For those of you who know of him, Frank has been back in the UK for two months and is due to go scuttling back to China very soon. For those of you who don’t know about him you can be enlightened here and see what he makes me do here.
Frank, my Chinese student, decided it was time for me to learn how to cook Chinese food.
“Are you saying you don’t like my cooking Frank?” I asked pointedly.
“No, No. Very like. But this I can teach very good”
My conversations with Frank have been interesting, to say the least. Quite frankly (did you like what I did there?!) I could do with Azra or RCB staying at my house at the same time to help me cope with interpretation. It took me nearly 2 hours the other day to work out what Frank was trying to say. Turns out it was ”ethnomethodology”
Anyway, before RCB starves to death with his empty fridge, here’s a Chinese recipe that is very nice, very filling AND virtually fat free!
This is what you’re going to need:
The patience of a saint
Minced beef or pork
Salt and pepper
A rolling pin
A mixing bowl
A floured surface
A large saucepan
So the first thing you’re going to do is open a bottle of wine or beer. This is to aid concentration. Then get a load of flour (you gotta play this one by ear - depends how many dumplings you want) put it in a bowl and add tiny amounts of water until you have a dough. Here I was, expecting to have to make some sort of posh dough mixture, but nope. This is as easy as pastry gets. However, you now have to knead it and knead it until you feel like your wrists are going to snap.
Now put that to one side for a minute and let me tell you this: Frank decided that he would skype in his wife and children to watch me make said dumplings. NO PRESSURE THEN! I felt like I was taking part in a practical examination as I held up my little dumplings for inspection to Franks laptop.
As the pastry settles, grab your celery,spring onions and chives and chop them into the tiniest pieces like this:
Steady on the alcohol at this point or you are liable to lose digits
Now mix together the chopped veg and minced meat in a big bowl. If you use a spoon or fork then you aren’t a Chinese specialist like I am.
Now back to the pastry. Grab a chunk and roll it into a six inch sausage shape. If you are male, please get a ruler or ask a woman as I tend to find that men are
somewhat deluded by the actual size of a six inch sausage.
That's really six inches?!
Keep doing this until all your pasty is in cylindrical shapes and then chop them into 1 inch pieces as seen here:
Now flatten each one with palm of hand and then use the rolling pin to get the little
buggers circles flatter and thinner.
Fill each little circle with just under a teaspoon of the beef and vegetable mixture.
Now it gets a little tricky. Pull in the ends and bring the sides together, pinching and folding as you go. Basically, make sure there’s no gaps and it’s stuck together well. I started to look at it like art after a while and began to get creative by putting little fork marks in. That blew the judges away on the skype channel and I felt a sense of one upmanship. That was until I got to my 75th dumpling and lost the will to live.
Once you have completed this lengthy ordeal it’s time to cook them. Hoorah! Get a big pan of water and keep at a gentle simmer (add a little salt) then drop the dumplings in gently. 10 minutes later they are ready. I wasn’t buying this at first as it didn’t seem long enough.
“No, Frank. Impossible. The meat will be raw” I insisted.
“Yes, eat! Is ready . Fine! Just put in mouth and taste!” he implored.
I didn’t. Instead I cut it in half with a chop stick,which is incredibly difficult, to check. It was perfect.
Put 5 or 6 in a bowl and add soy sauce. Go ahead and eat. It’s a taste sensation and your skinny jeans still fit afterwards. Nice.