Crystal dumplings are a unique kind of dumpling that takes the name crystal as it looks a bit like a crystal on the outside with it’s almost translucent skin. Obviously this dish doesn’t contain a crystal.
Sometimes Taiwanese families will cook crystal dumplings around Chinese New Year because both the look and name of this dish sounds pleasant. You will find often in Chinese, Cantonese and Taiwanese cuisine people love to serve food with a name like dragon, phoenix, pearl, gold, diamond, crystal or something else.
I tried using a couple different recipes for the pastry in this dish but in the end I found the easiest but best recipe is simply to use potato starch and sweet potato starch. If it’s too difficult for you to find sweet potato starch then just potato starch on it’s own is fine.
For the filling I used beef mince instead of pork mince for a change. An awfully large number of Chinese and Taiwanese dishes use pork or chicken as their main meat ingredients but I don’t always want to use this ingredients. My work partner told me “change is the spice of life” last week and that has stuck with me. I really dislike falling into a certain cooking pattern so for this and my new few blog posts I’ll be using completely different ingredients.
Another thing I’m thinking about doing is expanding my website to include some western dishes that I have learnt over the years. Through college, eating out in different cities, friends and working as a chef I have learnt a lot of really tasty Western recipes.
So here is the recipe for today. It’s not pork or chicken and also it hasn’t been deep-fried. I hope you will enjoy it and remember give me some feedback.
Credits: Preparation photos were taken by myself but final photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com
Ingredients for filling
- 500 g beef mince
- 1 small carrot chop finely
- 2 stalks celery chop finely
- 1/2 onion thinly sliced
- 1 slice ginger chop finely
- 2 shitake mushrooms soften in hot water and chop finely
- 1 tbsp deep fried shallots
Seasonings for fillings
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup rice wine
- 1.5 cups water
- 1 tbsp rock sugar
Ingredients for pastry
- 1 cup sweet potato powder
- 1 cup potato starch
- 1 cup hot water around 95 degrees
- Few drops Vegetable or sunflower oil
Taiwanese sweet chili sauce ingredients
- 3 tbsp miso sauce
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 2 cups water
- 3 tbsp ketchup
- 2 tbsp glutinous rice flour
Procedures for filling
Heat a wok with 2 tablespoons oil. Stir fry the onion and ginger until onion gets a little bit golden and brown colour.
Add mince and keep stir-fry it until outside of mince cooked.
Add celery and carrot and keep stir-fry it for another 5 minutes.
Add all the seasonings and water. Bring it to the boil first then turn the gas power down to medium and reduce down the sauce until it’s nearly dry.
Procedures for pastry
Add salt, sweet potato powder and potato starch into a big bowl and pour the hot water a little bit once.
Add some oil to knead the mixture until it’s not sticky anymore.
Cover a wet clothes on top of the mixture and leave it for 10 minutes to relax the mixture.
Final procedures for crystal dumplings
Separate the pastry mixture to appropriate size of small balls and flatten it by your hand.
Put 1 teaspoon of filling in the middle and close tightly by your hand.
Use your fingertips to change the shape from a ball to a triangle shape.
Boil a pot of water and cook the crystal dumplings in it. They are cooked when the dumplings float on top of the water.
Sweet chili sauce procedure
Mix everything evenly in a small pot.
Bring the mixture to boil and turn to low heat to cook it until the mixture turns fairly sticky.
** You can use soy sauce as dipping for crystal dumplings or you can also try to make this Taiwanese sweet chilli sauce at home.