Duck dumplings

by James Ramsden
Duck dumplings

Duck dumplings

I know very little about Chinese food. Until fairly recently I’d dismissed it as gloopy over-sweetened trash, based on one too many visits to Mr. Chow’s All-U-Can-Eat buffet and too many unidentifiable vittles in black bean sauce. But I’m slowly falling for it in a big way.

Rather like “Italian” food, there is no such thing as “Chinese” food - there is as much diversity between each province as there is between British food and American. So at this point I humbly submit that this recipe might be delicious and vaguely “Chinese” but is very possibly as authentic as a fortune cookie.

It came about, as dinners often will, as a means of using up the bits and bobs that were lurking at the back of the fridge. A packet of wonton wrappers, a few iffy-looking spring onions, a thumb of ginger…and it’s not every day, I grant you, that I have half a roast duck kicking about, but I’d been testing recipes for something else, and there it was. You could use chicken instead.

Mix together the duck, spring onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, five spice, hoisin sauce, and season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary
Put a spoonful of the mix in the centre of a wonton wrapper. Dip your finger in a glass of water and dab it round the edge of the dough. Fold over and seal, then crimp the edges, both to help seal but also for prettification
Repeat with the remaining wrappers, covering the finished specimens with a damp tea towel to prevent them from drying out
Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan or wok, and add the dumplings. Fry until they’re crisp on the bottom, then add a splash of rice wine and the water. Cover tightly and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, until the steam has all been absorbed. Serve with soy sauce