I’ve been really blessed to have the opportunity to meet so many amazing people through blogging. I’ve met food enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and people working at really cool businesses in Shanghai. Last week I was invited by Fields to attend their dumpling cooking class at 101 Cooking Studio on Hong Qiao Lu. A special class open to VIP shoppers at their online grocery store.
With Fields Loyalty Program, you can redeem your points for really cool things like cooking classes, special products and Fields vouchers. How do you get Fields Points? Simple!
Step 1: Create an account.
Step : Start shopping!
No seriously. It’s that easy. No aggravating hidden rules or restrictions that seem to be prevalent in every other loyalty program in China. For every RMB you spend you get 1 POINT. That’s it! Keep in mind that the points will expire after 365 days so start redeeming!
Seven eager students arrived on the coldest Saturday of the year to learn how to make authentic Chinese Dumplings. Yes, you can buy them from any shop for pennies but I figured it would be a terrible shame to leave China and never have learned how to make the dish that best exemplifies not only Chinese food, but also Shanghainese cuisine.
Our teacher was a dumpling genius! She quickly and efficiently made her dumplings, inspiring us to achieve her level of greatness. She only spoke Chinese, but Fields provided us with a fantastic translator so that we were able to follow along.
But don’t think that your fabulous Recipe Nomad became a dumpling making pro! No. No. No.
Making dumplings reminds me of when my mom tried to teach me how to knit a blanket for my first born. After about 30 minutes, she looked at me with despair and said, “Some people just can’t be taught. What colors do you want? I’ll do it”.
Watching our instructor make dumpling after dumpling after freaking dumpling (in the time it took me to make ONE!), I had to remind myself that she’s probably been making dumplings since she was a little kid. Not to mention, I can probably run circles around her when it comes to rolling Lebanese Grape Leaves or Cabbage Rolls so BOO-YAH!
While I may not have perfected the method in the class, I did learn lots of valuable information that will definitely help me practice at home.
Dumpling Wrapper Dough
The dough for the dumpling wrapper is very simple. Flour + cold or hot water depending on the kinds of dumplings your making. Fried dumplings require hot water (about 95F) while steamed dumplings require cold water.
You can use all-purpose flour or specific dumpling flour. If you’re curious about the difference between the two, check out VietWorld Kitchen’s thorough analysis regarding the difference between dumpling flour and all-purpose flour.
You really have to delicately work the dough once you mix in the water. Do not push down on it. To knead the dough, use the palm of your hand to push the dough out away from you and stretch it. Fold it. Then stretch again. It takes experience to figure out just how much you need to work the dough. Luckily the teacher shoved me out of the way and did the hard work for me!
For me, the hardest thing with the dough was creating the nice little edges that our teacher whizzed through in seconds. Its a method where you pinch the edge, in fold the pinched edge and repeat.
Sounds easy but it took lots of practice. The first few were hard, then it got easy, then I totally messed up again. But it was fun and I got the idea of what I needed to do. It’s just going to require more….
Can you tell which is mine and which is the teacher’s? That’s right the two perfect one’s were made by me… In my dreams… Mine is the fabulous one below the two perfect dumplings.
You can use anything to fill the dumplings. For the potstickers, we used an Egg and
Leek Mixture. It was very, very good, but I’ve had them in other places with mushrooms or spinach. All yummy yummy! So feel free to be super creative in your flavors! Remember to taste the mixture after before stuffing them in the wrappers to make sure it’s properly seasoned.
Traditionally Chinese Dumplings or what Americans call Potstickers are not served with soy sauce. Nope! They are served with Red Rice Vinegar.
By the way, 101 Cooking Studio offers several cooking classes, targeted to the Chinese community. Classes are taught in Chinese and cover a variety of recipes from Western to Asian. There was another class taking place in the studio who was learning how to make homemade granola bars. Let me tell you, they looked and smelled delicious!
Fried Leek Dumplings (Potstickers)
- 200g Qinmin Organic Dumpling Flour
- 5g Salt
- 6 Organic Free Range Eggs ;
- 16g Salt
- 9g Chicken Essence (MSG, optional)
- 10g Sugar
- 4T Vegetable Oil
- 100g Frozen Peeled Small White Shrimp
- 300g Leeks
- Red Rice Vinegar
- In a large bowl, add flour and salt. Slowly drizzle in 25ml of hot water (95F) and combine by hand.
- Transfer the dough to a clean, floured kitchen countertop, make a well with your thumb and pour in 15 ml of cold water. Continue to knead.
- When the dough is smooth and well combined cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
- For the Dumpling Filling: In a separate bowl, beat eggs and add salt, chicken essence and sugar. Mix well to combine. In a pan, heat oil then add the egg mixture and stir-fry – keep stirring with chopsticks or a wooden spoon to prevent it sticking. Once cooked, transfer the egg to a large bowl. Add leeks and shrimp. Mix well.
- Transfer the dough to a clean kitchen countertop and roll it into a long, thin sausage – cut into separate 15 g pieces;
- Roll each piece into a thin, round dumpling wrapper (8- 10 cm diameter);
- Place a dumpling wrapper in your palm and add a spoonful of filling in the center. Bring the edges together using your thumb and finger and pinch to seal. Place the dumplings on a floured tray;
- In a pan, heat the oil then fry the leek dumplings for 4-5 minutes until they turn golden brown;
- Serve immediately with vinegar as a dipping sauce.
I was invited to a complimentary class by Fields, however the opinions and experience are my own.