I love dumplings. Potstickers, ravioli, pierogies, anything of the like. When I studied in Ecuador, one of the first things our adviser warned against was eating street food. That admonition lasted exactly as long as the time it took for me to discover that a freshly made roadside cheese empanada cost 25 cents. In college, while others were eating grilled cheese, Ramen noodles (not the good kind) or worse, my roommate Renee and I were dipping strawberry pierogies in sour cream mixed with sugar. A first-generation American, Renee (aka Renata) had grown up on this particular brand of awesomeness, with her Polish mother expending her culinary energy on to-die-for breaded porkchops.
Considering my love of filled foods, I was quite excited to see a sampling of CJ Foods dumplings on my porch upon arriving home one day. A few days later, upon spying my new treasures in the freezer, my husband decided to cook up a bag. Like me, he’s not really one for reading directions, and he dumped the contents of the bag into a pot of boiling water. Please don’t try this at home. I say this not for your sake, but for the sake of the dumplings. Or if you do, don’t then boil the dumplings for 8 minutes. The whole point of these is that they are already cooked.
The result of letting my husband take the reins was quite un-dumpling-like. Imagine wontons without filling, disintegrating meatballs and, upon cooling, one giant sticky mess. Posting a picture of this madness seemed unfair considering that it was our fault, not the dumplings’. Fortunately, we had another flavor to try, so don’t worry, this near Friday-you-know-what has a happy ending.
A week or so later, I decided it was time to try again. I pulled out the second bag of swag, this time potstickers. I read the bag (highly recommended) which suggested that the potstickers be added to soup. I didn’t have any cans of soup, so I decided to throw a few things in a pot and see what happened. I thought about using chicken broth but I was feeling a bit more adventurous. For the “recipe” I used, see below. After the base was done simmering, I threw in some potstickers (still frozen) and let them boil for 1 to 2 minutes. This is key. And I found that it is best to add only as many potstickers as you want to eat in that particular sitting. You can then save the leftover broth, reheat it on the stove, and add more frozen potstickers. In this way, you can avoid the disintegration mentioned above.
Asian-ish Dumpling Soup
(Okay, I know it’s not authentic. But it tastes good and beats plain chicken broth,)
2 c. chicken stock
1/4 c. or more lemon juice (to taste)
4 slices fresh ginger
2 sliced green onions
Salt to taste
Simmer all ingredients for 10 minutes. Add dumplings, simmer 2 minutes more. Enjoy.
This was one delicious soup. Now, if I could just figure out how to inject my broth into the dumplings…