On a recent trip to Beechworth in Victoria, I had the most gorgeous starter of pork dumplings in broth in a fantastic pub called The Empire Hotel. It was rich yet light and immensely satisfying, although not too satisfying as I still managed to fit in a 300gm sirloin cooked to absolute perfection. The memories are flooding back as I write this post and I am not discouraging them. Back to reality…….I had a little Asian style dinner party a couple of weeks later and just new that I had to make my own rendition of this delicious soup as a starter. I won’t go as far to say that it was even remotely in the same par as the soup I had in the pub, however I will say that it was pretty tasty and I was quite happy with the result.
Prep time: 30 Minutes Cooking time: 30 Minutes $$ Medium Budget
For the Broth:
12 dried shiitake mushrooms (available in the Asian section of supermarkets)
6cm piece of ginger, sliced
5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
4 spring onions, cut into 10cm lengths
3 litres of chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbs of dark soy sauce
Coriander leaves, sliced spring onions, deep fried shallots* and sesame oil to serve
For the dumplings:
300gm of pork mince
6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, very finely chopped
2 tsp of finely grated ginger
1 clove of garlic, finely grated
2 spring onions, very finely sliced
1 tbs of soy sauce
1 tsp of sugar
1 tsp of sesame oil
1 packet of Gow Gee wrappers
Place the sliced ginger, garlic cloves, spring onions, dried shiitake, stock and soy sauce in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, place a lid on and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes on a very low heat. Drain the stock and pick out the shiitake mushrooms. Discard the rest of the aromatics and pour the stock back into the pot, slice the shiitake and return them to the stock. Set aside.
To make the dumplings, place all of the ingredients in a bowl and use your hands to combine. Place a Gow Gee wrapper on a board and put a teaspoon of the filling in the centre. Dip your index finger in a bowl of cold water and run it around the edge of the wrapper before placing another one on top. Press firmly but gently, pushing any air out, making sure the edges are sealed and place on a lined baking tray. Repeat with the remaining mixture and you should end up with approximately 18 dumplings. If you wish to make them ahead, freeze them before use.
Heat a wok with about 2 inches of water in the bottom. Line bamboo steamer baskets with baking paper and steam the dumplings for 8-10 minutes on a gentle simmer.
Reheat the broth, divide the dumplings between serving bowls and ladle over the broth and shiitake mushrooms. Scatter over the spring onions, deep fried shallots and coriander leaves and drizzle each bowl with a little sesame oil and serve.
*You may wish to use store bought deep fried shallots that are available in the Asian section of the supermarket. I like to make my own by heating about 2cm of peanut or rice bran oil in a small saucepan and frying the shallots until golden and crispy. It only takes a few minutes and I think they taste better.
Leftover fresh shiitake? You may want to cook this……..