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Chinatown Dumpling Crawl:Nan Zhou v. Prosperity - plus how best to cook Prosperity takehome frozen dumplings? [moved from Manhattan]

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Went on a Chinatown dumpling crawl today. The dumplings are both excellent but slightly preferred Prosperity due to its even brown crust vs. less "crunch" at Nan Zhou. Nan Zhou, however, is a more comfortable experience with more elbow room and seats at a table. Both had thin, delicate dough and deep flavor in the pork/leek filling. They made the pulled noodles on a table in the dining area right in front of customers and the sight of the production was probably worth more alone than the cost of the dumplings - still the best value in Manhattan.... Then went to Super Taste and had their steamed dumplings (amazingly, almost as much flavor despite not being fried) and spicy broth beef noodle soup. Hard to go wrong here, and a real fun time. Anybody know how best to cook and re-create the crust on these frozen take-home dumplings?

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  1. I can tell you how to not do it. Don't steam the dumplings (not steaming per se, but throwing a thin layer of water into the frying pan) first. I did that and the skins broke and the liquids came out. Try throwing them straight from the freezer into the frying pan. They brown pretty nicely in the oil. The trick is getting them soft enough and I guess that entails throwing in the right amount of water at the right time after they've been browned.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chandavkl

      in my experience, the best way to do it is cook in hot oil for a few minutes without moving, then throw in some water (not too much, 14/-1/2 cup depending on the size of the pan) and cover it, allow them to steam/cook for 5-10 minutes (until they're done), then take the cover off, keep cooking for a couple minutes so the water boils away, and you should be good to go with crispy dumplings not sticking to the pan at all.

    2. i make my own dumpling from scratch and I also buy raw/fresh ones from Vanessa's ot take home and cook....For both, I boil and then pan fry.....Perfectly crispy...NEVER FAILS!

      1. I've been experimenting with cooking both my own homemade frozen dumplings and Prosperity's frozen dumplings and have had more success boiling and then pan frying than I have steaming and then pan frying.

        I haven't tried adam's method. Sounds promising; I'll have to try that. Come back and tell us if you find a method that works for you.

        1. Couple of ways, depending on how you like them:

          1. boil, then pan fry
          2. pan fry directly from freezer
          3. deep-fry them!

          1. I've always used a pan-fried +pan steam technique.

            If you happen to have an electric skillet, read this thread
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/487864

            If you're using a stainless steel (All Clad, for example): heat the pan up thoroughly til water-drop test form dancing beads, add oil to cover the bottom of pan, and quickly arrange the dumplings to be evenly spaced and each taking a spot on the hot pan surface, from which you will not move until the end. The condition should be hot enough that the dumplings will make loud noise as you put them into the pan, so that when all are arranged on the pan, you can then pour enough water to come up to half of the depth of the dumplings, at which point the water would be immediately boiling. If so, then you can cover the pan, turn down the heat until you just hear a murmur. Be patient and keep it covered until they've run out of things to say to each other. All the water should have been absorbed by now, as the silence also indicate that the crust has formed. Turn off the heat, leave covered for 30 seconds, then turn onto serving dish. If all went accordingly, you should be able to flip them upside down into a plate as one, united by the common crust formed at the bottom.

            I would prefer to time it right so that the water can be cooked off while still covered, as opposed to opening the lid and letting the water boil off because it might overcook the wrapper and cause breaking of the dumplings.

            Also, I like the skin that comes in contact with dry heat, then hot oil, then moisture (in that order) instead of moisture first and then oil. It's a different taste.

            2 Replies
            1. re: HLing

              Thank you, HLing and adam. Tried your method this afternoon and even though I kinda loused it up the first time around, I can now see how it’s supposed to work. I added too much water so it took too long to come to a boil. And then, trying to boil it off quickly, I let the bottom of most of the dumplings get too browned. Okay. Almost burnt. But a few of them were borderline perfect. Love this method not only because it works, but it’s one less pan to clean. I’m doing it this way from now on.

              1. re: JoanN

                you're welcome, JoanN. By the way, if you realized that there's too much water, and the dumplings are already pretty close to being cooked, you can pour some water off and let the rest dry off quicker. Happy eating!