Dumpling Madness

Let’s see, my pant legs and my kitchen floor are covered in corn starch…which can only mean one thing: making dumplings.

Every now and then the DH makes enough of a stink to guilt me into making gyoza. I love eating the amazing little pockets of joy, I just don’t really enjoy making them. That involves dealing with more raw pork than I usually like to be around, and hand stuffing and sealing a zillion little skins. Its a nightmare. There is no way to do it without destroying the entire kitchen, not that I’ve found anyway. But it is usually all worth it when you get to sit down with a plate of gyoza and a dish of dipping sauce and go to town.

Tonight, I had some extra Daikon (fancy Japanese radish) so I found a recipe and tried to make these:



If you have never had these, you need to find somewhere to get some right now. They are turnip cakes, and the DH and I had the pleasure of eating the best of their kind at the best dim sum restaurant in the world: Fook Lam Moon in Hong Kong. We would round up our friends most weekends for at least one dim sum brunch. And these were one of the main attractions for me. If left to my own devices, I might just eat my weight in them. So, I found this recipe that sounded about right and dove in.

Problem 1: I didn’t have the enough turnip. I had some of one, and this recipe called for 6 pounds of the stuff. Scaling down is always a little more tricky than scaling up.

Problem 2: No dried shrimp and no will to go find any. There is no way the local grocer is going to have them around here, so I just added some extra salt.

Problem 3: No rice flour. I tried to use all purpose and some potato starch, but I think this problem was completely insurmountable.

I say that because while my large turnip cake loaf looked right, it was really more like a loaf pan full of meaty turnip soup. Not good at all. The texture wouldn’t have been a problem if the flavor was right. I was resigned to eat it with a spoon if it tasted anything like I remembered. But alas, it was wrong on every level.

I often get a hankering for something hard to find. It is how I managed to make Hainan Chicken rice, Shrimp Etouffee, Corn Dogs, and Singapore Chili Crab. Apparently, however, the turnip cake is beyond my abilities. Yeah, right, like I’m  not going to try again. I just need to find a Chinese grocery…

2 thoughts on “Dumpling Madness

  1. Sarah, there’s a good oriental grocery in Kalamazoo: Pacific Rim Food, 1926 White’s Road. Check it out when you visit your folks. My purchases are pretty much limited to kimchee, soy sauce and rice noodles. I have to get more adventuresome in my cooking.

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