An alcoholic dumpling

An alcoholic dumpling

Green Pickled Peaches
4–6 as a shared plate
Chris Chen

I’m remembering the feeling of childhood awe at observing the unfamiliar behaviour of drunken adults at the dinner table. It all felt quite forbidden, since I wasn’t allowed to participate. The idea then came of hiding away the alcohol (here, sherry and cognac) in the filling of an innocuous looking dumpling.

For the filling


Quantity Ingredient
125g pork belly, diced
50g prawn meat, diced
2 tablespoons cognac
1 1/2 teaspoons dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons corn starch or wheat starch
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
2 tablespoons light chicken s tock
2 teaspoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon finely diced ginger
1 teaspoon finely diced garlic
1 spring onion, finely sliced
2 fresh shiitake mushrooms, finely diced

For the dipping sauce

Quantity Ingredient
1 tabespoon sugar
1 tabespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 tabespoon peanut oil
2 drops sesame oil
1 tabespoon chilli oil

For the dumplings

Quantity Ingredient
165g glutinous rice flour
65g wheat starch
50g soft brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
60g lard
160ml boiling water
peanut oil, for deep-frying


  1. Make the filling:
  2. Marinate the pork and prawn meat in the cognac for 30 minutes. Mix the sherry, sugar, pepper, starch, soy sauce and chicken stock together. Heat a frying pan over medium–high heat, add the peanut oil and fry the pork and prawns quickly as you would a stir-fry. Toss in the ginger, garlic, spring onion and mushrooms and let them heat through for a minute. Reduce to medium heat and then pour the soy mixture into the pan and cook until the mixture thickens. Spread over a plate to cool.
  3. Make the dipping sauce:
  4. Heat the sugar, light and dark soy sauces and rice vinegar in a little pot over low heat to dissolve the sugar. Add the oils. Adjust as necessary to your taste, with more light soy for saltiness or more sugar to reduce the chilli heat.
  5. Make the dumplings:
  6. Sift the rice flour, wheat starch, brown sugar and salt into a bowl. Quickly combine the lard and boiling water with the dry ingredients, firstly with a wooden spoon to roughly combine, and then with your hands to knead to a smooth dough. Cover and leave to cool. Divide the dough into 20 pieces of about 25 g each. Keep them covered with plastic wrap while working so they don’t dry out. Roll a piece into a ball, press down the centre to form an indentation and work outwards from there with both hands to form a 6 cm bowl-like shape. Place 1 heaped teaspoon of filling in the centre. Press the sides of the dough together and roll it back into a ball. Try not to get any filling trapped in the seams (or the dumpling might explode). Put on a tray and cover with plastic wrap while working on the other dumplings.
  7. Heat oil in a deep-fryer to 180°C. Fry the dumplings in batches until light golden and crisp. Serve hot, with the dipping sauce in a bowl on the side.

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