My children are getting older. That is a "Well, duh, Melani" comment if there ever was one, but sometimes, these observations are more evident than others.
Take this meal for instance. For a change, cooking supper was made infinitely easier because of my daughter's help. Going on 6, M is becoming quite a commis (don't be impressed, I had to wikipedia it to find the right word). We have found some recipes that she can almost make by herself now that she can read recipes. For this meal, I did the chopping and M did the mixing and shaping of the dumplings.
Making dumplings are perfect for little hands that want to help in the kitchen. Being the non-artistic, non-perfectionist that I am, I wasn't concerned what the dumplings looked like. This could have to do with the fact that the recipe I was using had no instructions on how to shape dumplings except: "seal and shape." Hmm. Thus, I basically went for sealed.
We loved this meal. M particularly loved it because she had such an integral part of making the meal. The recipe makes twice as many dumplings as we used. I froze the leftovers dumplings and will pull them out next time I have some bok choy that I need to use. Easy dinner.
While making dumplings may seem daunting and time consuming, on a whole this recipe wasn't terribly difficult to make or that time consuming. I am sure it helped considerably that I had M doing all the dirty work. :)
Pork and Shrimp Dumplings with Bok Choy and Noodles
adapted from Cindy Lee Roberts on Food52
1 lb ground pork
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and chopped
1/4 c spring onions or scallions, chopped
1/2 inch piece of ginger, finely grated
3/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 t sesame oil
1 t Mirin or white cooking wine
1 packet dumpling or wonton wrappers (you'll need 50)
8 oz somen, soba, or udon noodles
a bunch (approx 8 oz) of bok choy, sliced into 1" ribbons and roughly chopped
1 1/2 T fish sauce (Nuac Mam or something similar)
1 T soy sauce
2 t white vinegar
1 t chili garlic paste (optional)
1/2 t sesame oil
1/3 c spring onion or scallions, finely chopped
1/3 c cilantro, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Mix together the pork, shrimp, spring onions, ginger, salt, pepper, sesame oil, and wine in a medium bowl. Place about 1 T of the mixture into the bottom half of a dumpling or wonton wrapper. Using your index finger, make a border of water around the filling. Fold the top half over and seal (the water is necessary for the dumpling to seal shut).
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. The following will depend on what kind of noodles you use. If you use a fast cooking, thin noodle like somen or rice threads (vermicelli), add the dumplings to the boil water first and add the noodles when there are two or three minutes left. If you are using a slower cooking, thicker noodle, like udon, add the noodles first, cook for a couple of minutes, and then add the dumplings. The dumplings need around 8 minutes in the boiling water to cook through. The easiest way to test to see if the dumplings are finished is to just break one open.
Meanwhile, mix all the sauce ingredients together and set aside.
Add the bok choy to the noodles and the dumplings and cook a minute or so more, or until the bok choy has wilted. Drain the noodles, et al. Pour the sauce over top and gently combine, being careful not to break the noodles. Garnish with a little cilantro and serve. (If you left out the chili garlic sauce because of children's sensitive tastes, you can put a little bit on top of each serving, as desired).