Friday, May 8, 2015

Steamed dumplings with chili dipping sauce

My attempts at trying to keep this space up and moving, aiming towards a one-broadcast-per-week circuit, a repertoire I honestly intended to stick to, is just not happening. As you've come to see over the past three years, multitasking, diligent foodblogger extraordinaire I am not. Those be the gifted and brilliant, and you know who you are, that get timely meals on the table, snap magazineworthy pictures of the same meals, keep house/pets/kids/clean, wax poetic over garlic like its nobody's business, save the world, all the while looking like Giada. How do you do? 

Whereas, I'm trying to shake off  what could be a rapidly advancing attention deficit, as well as the ton of bricks that occasionally sit on the wee right of my brain. This, while taking on the day's charming activities/ distractions/task checklist, read updating FB, switching/ OCD checking between three email accounts, feeding/bathing/cleaning up after dog/kids/sometimes me, killing scorpions and properly disposing of the pesky dead bird from my backyard. Really? Do you call that a conducive blogpost-a-week environment?

Spot on too, with meddlesome mental funk, is the pesky SAD which ultimately takes on my world. It's beginning, that time of the year, where supposedly balmy summer nights, shown in ads of pretty people roasting marshmallows over bonfires and barbecues happens not in my  reality. Just because I can do that on the sidewalk, along with  searing meat, frying eggs, browning potatoes, even baking cookies. For a good eight months, I live in The Inferno. Aahh, the benefits of the desert habitat, people, and I can't even cry.


But, wait... here is where it all comes full circle and I do what I must to stay afloat. As I see it, it's the only road to freedom. I eat my way through each and every nefarious experiment that happens in my kitchen, bringing in hope and a resurgence that I so need.

Now I can redirect the million conversations my mind has made to self during the inbetween, bringing today's subject to debut, expelling any and all illocution stuck in my head, straight to keyboard and onto screen. All the while making sure that today is the day it comes to the one nearest you, even if it means gluing myself to this chair. All day. Perhaps all night


And so we begin the subject of momos. Delightful little dumplings, found in profusion on streets of Southeast Asia. They are actually a delicacy native to the regions of Tibet and Nepal. Popularity of the quaint and cute packet has gained much momentum in the past few decades, where momos have invaded places from the corner cafe, roadside coffee shops, to well and beyond, most wanted feature on five star menus. Why even the spot of  map I sprung from, and my onceuponatime momo memory, brings in nostalgic bits I never wish to push aside. 


Like the Japanese gyoza, these consist of a thinly pulled flour-oil-water cover that can house a variety of filling. Vegetables. Shrimp. Meat- pork/beef/lamb/chicken. Take one, take many, the inside contents can be interchangeable and worked into creative combinations, anything that makes your heart, mind, and soul spin.

And with it you can master the make-your-own-dumpling-wrapper technique, which may not be as laborious as it sounds, but just that first step in achieving stunning bundled perfection.

From the mixing, kneading, wrapping, twisting and engineering into a somewhat original, attractive shape is both the challenge and appeal of the whole project. Where All-Homemade strikes an inner chord, and your kitchen counter becomes momomaking central, end to end. 

Ground turkey meat lends a healthful extension to this light-hearted affair and brings in a balanced, distinctly fresh complement. Zested up with the powerful combine of ginger-red chillies and kissed with masala-esque components, the meat tremendously works wonders against the backdrop of an otherwise bland dough. Served in conjunction with the potent, yet smooth dipping sauce, a more than three dozen batch reaches unbearably good heights, granting you access to eat much much more than you normally would. 

So here is where I leave you and wish you well. Go on. The weekend calls. And this could be precisely what it is asking for.

This is what happens when you twist...like a boss. Right??

Ingredients for the dough~
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c water upto 2, enough to mix and make a smooth, pliable dough
Directions:
  • Mix flour, oil and salt in a medium bowl or in bowl of stand mixer
  • If using hands, slowly add water in parts and knead to a firm, yet supple dough. 
  • For the stand mixer, using dough attachment: knead pouring water in at intervals (1/4 cup at time) on medium speed till it forms nonstickydough. Use a light hand with the water, as it tends to get real sticky, real fast.
  • Cover the dough and keep aside for 30 minutes.
Ingredients for the filling~
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 tsp chopped ginger
  • 2 tsp sambal oelek, or fresh ground chili paste
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 lb ground turkey or chicken
  • salt
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Directions:

  • Heat oil in a large skillet, over medium heat.
  • Add onions, ginger, saute for a minute.
  • Mix in remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly until well combined.
  • Allow to cook covered on medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until meat is done and all moisture is evaporated. About 20 minutes.

After the first few, you' would've found your own rhythm and pace. But if you're like me, you've gone through enough YouTube visuals to confuse your brain. So there's all shapes, all sizes. All good. No worries if things aren't perfect. We just hide, secretly eat those and move on.
Assembly~
  • Divide the dough in two equal parts. Place a damp towel over one and remove the other to a well flour-dusted counter/workspace.
  • Flatten the dough and using a rolling pin, also dusted with flour, roll the dough thin, but not transparent, to about ¼ inch thickness. It should be large enough in diameter to cut out about 4-5  4" inch disks. I used a 4"biscuit cutter/cookie cutter. You can use also the top of a wide mouthed glass/cup. Collect and knead the remaining dough scraps, cut out until remaining dough is used up. Repeat with the other half.
  • With your fingers, press and thin out the edge of each circle, just so that it is slightly thinner than the center.
  • Place 1 heaping tsp of turkey stuffing in the center of each disc/wrapper.
  • Using your forefinger and middle finger, start making small pleats along the edge of the dough circle. Fold in/ out from one side and go all the way around, trying to squeeze out any air, fully turning the dumpling around to close. 
  • Gently twist the top to seal. 
  • Keep the prepared momos covered until ready to steam.
  • Grease a steamer tray and and fill water in the basket. Place on high heat, and have it come to a boil. 
  • Place the momos on the greased tray, careful to keep space between each and not have skins touch. Cover.
  • With heat on medium- high, steam momos 15-20 minutes, until done. Dough will be smooth and taught.
  • Serve with chili dipping sauce.
With a deft hand and some serious dough twisting skills, you'll achieve art, which I clearly did not. I could only equate this pleating to sari draping. Those of you who've worn the 9 yard Indian national dress know what I mean. For those who haven't, you have nothing to worry about- pleat on. But as I stated on my page the other day, an awkward fold here or there produces not much wrong. Instead, the overall picture will actually look impressive, much like the sari's drape and fall. Subsequently, you may want to call yourself Momo Queen. Yes, I did.

Dipping sauce~
Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup tomato ketchup
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2-3 tbsp Sriracha/Asian chili sauce
Directions:
  • Combine all ingredients until smooth. Serve alongside momos.
Notes~
  • Adjust/add more seasonings to your meat filling.
  • Use a brush of water to seal opened or loosed pleats, although the dough will stick together when pressure is applied.
  • Don't overcook/ oversteam. You'll end up with dry, dense dumpling covers.

Three years ago~ cake pops 

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"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18