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      RECIPE TITLE "Cook and Sell Dumplings - Sin Mai" recipe from The Chinese Kitchen (Yin-Fei Lo): Recipes, Techniques, Ingredients, History, And Memories From America's Leading Authority On Chinese Cooking

    yields Makes 36 Dumplings time--- difficulty moderate

    These dumplings, shaped like tiny kettles, bear the name "cook and sell, " to indicate that once they are made, they are never left unsold. Like other classics of the dim sum kitchen, they have their own particular dough, a wheat flour-based dough. The dough requires effort and time, but for those who love to work with doughs, it is time well spent. However, those who do not care to knead or shape may use any of a number of ready-made wheat-flour wrappers available in Chinese and Asian markets.

    Since wrappers are used for many dumplings in the dim sum kitchen, I offer the following: Ready-made dough squares can be bought in 1-pound packages of varying thicknesses, 90 to 100 skins to the pack. I prefer the thinner sort, and commercial makers can manufacture skins thinner than one can make at home.

    Won ton skins come square, about 3 1/2 inches to a side. They are labeled either "skins" or "wrappers. " Water dumpling skins are round, from 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 inches in diameter. These may also be labeled "Hong Kong style. " Dumpling skins are usually round, about 3 1/2inches in diameter. You may even see a label reading suey gow, which is phonetic Cantonese for dumpling skins. What you need to know is that these are identical. They can be found in the refrigerated sections of markets, and all brands are about equal in quality. Any left over after using them in recipes may be frozen. They will keep, double-wrapped in plastic, then in foil, for 2 months. To use, defrost and bring to room temperature. Or use the wheat flour dough recipe here.

      RECIPE INGREDIENTS

    • 10 Chinese black mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, rinsed, dried, stems discarded, and caps cut into 1/4-inch dice
    • 3/4 pound coarsely ground pork
    • 1/2 pound shrimp, shelled, deveined, and diced
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 teaspoons sugar
    • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
    • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
    • 11/2 tablespoons oyster sauce
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • I teaspoon sesame oil
    • Pinch freshly ground white pepper

     

    For the dough (or use 36 dumpling skins)

    • 1 1/4 cups Pillsbury Best All-Purpose Flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 2 extra-large eggs
    • 2 tablespoons water
    • 1/3 cup cornstarch, for dusting

      RECIPE METHOD

    1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the dough ingredients or skins and mix until the consistency is smooth and even. Place in a shallow dish and refrigerate, uncovered, for 4 hours or, covered, overnight.

    2. To make the dough, combine the flour and baking soda on a work surface. Make a well in the mixture, add the eggs, and work with your fingers until the eggs have been absorbed. Slowly drizzle in the water, mixing as you do, until thoroughly mixed. Knead the dough for 5 minutes or until it becomes elastic. Set aside, covered with a damp cloth, for 4 hours.

    3. When the dough is ready, dust the work surface with cornstarch. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin until you have a sheet 1/4 inch thick. Pick up the sheet, dust the surface again with cornstarch, and roll again until the sheet is 1/8 inch thick. Roll the dough around a dowel or long broom handle to prevent tearing. Dust the surface again. Roll the dough again, as thinly as possible, then pick up by rolling again around a dowel. Dust the surface yet again, carefully roll out the sheet, and roll again until the sheet is about 21 inches square. With a dough scraper and a ruler, cut 3 1/2-inch squares from the sheet. As you cut and stack them, sprinkle each with cornstarch to prevent sticking. (The dough is more elastic if made the night before and stored, covered with plastic, in the refrigerator.)

    4. To make the dumplings, in the middle of each skin place 4 teaspoons filling. Hold the filling in place with your fingers and, holding the dumpling in the other hand, gradually turn the dumpling, flattening the filling on top. This will result in a basket shape. Pack down the filling, and smooth the top of the dumpling. This will ensure that the dumpling and filling will remain intact during steaming. Tap the dumpling bottom lightly on the work surface to flatten it so it will stand in the steamer. Place the dumplings in a steamer, cover, and steam for 7 minutes. Turn off the heat and serve.

    Note: Siu mai may be frozen after steaming. Wrapped in plastic wrap, then in foil, they will keep for 2 months. To reheat, defrost, bring to room temperature, and steam for 3 to 5 minutes.


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