are Chinese cabbage, celery, Chinese leek, carrot, and shiitake mushrooms. Plus spring onions (scallions) and garlic and Chinese chives. Whereas They often use seafood like crab meat, prawns and fish as well.
Likewise dipping sauce for dumplings can include just plain hot red chilli oil and Chinese black vinegar. Alternatively, they make dumplings dipping sauce with combination of different sauces. They include soy sauce, Chinese white wine vinegar, garlic, hot chilli sauce and sesame oil.
You may also like my other dumplings and wontons recipe:
Dumplings in Southern China
In Southern China, dumplings have also become popular. Although they usually make dumpling wrappers with rice and or glutinous rice flour. Instead of wheat based like dumplings dough made in Northern China. Since they grow and eat less wheat in Southern regions compared to Northern China. For my gluten free steamed beef and leek dumplings recipe. Likewise, I used glutinous rice flour, rice flour and tapioca starch for this beef and leek dumpling dough. Resulting in cooked dumplings that are more translucent and have a softer texture.
Furthermore, ingredients for my beef and leek dumplings fillings are beef mince, leek and spring onion (scallions). I have substituted soy sauce with blackstrap molasses to make these gluten free dumplings and dipping sauce soy free. In addition, these beef and leek dumplings are not only gluten free. But also dairy free, egg free and nut free. Moreover, beef and leek dumplings and Chinese beef dumplings are my favourite dumplings.
Beef and Leek Dumplings
- Extra virgin olive oil for brushing
- Gluten free rice flour for dusting
- 2 bunches choy sum washed and cut into 3 inches lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
For the dough:
For the Filling:
- 500 g minced beef
- 3 garlic cloves peeled and finely minced
- 3 inch ginger peeled and finely grated
- 1 leek white part only (250g/8.8oz), washed and finely chopped
- 60 g spring onion (scallions), thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
- 1½ tablespoons corn starch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
For the Dipping Sauce:
For the Garnish:
- 3 fresh long red chillies finely chopped
- 3 inch ginger finely sliced into thin toothpicks
- 3 spring onions scallions, thinly sliced
For the dough:
- In a large bowl, combine and whisk together the glutinous rice flour, tapioca flour, rice flour, xanthan gum and salt. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture.
- Pour 1½ cup (375ml) of water, extra virgin olive oil and vanilla extract into the well in the bowl, stir and combine the flour then add in the rest of the ¼ cup (62.5ml) water gradually as you hand knead the dough until you have a smooth and slightly sticky dough. Add the rest of the 3 tablespoons water 1 tablespoon at a time if required.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Seal in ziplock bags and let the dough rest on the benchtop for ½ hour.
For the fillings:
- Combine and mix well all the ingredients for the filling in a large bowl. Set aside.
For the wrappers:
- Dust the work surface and rolling pin with some gluten free rice flour.
- Remove 1 bag of dough and divide the dough into 2 equal portions again.
- Work with 1 portion at a time, divide the dough equally into balls (around 23g/0.8oz each).
- Flatten each ball into a disc or patty. Use the rolling pin to roll each ball into a 3 inch round wrapper.
For stuffing the wrappers:
- Spoon 1 tablespoon of the filling onto the middle of each wrapper. Wet the edges of the balls with some water and carefully press and seal the edges together. Press until the edges are thin out.
- With your fingers, gently press down on the filled wrappers to flatten the base.
- Place on a tray until ready to steam.
For the dipping sauce:
- Combine, whisk and mix well all the ingredients for the dipping sauce in a medium bowl. Set aside until ready to serve.
- Garnish with some spring onion, red chilli and ginger before serving.
For the blanched choy sum:
- Heat up the pot half filled with water, add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, then blanch the choy sum on low heat for around 2 minutes or until choy sum turns bright green, drain water and set aside.
For cooking the dumplings:
- Place a steaming rack in a wok and fill the wok with half full of water and bring to a rolling boil.
- Brush a large plate lightly with some extra virgin olive oil, then place the dumplings on the plate and brush lightly with some extra virgin olive oil.
- Steam the dumplings for 12 minutes or until translucent.
- Repeat until all the dumplings are cooked. Steam the dumplings in 5 batches.
- Serve with the dipping sauce, blanched choy sum and garnish with some spring onion, red chilli and ginger. You can also serve the dipping sauce as a drizzle sauce over the dumplings.
- If you want to freeze some of the uncooked dumplings, place them on a large plate or tray and freeze in the freezer. Once frozen, store them in a ziplock bag in the freezer.