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These are the closest approximations I can come to for a dumpling spread I made to celebrate a good friend’s graduate school graduation. These suckers all went lighting quick – especially the beef version – and were generally raved about by the crowd. I also made a dipping sauce, and kind of just threw everything that looked Asian-y in the pantry & fridge together and added mayo for thickness (olive oil mayo, fish sauce, soy sauce, key lime juice, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, rice wine, and ketjap manis). I have no idea on the quantities involved. I just squirted, shook, and tasted as I went. Next time I might add yogurt as a base – I had wanted something thick (hence the mayo), but it didn’t really work out like that.

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– I know, the picture is just riveting. I completely spaced on taking a picture either before or during the party. Luckily, for some unknown reason, I snapped a shot of the dumpling assembly line aftermath.

Basil Beef Dumplings

Inspired by the Thai Basil Beef Balls from Health-Bent

1 lb. ground beef (I went lean here)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs
2 1/2 Tbsp jarred red pepper spread from Trader Joe’s
2 Tbsp. soy sauce (or coconut aminos for paleo)
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 Tbsp. chili garlic sauce
1 tsp. lime juice
1 tsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil
Big pinch sesame seeds
2 green onions, minced
1 handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
Breadcrumbs (leave out if making paleo)
Wonton wrappers (leave out if making paleo)

Mix all ingredients (minus the breadcrumbs and wonton wrappers) together in a bowl. I mix by hand just like I’m making meatballs. Combine well. Add bread crumbs until the mixture becomes less gooey and more like a cohesive meatball. I added by shakes of the container – maybe about a half cup to a cup?

Line your wonton wrappers out assembly-line style. I did 30 at a time, and that worked just fine. Put a small dish of water within reach.

Start filling your wontons by placing a small ball (mini meatball or nickel to quarter-sized) slightly off center on each wrapper. You might want to just start with one and fold it to make sure you have the ball size right.

Dip your finger in the water and dampen 3 corners of the wonton. Fold the dry corner over the meatball, forming a triangle. Pick up and pinch everything together so the air comes out and you have a triangle with a meat lump.

dampen one of the long pointy sides, fold over the triangle and join with the dry long pointy sides. Pinch together. You should now have something resembling a little hat.

If that isn’t working for you, just dampen 3 sides of the wonton and fold over to form a rectangle. It will still be fabulous.

After all your wontons are ready to go, heat a thin layer of canola or other high smoke point oil in your largest frying pan with a lid over medium-high heat. Add the wontons carefully spaced out enough so they aren’t right up against each other and fry until deeply browned (but not burnt) on the bottom.

With your lid held as a splatter shield, add a big splash of water, lower the lid quickly, and steam 5 minutes.

Serve whenever – I put all my wontons on foil overnight in the fridge and pulled them out 3 hours before the party. They were all served room temperature.

Makes about 30-40 dumplings.

These beef dumplings were the first to run out and were wildly popular with the party crowd.

Asian Chicken Dumplings

Inspired by the Asian Pork Meatballs with Dipping Sauce from Health-Bent

1 lb. ground poultry
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp. sesame seeds
2 tsp. to a Tablespoon fish sauce
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 green onions, diced
1 tsp. ginger, minced
1 Tbsp. chili garlic sauce
Handful parsley, chopped
1 tsp. sesame oil
Bread crumbs (leave out if making paleo)
Wontons (leave out if making paleo)

Pretty much follow the same exact directions as those for the Beef Basil Dumplings. I varied the way I folded these dumplings so they wouldn’t get mixed up when serving.

To fold: put your meatball in the center and dampen all the edges. Pick up, make a circle with your thumb and forefinger, and tuck the ball into the hole. Pinch the edges up and together until you have a little purse. Pinch and stick. Again, if that isn’t working for you, go the easy route. People will still be impressed and they will still taste awesome.

Cooking directions are exactly the same, as are the portions.

On to dumpling 3, because I’m not an overachiever and was worried about vegetarians.

Pea Dumplings

This is a riff on Heidi Swanson’s Plump Pea Dumplings on her blog 101 Cookbooks. I make these dumplings every single time we have potsticker night, and my DH said that this is my best batch ever. They were pretty frickin good.

1 bag frozen peas, thawed
1 c. ricotta (I will update if I find a good paleo sub here – I’m thinking some sort of cashew based cream would work nicely for thickness)
Zest & juice of 1 lemon
1/4 to a half tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
Big pinch or 2 citrus salt
1/4 tsp or so white pepper
A glug of extra virgin olive oil
Wontons (leave out if making paleo)

Add all ingredients to a food processor and let go until smooth (or mostly smooth). While the peas are working, toss in a glug or 2 of olive oil if things aren’t moving fast enough. Taste. Adjust seasoning as needed. I ended up adding more salt at the end and maybe a dash more pepper. You want this filling to pop and sing on its own before you stuff it into a dumpling. If you want to eat the whole bowl standing over the sink – screw the party – then you’ve got it right.

I folded these the lazy way. I plopped a teaspoon or so down the middle, dampened 3 sides of the wonton and folded over until I had a rectangle. Some squirted out the edges on each, but that is okay.

Cooking and portions are the same as the rest. I ended up having extra of each type of filling and have been using it in dinner recipes since. Last night was pea risotto with chicken meatballs. Recipe coming soon, that one was good (though the meatballs were slightly out of balance with the peas…).