The path to these simple and delicious dumplings was not straight. I was exploring Har Gow. I was really after crystal dumpling skins. Our pantry did not have the prerequisite ingredients. I did not bother to hop in the car to search our local stores. Instead I believed that if I rolled the dice, I'd come up snake eyes. I looked at what we had on hand. I continue to be infatuated with boiling water doughs. The instant hydration and gelatinization of the starches creates unique, chewy textures. In my first go-round I combined potato starch, potato flour, tapioca starch, olive oil and boiling water. The dough came together. It was elastic and when rolled thin it was translucent. I rolled some of the dough out into a dumpling skin, stuffed it with rice, and steamed it. The texture was chewy and sticky. This was not the dumpling skin I was after. Failure.
I took some time away. (5 minutes) and then I went back to the pantry and thought about dumplings, skins, and doughs--and not just Chinese ones. This time I reached for durum flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, olive oil and boiling water. The dough came together. It was silky and smooth. It was not elastic. Failure. That is, until I thought more about the texture of the dough. This was not a skin dough. It was a dumpling dough, in the sense that gnocchi and Korean rice cakes are dumplings. I rolled the dough into ropes, cut them into small cylinders, resembling Korean Rice Cakes, and boiled them. After three minutes the dumplings were floating and firm. They had a nice chew and a magnificent tenderness. I cooled some of the dumplings down on an oil brushed tray. My thought was they would behave like freshly made Korean Rice Cakes. After the dumplings cooled I seared them in olive oil. They developed a blistered exterior with a tender inside. Eureka. A different perspective change failure into success.
Boiling Water Dumpling Dough (similar to Korean rice cakes)
100 grams durum flour
100 grams potato starch
30 grams tapioca starch
30 grams olive oil
225 grams boiling water
Put the durum flour, potato starch, and tapioca starch in a medium sized bowl. Use a whisk to stir the mixture together and blend the flours. Drizzle the olive oil over the mixture and then pour the boiling water into the bowl. Use a rubber spatula to bring the mixture into a rough mass, stirring gently from the center outwards. Put on plastic gloves to protect your hands and knead the dough for 5 minutes, until it appears silky and smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let cool at room temperature, about an hour.
Cut the dough into 6 roughly equal pieces and roll each one into long logs, about 1-cm thick, on a cutting board or counter. Cut the logs of dough into 4-cm cylinders. Boil the dumplings in generously salted water for 3 minutes, until they float and are firm to the touch.
Remove the cooked dumplings from the boiling water and transfer to the sauce of your choice. Or put onto an oil-brushed baking tray and allow them to cool down. Do not let them touch each other because they will stick together when they are cool. Cooked dumplings may be lightly coated in oil and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Cooled dumplings may be baked in a sauce or ragout, simmered in stew, or sautéed to reheat.