dumpling-noodle soup / pork-dumpling / egg-noodle / Thai-Chinese-cuisine / recipe
Pradichaya Gafaae Poonyarit:
A Thai soprano from head to toe with an attitude of a no-nonsense entrepreneur with innovative ideas and, sometimes, shocking approaches, who fits the phrase "been there, done that" perfectly, and is looking forward to new challenges. A leader, a teacher, a wife, a mother, and, a chef-ME-NOT. All makes a person who turns every situation into a learning experience, and, is super charged with positive energy.
Pork dumplings + yellow egg noodle + yummy soup = A divine dish that keeps the stomach happy and the body warm on a blustery day. -The key is to keep it simple.
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Brendan came home from Pitt last week, and once more our family has all its members under the same roof. I myself just got back from a singing gig, just in time for my husband to go off on his. Kaitlyn caught a little cold, Nicholas had serious-looking skin rashes due to his allergies, Brendan was getting over a cold, and, Justin.. Although his popular choice of clothes is wearing pajama pants wherever he goes at any given time of the day, he was the only one who was healthy. Ralph and I finished with our singing commitments and each had a successful audition at the end of the week. We survived the cold, skin rashes, and pajama pants, so I figured it was time for me to wind down. And I did just that by making pork-filled dumplings.
I made pork dumplings, put on the soup and threw them in, along with yellow egg noodle. Based on Thai-Chinese cuisine, this soup is just simply delicious, and here's its recipe!
The recipe - a la Pradichaya
1. Your basic GPC - 5-8 cloves of garlic, 1 or more teaspoonful of black peppercorn, 3-4 cilantro roots
I usually break garlic cloves off their bulb, run the water on them with skin on, and pound gently with stone pestle and peel off the skin. Please soak and scrub your cilantro roots really very well. Same goes with the leaves- cilantro comes with a lot of sand and dirt. I usually soak, scurb and rinse 3-4 times before I cut them.
Chop and save cilantro leaves. -We'll add them to our dumpling filling later.
2. Grind and pound your GPC until all ingredients are blended really well, with no trace of large pieces.
4. If your mortar is large, add the pork on top of your GPC. Add 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce (nammunnhoy) and 3-4 tablespoons of nampla. You have to know your nampla. I found the Squid brand to be somewhat diluted and I have to use more of it, while Tiparod (or Tiparos) is more concentrated, so I put in less. Add an egg -since I don't want to use any tapioca flour, an egg will serve as a holding agent -It also helps to tenderize the pork. Put in your chopped cilantro leaves and stems. Gently mix and lightly pound everything in the mixture until all is well blended.
I understand that some of us cannot stand the smell of cilantro. Cilantro is known to add a wonderful scent and acts as a diversion to cut down other strong scents, such as seafood and stock. It is great only when it's used correctly and accordingly. (One celebrity chef had used it in her/his "Thai" curry paste, to which she/he actually added, also, the yellow Indian curry and other exotic ingredients such as lemon grass, cumin, ginger, and mint leaves, etc. Another example is one should NOT add cilantro in their warm spinach salad, or Caesar salad, but one SHOULD add cilantro in the Thai cool cucumber salad to have with satay, or mussamunn curry. And, most definately, add cilantro leaves in Ghaitomkha aka. Tomkhaghai.) For this purpose, if you don't like cilantro, you may skip the chopped leaves and stems part. But please, do not, DO NOT shy away from grinding its roots in the mix of GPC. Cilantro roots are essentials in the base of true Thai cuisine. In the case of the dumplings, if skipped, the pork will smell strong and not be as inviting to your taste and smell senses as it could. I'm sure you will still enjoy the flavor; but the experience, in my opinion, will not be as enlightening!
6. Open your thawed (if frozen) dumpling wrappers. The white, round kind that I use is for dumplings so each sheet is thicker than the square white or yellow wonton wrappers. You know what: you can use either kind! I'd say to go with the kind that you can put your hands on. The difference is that if you use wonton wrappers, you will use more since you can't fill each wrapper with too much filling or it will burst and you will have a bunch of floaters in your soup! As far as thawing the wrappers, thaw them a few hours before. Thawing/defrosting in microwave does not work well -it will make the wrappers melt into each other and you will have to change your cooking plans.
I had extra filling left and was proud of myself for not over-stuffing the dumplings. So, I'd suggest that you have a choice of using about 1 1/2 pack of wrappers and may end up with about 50 dumplings.
