Chinese Pork and Cabbage Dumplings in Chili Oil

April 26th, 2010

Before I met Jeh, I don’t think I ever had this type of Chinese dumplings before. If I had, I don’t remember it and probably only ate it once. When we went to Taiwan with his family in 2005, we stopped by the amazing night markets and I had the most delicious Taiwanese food. One of the most memorable things I ate was Jeh’s dad’s favorite spot for dumplings. It was just a few boiled dumplings in a bowl. That was it. It was unusual for me to eat what looked like a few lonely wontons — wontons which I normally ate with noodle soup. After the first bite, all my concerns melted away. It was delicious! Jeh’s mom also makes some mean dumplings. There’s also a place in Seattle called Fu Man Dumpling House that has the best dumplings in Seattle. Jeh and I usually order the Green Onion Pancake, 12 Boiled dumplings, and 12 pan browned dumplings.  That’s a lot of dumplings, but that’s the whole meal right there. You will come out smelling like Asian food, but it is no doubt worth it.

Through the years, I’ve become more aware of Asian cuisine and with my recent interest in cooking, I was on a search to make some boiled dumplings. I’ve made these for a baby shower and it was a hit, plus Jeh loves this recipe.

Note: This type of dumpling is usually made with the thicker circle dumpling wrappers (not the thinner square wonton wrappers). I only had square wonton wrappers on hand (which makes these more “wonton dumplings”), but I usually just use the circle dumpling wrappers.

Pork and Cabbage Dumplings:
Makes about one and a half packages of wonton wrappers (approx. 76 dumplings)
Prep Time: Approx. 1/2-1 hr
Wrapping Time: Approx. 1 hr 15 min for one person to wrap
Total Time: about 2 hrs 15 min.

Ingredients:

1 lb ground pork
6-8 leaves medium-large Napa cabbage; sliced thin or chopped
4 green onions; sliced
1 tsp fresh ginger; minced
3 tsp minced garlic

2 TBLS soy sauce
4 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp Shaoxing Rice Wine
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 TBLS cornstarch
2 heaping tsp sugar

3 TBLS water (to seal the wrappers)

1.5 packages of square wonton wrappers or circle dumpling wrappers (should contain around 45-50 per package)

Directions:

**DEFROST FROZEN WRAPPERS OVERNIGHT (alternatively: defrost in the fridge for a couple of hours – recommended. Or defrost at room temp for 45 min-1 hr.)

1) Combine raw pork, cabbage & green onions. Use a fork to mash and stir to combine.

2) Combine in separate bowl the rest of the ingredients. Pour this mixture over the meat mixture and stir to fully incorporate. (Optional Taste Test: sauté a small portion in a skillet until cooked through and adjust seasoning as needed.)

3) Keep the wrappers and filled dumplings covered with a damp cloth/paper towel to prevent the dough from drying out and cracking. They will crack and have holes as you fold the dumplings if not properly covered.

Round Dumpling/Gyoza Wrappers: Place some filling in center (do not overfill). LIGHTLY dip your finger in cold water and wet the top half of the circle. Fold in half and press to seal. Be sure to press out as much air as possible.

Square Wonton wrappers: Place some filling in center (do not overfill). LIGHTLY dip your finger in cold water and wet the top edge and wet half-way on the 2 side edges. Fold in half to make a rectangle (press as much air out as possible). Fold the top lip down, and pull the two edges together. Wet just one corner and press ends together to seal. You can fold this any way you want, if this is way too complicated.

4) When all dumplings are assembled, you can cook immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to several hours (same day) or freeze for a longer period of time. If freezing, place in a single layer on a plate so they are not touching each other. Allow to fully freeze, then gather them up and store in a freezer safe container or ziplock bag. Repeat for all dumplings. If they are touching each other while freezing, they will stick together and you will have a big lump of 70 dumplings.

To Boil FRESH dumplings:  Bring a large pot of water to boil. Once boiling, gently slide in the dumplings (don’t overcrowd). When water returns to a boil, turn heat to a simmer and gently cook for 6-8 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and repeat with remaining dumplings.

To Boil FROZEN dumplings: Boil for 10-13 min. If you want, you can cut one in half to check it’s cooked through.

Serve with hot chili oil.

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