Make about 40-50 dumplings, serving 6-8 as an appetizer
1 lb boneless country-style pork ribs (about 2 cups) coarsely chopped or ground
1/2 lb small or medium shrimp, shelled, deveined, coarsely chopped (do not grind finely)
1/4 cup water chestnuts, coarsely chopped
4 medium dried shiitake mushroom caps (about 3/4 oz) or 1/2 cup minced fresh shiitake mushrooms
2 Tbs cornstarch
1/4 cup minced green onion
2 Tbs minced fresh cilantro
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 Tbs regular soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp unflavored powdered gelatin
1 Tbs rice vinegar
1 Tbs dry sherry or Chinese cooking wine
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 small carrot, finely grated
4 dozen round won ton skins or 1 package (1 lb) 5 1/2-inch egg roll wrappers. I like the brand at Wallmart.
1. Cover mushroom with hot water for 30 minutes. Cut and discard the stems, squeeze dry and coarsely chop about 1/4 in cubes.
2. Mix soy sauce and gelatin, set aside for 5 minutes.
3. Mix pork, shrimp and all ingredients together. Stir until well mixed.
4. Bring won ton skins or egg roll wrappers out at room temperature. If use egg roll wrappers, fold one into half and half again. Open up and use this as a guide to cut each wrapper into 4 rounds with a 3-in cookie cutter. Do not worry if the edges are not perfectly round shape. May stack and cut a few wrappers at the same time. Cover rounds with moist paper towels to prevent drying.
5. Put a few rounds on a non stick baking sheet. Moist the edge with water. Put a table filling in the center. Pick the dough and filling up and put them on one of your palm and use fingers to crumble the dough up and even around the filling. Adjust the filling amount so that the top of filling should be exposed. Then re-position the dumpling’s top between the thumb and index finger and support the bottom by the other fingers like you hold an ice cream corn. Pack (press) down gently and firm with a small spoon or chopsticks or a butter knife while. The top should be smaller than the bottom. It looks like a bag full of money and could not close or you can squeeze lightly below the top and press the filling down to form a waist or neck-The top is still smaller than the bottom and the dumpling still looks like a full bag but the invisible string position close to the top. Put a little grated carrot at center top or a lot like me to make eating carrot fun.
6. Cut a piece parchment paper lightly smaller than the steam basket and line the basket. Poke several small holes with a sharp point of a knife or a bamboo stick and lightly coat with oil or line with Napa cabbage leaves which can be eaten with dumplings. Place the dumplings in the basket without touching each other, . Put the basket over boiling water, cover and turn the heat down to medium or medium low to keep water simmering, steam 15-20 minutes until no longer pink except shrimp pieces which turn pink when cooked. Make sure at least 1 1/2 inch between water level and steam basket.
*Note: The dumpling can be frozen cooked or uncook. The frozen dumplings need to be cooked at least 5 minutes longer without thawing.
The bonless country style pork ribs with visible fat streak is the best choice for dumpling. Do not trim excess fat but any cut can still be used.
I learn adding gelatin and vinegar from America test kitchen. It was a hesitate moment to go against the norm without them but if you know Mario Batali can use vinegar in his famous dishes.