Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Frozen Dumplings At The H Mart
The H Mart in Catonsville sells an entire aisle of frozen dumplings -- pork and vegetable, Korean and Japanese, a half-dozen different shapes. They're one of my staples because I can pop a dozen in a pan and make a meal with a vegetable on the side. Right from the freezer. Browned in oil and dipped in a mix of two parts rice vinegar, one part soy sauce and some grated ginger.
The problem is that I can't remember which dumplings I want. I finish a bag. I throw the bag away, and then I go to H Mart where I stand at the freezer and try to remember my brand. What was the shape of the dumpling? What was the name? Almost all the writing is in Korean. Or Chinese. Or at least it is in writing that I don't recognize.
I know my recent favorites have disappeared. They were thin triangles and came in a couple different fillings. But I can't find them anymore. Keith and I were emailing about that last week. He and his wife used to love the pork pot stickers with cartoon pigs on the front. Now, the pigs are gone. Inspired by Keith, we stopped by the H Mart again this weekend, and I picked up two bags. Those triangles are still missing. I bought a bag of Han Reum brand vegetable dumplings. They're old staples folded into a round shape. I also bought Pulmuone brand rectacular dumplings stuffed with leek and noodles. They're new to me -- being sampled in the H Mart aisle as we went past.
They're both pretty good. Let's be honest: These aren't health food. They're all pretty salty, and I brown them in a little oil. I buy vegetarian in some delusion that they're healthier, but I admit that it's not really different from reheating pigs in a blanket. Any suggestions for really delicious dumplings? Any meat suggestions? Any ways to distinguish between the shapes, the different countries?
(Update: Check out the comments below for some suggestions at Costco. And check out Shari's blog for a review of a Maggi dipping sauce.)
Two years ago, I wrote up "10 Easy Pickups" for people who want to shop at the H Mart but want convenience food, not the basics for cooking. The frozen dumplings are are top ten item. But even better than the frozen dumplings are the ones that you could cook your own from Andrea Nguyen's book Asian Dumplings.