Cooking dumplings with Brendan Pang & finding Naturally Nurtured Australia
Updated: Jan 3
What if your produce could deliver up to 600% more vitamin and mineral richness?
What if you can be certain of the taste, security, safety, and the fantastic health benefits of your foods?
Do you want your foods to come from farms that work towards a positive climate difference and a great rehabilitation of our ecosystem?
These are great questions from the Naturally Nurtured Australia (NNA) website www.naturallynurturedaustralia.com.au. The answer is “yes, of course”. Never having heard of NNA I attended a NNA free dumpling making course in Perth, with Brendan Pang as the guest chef.
Bookings for these classes can be made on the NNA website. They book out quickly.
NNA is a new category of food from local Western Australia regenerative farmers nurtured in pristine landscape of Western Australia and sent fresh to customers. Samples of farm fresh strawberries, plums, nectarines and peaches were given out during the course and they were bursting with flavour. Gary Dimasi, a farmer at the event, had said they would be, and the proof was in the tasting. Not only were they delicious, they are also free from dangerous chemicals and heavy metals. A real win-win. These foods are not classed as organic as it is a new food category.
My first thought was “where can you buy these products?” and my second was “Is it a lot more expensive that buying at a supermarket?”
Through their website www.naturallynurtured.com.au. Their products are currently shipped to homes in Perth area free of charge on Saturday mornings. The prices on their website are comparative to the chain stores. Some are even cheaper. The “wonky” products aren’t as picture perfect on the outside as pristine fruit and veges, but they are great tasting and nutritious and that is more important to me than a few dark spots on the skin of a banana. For example, today an avocado is selling in a supermarket for $3.99, and on the NNA website for $3.00. Keep in mind, the free delivery as well.
Getting back to the dumplings. Having never made one before and loving to cook, I was thrilled to be learning something new.
Everyone was able to watch the instructions from Brendan and then prepare their own. We made Sichuan Goat Dumplings. Goat?? Yes. Goat meat has a different taste than beef, is leaner and has more iron that beef. This is a meat I had never tried before, and being adventurous, I was pleased with the taste. Imagine the smells of soy sauce, ginger, Sichuan peppercorn powder, spring onions, chilli oil, vegetable oil and Shaoxing wine all blended with the goat mince.
Next we were shown how to hold the dumpling wrappers and fold the little parcels of pleasure. We also made a black vinegar and Tamari dipping sauce that complimented the dumplings.
They were boiled for us, and I took some of the extra prepared ones home to try in my air fryer. They were delicious. Dumplings can also be deep fried, shallow pan fried or oven baked.
Being able to make our own, not just watch someone demonstrate, inspired in me the confidence and desire to try them making them again at home. I had always thought it would be difficult to make, but in fact it was very simple and looked amazing. They can be made in large batches and frozen in multiple amounts to be later cooked when required.
Thoughts of other fillings to be tried started to ruminate in my mind; chicken, pork, mushroom, truffle, prawn, veges… The options are vast.
Staying on for a second demonstration, Brendan demonstrated how to make stir-fried spicy Chinese sweet potatoes and Sue from NNA has already prepared a traditional German Christmas Roast of NNA grass fed beef. Tasting both these dishes was almost compulsory afterwards.
I had a chance to chat with Brendan Pang after the course. Brendan is of Chinese-Mauritius descent and owns Bumplings at 1 James Street, Fremantle. www.bumplings.com.au where they sell his dumplings. Not only is he an accomplished cook, Brendan has been a contestant on the TV show Masterchef. Twice! He placed 9th in 2018 and 8th in 2020. This is a fantastic achievement for a 27 year old. Add to this he is a published author of This is a book about dumplings. Available through his website www.brendanpang.com.au or at good bookstores such as Dymocks. The recipes in the book guide you through making pastry from scratch, rice dishes and of course dumplings.
Brendan said he loves his work, as every day is different. He also supervises 10 staff, conducts lots of demonstrations, cooking schools and workshops. Did I mention he was only 27? I want to adopt this accomplished and friendly young man. Brendan is obsessed with the Italian movement of anti-pasto at the moment and said that if he could request a last meal, it would be dim sum – one of everything. When not working Brendan enjoys wine bars, catching up with friends and travelling around Western Australia.
When you are in Western Australia, try buying some of the produce from NNA and testing the difference for yourself. Also, check out Brendan’s websites and products. Then attend one of these cooking demonstrations and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.