Regardless of cooking method, you'll produce dumplings filled with the elements of classic Chinese steamed fish. For the best results, select the freshest fish possible — it should have a bit of sheen and be devoid of any off odors.
Because this dough filling is light in color, I often encase it in jade green dough made with spinach for a pretty presentation.
2/3 pound mild-tasting white fish fillet, such as cod or sole
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 cup Chicken Stock or water
1 1/2 tablespoons light (regular) soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
3/4 cup chopped Chinese chives or scallions (white and green parts)
1 pound Basic Dumpling Dough
Canola or peanut oil (if panfrying)
2/3 cup Tangy Soy Dipping Sauce
1. To make the filling, cut the fish into 1-inch chunks, discarding any bones you discover along the way (bevel-tipped tweezers will help, if you have them). Put the fish in a food processor.
2. In a small bowl, combine the salt, white pepper, chicken stock, soy sauce, wine, canola oil, and sesame oil. Mix well to create a seasoning liquid, and then pour about 2 tablespoons of the liquid into the food processor. Run the food processor, pouring the remaining seasoning liquid through the feed tube. Grind to a coarse paste, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides.
3. Return the paste to the bowl and mix in the ginger and Chinese chives. To develop the flavors, cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes. You should have about 2 cups of filling. (The filling can be prepared 1 day ahead and refrigerated. Return it to room temperature for dumpling assembly.)
4. Form 16 wrappers from half of the dough. Aim for wrappers that are about 3 1/4 inches in diameter.
5. Before assembling the dumplings, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (If you plan to refrigerate the dumplings for several hours, or freeze them, lightly dust the paper with flour to avoid sticking.)
6. For each dumpling, hold a wrapper in a slightly cupped hand. Scoop up about 1 tablespoon of filling with a bamboo dumpling spatula, dinner knife, or fork and position it slightly off-center toward the upper half of the wrapper, pressing and shaping it into a flat mound and keeping about 1/2 to 3/4 inch of wrapper clear on all sides. Fold, pleat, and press to enclose the filling and create a half-moon, pea pod, big hug, or pleated crescent shape.
7. Place the finished dumpling on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the other wrappers, spacing the finished dumplings a good 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet. Keep the finished dumplings covered with a dry kitchen towel as you form wrappers from the remaining dough and fill them with the remaining filling.
8. Once assembled, the dumplings can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for several hours; they can be cooked straight from the refrigerator. For longer storage, freeze them on their baking sheet until hard (about 1 hour), transfer them to a zip-top freezer bag, seal well, and keep them frozen for up to 1 month; partially thaw, using your finger to smooth over any cracks that may have formed during freezing, before cooking.
9. Steam the dumplings over boiling water for about 8 minutes or until slightly puffed and some what translucent . Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.
Reprinted from Asian Dumplings: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More by Andrea Nguyen by Andrea Nguyen. Copyright © 2009 Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group, Inc.
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