Sunday, June 14

My First Daring Cooks Challenge -- Dumplings!

Warning: Really really really long post. (but it's worth it)

I'm really excited to be posting about my very first (and the very second ever) Daring Cooks Challenge. Jen from use real butter (a FANTASTIC blog, by the way) hosted this challenge.

The challenge? Dumplings/potstickers!

Warning: I'm gonna post a LOT of pictures. I had a month to do this, so I did it...multiple times ;)

This challenge was fantastic for me, as I'd been planning to make potstickers, but never got around to it. It gave me a kick in the butt, and I'm glad it did. They take a bit of preparation and setup, but if you just spend one day making them, you can have dinners and desserts (oh yes, desserts :P ) for a month! They freeze fantastically.

Anyway, the main point of this challenge was to make the dumpling wrappers by hand, and then choose any filling you want. For my savory dumplings, I went with an almost traditional pork filling, with a few changes you'll see in the recipe.
Let me just say:

They. Were. Fantastic.

I definitely suggest trying these, or your own variation.
The first batch I made, I made potstickers, then I just boiled others for a quick meal. (Boiling is by far the easiest/least involved method)

Anyhoo (that seems to be my favorite word here, eh?), a week or so after I made the pork dumplings, I wanted to try dessert variations. My first choice? Nutella! I also made chocolate filled ones (semi-sweet, milk, and white), and jam filled ones (which you can't eat while they're crispy, unfortunately, or they'll burn your mouth).

Ahhh, dumplings. Cheap to make (a pound of pork cost me $2 at Giant), easy to store, quick to cook. The perfect food for a busy person. Not that I am one, what with being home for the summer and all. And unemployed. (Hire me!!!)


I suppose you want pictures and recipes, huh?

Okay, fine.

Just don't say I never bought you anything. ;)


Not minced well enough >__>

Evolution of my pleating skills! Haha.

Frozen dumplings about to fry

Yummy potstickers

Crunchy bottom

Frozen Jam dumplings

Deep fried and dusted with powdered sugar

Melted peach jelly

Fried nutella dumplings


My filling:
1 lb of ground pork (lean, fatty, doesn't matter)
4 tbsp of soy sauce
2 tbsp of corn starch (if you don't have any, it's okay, don't fret. It's not totally necessary, it just helps bind the filling together a little more)
(everything from here down is minced. So mince it. Mince it good.)
2 cloves of garlic
1 little thing of lemon grass (stalk? is that what's it's called? haha, I don't know)
3 tbsp ginger root
3 stalks (yeah, I think that's the word) of scallions
Half of a carrot, cut into strips (like what happens when you use a veggie peeler on it, those thin layers), and minced.

Mix everything together VERY WELL. Cover and let sit in the fridge until you're ready to use it, within a day.

4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup of warm water
flour for worksurface

Mix everything in a bowl. You'll probably have to add more this slowly, or you'll end up doing what I did the first time: adding more flour. Knead the dough and cover with a damp towel for about 15 minutes. Jen suggests cutting the dough into strips, and then into pieces, but I was too lazy for that, and just pulled off balls of dough. (is it any wonder that my dumplings got smaller and smaller until they were bite sized? :P ) Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough. I'm bad at measurement and can't really tell you exactly how thin to make them, but looking at the pictures should help. Place a tablespoon (or less, depending on your wrapper size) of filling right in the middle, and pleat the dumpling closed. Here, on Jen's blog, she has a great picture tutorial for making the pleats (it definitely helped me), so go look there (and then come back!)
I suggest only making one or two wrappers at a time, and filling them once you make them. The first time, I rolled out all of my wrappers, and then they stuck together D:

Boil water. Cook dumplings until they float. (and then like 5 more minutes, if they were frozen)

Steaming: "Place dumplings on a single layer of napa cabbage leaves or on a well-greased surface in a steamer basket with lid. Steam covered for about 6 minutes." (Jen's words, as I didn't steam any of mine)

Potstickers! (the best, in my opinion)
Put the dumplings in a pan with 3 tbsp of vegetable or canola oil. Fry on high heat until the bottoms are golden brown. Then add 1/2 cup of water and cover the pan. Cook them until all of the water has cooked away. Uncover the dumplings and reduce to medium heat. Let them cook for another couple of minutes. EAT THEM. VERILY! :)

Now on to dessert.

The dough's basically the same, except I dissolved some sugar into the water, and only made half of the dough recipe.

