OK, that last post I made was a little lackadaisical in tone (but totally true! I should have added fresh maize shaved off of a cob makes a fine addition, but it’s too late now).
So this is a modification of my grandma’s pizza dough that I used to make some lunch dumplings.
Measurements are fungible, here, you need to do what works for you. Also, measurements are imperial, not metric, because we are one of the last counties in the world to tout how advanced we are but can’t add by tens (don’t get high and mighty on me, Brits, I like being weighed in stones). The original pizza dough recipe from my grandma’s book will be in bold, the dumpling additions and snark will be in plaintext.
5 1/2 -to- 6 1/2 cups unsifted flour (see? this is where it all falls apart if you are a recipe stickler)
1 Tablespoon sugar (add an additional 4 T for the dumpling dough)
1 pkg dry yeast (3/4 oz/21 g regular baker’s yeast)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
2 Tablespoon margarine (yes, when you read “margarine” you automatically thought “butter, dammit!” In reality, shortening works best, and lard (yes, lard!) is a close second)
Combine the dry stuff, warm the wet and/or greasy stuff. Make a little volcano out of half the dry stuff, and mix in the wet stuff until you can’t tell where it went, then mix in the rest of the dry stuff until it becomes a total pain in the ass. Put it in a big bowl with a damp towel over it (don’t worry, you’ll get to unleash your aggression on this later).
OK, on with the dumplings
2-4 boiled eggs (you may have to eat the leftovers)
raw egg or just the raw egg white
fresh green onions (the pointier the better, chop the less pointy bits to small pieces)
1-to-28 cloves of garlic (it’s your choice)
Sweet Chili sauce (May Ploy for example)
A knob of ginger root
Your protein, about 3\4 pound if it’s ground meat, you’re on your own for estimating tofu
Boil some water in a steamer
Boil up 2-4 eggs medium (not soft, not hard, in the middle), peel them, and cut them into quarters. You may not need all of them, maybe have a contingency plan for egg salad.
Take your protein (I like pork, you can use whatever, including whatever leftover protein you have) and make sure it’s all ground up or otherwise in tiny bitty pieces. Sauté it with some of the non-pointy onion and a clove of crushed garlic, or several cloves depending on your garlic addiction. Don’t forget to grate more ginger than you think you need on that. Add several splashes of soy sauce and a decent gloop of the sweet chili sauce, stop just before it’s actually cooked. Take the pan off the burner, or even scrape everything into a chilled container to stop it from cooking more.
Take the pizza dough (yeah, remember that?) and you beat it with your fists and/or a rolling pin until it behaves. Flower up a cutting board, cut the mass into quarters, and smash what you have until you got some flat pieces. It will fight back, don’t let it win. (Keep dusting your hands, the board, your pin, and the dough with flour to make it work).
Once you have a reasonably submissive chunk of dough, spoon 1T of the protein mix in the middle, plus one of the sliced eggs, brush the raw egg along the edges, fold it over to make a pocket, and spear the top with the pointy green onion, or perhaps a ginger sliver.
Stick that in your steamer! (no, really, do that, it wasn’t supposed to come out like an insult, sorry)
Keep doing that with everything (dough, filling, boiled egg, close it, spike it with an onion or ginger) and you should be able to remove the first one after you’re ready to add the third, keep that pace. It should be fully steamed, and ready for a bento box (for American kids, at least).
This does great with cilantro, too, if you want to add it, as well as Vietnamese mint and the fatter, crispier types of basil.