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By Heather• 29 Jun 2015 • 1 Comments
Vicky Ha (aka the Dumpling Queen) grew up making dumplings at her mother’s knee. And it shows.
The House of Dumpling’s cooking classes are fantastic fun, and at $70 pp not bad value for 3.5 hours of tuition, liquid refreshments, and as many dumplings as you can fit in your belly.
The class started with an introduction around the table (advice - consider prior to class what your last ever favourite meal would be), and then straight into a demonstration of dough-making without weighing or measuring. Pretty impressive.
After that it was aprons on, sleeves up, and into it. First was dough rolling with pasta machines, and then cutting mountains of colourful circles with a high tech plastic container minus its bottom (nifty). And lastly, getting one's hands into big bowls of filling - coarse-ground Wairarapa LongBush free-range pork with finely hand-cut Horowhenua cabbage marinated in soy, ginger, garlic and sesame oil. The aroma was so good I nearly stuck some in my mouth until I remembered it was raw.
Folding dumplings is a little like Origami with varying degrees of success – the belly-button-shaped dumplings gave rise to a number of innies and outies, the moneybags were more like bulging coin purses for some, and the crescent with a sea wave along the top closely resembled tyrannosaurus rex for others. But man, what fun.
Everyone’s dumplings are then steamed while the table is reset with new brown paper (oh for some crayons), drinks, and a few other entrée dumplings from Vicky’s kitchen. And then the main act of diving into one’s own creations. Delicious.
Because we weren’t stuffed enough we then moved onto making sweet dessert dumplings – rice and glutinous sticky rice flours with orange blossom water, wrapped around ground almonds mixed with sugar, vanilla essence and coconut oil. All poached in a ginger sugar broth. Spectacular.
So off we toddled home with doggy bags and bursting bellies, feeling very clever with ourselves, and with this parting advice from the Dumpling Queen - go home and go nuts (I kid you not), and if you can imagine it, you can put it in a dumpling.
With a challenge like that, what do you reckon we should create next?
Georgia meets maker and baker Brigid of Milk Crate cafe.