Do the rolling and all of that. This is the fun part...choosing your filling! Definitely choose something thick and stable, and with a low water content, if you can help it. Because, when deep frying, all that water inside turns to steam, and wants to escape...quickly. So you might end up with leaky dumplings, which make the oil all gross. So keep that in mind. Anyhoo, heat oil in a pot to 300-350 degrees fahrenheit. Once the oil is up to temperature, use a metal spoon or spider and lower the dumplings (a couple at a time) into the oil. Leave them on the spoon until they start to float. Then, you can add a couple more. Cook them until they're golden brown, and drain on paper towels. Dust with powdered or granulated sugar. Like I said before, if you used a jam or fruity filling, you might wanna let them sit a little bit. They wont be crispy, but they won't burn your mouth, either ;P

Anyway, this was a fantastic challenge, and I think everyone should join the Daring Cooks and the Daring Bakers, to broaden their culinary horizons!
Thanks again to Jen from use real butter for this great challenge :)



  1. O I didn't think it was that long a posting LOL. Wonderful work and pleased to hear that you enjoyed your first DC challenge so much - nutella fried potstickers yuuuuummmmmmm!!!!! Cheers

  2. Kiara, these look great. I agree that it was a fun and interesting challenge. Congratulations on completing your first daring cooks!

  3. @ Audax: Lol, well, I got tired in the middle of writing it. "OH WHEN WILL IT END?!?!" :dramatic fist shaking: :P

    @ Frenchie:Thanks! I can't wait until the next's definitely all about learning for me )

  4. Congrats on your first challenge! Welcom in the community :D Great job - your dumplings look yummy :) And thank you for joining my kitchen :)

  5. Congrats on your first challenge! And oh, these are lovely indeed. I adore how you tried them with different fillings. Dessert dumplings are such fabulous things.

  6. Not only are your dumplings beautiful, but your deep fried dessert dumplings leave me in awe, especially the nutella dumplings! I'm in love! Wonderful job!

  7. I think i lost my comment, so I'll do it Your dumplings not only look amazing, but your deep fried dessert sumplings have me in mouth watering heaven, especially the nutella ones! Amazing job!

  8. @ Anula: Thanks so much! TDK gave me a great list of bloggers to follow :P

    @ lisa: hehe, it wasn't lost, I just have to approve comments before they show up :) Anyhoo, thanks a lot. Deep frying anything is a recipe for fun :P

  9. @ erushi (because I'm stupid and can't see): Thanks as well. I have an insatiable sweet tooth so I had to try it :D

  10. Great job! I want some nutella dumplings!

  11. oh wow! Nutella dumplings. I must try this :)

  12. Congrats on your first challenge. Great job!

  13. Great job on your first post. I dont think that was too many. You should be proud- you did a great job!

  14. Congratulations on your first daring cooks challenge! Your dumplings look absolutely yummy. Great work!

  15. You've done a great job and created some unique dumplings. Your photos are grand. I can't believe this is your first challenge. Congratulations.

  16. Dessert dumplings just look so sinfully delicious!! This is your FIRST challenge?! Congratulations =) I look forward to checking out the rest of your blog! ;)

  17. Yum!! Your dumplings look amazing, and all of your flavours sound wonderful =D. Awesome job on your first challenge!

  18. Wow. I love your variety of dessert dumplings! I made blueberry ones, but I wish I had thought to make nutella...that sounds like the best thing ever! Great work on your 1st challenge :)

  19. Great job! These look wonderful, and I'm drooling over the jam dumplings!

  20. oh you're evil with the nutella dumplings! I want to make some right now! Great job on all of your dumplings!

  21. I might be losing my mind, but I feel like I've read this post before... or maybe I've been watching the forums too much? Well hon, your dumplings are awesome. I can see the pleating is near perfection at this point. What a complete studette you are :) Great job on the dumplings and can I just say that those sweet ones look AWESOME right about now!

  22. what a fun idea on making sweet ones!

  23. Wow - love all the combos! Wish I hadn't waited till the absolute last minute so I could have experimented more. Yours look great - and you can see the pleating getting progressively better in your shots. :) Great job!

  24. That is some very delicious dumplings you have there! Great job on the challenge!

  25. O wow, you certainly made a couple of very interesting filling! Nutella.... Oooh, that must have been fantastic! The all look good!

  26. My mouth started to water when I got to the nutella dumplings!!

  27. So many comments! :)

    I'm glad you all liked the nutella dumplings. Definitely try them, they're SOOOO GOOD. (and I'm sure they're good steamed, pan fried, or boiled as well)

  28. Sweet & savoury.. all looked fabulous! that Nutella is a winner for me too.. Great job!

  29. Lovely! Great job. I would love to have potstickers for dinner and dessert!

  30. Nutella dumplings=pure genius. I'm going to have to try those babies.