Another seemingly random mix of culinary influences, this was invented when I decided to try out a new steamer.
What you will need
- Bison, ground - I can regularly find ground bison in the "Random Meat" section of my supermarket's butcher shop. It comes prepackaged as ground long before it gets there and on rare occassions they get Bison steaks in. It cooks like beef and you can substitute beef if you can't get Bison.
- Won-Ton Wrappers - These are cheap, come in packages of fifty and are hiding in most supermarket freezer sections. Let them thaw before trying to separate them.
- Spices - I used Red Miso Paste (substitute Soy Sauce, the flavor's the same), Garlic Powder (I add it to everything), Ground Red Chilis, Curry Powder, and Hot Sauce
- Frying Pan or Steamer - Must be suitably sized for the number you are making unless you want to sit through several rounds of cooking.
- Bowl - Large enough to hold the Bison and then some.
- Plate - For prep work
- Small Cup
- If you have them, Disposable Gloves (latex, vinyl, doesn't matter) They're not essential, but make cleanup easier.
- Plate, Fork and Knife for consumption.
What to do
I always assume you are working with clean hands. This will be important as there will be a lot of manual prep work without any tools.
Once the Won-Ton wrappers are thawed out enough to easily separate, discard any on the ends of the stack which are too dry to easily handle. Won-Ton wrappers are cheap, and the dry ones will only cause problems later. Separate a number and lay them out on the plate (feel free to overlap, this is a staging area). Set this aside.
Dump ground Bison into the bowl. Add your choice of spices to the meat, but make sure that it doesn't get too dry or too wet to form into little balls. Put warm water into the small cup and put it near your prep area. If you have disposable gloves, this would be a good time to put them on. Mix the Spices and the meat until it is thoroughly incorporated. Hands work best for this. (I told you the gloves come in handy).
Pick up one Won-Ton wrapper. Dip one finger into the warm water and run it along the edges to moisten them (you can also use a brush, I don't have one for cooking, so I used a finger) you may need multiple dips before all four edges have been moistened. You only need to do this on one side. Keep the moistened side up. Tear off a bit of the meat mixture and roll it into a ball. This ball should be no larger in diameter than a third to a half of the length of one of the edges of the wrapper - err towards a third. Set the ball in the center of the wrapper and fold the corners up so that they meet. (I made the mistake of trying to fold the edges in for a while - bad move). Press the moistened edges against each other so that they stick. Set aside (I put mine into my steamer directly, but if you plan to use a frying pan, you may need another plate for this.)
Repeat last step until you run out of meat or wrappers. Since Won-Ton wrappers are cheap, you should be running out of meat first. Do remember one thing - Your dumplings will be ugly as sin the first time you try this. Don't worry about it. Taste is more important than presentation.
Here is the IF part. If you plan on using a frying pan, skip ahead to the capitalized frying pan, below. Else, read the following steamer section.
STEAMER - Place wrapped meat in steamer (unless you loaded the steamer as you made them like I did). Place steamer over water (the water should never come into direct contact with the food. If you're using a bamboo steamer, the water should not come into contact with the steamer either.) Place water over heat, make sure the lid is on properly and leave. Wait 5-10 minutes or until the meat is cooked to your satisfaction. I was surprised at how fast it cooked. Unload the steamer Won-Ton wrappers will stick to the steamer. Just pick up the meatballs if you fall out because of a tear in the wrapper. Tongs are better than fingers at this point. Enjoy.
FRYING PAN - Add a very light amount of oil to the bottom of the pan. Turn on the heat and wait until you can feel it above the surface of the pan but before the oil reacts badly. Start placing wrapped meat in the pan, give each one enough room between itself and its neighbors that it doesn't get crowded. If you have a lid big enough, cover the frying pan. The waiting part is where you will start wasting dumplings. You will have to cut into one to check on the doneness of the meat. The dumplings will stick to the pan, and you're better off using a spatula to remove them. Don't try to avoid having them stick, you'll just be wasting good flavor. Once you've gone through all of the prepared dumplings (this could be several rounds of cooking) you can enjoy them.
ALL - I make no guarantees that this will be enjoyed by all or any promices of enjoyment. The recipies listed herein are mainly to my tastes.