28 July 2016
This week in Knidos Cookery Club we’re cooking with steam. A few years back the Knidos Cookery Club kitchen inherited a dumpling steamer which has remained unused as expertise from the East was awaited.
This week, two guest chefs have landed in the Knidos kitchen to provide a masterclass in steam dumplingology. The dumpling has taken many forms in its journey westwards for China, but the basic combo of filled dough and boiling water has remained constant.
In Central Asia, manti are steamed in a special pan, as in China. In Russia,Ukraine and Georgia, pelmeni, vareniki and khinkali are cooked in boiling water, like their Italian cousin ravioli and Turkey’s scaled-down take on manti.
Sticking with our vegetarian vibe, our guest chefs prepared some veggie-friendly versions of this usually meat-heavy treat. The version they cooked up was a large rolled dumpling known as orama in Uzbek and Kazakh (orama means ‘roll’).
The first step was to make the dough and, while this was resting, the veggies were chopped up. The filling is cooked by steam so there’s no need to pre-cook the veggies. for the meaty version, use chopped mince (meat according to your taste and desire), sliced onions and grated potato as a filling.
Ingredients (for around 10 orama)
For the dough:
500 g flour (we used wholemeal for a thicker dough)
200 ml water
25 ml olive oil
For the filling:
Two medium-sized potatoes grated
Two medium-sized carrots grated
One onion finely sliced
One medium-sized aubergine cubed
100 g mixed fresh herbs (parsley, mint, basil, dill)
100 g spinach or rocket
Pinches of salt and pepper for seasoning
For the dough: Pour the flour into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour and crack the egg in. Slowly add the water and mix thoroughly. knead the dough until it goes spongy. Allow it to rest for 30 minutes or so.
For the filling: Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.
Ready to roll: Now take a golf-ball sized lump of dough and roll it out on a floured surface with a rolling pin. Keep on rolling it as thin as you can (until it starts to break up). Brush the inside with olive oil, pile filling on top and roll into a crescent shape. Place on the steamer tray, which has been greased with olive oil to prevent the dumplings from sticking.
Ready to steam: Fill the bottom of the dumpling steamer around one-third full with water and bring to the boil. Place the steamer trays on top of each other, put the lid on and steam over a low to medium heat, maintaining a rolling boil, for 45 minutes or so.