The Grumpy Dumpling

Dumplings9The Grumpy Dumpling.
This is the name of my local dumpling house. Catchy huh!
It’s a great place to hang with loved ones, friends, kids or by yourself to gorge  on awesome house-made dumplings until you burst.

The  Grumpy’s  menu is suited to all comers and tastes. The hand folded dumplings come steamed, fried, pan fried or  in soup. Impeccable, friendly service is dolled out by the trolley load.
There are comfy seats, sweet tunes from local musos, screens and games for kids, the coldest of beers, ample dipping solutions on the tables, forks for the co-ordinatedly challenged, stays open late AND HAS MORE THAN ONE TOKEN VEGETARIAN DUMPLING ON OFFER.Dumplings

‘Wow!’ I hear you say. ‘You’re like, sooo lucky. I’d love to go there sometime’

Well, I’m sorry, you can’t.

I made it up.

Grumpy’s is my dream local dumpling joint. Sometimes the Doctor has severe dumpling urges and in sweet little Brisbane town you are lucky to find that one token vego gesture if any at all.

Maybe where you live there is a Grumpy’s? I’d like to hear about it.

So, if you haven’t guessed already, today Kid and I are filling the void by filling  some dumpling pastry. Vegetarian like, although carnivores will enjoy these as well.

Shiitake, Tofu and Garlic Sprout DumplingsDumplings3

Fresh shiitake mushrooms – 1 punnet, 4 dried shitake mushrooms, 1/2 a punnet silken tofu, 3-4 garlic sprouts.

Soak the dried mushrooms for 3-4hrs and drain well. Slice all the mushrooms and saute on a good heat with a light oil until they get a nice colour. Add the chopped garlic sprouts and cook a little longer. Cool and fold through the tofu. Silken tofu will smoosh easily. Wrap in dumpling pastry. To cook, brown one side in a pan with a little oil. Add water to cover them by 1/3 and put a lid on top. In 2-3 minutes you are ready. Makes about 30 dumplings.

Eggplant and Kim Chi WontonsDumplings4

1 small eggplant, 1/2 a cup kim-chi (we used a store bought), 2 spring onions.

Slice and grill the eggplant in a little oil. Chill. Drain the kim chi a little and chop along with the spring onions. Now chop the eggplant and mix it all together. Fold in wonton pastry and pan fry or deep fry until crispy. Steaming is good also. Makes about 20 wontons.

Pumpkin, Soy Bean and Coriander Gow GeeDumplings2

1 small piece of pumpkin, 1 tablespoon Korean bean paste, 1/2 cup chopped coriander.

Grate the pumpkin and sweat in a little oil in a fry pan until tender. Add the bean paste and coriander. Chill. Fold in some Gow-Gee pastry and steam. Makes 15-20 dumplings.Dumplings11

Soy, vinegar and chilli sauce to serve.Dumplings7

This way everyone can mix their own dipping sauce on their own plate. Use a light soy, find plum or apple vinegar and use your favourite chilli sauce if that’s what you like. Or use this recipe here. A little hoi-sin is a nice dipping option as well.

All of these ingredients or something similar are available in your local China Town, Asian grocers or even some supermarkets. Dumpling pastry is very easy to make too, just a little time-consuming, so don’t put extra pressure on yourself if you don’t need to. It’s basically just boiling water and flour. Wonton pastry has egg added. My recipes are just ideas. Each filling will go well in any dumpling pastry in any shape or cooking style.

What Kid DidDumplings8Kid pretty much rolled all of these dumplings. After an initial instruction and with the occasional follow-up, Kid had a good time being left to do these on her own. There was also help with picking herbs, grating pumpkin and mixing the fillings.Dumplings5 From the outset I made it clear that it doesn’t matter what they look like as long as the seems are secure. This is fun stuff for kids to do, particularly when they know they’ll be scoffing them very shortly.PicMonkey CollageI think she did an ace job, don’t you?Dumplings10We three sat around the kitchen bench, chatting whist waiting for each batch to cook. Well, those two sat while I cooked but you get the idea. A great communal activity and dumplings for dinner. Can’t go wrong!

Happy Cooking.

See you at Grumpy’s sometime 😉


Hot Sauce (probably not for kids)

Last night I was at a friendly little bar in Sandgate having a beer to cap off a pretty hectic week at work and unwind a little. The bar guy suggested the Thai take away next door for food and let me eat it at the bar. He then pulled out a jar of his home made chilli sambal to try out with my fried rice. It was pretty good. Spicy, fresh and tangy. I’m not a sweet chilli kind of guy. We got talking about how he makes it, what type of chillies he uses and where he gets them from (grows his own). How just the right amount can really liven up a dish. Kid doesn’t eat much chilli not surprisingly (a little is okay) so I always keep some on hand to add to my own meal. Next week I’m going to return the favour and take that friendly bar guy some of my own hot sauce for him to try.

Basic Hot Sauce – or as I like to call it – AWESOME sauce.

10 Long Red Chillies (I use cayenne because they are fleshy and readily available).
300 ml apple cider vinegar.
175 ml water.
1 tbsp. sea salt.
5 cloves garlic – chopped thin.
1 small brown onion – chopped thin.
2 star anise 1 tsp. cumin seeds.
Handy Hint -Toast the spices and use a tea holder to immerse them in the sauce. This way they can be easily removed removed upon completion.


Simmer the ingredients gently on the stove top for 25 mins or until everything is tender. Remove spices and blend really well with a stick blender or food processor. Store in the refrigerator for up to 8 weeks.
ChiiliGreen chillies work well also but won’t stay green.
You could make a kid friendly version by halving the vinegar, replacing some chilli for red capsicum and the salt for sugar.
If you like Thai food simmer some lemongrass and lime leaves and remove before blending.
For a peri peri feel add extra cumin, extra garlic, 1/2 cup olive oil and finish with some lemon juice.
Cardamon and curry leaves will give good curry feel.

Chilli2How hot do you like it?
Chillies come in hundreds of varieties and vary quite massively in terms of flavour and particularly heat. Ask the supplier if you don’t know what your buying. Beware the Habenero, they are evil. The bulk of the heat in a chilli comes from the seeds and the pith (the white bit holding the seeds on) so if you want the flavour and less heat, just remove them. To do this cut the chillies lengthways and scrape the inside with a spoon. Avoid touching the insides and always wash your hands with lemon juice and cold water  (hot water will activate the heat) , then hot soapy water afterwards. Don’t touch yourself or anyone you know anywhere sensitive for a little while just to be sure.
Trivia – the heat in chillies comes from a chemical called capsaicin and is measured by something called the Scoville scale. It begins around the 1500 mark and climbs to nearly 600 000 units. Tobasco sauce is rated at 3000 whilst cayenne are 50 000.
Chillies are high in vitamin c and antioxidants and rumoured to boost serotonin levels ( they make you happy).

What Kid did– Nothing. This is an adults one so she was probably reading an adventure story or playing in her room.

Marcey's Table

We All Eat And It Would Be A Sad Waste Of Opportunity To Eat Badly~~ Anna Thomas

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