Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Sweet Potato Dumplings
A few weeks ago, I had dinner at Otsumami - a Japanese restaurant in High Street, Northcote - with my boyfriend Andrew. We enjoyed everything there immensely - the buttery wild mushroom stirfry, the squid and ginger salad, the crispy kaarage chicken. But nothing blew us away as much as the sweet potato gyoza - little pan fried dumplings stuffed with the most silky, delicately flavoured sweet potato mash. They were beyond enjoyable, and beyond memorable - they were magical! We are planning to return just for them.
I attempted to recreate them myself. This time, whilst I was cooking, Andrew acted as my personal kitchen paparazzi, flashing away whilst I busyed myself mashing, wrapping and panfrying.
Sweet potato dumplings are somehow, more than just dumpling wrapper and sweet potato. They are smooth and tasty and light and crunchy - they are the gestalt of dumplings, much more than their humble ingredients would indicate.
We served these with some boiled korean sweet potato noodles (Yes yes, I know, we'll turn into a sweet potato in a minute) because we happened to have them in the cupboard. The noodles were tossed with a bit of chilli, soy sauce and sesame oil and sprinkled with sesame seeds before serving.
Sweet Potato Dumplings
1 packet wonton/dumpling wrappers
1 very large sweet potato, or equivalent smaller ones
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon chopped ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce or fish sauce
Peel the sweet potato and chop into chunks. Boil in salted water until soft, then drain.
Mash the sweet potato with the ginger, garlic and soy/fish sauce. Mash until squashed, and then continue mashing with a fork until very smooth. You can attempt pushing it through a sieve for the finest texture possible - I began doing this and gave up as it was an incredibly slow process. But just make sure the mixture is smooth, and there are no chunks.
Place the dumpling wrappers on a smooth surface and paint the edges with some water to help the sticking process.
Fill each dumpling wrapper with a tablespoon of sweet potato mash and then fold over and press to form dumpling shapes (this takes practice but is very fun).
Once you have used up all your sweet potato mash, you can pan fry, steam or boil your dumplings. I chose to panfry them, in an attempt to replicate the delicious crispy texture of Otsumami's gyoza.
That's all there is to it really! These were delicious, but we will be returning to Otsumami soon because I'm sure there is magic in their little parcels of good.
Serves 2-4 depending on hunger and greediness. I ate way too many.