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.

1
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
2
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
3
Repeat with the remaining wrappers, covering the finished specimens with a damp tea towel to prevent them from drying out
4
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