My relationship with dumplings is similar to the situation where you meet someone and really aren’t into them in the beginning, but out of nowhere you start falling for them at space shuttle re-entering the atmosphere speed—so, like, every middle school relationship, right? I had my first dumpling in high school. It was filled with veggies and I wasn’t digging it. Fast forward to freshman year during my short lived semester at High Point University, and I was regularly eating them with Steph and Maria, the two lovely ladies who kept me sane during those horrid months. We’d get together every week to do homework, listen to music, and eat boxes of dumplings. In fact, we had such a good rapport with the local place that one day when they told us the wrong amount, meaning we were short about $15, they let it slide because we were such great customers.
Once I left HPU my dumpling habit diminished and was quickly replaced by even more vodka and Wings over Burlington, which is sort of the rage for all dorm dwellers at Champlain. By the time I learned about the famous dumpling stand on Church Street (Hongs) I wasn’t eating meat, and thus could not partake. When I finally broke my pescetarian ways, I shuffled down to Church Street to gorge myself on a few of the doughy, fatty, bundles of joy. I remember driving with a Styrofoam plate on my lap precariously filled with six dumplings and sauce, stuffing bite after bite into my mouth because I just COULDN’T wait to get home and eat like a proper lady. (Though after admitting yesterday that I licked the sauce off my plate, I guess I’m not really that prim and proper anyway!) Sadly, my plump loves were ripped away from me very soon, as my gluten issue was coming to a catastrophic climax. It would be months before I ate one again. Thank goodness I found a nice gluten free substitute.
I must say that if you are gluten free and haven’t yet worked with gluten free dough, be prepared for frustration, ad-libbing, and acceptance the first few times around. GF dough likes to stick. It likes to rip. It likes to wrap itself around the rolling pin (yes the one that you have already doused in layers of the expensive GF flour mix you normally use at rates so conservative Rick Santorum looks like a bleedin’ heart.) Unless you have some wonderful beginners luck and the magic rolling touch, accept that everything might look a little, erm, not so cue.
Case in point: My dinner tonight.
Dumplings with the look only a mother could love. But you know what, despite their overflowing sides and vastly differing shapes that were sometimes pieced together with excess scraps and looked nothing like dumplings, they were still very delicious. This recipe was messy, time consuming, and I obsessively checked the water every some often to make sure I wasn’t burning a red hot hole through my neighbor’s pan. I wouldn’t say this will happen on a regular basis (maybe a twice a year treat), but it was oh so worth it.
Peel Away ❤