Our thoughts immediately went to the little snacks that we love to order in Chinese restaurants, and certainly many people have already tasted them during gourmet walks in Asia. We call them Jiaozi, but in our country we often call them dumplings or Chinese žlikrofi.
Jasmina looked for ways to bring us closer to these ravioli-like dumplings and convince us that it’s actually something incredibly simple, tasty and healthy: “It’s far from being a complicated dish . The dough is quite similar to our drawn, as it consists only of flour and water. The secret is in the water, because it needs to be just the right temperature, around 50 degrees, for the dough to have the right structure, knead well, spread and keep the shape of the donuts.”
In Asia, various techniques for rolling and wrapping donuts are traditionally used, and Jasmina prefers to prepare them in the simplest way. “I roll out the dough as thin as possible or about 2mm thick and cut out circles with a donut template. I knead and roll out the remaining dough and repeat the process.”
When designing, the first and second donuts may not be the prettiest, but your hands quickly get used to them and all of a sudden the plate will be full of cute and fun Asian donuts that you won’t be able to see.
They are usually stuffed with vegetables, meat or seafood. This time we decided to make a sort of vegetable base, but we can always add meat or fish ingredients to achieve the most flavor combinations. more diverse. Jasmina used bok choi (a type of Chinese cabbage), which you can also substitute with chard to taste, opt for kale, spinach or cabbage, as we think you won’t really find it in every regions of Slovenia. “We get it in big stores or at the market in Ljubljana, but we can also easily grow it in the garden. I thrive in a pot on the balcony,” suggests Jasmina.
Traditionally, Asian žlikrofi are steamed or fried in a pan. In the latter, a crispy baked crust forms on one side, followed by a soft core when bitten. “Overseas, these baked snacks are called ‘potstickers’. Although you may find the preparation a little long it’s not like that, the dumplings are ready or baked in minutes and are truly divine and best when bitten straight away, with a simple but very tasty.
“I don’t recommend storing raw prepared žlikrofi in the refrigerator, as the humidity soaks the dough too much: we prefer to freeze them immediately. The easiest way to do this is to stack them on a floured plate, far enough apart that they don’t touch each other, then dust them with flour and place them on a plate in the freezer. When they are completely frozen, place them on a plate in a plastic bag and leave them in the freezer until use. The dough cutting template should not be less than 10 cm in diameter, otherwise it will be very difficult to make beautiful, well-filled donuts. »
With the help of Jasmina, you will make about 16 beautiful dumplings from these ingredients and they will serve as an appetizer. If you want them to become a complete meal, double the amounts. It will run out either way though.
- 150 g plain flour
- 90-95ml water (boil then cool slightly)
- 50 g vegetables (bok choi or Swiss chard, can also be kale, cabbage)
- 1 spring onion (white part for garnish, green part for decoration)
- half a tablespoon of chopped chives
- medium carrot
- teaspoon grated or finely chopped fresh ginger
- a teaspoon of minced garlic
- a teaspoon of soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame paste (tahini)
- a teaspoon of breadcrumbs
- salt pepper
- vegetable oil, water
- black sesame
- young onion
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- teaspoon of sesame oil
- ginger (thinly sliced)
- teaspoon of honey or maple syrup
- chilli (dry seeds) to taste
1. Prepare the dough: boil water and let it cool for a few minutes at around 50 degrees. Shake the flour in a bowl, make a hole in the middle, pour the water into the hole and mix everything with a fork so that the dough starts to stick. Place it on a lightly floured work surface and knead it into a loaf (knead for about 3 minutes). Wrap the bread in cling film and let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
2. Prepare the filling: wash the vegetables and prepare a medium-sized bowl. Cut or chop the green vegetables as finely as possible, grate the carrots, chop or very finely grate the ginger and garlic and shake everything in a bowl.
3. Add soy sauce, tahini and breadcrumbs and add a little salt (be careful, as soy sauce is already quite salty) and pepper to taste.
4. Mix everything well to combine the ingredients well.
5. Divide the prepared dough into two pieces. Wrap one back in aluminum foil, roll out the other on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 2 mm and cut out circles with a template (for donuts) with a diameter of 10 cm. Cover them with a towel.
6. Next, start filling and rolling each one: put a spoonful of filling in the middle of the circle, hold the dough in your hands and fold it into a semicircle, then use your left thumb to hold the middle of the dough and make 3 tabs on each side with your right hand (thumb) or the frills, press both sides of the dough together well and place the donut on the work surface with the filling down so that the glued part is held together upright. Cover with a tea towel. Repeat the process with another piece of dough.
7. When all the donuts are ready, heat the pan well and add a tablespoon or two of oil. Place the donuts in a skillet with the filling side down so that they are not touching, and cook them for about 2 minutes until the bottom is golden brown.
8. Then add water, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan, cover with a lid and leave for 4 minutes for the water to evaporate and the donuts to steam. Then uncover them and leave them for another minute or so so they are nicely crispy underneath.
9. Place the donuts on a plate, sprinkle with the minced spring onion and sesame seeds and serve with a spread for which all the ingredients are simply mixed together.
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Photos and video: Sonja Ravbar