4 Levels of Dumplings: Amateur to Food Scientist | Epicurious

hi I'm John and I'm a level one chef hi I'm Sharlene and I'm a level two chef hi I'm King I'm an instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education and I've been a chef for over 20 years I've never made dumplings before I did tell my grandma that I'm here I'm a little nervous because she will watch this video and judgment very harshly like I was a pretty good cook dumplings were always there throughout pretty much all of my childhood my first time making dumplings is probably when I was like four or five there is really isn't the recipe this is from experimentation and that really comes out a little bit different every time but I've been making dumplings for a long time if it was a perfect world I would have soupy dumplings every day Kohi not in a perfect world so today super excited to be making dumplings first thing we're gonna do is we're gonna make our dumpling wrapper this is AP flour all-purpose flour is bread flour and also this makes it harder for the dough to break when you're boiling it so add a pinch of salt and then I had this room-temperature water water in here the hot water is just gonna kind of help work that gluten in there get that dough kind of soft so I like to use my fingers like this to fold the flour in to incorporate everything so I realized that also a stand mixer might be easier for something like this you know if you're gonna make a large batch of this you could use a mixer but I'm a chef and I like to do things with my hands to make it really easy I bought this pre-made dough it's it's essentially dumpling wrappers I guess I will continue and we're also gonna add fat to this vegetable that will help give this to some nice elasticity in order for not to try out you put a towel over it put our little dough ball baby to sleep I'm gonna let our little dough ball rest for 45 minutes it's covered with a damp towel so this is a dumpling wrapper it's essentially what you'd expect it's dough that flour-based that has been flattened pressed and then usually refrigerated really easy to work with you buy it frozen you could just let it defrost before you're ready to work with them so now this has been sitting for about 15 minutes and I'm ready to check on it it's loosened up a little bit now so that's easier for nee to need but you'll know you're ready when this surface of the stove is relatively smooth like a baby's butt basically so now this sits for an hour so in order for it not to dry I use a wet towel alright so we've let our dough rest for about 45 minutes at room temp I want to form into a large donut and the goal here is just have even all around now we're gonna cut our guy in half I'm gonna leave this bag here on the side right now we're looking pretty good today's day and age when time is money I think it's perfectly fine it's not too much work for me I really like to cook so we're gonna cut our log it's just a process of cutting and then punching down and then eventually ruling it out we want it to be a lot thinner on the outside and a little bit thicker right here in the middle so this is what the wrapper is gonna look like red don't leave so I'm gonna cover these with a wet paper towel to keep them nice and moist and next onto my filling so first up let me take care of these green onions and then I'm gonna just do a very fine chopped garlic tank work this through I am going to play with some ginger I love ginger I just like using a spoon I find a little more gentler and using a peeler just gonna peel it we just want to Michael flame out ginger I'm just gonna tap it snowing ginger so the cabbage I'm using is napa cabbage it has a lot of like juice in it that makes sense if your cabbage is really wet you can dry it out with a paper towel but for here we're using salt to coat the water out of this vegetable so now that it's in this bowl I had the salt give it a mix I just let it sit for 15 minutes and this is a great time to assemble the rest of the football I have some ground pork here you can use ground pork but I like to use hand mince pork the shrimp since the meat is also minced you kind of want it to be in a similar consistency you're gonna slice our chives salt sugar another key ingredient is the shiitake mushrooms no oil sesame oil soy sauce if you're concerned about salt you can go a low sodium I am NOT now we're gonna mix everything together our filling is done we're gonna make our stock this is a nice pig's foot pig's foot you could throw this in there but you're gonna miss all that beautiful collagen that's in the middle of this collagen is really important because as we cook that collagen out it makes our stop gelatinous so I'm gonna have to chop them up that's what we want for a stop and then one egg but I'm gonna beat the egg before I put it in cooking wine chicken feed these we don't have to hack up chicken back so now we're gonna we're gonna work with our aromatics that goes into our spot ginger let's do our garlic whole black peppercorns and salt water we're gonna bring it up to a boil and then we're gonna lower it down to a simmer and let it simmer for four hours and now I'm just gonna mix it all up some people like to use our hands I don't I'm mixing this in my hands this is something I do some people think it's gross there's another arm workout some things are just it's just such a good soulful really so now I do is I squeeze excess liquid out of this napa cabbage and I just mix until incorporated here's our stop and threw it in the fridge a couple of hours and I mean you talk about gelatinous lis that's stocks not going anywhere so I just gonna do a nice little crosshatch just all the way across this is gonna be the start of a beautiful soupy dumpling that's our gelatinize soup ready for our soupy done folks and so either one bunch of ingredients chopped them up throwing them all up now I'm gonna make our sauce for our dumplings which is arguably kind of the most important part of the flavor this is probably what grandma would make maybe a little