We have so many photos and stories from Kunming... but first, as promised.
Egg dumplings. With pork and mint. And love.
Here's a snippet of one of the videos that we took during our class at the Yangshuo Cooking School. In the video you will see our instructor demonstrate how to properly form egg dumplings, which fall somewhere between the best breakfast snack you've ever had and pork-filled dim sum.
We made enough filling for 5 dumplings, so scale up as necessary.
For the dumplings:
1 egg, beaten and set aside
For the filling:
1/3 cup ground pork*/**
1 large tablespoon oyster sauce (Jennifer called for 1 tablespoon but I used 2, going with my 'more oyster sauce = better rule.' My dumplings were delicious, but so were hers. It's your call.)
Sprig of mint, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chives, chopped (optional)
Pinch of salt & pepper
1 pickled red chili, finely chopped (optional)***
* As ground pork isn't always readily available in the States, Jennifer recommended using ground beef instead, although I feel like ground turkey would be the better option
** Vegetarians can sub mashed potatoes & some finely chopped veggies for the ground pork
*** Sub chili flakes if you can't find pickled chillies (or don't want to buy a whole jar to make egg dumplings). I also think a dash of sriracha in lieu of the chopped chili would be delicious but I can't say for sure because I haven't been able to test it out the theory.
To assemble & cook the dumplings:
Mix all of the filling ingredients together and then separate (vaguely) into five equal portions.
Put a clean wok (or cast-iron pan) on the stove and heat to medium/high— when the wok begins to smoke, you're ready to cook. Turn the heat down to medium and add oil (canola or similar, not olive oil), letting it heat for a minute or two.
Pour some of the egg into the middle of the oil (see video for correct amount, I don't have exact measurements). Take 1/5 of filling and place it on one side of the quickly-cooking egg. Then, fold over the egg to form the dumplings. (Always fold over the side with filling and use your spatula to press the ends to make the correct dumpling shape). Move each completed dumpling to the side of the wok and repeat until egg and filling are used up, adding more oil when necessary.
Once all the dumplings have been formed and are cooking in the wok, move them to the center of the pan and pour in a bit of water to let them steam and finish cooking all the way through. You don't need to cover the pan, because you want the liquid to evaporate.
Jennifer suggests pressing down on the dumplings with your spatula to see if they're done— if they feel soft and liquid comes out of the sides, they need more time. If they feel hard to the touch and there's no excess liquid, the pork is cooked through. (Plus, you can always cut the biggest one in half to be extra sure).
Serve hot and expect any egg-dumpling recipients to love you forever. And if you eat them all yourself you have my explicit permission to love yourself forever.
Tune in tomorrow for an actual Kunming update with photos. No seriously. It's about time I get around to talking about "China Lite," since we're leaving for Bangkok in 2 days!