It’s no surprise here on the column that I love dumplings, and that dumpling overload is a priority when I visit London and New York City. One of New York’s celebrated dumpling houses, Dumpling Galaxy, has just published a book by the same name, co-authored by its chef and owner, Helen You, and Saveur‘s Executive Digital Editor, Max Falkowitz. For those of you, like me, who can’t make it to Dumpling Shack on a regular basis, these Spicy Beef Dumplings with Raw Garlic Sauce are a small taste of what you’re missing. Use the dough recipe below to improvise with your own fillings until you get your ticket to visit Queens! —Kristina
Photography by Ed Anderson
Spicy Beef Dumplings with Raw Garlic Sauce
There’s no question that beef takes well to chiles—just ask anyone from Sichuan (or Texas, for that matter). In this recipe, which almost begs for a cold beer, the spice comes in the form of homemade chile oil, which delivers a potent lick of heat that tickles the back of your tongue. As for many dumplings in this book, I add a good amount of ginger to this recipe to keep the flavors fresh.
Makes 24 dumplings
— 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
— 1 medium onion, finely chopped
— 1 teaspoon chile oil, store-bought or homemade
— 1 pound ground beef
— 3 scallions, finely chopped, white and green parts
— 2 tablespoons soy sauce
— 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
— 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
— 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
— 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
— 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
— 24 Panfried Dumpling Wrappers (recipe follows)
— 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
— 2 tablespoons white vinegar
Raw Garlic Sauce, for serving (recipe follows)
1. In a medium skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium-high heat until it starts to shimmer. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 9 to 10 minutes, until they turn soft and translucent. Stir in the chile oil, then remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.
2. In a medium bowl, use your hands to combine the beef, scallions, soy sauce, oyster sauce, ginger, sesame oil, pepper, and salt, and mix until well blended. Gently fold in the onions and mix until fully incorporated.
3. Make the dumplings as instructed below. Holding a wrapper in your palm, use a fork to add about 1 tablespoon of the filling to the center of the wrapper, then lightly pat down the filling with the fork to get rid of any air bubbles.
4. Fold the dumpling into a half-moon, pinching it shut with your thumbs and index fingers, then press the center of the dumpling while pulling on the corners to push out any air bubbles and shape it into a curved crescent. Inspect the dumpling for any holes and pinch them shut. Repeat with the rest of the wrappers to make 24 dumplings.
5. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, vinegar, and 1 cup of water until combined to make a slurry. Brush the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a medium cast-iron or nonstick skillet and heat over medium-high heat, until the oil starts to shimmer. Add 6 dumplings with the sealed edges lying flat in the pan, spacing them 1 inch apart, then slowly pour in just enough of the slurry to come one-third of the way up the dumplings. Partially cover the pan, leaving a small gap for steam to escape.
6. Increase the heat to high and cook for 2 minutes for cast iron (1 minute for nonstick). Lower the heat to medium for 2 minutes for cast iron (3 minutes for nonstick). Then lower the heat to low for 2 to 3 minutes for cast iron (3 minutes for nonstick).
7. Cook until the water has evaporated, leaving a paper-thin disk of golden-brown starch on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and slide a thin, flexible spatula around the rim of the pan to loosen the edges of the starch disk, then carefully slide the spatula underneath and flip the disk onto a plate in one piece, crispy side up. Serve immediately, then clean the skillet and repeat with the remaining dumplings. Serve immediately with the Raw Garlic Sauce, if desired.
Panfried Dumpling Dough
Makes 24 wrappers
— 2 cups all-purpose flour
— 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
— 3/4 cup lukewarm water
— 1 egg white
1. Mix the dough. For panfried dumplings: Add the flour to a wide mixing bowl and stir in the salt. Stir in the water and egg white with your fingers. The flour will look shaggy, like biscuit dough; as the dough comes together, run an open palm around the edge of the bowl and fold the flour into the center, spinning the bowl with your other hand as you go, until it all forms a rough clump. It’s fine if there are still pockets of dry flour.
2. Knead the dough. (For steps 2 through 5, instructions for boiled, panfried, and steamed dumplings are the same.) Coat your work surface with a fine dusting of flour and turn the dough out of the bowl. Dust your hands with flour and shape the dough into a fat log about the width of your hand. Knead the dough by pushing your hands and wrists into the log and rolling it forward. Then roll it back and push again. Repeat a few times until the log moves easily, adding more flour if it sticks, then spin the log 90 degrees, shape it into a horizontal log again, and knead a few more times, adding more flour if necessary. Use no more flour than you need to keep the dough from drying out. As you knead, the dough will get firmer and tougher with a texture reminiscent of a gummy bear. It’s ready when it’s smooth to the touch, like the surface of a pearl, not tacky, with no cracks or pockets of dry flour. There may be some lumps. Put the dough back in your work bowl and cover it with a sheet of plastic wrap. Let it sleep for 15 to 30 minutes. While it relaxes, you can prepare your filling.
3. Knead Again. Dust your work surface with a little more flour, then knead it as before. Work out all those lumps; after kneading about ten times you should have satin-smooth dough that forms a clean ball you can easily push into, like the gel of a shoe insert.
4. Portion the dough. Form your dough into a log, dust a dough scraper with a little flour, and cut the dough into four equal sections. Roll each section into a log and chop it into six pieces for a total of twenty-four balls of dough, each about an inch in diameter. Toss the balls with a light coating of flour and cover with a lightly moistened towel.
5. Roll the dough into wrappers. Gently smash the balls of dough into flat disks, then lightly roll an Asian-style rolling pin across them to flatten them out a bit more. Hold one disk by its edge and firmly but gently roll your pin from the disk’s edge to its center. Roll the same edge a few more times, using more pressure at the edge than at the center. Use your other hand to turn the dough disk and reveal a new edge of the disk; roll again. Continue until all edges are rolled out and the wrapper is about 3 to 4 inches in diameter.
Hold your rolled-out wrapper up to a light. If you can see through it faintly, your wrapper is ready to go. Otherwise, keep rolling. Roll the edges to half the thickness of the center of the wrappers.
As you get faster, you’ll notice that all your active hand needs to do is roll the pin back and forth while your other hand just rotates the wrapper. As long as your hands stay in these fixed motions, you’ll easily make even, round wrappers though they don’t need to be perfectly uniform. Place freshly rolled wrappers under a lightly moistened towel to keep them from drying out.
Raw Garlic Sauce
Makes 3⁄4 cup
— 14 to 16 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and finely chopped
— 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of cold water. Transfer to a glass jar or plastic container and refrigerate for 1 to 2 days to let the flavor mellow. Store in the refrigerator for up
to a week.
Reprinted from The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook. Copyright © 2017 by Helen You. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Ed Anderson. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
About Helen and Max
Helen You is the chef and owner of Dumpling Galaxy and Tianjin Dumpling House in Flushing, Queens. She and her dumplings have been lauded by New York magazine, Serious Eats, Eater, and the New York Times, which named Dumpling Galaxy a Critics’ Pick and awarded it one star. She lives with her family in New York City.
A native of Queens, Max Falkowitz grew up hunting dumplings and dosas. He is the executive digital editor of Saveur and was previously the senior features editor of Serious Eats. Find Max on Twitter, here.