If you’re going to embark on making Asian dumplings, one of the most important tools to have is a skinny light rolling pin. Don’t think you can use a regular Western pastry rolling pin to roll out dumpling wrappers for Japanese gyoza, Shanghai soup dumplings, Tibetan momos and Indian samosas. It’s really cumbersome to use a large rolling pin to individually form thin 3 inch round wrappers. Take a look at the video for how to roll out Asian dumpling wrappers to see the skinny rolling pin in action. The Asian rolling pins are nothing but a 12-inch length of wooden dowel. They’re sold at many Chinese house ware and restaurant supply shops for about $3 each. But you don’t need to venture to one of those shops to get one. Make the rolling pin yourself.
I just made a dozen (12) Asian dowel rolling pins for my teaching needs. Why do I need a dozen? Many places where I teach have typical rolling pins for French pastries and Italian pasta and food processors and heavy duty mixers, but no skinny rolling pins. So this week, in preparation for teaching an Asian Dumplings workshop at the Institute for Culinary Education in New York, I headed to my local hardware/home improvement store and buying 3/4-inch wooden dowels. Each $2.59 dowel was 48-inches long so I could get 4 rolling pins from each. What a deal! Maybe I can go into business?!
When selecting the dowel, I made sure to check that the dowel was straight. A bent dowel won’t roll dough well. Most dowels are made from hardwood, which is important to ensure that they last for a long time. I don’t know if this matters but I selected dowels that displayed a tight grain at their cut ends; I figured that they may be more solid but only time will tell.
Out the door, the dozen rolling pins cost less than $10. I’m at the airport right now waiting for the red-eye to New York. The class is sold out and I’m ready with my rolling pins – arguably the most important item in an Asian dumpling battery of equipment.
You don’t need that many but with a set of 4 Asian dowel rolling pins (that’s one 48-inch dowel!), you can have one hell of an Asian dumpling party.