Frozen dumplings have always been my life saver before exams because they are yummy and quick to prepare. I just proved it again today :)
Ironically, I hate frozen food. I am Cantonese and our cuisine emphasizes freshness so I guess I just refuse frozen food by nature. Also, frozen food are not popular in China because it is relatively cheap to eat out and most of us do not use ovens at home. However, frozen dumplings are the exception. They are prepared raw so they won’t be cooked twice. And they are just too yummy to resist and you can mix different flavors at a time. Usually, one package has only one flavor but it only costs about $5 and there are 25-30 dumplings in it. Very budget meal indeed.
So my Chinese friends and I particularly like one brand –Wei Chuan. They have two series of frozen dumplings: “Shandong Dumplings” series and “Deluxe Dumplings” series. The Shandong-style dumplings are bigger and the “Deluxe Dumplings” series are a bit more like Dim Sum: slimmer and thinner wrapper and with more “deluxe” filling like shrimp. I always go for the pork and napa cabbage flavor from Shandong series and celery and shrimp from the “Deluxe” series. They never disappoint me so I always stick to them. My friends also suggest leek and shrimp, sweet corn and pork and mushroom and chicken.
Now how to cook the dumplings? Follow the easy “three-cup-of-water” boiling method. Add the dumplings to the boiling water, cover the saucepan and when the water boils again, add the first cup of water. When the water boils again, add the second cup of water. Repeat this process one more time and it is done!
What sauce to add to the dumplings? Soy sauce with vinegar is the best. I find soy sauce in the supermarkets are lighter and sweeter. I usually prefer an old Chinese brand “Pearl River Bridge” dark soy sauce. It is just thicker and tastier. One third of a spoon of soy sauce and two spoons of vinegar work fine for me. The boiled dumplings contain soup inside and it will give you enough flavors so too much soy sauce will be too salty. The sour taste from the vinegar will also make the meat less heavy.
And by the way, there is an anecdote about the origin of eating dumplings with vinegar. It is said that in the old the King loved dumplings but he complained the dumplings were too hot to eat. So his chef figured that the dipping the dumplings to the vinegar could cool down the dumplings. And soon it became a popular way to eat dumplings.
Finally, where to buy these dumplings? You can find them in the grocery stores in China Town.
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