Buried in the deepest corner of my freezer, an "emergency" bag of shrimp and vegetable dumplings waits for the times when I crave dumplings and nothing else will do. The dumplings I buy from the Chinese market are okay, not great, not sensuous like these spicy, salty, red curry shrimp dumplings. I can microwave the storebought dumplings in a couple of minutes and get my fix, but it doesn't take all that much longer to create these one-bite shrimp dumplings from scratch, especially with all of the ingredients sitting in my pantry. The technique is the same one I use to cook potstickers: pan fry the dumplings to get a nice chewy crust on the bottom; then, steam them in the same pan to finish the cooking. Once you master the method, you can build your own dumplings with wonton skins and any mix of fillings (chicken, cabbage, tofu) you have on hand.
Red curry shrimp dumplings
This recipe, adapted from Everyday Food magazine, serves 4-6 (makes 24 dumplings); can be multiplied.
3/4 lb shrimp (21-25 or 26-30), defrosted if frozen, peeled and deveined
2 scallions, roughly chopped
2 tsp grated ginger root (I use a Microplane)
4 tsp Thai red curry paste, or less, to taste
1 tsp fish sauce (I recommend Three Crabs brand)
24 wonton wrappers
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp lime zest
In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, add the shrimp, scallions, ginger, curry paste and fish sauce. Pulse several times until the ingredients come together and form a finely-chopped paste.
Set out a small bowl of water.
Working with 1 wonton wrapper at a time, place 1 teaspoon of the shrimp mixture in the center. Wet your finger and run it around the edge of the wonton wrapper. Then, pull all corners to the center, and pinch to seal the dumpling. Repeat with remaining wontons and filling.
In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Place the dumplings flat side down in the pan, and cook for 1 minute until the bottoms are brown.
Remove the pan from the heat, and carefully pour in 1/2 cup water. Immediately cover the pan, and return it to the heat. Cook until the water is almost evaporated, approximately 3 minutes. Then, uncover, and cook until the remaining water evaporates.
Meanwhile, stir together the soy sauce, sesame oil and lime zest in a small bowl to make the dipping sauce.
Serve the dumplings right out of the pan, with dipping sauce.
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Pan fried pork and shrimp potstickers, from Steamy Kitchen
Vegetarian potstickers, from Herbivoracious
Beef potstickers, from Eating richly even when you're broke
Indian spiced potstickers, from The Food in My Beard
Ginger chicken potstickers, from Fake Food Free