The Mother of Invention


My 2014 goal to try something new each week continues.  Today I decided to make Asian steamed dumplings.  I always think of my dad when I cook Asian.  He loved Asian food, especially the variety of all the appetizers.  For my birthday when I was younger he would take me to Victor Lim’s in downtown Detroit, where I was treated like a queen.  When I was in high school my younger brother’s band played in a Chinese restaurant–no, you can’t make that stuff up–and every Saturday night we would go, eat and enjoy the music.  So I was excited to try the dumplings.

Something, however, always gets lost in translation.  The items that come home from the grocery store with my husband aren’t always the items I swear I wrote down.  so I adjust.  This time however, it wasn’t just the ingredients I adjusted.

But first, the recipe:


1 lb. ground pork

8-10 shrimp (chopped)

2 green onions, finely chopped

1 egg

1 tsp. freshly grated ginger

1 minced glove of garlic

1 pkg. wonton wraps – round

Dipping Sauce:

1/2 c. red wine vinegar

1/2 c. soy sauce

2 tsp. sesame oil

2 finely chopped green onions

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

2 Tablespoon  freshly grated ginger


1.  In a large bowl mix the filling ingredients with a fork.

2.  Take one of the wontons and wet the edge, all the way around the circle.

3.  Place approximately 1 tsp. of the filling in the middle of the circle.

filled wontons

4.  Fold the wonton in half and pleat it closed.  What is pleating you ask?  I did too and I found a wonderful YouTube video that showed me how.  Here is the link: .

5.  Place in bamboo steamer and steam for 8 – 10 minutes.

6.  To make the dipping sauce, mix all of the ingredients in a jar and shake.  Let it sit at room temperature until you are ready to eat the dumplings.

Here is where my inventions began.  I had no scallions–so I substituted shallots.  I’m guessing any kind of onion would be okay.

The wontons hubby brought home were square, oops.  I layed one out on a cutting board and set a round measuring cup upside down on it and cut th

rounded wontons

e corners off so I had a “sort-a-circle”.

After scouring the pantry, all of the cupboards, the basement — every nook and cranny I remembered that my bamboo steamer was at the cottage.  Hmmmmmmmm, I said as I tripped over the box of aluminum pie pans in my pantry.  (Left over from the over 100 apple pies my NHS students and I made last fall.).

The light bulb went off.  I took my large enameled/cast iron pot and filled 1 inch of water in the bottom.  I placed a metal measuring cup in the bottom.  I took three of those aluminum pans and using a fondue fork poked holes in the bottoms.

pleated dumplings

I brought the pan of water to a boil and set the first pie pan on top of the inverted measuring cup.  I loaded the pan with dumplings.

steaming dumplings I did another layer of dumplings with the same technique.  The third layer was just dumplings.

steaming dumplingsI put the lid on the pot and steamed the dumplings for 10 minutes.  Ta da!  The invention worked.  I must confess though, I did not invent this unique steamer technique.  I know I saw it somewhere, I just don’t know where.  Thank you to whoever put it out there.

My husband was so delighted with the results that he asked me to pack him a lunch with the leftovers.  I was delighted.

Think of all the unique things you could put into these dumplings.  Yum!


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