The other benefit of making your own dumplings is flexibility of filling – choose pretty much any protein – pork, lamb, beef, chicken, eggs, add some vegetables for texture and flavour, and whatever seasonings you like. The only criteria is that the filling should be minced/ chopped super fine (or else the dumplings will be difficult to stuff, big chunky pieces of veg might tear the skin as it is being filled or as it is cooking).
Golden rule of dumpling filling – it’s almost impossible to go wrong. Go crazy.
Ingredients (for approx. 30-40 dumplings)
200g minced meat (can be pork/ beef/ lamb/ chicken), or eggs (I’ d scramble or chop an omelette for about 3)
Vegetables – can be cooked, chopped eggplant, maybe 2 spring onions, pumpkin, cabbage…. seriously, anything….
Seasoning – garlic, soya sauce, sesame oil, salt/ pepper, maybe szechuan pepper, some chilli oil/ spice
Mix everything together. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Leave the filling mix to marinade for a while if you like, or just make up your dumplings straight away
Dumplings are more than food, they’re what you cook with, and eat with family and friends, food to be shared with the people you love most.
You can buy them in a restaurant, about £4-5 for 6 is the average price in London, but anyone who’s been in Asia knows that this is not acceptable, you’re limited in quantity, quality, and also flavour. There are no dumpling restaurants here with every discovered and unexplored combination of flavours and cooking methods.
So, make them yourself.
First up, dumpling skin – available for about £1 in chinese supermarkets, both wonton and gyoza/ jiao zi wrappers are available. But they’re really easy to make yourself. Some flour, water, and a rolling pin are all you need.
Use about 8 oz/ 200g/ 1 cup plain flour, and add about 1/3 volume of water. Stir, then knead until you have a smooth ball of dough. This quantity will make just over 30 dumplings.
You can also experimenting using various amounts of rice flour/ green bean flour etc for different textures (the green bean will be more chewy, the rice flour will have a smoother texture and roll out thinner).
Wrap in clingfilm, and rest for at least 30 minutes then make your dumplings!
My favourite comfort food in the world… large chunks of melting beef flank, wide chewy rice noodles, thick, rich and flavourful meaty gravy, fresh tasting chinese leaf, and spicy chilli oil condiment on the side. What other pleasures can be had in London for £4.70? Few as tasty as this one.
London, W2 4QH
020 7727 5753
Sunday hangover. Big slab of just slightly rare roast beef. Red cabbage, broccoli, carrots, and the only worthy Yorkshire pudding in London.
Can you see the roast pork in the background? That too… mmm….
The only gripes: 3 roast potatoes. This has happened a lot now and I think they’re rationed because they’re very very good? and 1. One. ONE PIECE of parsnip. NOT ENOUGH, THEY’RE SO GOOD I MUST HAVE MORE.
My Tummy Feel So Good.
cf. Last post re: Defectors Weld.
There’s a reason why I generally avoid eating “Western Food” out in the UK/ London. Overpriced disappointments. Yes, I’m biased. I’m Asian. Also partially British as I was born here, but food-wise, I dream about hawkers food, and chillies, dumplings, rice and noodles. I know what hits the spot and I know what makes my stomach churn (corned beef, mushy peas, baked beans – yuk yuk yuk bleurgh).
So I have my go-to places in all areas of London. Places which can provide satisfying repast, usually visited multiple occasions over 20 years or more. They’re not Nobu or Hakkasan, and are not great places for celeb spotting, and maybe the more refined of you may find the service a tad brusque, but they have good food. And you’ll leave with a Happy Stomach.
Kam Tong, I love. Located in the China town outpost that is Queensway (there is another branch in Lisle Street but the Queensway branch is my ‘local’, this restaurant serves traditional Cantonese fayre. Daytimes, it’s dim-sum time. Evenings, roast meat and dishes. Compared to Four Seasons (everyone’s favourite roast duck Queensway stopoff), the meats are less fatty, siu yok crackling a tad more crispy (this is a good thing in my book), though the sweet soy sauce accompaniment is a bit less rich and flavourful (not so good but a small compromise). At £7.50 a portion for mixed meats, it’s about the same price. Everything else is also good.
Service-wise, some people complain but I find the staff friendly and helpful. Whilst waiting for my takeout roast pork fix, I headed out for a smoke and the waitress came outside to bring me my package, even though I’d wandered down the road snapping pics. And she was one of the smiliest faces I’ve seen in London for some time. And totally non-judgmental of a fellow Oriental’s very dodgy Cantonese.
I HEART KAM TONG!!!!!