Thursday, August 12, 2010

Khinkali Dumplings

My version of khinkali.
They don't look like they are supposed to, but they tasted SO GOOD!
The two in the background were already eaten by me!

If there is one dumpling I truly love (and miss) are the Suan La Chow Chow dumplings from Mary Changs in Cambridge, MA. They were these perfectly cooked and delicious pork dumplings laying on a bed of bean sprouts with a spicy, soy-sauce based sauce at the bottom. So it's been a while since I've found any new or out-of-the ordinary dumplings that grabbed my attention.

Then Matt told me about khinkali dumplings and he said they were the best dumplings he'd ever had. You had to eat them so as to sop up all the juice trapped inside. I was intrigued! I did some research online and all the khinkali recipes I found varied from the filling, to measurements for the dough, to its origins. But one thing is for sure, you HAVE to make the pleats or at least form a point at the top of the dumpling. That way you can grab it, turn it to its side and suck it up.

According to Matt, you don't eat the top, or the pleated part, of the the dough. Only the poor people eat that. And you are not supposed to let any of the meat juices trapped inside the dumpling hit your plate. Lastly, all you need to top your khinkali with is lots of black pepper!  So I gave the dough two different tries. Both failed! But the meat filling was DIVINE! And the juice it forms inside the dumpling is simply sopilicious.

Here's my recipe, but you can find many more online here, here and here.

  • 1/2 lb. ground beef (a little on the fattier side)
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt (if  you use water instead of beef broth, add an additional 1/2 tsp. kosher salt)
  • About 1/4 of a red onion, processed in the food processor (you have to do it in the processor or blender because you need the onion juice!)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground caraway seed
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • a good pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup beef broth or water
  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Filling: Mix the ground meats and onions together. Stir in the spices into the meat mixture, add broth, salt and mix it thoroughly. Set aside in the fridge.

Dough: Pour the flour into a large bowl, sprinkle it with salt, add water and make the dough. Knead for about 5 minutes. Form into a ball and let the dough rest 30 minutes.

Start boiling water in a large pot.

Take a mango sized piece of dough and roll it out on a floured surface to about 1/3 of an inch thick. Cut out circles about 3 inches in diameter with a drinking glass. Roll each round out to about 6 inches in diameter on a floured surface. Cup the round with your hand (or place in a small coffee cup to assist) and place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of each round.

Fold the edges of the dough, forming as many pleats as possible and making sure it's sealed tight. Roll the nubbin of the dumpling between your finger and thumb and pinch off extra dough.
pretty bad at forming the pleats

Boil the khinkali in salted boiling water for 6 to 10 minutes. When they float to the top it usally means they are done. Serve hot sprinkled with freshly ground black pepper.
This is what authentic khinkali look like, btw!

You can see the meat juice trapped inside!! YUM!!

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