Your next weekend cooking project
Duck dumplings 🌞
About a month ago, I made duck egg rolls. When I initially developed the filling recipe, I had intended to make duck dumplings. But, as fate would have it, the wrappers I bought were moldy, so my friend and I quickly decided to change the concept into egg rolls. I loved them so much that I made them a few times since.
I still had it in my head that I wanted to use that filling in dumplings. Because duck is rich, I felt a more delicate, steamed approach would be nice instead of deep-frying.
On Sunday, I finally got to see the vision through. I broke out my brand-new steamer pot and got to work. I learned how to crimp and pinch, though admittedly, some of the dumplings are held together purely by brute force; nevertheless, I was still so proud of my crimping! You can fold these dumplings into basic half-moons or try out more complicated shapes to your heart’s desire. The Woks of Life guide was a great starting point for me!
I have about 500 steamer liners, so I’ll be steaming everything in existence over the next few months.
Before I get into the dumpling recipe, I have a few other important updates.
Update 1: Too Much Time on Etsy
I found a cute set of vintage Le Creuset saucepans during one of my late-night Etsy blitzes, and I love them! I’ve been exploring adding more pizzazz to my food photography, and vintage pieces have been instrumental. You can see the gorgeous Le Cruset pieces I snagged on the table above. The seller even included a piece of candy from France for me!
In addition to tureens, I also dipped my toes into terrines. The dishes above were made by a ceramics artist who designed each terrine dish based on the main ingredient of his father’s pâté recipes. I will attempt my own pâté once I’m on PTO next week.
Update 2: Chicken Saag
I love chicken saag and often order it, but I never try making it at home. So I poked around on NYT Cooking and found a few recipes. I combined a few techniques but used this saag paneer recipe by Kay Chun as my primary guide. I could eat saag every week, so I will make Kay’s recipe faithfully next week.
I saw some recipes that used garam masala, so I seasoned my cubed chicken thighs with garam masala and fried them up. I transferred the chicken to a plate once it finished cooking.
Then, I made the paste with ginger, Thai chili peppers, and shallot. Next, I fried them up and added cumin. Then I added whole baby spinach leaves to the pot because I forgot to mince it–in the beginning–as Kay did. From there, I just added coconut milk, and as soon as the spinach turned bright green, I blitzed it with an immersion blender until smooth and stirred in the cooked chicken.
It was so delicious, and I can’t wait to try the saag paneer next.
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Ok! Enough updates; let’s do dumplings. You can make these with a store-bought rotisserie chicken if you want a weeknight shortcut. Finely chop it, and use that skin in the filling! The video recipe is below as well as a print-friendly PDF for paid subscribers.
Duck Dumplings Recipe
Makes: 24–28 Dumplings
Cook time: About 4 hours
4–5 pound duck; giblets, neck, and feet reserved for another use
1 orange, quartered
Salt and pepper
2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 scallions, trimmed and minced
2 Thai chili peppers, trimmed and minced
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons thin soy sauce
1–2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce, optional, to taste
½ orange, juiced
Salt, if needed
24–28 dumpling wrappers
Sliced scallion greens, optional, for garnish
⅓ cup black vinegar
1–2 teaspoons chili oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Prepare the duck:
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Line a roasting pan with foil. Place a raised rack in the pan and set aside.
Pat the duck dry and season it all over with salt and pepper.
Stuff the cavity with the orange wedges. Truss the legs with kitchen twine.
Roast the duck:
Place the duck on the raised rack and transfer it to the oven for 2 hours.
Remove the duck from the oven. Using a sharp knife, create a few shallow slits in the skin across the breast and around the thighs. This will allow the fat to render fully. Be careful not to cut the meat too much. You need 6–8 slits all over the duck, particularly around the fatty area of the legs and breasts.
Return the duck to the oven for 1 hour.
Remove the duck from the oven and let it cool as you prepare the filling.
Prepare the filling:
Gather the minced ginger, garlic, scallions, and Thai chili peppers in a bowl. Add the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, orange juice, and sweet chili sauce if you like.
Shred the duck:
Once the duck is cool enough to handle, pick the meat from the bones. Avoid any meat that feels very sinewy. You can keep as much crispy skin as you like for the dumplings, particularly the skin around the breasts, thighs, and legs. I discard the skin on the back of the duck. Reserve the carcass for stock if you like.
Place the meat and skin on a cutting board and finely dice. Transfer to the bowl of aromatics and toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your preference. Your filling is finished, and you’re ready to make dumplings!
Fold the dumplings:
First, get a small bowl of water and place it on your workstation.
Next, place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the middle of the dumpling wrapper.
Wet the edges with water and fold the dumpling in half. Pinch the edges to seal the dumpling closed into a half-moon shape.
You can crimp and pinch the edges as you seal it, but it takes practice!
Steam, pan-fry, or deep-fry the dumplings:
To steam: Fill your steamer pot with water and place the rack on top. Place a liner on top. Bring the water to a boil and arrange the dumplings on top. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and steam for 10 minutes.
To pan-fry: Dip the bottoms of the dumplings into the water to coat the bottom, then dip into a bowl of sesame seeds to evenly coat the bottom. Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high. Add the dumplings, sesame seed side down, and cook without moving for 1 minute. Pour in ¼ cup water and cover immediately. Cook for 3–4 minutes. Remove the lid and fry for an additional minute or so.
To deep-fry: Heat a few inches of oil in a large pot until the oil reaches 330ºF. Add dumplings in batches and deep-fry for 3–4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
Make the sauce by whisking together the black vinegar, chili oil, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. Place the sauce in a small bowl in the middle of a serving platter. Arrange the dumplings around the sauce and garnish with sliced scallions. Enjoy
Sorry, I didn’t record myself folding! Next time, I will :)
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