Original recipe hails from the More With Less sister cookbook, Extending the Table. Two must-haves for anyone living in a place where a little culinary creativity is necessary. Just a note, I did bring soy sauce and sesame oil from home, but with the ever growing Chinese population in Niger, word on the street is they are available in Niamey . . . and if we can get it in Niger, you can get it wherever you are!
(Oh, another note . . . next time I will cut this recipe in half . . . not sure I will ever spend another whole Saturday afternoon rolling my own wanton skins! OY!)
2 C cold water (500 ml)
6 C flour (1.5L)
Using a pastry blender (another must-have for life-in-tough-placers) combine water and flour, knead about 5 minutes until smooth (the book suggests using chopsticks . . . maybe that's for authenticity . . . or just a really bad joke). Cover with a damp cloth and let rest 15-30 minutes. Roll into LONG rope about 1-inch diameter (2.5cm). Cut into 1-inch lengths and shape into balls. Flatten with finders and roll out on countertop into very thin disks (3 1/2-inches in diameter). Flour countertop as necessary to keep dough from sticking. Lay disks on lightly floured surface, not overlapping as they will stick together.
1 1/2lb (750g) ground beef or pork (or whatever meat is available)
1 1/2 Tbs onion, minced
1 tsp minced ginger root (or 1/8 tsp ground ginger)
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs sesame oil
dash of pepper
1 large head cabbage, finely shredded
Shred cabbage, onion, garlic and ginger root in food processor. Don't have a food processor, PUT IT ON YOUR CHRISTMAS LIST, and in the mean time, get a choppin'! Squeeze out excess water from mixture. Add to meat, along with soy sauce, sesame oil and pepper. Stir until mixture is 'pasty' (as in 'like a paste' not 'Deb. is pasty white!').
To stuff the skins, place 1 heaping tsp of filling on each disk. Use fingertips to spread a little water around the edge of the skin. Fold disk firmly over filling and press and roll edges together to form a half moon. Set on lightly floured surface. The dumplings should not touch each other as they will stick!
Steam in a covered bamboo or metal steamer over boiling water. Line steamer with cabbage leaves or a thin cloth for easy clean-up afterwards.
Fry in 1 1/2 tsp oil until golden (~3').
I just used a little bit of whatever I had on hand: 2 parts soy sauce, 1 part sesame oil, 1 part vinegar, a few garlic cloves (I didn't have time to crush them, so I just dropped them in comme ça), and a generous dash of ground ginger.