Tutorial: Mongolian Dumplings (Buuz)On May 24, 2012 Dinner | Recipes 14 Comments Tags: Dinner, Recipes
Ask and you shall receive! (You just have to be patient for a few months sometimes!) You asked for a recipe for traditional dumplings. I hereby present not just a recipe, but a tutorial!
Buuz are super fun and really delicious. But, I’ll just be completely up front here: there’s a learning curve. It has taken me quite a while to really get the technique. It’s been a long and delicious journey.
When I moved to Mongolia I wanted to learn to make Mongolian food. My friend, Ariunaa, who started out working for me, never used a recipe. She made buuz the way her mother made buuz, who made buuz her mother made buuz, who made buuz the way her mother….well, you get the idea. I soon realized that this was the case for every Mongolian woman. My mother-in-law who makes mouth-wateringly phenomenal buuz never used a recipe. How was an American girl to learn?!
Trial and error, baby. Learn by doing.
BUT, we lived in Mongolia where Ariunaa or my mother-in-law were only too happy to make Mongolian food for me. So, I didn’t really learn until we moved to the States four years later and my husband got so homesick and needed some native food!
FOR THE DOUGH YOU’LL NEED:
5 cups flour
Approximately 2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
FOR THE FILLING YOU’LL NEED:
2 pounds ground meat (beef or sheep)
(Use the highest fat content you can find, which is usually 80/20.)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup finely chopped cabbage
1/4 – 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
If you are tempted to add other stuff to your dumplings go right ahead. Just don’t tell my husband. He’s a purist when it comes to his native food. One time I added some cumin and jalapenos to them as a joke and I still haven’t heard the end of it.
Place all the dough ingredients in a bowl and start mixing it with your hands. It will be stiff. This is normal. The dough must not be even a little bit sticky. If you need more water, add it very cautiously. You may have to play back and forth between the flour and water additions until you get it just so.
When it has basically come together, place it on the board and cover it with the bowl and let it rest. This is really important. The gluten has to relax or you’ll never get it smooth–unless kneading bread is your superpower. I let it rest for 20-30 minutes.
Then you’ll knead it until smooth.
It will be so smooth and stiff that when you poke it with your finger the impression will remain.
Cover it with the bowl again so it won’t dry out. Now you get the filling ready.Mix all your filling ingredients with your hands until everything is evenly combined.
Now comes the tricky part: You must rolled out the dumplings, fill them, and pinch them closed. Here’s where this recipe truly becomes a tutorial. You can do this! We believe in you!Cut off a piece of the dough and make a rope about twice the thickness of your thumb. Unless you have a chubby thumb, then just the size of your thumb. 🙂 Keep the rest of the dough covered. Then cut the dough into about one inch pieces.
Using a rolling pin (you can steal a round block from your kids toys) roll it out very thin. If you made your dough thick enough this will NOT stick to the rolling pin at all so there is usually no need to oil or flour the pin or board.
Place a spoonful of filling in the middle of the round piece of dough and cradle it in your hand.
Holding it in your right hand, use your left hand to make the first pinch. Really pinch it closed so that the inside steams and the juices don’t flow out.Now you advance your fingers just a bit, fold over some of the wrapper and pinch it again. Now you repeat that on the other side. Advance a bit, adding a new piece of the wrapper to the original pinch. Pinch it closed.
Once you have all your buuz prepped, you get your steamer ready. This is our steamer:
Yours will most likely be closer to this size:
Place lots of water in the bottom and oil the grates.
Steam for 20-25 minutes.
Open the top with caution as the steam can burn you! Fan the hot buuz with a towel so that they dry a bit. Remove carefully and enjoy piping hot!
There ya go! A tutorial for Mongolian buuz! If any of our adventurous readers try it, we’d LOVE to hear how it goes! (I make these about once a week. Yep. I’m practically a Mongolian now.)
(Linked to Tasty Traditions)