This dumpling is a very popular snack in Vietnam. We usually call it “Pillow dumpling” (Bánh gối) because when shaped as a half circle with the pleated edges it resembles a pillow, some people also call it “Folding dumpling” (Bánh xếp) due to the way we shape and fold the pleated edges, and it also has the name “Handle dumpling” (Bánh quai vạc) since it looks like the handle of an ancient bronze cauldron. I didn’t have a chance to taste this dumpling in Vietnam, since I wasn’t allowed to have allowance when I was a kid due to my mom’s fear of me eating some bad street food and have food poisoning.
When I started doing my study in France, one of my flat mates sells her handmade Fried breadstick (Youtiao) and other Vietnamese food, and that was when I had a chance to taste Crispy dumpling and immediately fell in love with the dish. However since she has to wait for her brother to send the dumpling skin to her from Vietnam, and she also moved after a few months, I didn’t have a lot of chances to eat it often.
The last few days in Paris was a bit cold and rainy, which makes me crave or this dish. So into the kitchen I went. The recipe for the dumpling skin is easy enough, and my dumplings were perfectly crunchy, they stayed crunchy even long after they have cooled down. Having one of these dumplings dipped in light dipping sauce during the cold winter is, for me, the best feeling in the world! I adapted the recipe for the skin from several sources, and I added tumeric powder and oil to give the skin a bit extra taste and color. For the filling, beside the traditional minced pork, glass noodles and black fungus, I also added fried shallot and a quail eggs
Công thức tiếng Việt: Bánh gối
* Ingredients (for 8 dumplings, each dumpling skin weights approximately 25g)
A. The dumpling skin
- 120g all-purpose flour
- A pinch of salt
- 1tsp tumeric powder
- 1tbsp vegetable oil (not olive oil)
100ml50ml of water (the amount of water will vary depend on the absorption of your flour)
B. The filling
- 150g minced pork
- 5g black fungus/cloud ear fungus, soaked in warm water
- 25g glass noodles, soaked in cold water
- 8 quail eggs
- 2tbsp fried shallots (optional)
- Salt, sugar, pepper, fish sauce
A. The dumpling skin
1. In the mixing bowl mix the flour, salt and garlic powder. Pour in the oil, add water into the mixture and knead a bit.
one bit at a time, knead the dough after each addition. Knead until it forms a smooth ball that doesn’t stick to your fingers, you may not have to use all the water in the recipe.
After doing this dish a few more times, I find it best to reduce the water to 50ml and incorporate all into the flour. The dough will feel very dry, but will absorb water and become more pliable after resting.
2. Cover the bowl with cling film and let the dough rest for half an hour.
B. The filling
1. Boil the quail eggs until hard boiled, then peel and cut in half. Chop the softened fungus into small pieces. Cut the softened glass noodles into 1cm-long pieces.
2. In a mixing bowl, marinate the minced pork with salt, sugar, pepper and fish sauce to taste. You can cook a small amount in the microwave to have a taste test and adjust the spices. Let it sit for about 10 minutes.
3. Heat up the oil in a shallow pan, when the oil is hot enough (a chopstick inserted into the oil will sizzle and have bubbles around it), add the meat and stir-fry it. When the meat is 80% cooked, add the fungus and the glass noodles, stir for an additional 2-3 minutes and take off the heat, then mix in the fried shallots
Photo: making the dough and stir-frying the filling
C. Assembling and frying the dumpling
1. Take the dough out of the mixing bowl and give it a few kneads. Add more flour or water if your dough is too wet or too dry to handle. Divide the dough into 8 parts.
2. Use the rolling pin to flatten the dough into 1mm thin sheet, roll the piece of dough into a circle with approximately 10-15cm diameter. Scoop the filling in half of the circle. Brush some water on the edge of the half that has the filling. Pull up the other half and close it, twisting the edge to seal like in the photo.
Photo: shaping the dumplings
3. In a deep fry pan, heat up a generous amount of oil on medium heat (the oil has to be enough so that at least half of the dumpling is submerged). When the oil is hot enough (do the chopstick test like you did with the filling), drop the dumplings in and deep fry until golden brown. Remove and put them on a sheet of paper tower to get rid of the excess oil. Serve with fresh veggie and light dipping fish sauce. You can read more about making the dipping sauce here.
– Beside manually shaping the dumpling, you can also use turnover molds to make the dumplings more uniform. In this picture I used a 17cm x 9cm heart-shaped turnover mold.
– Don’t put the dumplíng on high heat. If the oil is too hot, the outside of the skin will be fried too quickly while the inside remains soft and chewy, thus your dumpling will not stay crunchy for long.
– Try to make sure that there is no gap between the edges of your dumpling, as this can lead to the filling absorbing the oil and will make the dumpling too oily when served, and if the dumpling is left for a long time, the excess oil will also make the skin lose its crunch.