Embark on a culinary journey with zesty chicken & zucchini pockets, perfectly embodying the finesse of crafting delectable dumplings. If you’re a newcomer to dumpling preparation, this dish offers a comforting introduction with its familiar ingredients. And the best part? No need to scour markets for rare veggies, everything’s right at your local store!
Zucchini’s Summer Delight
Each summer, we’re often left wondering how to utilize that ever-abundant zucchini harvest. This year was no exception, with our garden flourishing with more zucchini than initially anticipated. But with abundance comes creativity! Beyond the usual zucchini bread and zoodles, let me introduce you to a fresh take – the zesty chicken and zucchini dumpling. This unique blend has become a favorite of mine, made with easily accessible pantry staples: white pepper, soy sauce, sesame oil, and Shaoxing wine.
Before You Start – Important Notes:
Before diving in, let’s touch on some preparatory insights:
- Opted for ready-made wrappers? No problem! But if you’re feeling adventurous, making wrappers from scratch can be rewarding.
Mastering the fold of a dumpling can be tricky. Seek out a visual guide if you need some pointers.
- Here’s a personal touch: I ground my own chicken using dark meat from chicken thighs. Commercial ground chicken, usually from the breast, tends to be leaner, but thighs offer juicier results.
- Ever thought of using chicken skin in the mix? I gave it a try on a whimsical suggestion from my father. Fried and diced, it imparted a rich, buttery texture to the filling. It’s optional but highly recommended for that extra oomph!
- Lastly, don’t skimp on a flavorful dipping sauce. It truly completes the experience.
- 1 pound zucchini (roughly 2 medium or 3 small, seeds removed and shredded)
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil (or another neutral oil, divided)
- 2 tablespoons ginger (minced)
- 1 pound ground chicken
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or substitute with dry cooking sherry)
- 2 packages dumpling wrappers (or your homemade version)
- Drain the shredded zucchini: Wrap it in a kitchen towel and press out as much moisture as possible. Shift to a spacious mixing bowl.
- Heat up 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok on medium-low. Fry the minced ginger until its aroma fills the air, approximately 2 minutes. Combine with the zucchini.
- In the bowl, incorporate the 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, ground chicken, white pepper, sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, and Shaoxing wine. Stir with gusto for about 5 minutes until you achieve a paste-like consistency.
- Assemble the dumplings, ensuring none touch on a parchment-coated baking sheet. Fry immediately or freeze for later. If opting for the latter, store in freezer bags after they’re frozen solid.
- For frying, pour a touch of oil into a cast iron skillet or nonstick pan on medium-high. Add the dumplings. Once their bases turn golden, add a splash of water (just under a centimeter), sealing the pan right after. Adjust the flame to medium-low, letting the dumplings steam. When the water vanishes, lift the lid, letting them fry till the bases crisp up. Serve with a tang of black vinegar, a dash of chili oil, or a side of dipping sauce.
Did you know? Dumplings are not just a delicious treat but are packed with rich history across cultures. From the traditional Chinese “jiaozi” to the Italian “ravioli”, almost every culture has its version of these delightful pockets. Incorporating vegetables like zucchini adds a twist to the recipe while also ensuring you benefit from its rich nutritional profile. Rich in fiber and antioxidants, zucchinis not only add flavor but also a health kick to your dish. So, the next time you relish these zesty chicken and zucchini pockets, know that you’re indulging in a delightful blend of history, taste, and health!