dumb down so I'm making kind of a certain style sauce this is where my family is from it's not the most traditional sauce for dumplings in the North you usually dip them in vinegar and I'm maybe a little bit of ginger back to our ginger we're gonna peel this we're gonna julienne this got our chives the rice wine vinegar a nice finally slice up one scallion the base of this sauce are these two things which are homemade so this one this first one is um it's called future jamming which means sweets and this one has chili oil which is where all the spice comes from for the sauce it's just putting things together water chili oil oil vinegar pepper corn oil sugar cuz it sweetens it up that's salt and then our scallions I'm using two cloves here so I really like the flavor of garlic and I think it balances well with some of the sweeter soy sauce flavors here and just mix it all up and then just a little taste I use my pinky hmm and that's it that's our sauce for a soup dumpling this is by far the most fun part not the most fun part the eating is the most fun part this might be one of the most intimidating parts of the process these are the beautiful balls we made earlier a little flour to start us off just basically push down on it so we have like a flat little pancake now we're gonna roll out it's kind of like origami arts and crafts there's no one right or wrong way to do it basically every member of my family does it differently this is our filling made earlier our pork filling I'm gonna take some of this that's our nice gelatinous broth and I'm gonna fold it into our filling I like to fill mine to the brim I like to be pretty aggressive about how much I put it kind of wanna under stop your dumpling you don't want to over stop it want to use your judgement just want to have that perimeter outside and now here comes the fun part we're gonna start folding it pinching it take a nice little purse and then what we're gonna do is just twist it at the end make a pinch take another pinch make another pinch start from other side and then make pictures again together and because this is like homemade dough I don't need water to steal anything I'm gonna moisten the edges of the wrapper with some water I'm gonna crimp the middle and then work through to seal the edges the biggest thing is you just want it to close Chinese culture good luck is 8 or 18 so they say at least at least 18 crimps I never really follow that rule oh look you can just just lay on that like a pillow like that's adorable and now you have a nice no we're gonna cook our dumplings so we have a wok here with water a steam basket we want to line that bamboo though you don't want to put it straight on the bamboo because if we put that straight on the bamboo that dough will as we steamed it will get sticky so I decided to boil mine this is the most traditional way in my family to do it my opinion you have like a more of a pure dumpling flavor instead of Syrian you get a lot of oil about a tablespoon I'm looking for a nice good sizzle when I drop these bad boys in we're not there yet so we have our bamboo basket line and now I'm gonna fill it with our dumplings and I don't want to overcrowd the pan and once this water starts boiling again I'll add a little bit to this water to bring the temperature down the reason why I do that is because then outside layer the doesn't overcook before the inside cooks a little pink Oh yep these bottoms are getting nice and golden-brown we have raw pork here we want to make sure that cake is cooked fully through I like to leave it in there between eight like eight to ten minutes kind of like a moist mini oven natural oven we're just gonna add in a quarter cup of water turn down the flame cover and I'm just gonna let these steam really about three to five minutes steaming in the bamboo basket imparts that flavor of the bamboo it's steaming the meats cooking everything's looking right you know not good but uh okay knock this one out the park since they're fresh not frozen they are ready really fast dumplings are ready it's not a plate days so here I find dumplings I have some scallions some cilantro and also my previously made dumpling sauce wow they're really sticking to the bottom here no wonder they're called pot stickers there we go even after so many years chopsticks are still sometimes a struggle so you know got a little beat up oops dipping sauce I'm feeling great cuz now it's time for the best part and here are my dumplings and here are my most pork and shrimp and napa cabbage dumplings and these are my supa dumplings this is the fun part this is what we've all been waiting for at Lisa's well this is what I've been waiting for now we get to eat it [Music] laughter like that great very good uh-huh that's a sleepy dumpling they taste like I remember it tastes like my childhood it tastes like home I would definitely serve this to my grandma I think she'd be very proud my favorite part is dumpling is knowing how much I want how many hours I put into it it's all worth it very good now I'm in New York whenever I miss home I like to make this it came out really nice nothing exploded all the pockets held up tight the pork has the right amount of fat the sauce is great I it's great it's a winner dumplings are a delicious package of expertly balanced salty sweet and acidic flavors let's see how each of our chefs made theirs Jon used a store-bought wonton wrapper that was already shaped and sized to accommodate his filling these wrappers are versatile convenient and made essentially with flour and water they do have some additional ingredients that act as preservatives like sodium propionate and sodium benzoate along with salt and citric acid they may also contain l-cysteine which is an essential amino acid that's required for gluten formation and access a dough conditioner which is one of the structural components in dumpling wrappers they also help to make the dough pliable and really easy to work with when time is money I think charlene made her own dumpling skin by blending bread flour which has