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Beef and Leek Dumplings

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Chinese dumpling or jiaozi 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 dumplings resemble olden time Chinese ingots made of either gold or silver, it is considered to give wealth, happiness and good luck during Chinese New Year eve dinner. Normally, a coin is hidden in one of the dumplings and the person who discovers the coin will have prosperity in the New Year. Dumplings are also served during special occasions like weddings, birth of a child, and during the holidays in Northern China. In additions, they symbolize the warmth of home cooking. Dumplings are usually named according to the type of fillings used and methods used to cook them, either boiled, fried or steamed. Typically, fillings for dumplings can be vegetables or meat or a combination of both. Popular meat include chicken, pork, beef and lamb; favourite vegetables commonly used are Chinese cabbage, celery, Chinese leek, carrot, shiitake mushrooms, spring onions (scallions) and garlic and Chinese chives. Seafood like crab meat, prawns and fish are often used as well. Dipping sauce for dumplings are normally made with soy sauce, Chinese white wine vinegar, garlic, hot chilli sauce and sesame oil.

In Southern China, dumplings have also become popular but the dumpling wrappers are usually made from rice and or glutinous rice flour since wheat are less commonly grown and consumed in these regions. For my gluten free steamed dumplings recipe, I am using glutinous rice flour, rice flour and tapioca flour for the dough, making the cooked dumplings more translucent and have a softer texture. Ingredients for 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. These gluten free dumplings are also dairy free, egg free and nut free.

The creation and consumption of dumplings or jiaozi dated all the way back to the period of the Eastern Han dynasty (AD 25 – 220) by a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner named Zhang Zhongjing. His idea of creating dumplings came from treating people with frostbites of the ears during the cold winter season, mostly amongst the poor. His original recipe was made with stewed lamb, chilli peppers and some Chinese medicines with warming properties and finely chopped all the ingredients and then filled the dumpling wrappers. Followed by boiling and serving these dumplings to his patients.

Disclaimer: I am NOT paid by Blue Label for this post!

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8 Responses

  1. NL Foust
    | Reply

    How long do you steam if you freeze them? Do you thaw first?

    • daphnegoh
      | Reply

      If you freeze these dumplings, you do not have to thaw them first. Just steam them frozen for around 15 minutes or until they turn translucent.

  2. Denise
    | Reply

    Hello :)

    I am going to try this… … we’re wrapping dumplings at my church one night! We have a potential gluten free person coming…

    just wondering, would I need to prepare the dough and use it straight away? – we wont’ be making wrappers from scratch for everyone else… so I’d like to be able to prepare it before hand so filling can be just put into it, except we won’t be doing it for about an hour and a half I reckon after people arrive.

    if I roll out the dough into wrappers, would there be an issue if it sat out for a long time (e.g 2 hrs) before being used? Can I roll it out and put it in on a fridge, and then in a tray for a little while? or will it dry out?
    or could I roll them all into little balls?

    I hope that makes sense – I’m not someone who really cooks so any advice is great :) I’ll try out the recipe hopefully soon and if you have any advice that will be great :)

    • daphnegoh
      | Reply

      Hi Denise, its so nice of you to consider the special dietary requirements of a gluten free person. :)

      You can actually prepare the dumpling dough and stuff the wrappers with the fillings one day before you are ready to cook them by steaming. Just have to line a big airtight container with lightly dusted baking paper with some gf flour OR if using a tray (also need to line with lightly dusted baking paper with some gf flour), cling wrap them and refrigerate until ready to use the next day. That was what I did for this recipe by preparing the stuffed dumplings one day before cooking them.

      Hope this helps. Enjoy the recipe. :)

  3. Heidi Roberts
    | Reply

    I love dumplings – dipping them into a great dipping sauce is essential too. These look delish!

  4. I looks ans sounds like heaven, I just love dumplings , thanks for sharing the Gf version. R

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