I am very very pleased with myself. In line with the whole Chinese New Year theme, I decided to try remaking a Chinese food all time favorite: dumplings or potstickers. I used to make dumplings all the time…kid #1 was an insatiable dumpling monster as a preschooler. In fact, to this day he waits for every Chinese New Year where Auntie P will make her famous 饺子. Unfortunately that segment of the family is having the Lunar New Year getogether in a restaurant, which means that we miss out on this specialty this year.
I confess that I did have a craving for Chinese dumplings. I had tried to make cabbage rolls where the cabbage leaf becomes the “skin” to the meat filling, but somehow it just ended up as a whole different kind of dish. It took me absolutely forever to figure out how to do the dumpling skin for this. Dumpling skin is usually made out of wheat flour and gluten and that’s an absolute no-no in my low carb world. Nothing beats freshly made dumpling skin (as Auntie P proves all the time), although the ready-made wonton skins often win for sheer convenience alone. I had read several blog posts of people who made soy flour pasta. Soy flour is not that low carb as compared to my favourite low carb substitute, Shirataki noodles. However it does way better than wheat flour as soy flour is about 30g carbs per 100g flour, as compared to wheat flour which is 76 g carbs per 100 g flour. I figured the extra carbs above my usual 20-30g per day was forgivable considering the season we are in. After all, even this FB group I happen to follow for low carb lifestyle disillusioned me recently as I found one of the founders who is quite militant about carbs actually used plum sauce in her Lo Hei Yu Sheng (a tossed salad for Chinese New Year)…if that is not high carb, I don’t know what is…😑
Trawling around the internet I also know some people are very anti-soy. I can’t quite identify with that, having grown up in Asia where soy and tofu figure in a big way in our diets. I think the phytoestrogens (natural plant hormones) in soy are feared by some people to be potentially cancer-causing, although the truth is that studies in humans have not shown any harm or increase breast cancer risk. Apparently soy also decreases post-meal triglyceride levels which is important in reducing the risks for coronary heart disease.
So here is the dumpling recipe using soy flour. My helper, D and I had a bit of an exciting time with the pasta machine (the dough was quite sticky at first and got stuck to the rollers) but the final results were surprisingly neat! We rolled the dough out like ravioli dough, then cut out circles of dumpling skin. The circles of soy dumpling skin actually looked a little like the wonton skins you can find in the local supermarket.
In the end we tried making the dumplings two ways: fried like potstickers and boiled. Both ways of cooking were fine as the dumplings held together quite well. However, the fried dumpling actually tastes and smells pretty awesome although I think the traditional boiled dumpling can probably hold its shape and flavor well in a soup.
Low Carb Chinese Potstickers
- 2 cups of soy flour and more for dusting
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 tbsp cold water
- 400g minced chicken
- 2 Napa cabbage leaves, chopped finely
- 2 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked with hot water, then chopped finely.
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 – 1 inch piece of ginger, finely grated
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- 1 tbsp arrowroot flour
- In a food processor, mix together the soy flour, salt, oil, water and eggs and process, forming a dough. Place dough on a clean surface that has been floured with soy flour. Knead the dough.
- In a pasta machine, roll out the dough into thin pieces (about setting 5 on the pasta machine). With a round cutter (about 8 cm or 3 inches diameter), cut out circles of dough and flour both sides so that the dumpling skin does not stick.
- In a large bowl, mix together minced chicken, chopped Napa cabbage, chopped dried mushroom, minced garlic, grated ginger, arrowroot flour, soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil and white pepper thoroughly. Microwave 1 tsp of the filling for 10 seconds to taste the filling and adjust the seasoning accordingly.
- Place 1 tsp of meat filling into the center of each dumpling wrapper. Wet the edges of the wrapper, making pleats along one side of the dumpling.
- For the fried version of the dumpling, heat up 3-4 tbsp of oil in a non-stick pan and then pan fry the dumplings. For the boiled version of the dumpling, bring a pot of water to a boil, then cook the dumplings until they have started floating on top of the water. Remove and drain.
- Serve hot with some dipping sauce (black vinegar and finely shredded young ginger).