a higher percentage of gluten proteins glutenin and gliadin with just under 50% water by weight and a pinch of salt it's not too much work for me I really like to cook so this flour to water ratio ensures that the gluten proteins will be completely hydrated and pliable enough to fill in crimp Charlene also took time to rest her dough which allows for complete starch and protein hydration and for the proteins to relax making the dough nice and supple King made his dumpling skins out of a lower protein all-purpose flour as the name indicated all-purpose flour is milled and processed with a broad range of functionality in mind he had a lower flour to water ratio but used hot water which caused the starch molecules to begin to gelatinize which is wait for the addition of a small amount of oil adds richness but also coats the flour preventing complete starch gelatinization and yielding a very tender slightly glossy dough John's filling is simple clean and expresses traditional Asian flavors by blending garlic ginger scallions soy sauce and sesame oil with ground pork and napa cabbage napa cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable that has an oblong shape with tightly packed slightly bumpy leaves it has a mild flavor if grandma would use Chinese cabbage the way cabbage is prepared has an effect on the taste Jon chopped his napa cabbage which has been found to liberate flavor compounds like the isothiocyanates from their precursor molecules increasing the prominence of nice cabbage flavor Charlene used a shrimp and pork combination along with rehydrated shiitake mushrooms which add an earthy woody meaty flavor from the glutamic acid present she also added some oil which has a distinctive nutty flavor Charlene salted her napa cabbage which draws out much of the water through osmosis this removes water from the mixture too much water dilutes flavors and it creates excess steam and makes for a very soggy filling King made a pork filling from shoulder meat it's slightly darker than the pork loin because it's almost twice as high in iron content he also added garlic and ginger play with some ginger I love ginger cooked together garlic and ginger have a wonderful aroma John made a sauce that enhances his filling with familiar Asian flavors it's a blend of flavorful liquids in which the sugar will dissolve balancing the salty acidic and umami notes this is probably what grandma would make maybe a little dumb down Sharleen increased the complexity of her sauce with the addition of sweet soy sauce is called futre jr.

which means sweet soy sauce which is usually slightly more viscous darker and sweeter than regular soy sauce because it has fermented palm rock sugar added she also included black vinegar most commercially processed vinegars are standardized at five percent acetic acid some wine vinegars have a slightly higher percentage black Chinese vinegars may only have two percent acetic acid so it's not nearly as tart as vinegar you may have in your cupboard she contrasted chili oil which gets its heat from capsaicinoids in the chili infused oil on the other hand the peppercorn oil gets its heat from hydroxyl Alfa sensual which is associated with Szechuan peppers from which the peppercorn oil is made Szechuan peppers are spicy fruity citrusy and slightly numbing King kept his sauce simple because he made a gelatinous soup as an ingredient for his dumplings his sauce is soy rice vinegar which is less acidic and has some sweetness to it ginger and sliced chives for a slight grassy green note which adds some color to his dark sauce Kings soup includes chicken feed and backs and pig's feet they're high in insoluble protein collagen as it's heated collagen is hydrolyzed and transforms into the soft water soluble protein gelatin which takes the form of a solid when it's cooled it adds viscosity and a thicker mouthfeel to a soup or a sauce all three of our chefs assembled their dumplings into round dumpling skins and stuffed them with uncooked filling John sealed his dumplings with water stressing the importance of a good seal the biggest thing is you just want it to close Sharleen used a rolling cut to make the dough mass into individual dumpling disks she added a dusting of flour prior to filling to act as a thickening agent for any excessive moisture in the filling king used a small thin rolling pin to make his disks I think you just rolling away he added some of the filling along with the gelatinous soup and pleaded and pinched the edges closed cleaning the edges not only makes for a beautiful dumpling but it's functional as well because it's an excellent way to seal the edges a nice little purse all three chefs used different cooking methods for their dumplings John sauteed the bottom of his dumplings to add color and a crunchy texture he then adds water and covers his pan causing his dumplings to steam Sharleen simmered her dumplings in water just below the boiling point this is the most boiling happens at 212 degrees Fahrenheit each time the water boiled Charlene added a small amount of cold water which kept the temperature consistently just below boiling by reducing the boiling action the waters less turbulent and thereby less likely to cause the dumplings to burst open can used a traditional bamboo steamer bamboo steamers are interlocking flat baskets that are stackable with a cover on top this is a gentle way to cook the dumplings minimising the potential for them to burst steaming in the bamboo basket imparts that flavor of the bamboo came lined his steamer with napa cabbage leaves that turn a bright beautiful green color when they're initially heated the green pigment called chlorophyll in the cabbage loses molecular water and expresses the green color very clearly and rightly it's a beautiful way to serve these tender and delicious dumplings found in many world's cuisines dumplings may be prepared using a wide variety of methods such as sauteing simmering or steaming we hope you'll take inspiration from our chefs the next time you want to dip into dumplings [Music].