The Ladle Method To Craft Perfect Homemade Egg Dumplings

Pile of Chinese egg dumplings
Pile of Chinese egg dumplings - Tada Images/Shutterstock

Egg dumplings, aka 蛋饺 (dan jiao), are minced meat encased in an omelet-like dumpling wrapper made from beaten egg. Traditionally, the roundness and golden hue of egg dumplings resemble the gold coins of old China, making the dish a symbol of prosperity and a popular treat on Chinese New Year. But, their symbolic importance might not be the only reason why egg dumplings are typically a special occasion food -- they're also wicked labor-intensive and time-consuming to make. It's a pretty unforgiving craft.

For starters, egg dumplings are much thinner than jiaozi, the perhaps more popular gyoza-like type of Chinese dumpling. Unlike the flour-based dough of the jiaozi wrapper, egg dumplings are too delicate to be manipulated by hand to shape or seal. They'll fall apart if handled by pretty much any tool stronger than a chopstick. Worse, if you tear the fragile egg dumpling wrapper (which is easy to do), you'll have to scrap it and start again.

Luckily, there's one simple technique that can stave off your egg dumpling woes for good, and all it takes is a ladle. When you think about it technically, an iron ladle doubles as a miniature wok on a long stick. This maneuverability makes the ladle the perfect tool for crafting homemade egg dumplings with ease (or at least, as easily as possible). If you don't own an iron ladle, a stainless steel soup ladle will work here, too — just steer clear of plastic, which won't hold up to the open flame.

Read more: Hacks That Will Make Boiling Your Eggs So Much Easier

Rotate To Greatness

Ladle scooping broth
Ladle scooping broth - Ahanov Michael/Shutterstock

To do this trick, warm the ladle over a gas burner. If you have an electric stove, you could warm the ladle using a kitchen torch to maintain even heat. Be sure to rotate the ladle over the heat to ensure the entire utensil warms up thoroughly. From there, add about a tablespoon of beaten raw egg to the warmed ladle, then turn the ladle in a circular motion to coat the inside walls with the liquid egg.

Over the heat, that thinly spread egg will begin cooking almost immediately and form a perfect cup shape, making it easy to add your fillings. Finally, using chopsticks, carefully pinch one side of the egg wrapper and fold it into a half-circle to seal the dumpling -- all without ever removing it from the ladle. To prevent sticking, you can spray your ladle with nonstick spray, rub it with a piece of pork fat, or coat it with oil using a pastry brush.

Savory egg dumplings are traditionally filled with ground pork, but feel free to try out different fillings like sauteed mushrooms and peppers, pureed squash, or cotija cheese. Thanks to their thinness, egg dumplings cook in a matter of minutes, making them a great addition to hot bowls of soup. These little gems can also be made ahead and frozen for quick prep in the future (if you don't have hours to spend making fresh dumplings every time you want to enjoy them).

Read the original article on Tasting Table.