This is when I started taking off, being unconventional, and adventurous. Commonsense and the pressure for time (that, and I was just plain lazy) kicked in, and I did it "MY WAY"!!! Are you sure you want to do this with me? It's not too late to turn around and go back to the mainstream way of cooking.
As I whined in point #7: I had to make to soup, and cook the dumplings and noodles -separately. I didn't even have the stock for the soup, and was already an hour into the cooking with kids asking me, "Mom, when's dinner? Can I snack?"
No stock? No problem. This is what I did.
8. I took out a large pot, heated it up with one spatulaful of olive oil, -please make sure that it's hot, but not burning hot, just hot, when you put in the pork-filling left-over from the dumplings. Listen to it sizzle! Smell the wonderful aroma! Quickly break it up and stir with a spatula -please don't let it clump up, break it! If I had a whole onion when I made this, I would have peeled it, cut in halves, and thown them in to add sweetness to the flavor. If you have an onion, please add it now.
9. I didn't introduce this before: preserved cabbage (that's what's said on the jar). Please get to your local Oriental store (probably the same time you go to buy your dumpling wrappers and nampla, etc.) and look on the shelves for "Preserved cabbage" -product of Thailand. There is no noodle soup in Thailand made without it. I know, this isn't Thailand, but, you're already at the store, so please look for it.
Add COLD water. Cold water will bring out the natural flavor of all the ingredients being cooked at the time. Trust me, it works. (The story behind it is that my mother had to climb on a tree and hung off its branch to take a peek through a window at what went on inside her grandmother's busy kitchen; a place where she was forbidden to enter. My great grandmother was VERY fond of my mother-NOT! But that was how my mother took her revenge, by making a promise to herself that she would learn all the things that were deliberately hidden from her - which, by the way, I don't believe was a malicious intention. I think that my mother's strong and never-back-down character appeared to be a pain in the butt- more like an itch she couldn't scratch- to my great grandmother, and that was why the "punishment" was to restrict an area where my mother could mess with her grandmother. My mother fulfilled the promise that she'd learn all there was to learn, and passed on her legacy to me, and I whole-heartedly cherish it - with neither tree-climbing nor off-tree-branch-hanging. Phew! I had it easy!)
Please make sure your pot is large enough that when you add cold water to make the soup you can leave about 1/4 or even 3/8 of the space for it to get to the boiling temperature, and for what's coming up in the next steps.
Remember when I asked you to make sure that your pot is large enough so that there will be some extra room on top?
I cleaned the steamer basket both inside and on the bottom very well, and only dried its inside with a paper towel. I carefully put in the dumplings - you can stack them on top of each other, but please try to have them rght-side-up. Gently put the basket in your super duper boiling soup.
You have raw pork in your dumplings. "Consuming raw food can be harzardous to your health..." -Sorry, I couldn't help it! :-D Please leave the basket in the boiling soup for at least 12 minutes.
Drain and take out the dumplings. Depending on whether you'd like to separate the soup, place them in a dish or a bowl.
Some of you may wonder why I cooked the dumplings in the soup. The answer is that I wanted the flavor to seep out and enhance the flavor in the soup. But I didn't want to put them into the huge pot that was already filled with veggies, with the concern that they might burst (if I over-stuffed) or I might break them when I scooped them up (very likely).
11. We're almost there. Now, what I should have done is to put on a kettle of water while the soup was boiling, and pour the boiling water (from the kettle) on to the yellow noodle, leave for no longer than 1-2 minute, and drain. I didn't do that! Instead, I put one pack of egg noodles in the basket and dunked the basket in the boiling soup.
12. Leave your basket out, you're finished with it. Taste the soup, it should be perfect, -clean to the pallette, smooth and sweet -without any added sugar or sweetener, or, Heaven forbid -MSG. If it needs more salt, add just a little bit of nampla. Add freshly ground pepper if you'd like.
13. To serve, put 2-3 dumplings and some egg noodle in a bowl, add soup with some veggies. With a pair of chopsticks and a spoon: "SOUP AWAY!!!" - it keeps the stress at Bay!!!!
Enjoy, and take pictures of your dumplings!! Post them on our Recipe Trading Post and let me know how much fun you had in making them!!! Thank you, and, don't forget to tweet this CHEF-ME-NOT!!! recipe!!!!
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