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 😉


Seoul Food – Slow Roasted Korean Pork Ribs w/ Cucumber Kim Chi

Kimchi12Pork Ribs. Enough said really, right?! I can just post some more photos and go home now. Except these are no ordinary pork ribs. These are our amazing Korean pork ribs. Oh yes..Kimchi1Garlic, Soy Bean Paste, Sesame, Chilli Paste. I had a Korean friend once who would come to my house and cook her home food for me and these are the flavours I think of when Korean food comes to mind. Spicy, savoury and sweet.

Winter is just breaking here so apples and pears are plentiful, delicious and make a good pairing …..
FYI we’re using packham pears and pink lady apples

Roast Pork Ribs with Korean Bbq SauceKimchi11

1.2kg rack of pork ribs – for 2 healthy appetites and a bit leftover
(We’re using baby back ribs, they’re a lot meatier than spare ribs.)
Korean bbq sauce – read on
Pre-heat the oven to 180*c. Score the top layer of the ribs, rub a little oil and salt in and place in the oven for 40 minutes or until a little golden. Now baste with a good splash of bbq sauce and return to the oven on 150*c for another 2.5 hrs. Kimchi9To test – grab the end of a bone with your tongs and give it a wriggle. If it feels like it would come away without much effort, we’re ready. Allow to rest for about 30 mins before serving with lashings of bbq sauce, kimchi, some crisp lettuce and a little rice to mop up some sauce and juices.

Korean Bbq SauceKimchi4

Sauté the garlic and ginger in a saucepan until fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients plus half a cup of water and simmer gently for around 30 minutes. Then puree until really smooth and refrigerate.Kimchi2

Over the years I’ve worked with a heap of great Korean chefs and kitchen hands. Lovely diligent folk, very hospitable, love food and ALL want you to try their own kimchi – that wonderful spicy accompaniment Korea can’t seem to live without.

Most commonly made with cabbage or radishes, eaten fresh or left to ferment for weeks, it is one of those dishes that came about through necessity. Originally a method of preserving vegetables, now a highlight of the cuisine. Much like sushi for the Japanese was once used to preserve fish.Kimchi8

What Kid Did – Cucumber and Zucchini Kimchi


Firstly  we (I did the slicing here) sliced the cucumber and zucchini, added salt to them quite liberally and let sit for 30 minutes. This gives you time to get the dressing made.Kimchi6 Wash and slice the spring onions, slice a little garlic and ginger ( I missed them off the ingredients list sorry), squeeze the limes and combine  the ingredients in a large bowl. Kimchi7Now grate the apples (they’ll go brown if you prep them early) and add to the mix. Rinse the vegetables under cool, running water and drain well. Now it’s time to add the dressing to the vegetables and mix really well.Kimchi10
We ate our kimchi about an hour after making it. It will probably taste better tomorrow. Some recipes call for rice flour to thicken the liquid, if you drain the vegetables really well after rinsing it’s less necessary. I think it takes some of the fresh flavour away to be honest.
There’s no escaping the fact that these dishes are spicy. Eaten in their usual form they’d probably be a lot hotter really. We overcame this issue by adjusting the amount of chilli in the recipes and matching the food with some crisp lettuce, brown rice and plenty of iced-tea to freshen up the palate.

And you know it was good. It was pork ribs, ’nuff said.

Happy kimchi to you


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