Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Pork & Napa Cabbage Dumplings

So I've never made dumplings at home before! My grandma always kicked us out of the kitchen and wrapped all 1000 of them herself (give or take on the number of dumplings). I've only made wontons before (and it was almost ten years ago), shaping them into "nurse hats" the way my grandma taught me. It's pretty calming and meditative to wrap them too.

The complaint that my mom and brother had with my wontons were that the meat was "too hard" instead of being soft and tender. Looking back, I probably should have added more water to the pork, and some vegetables. My grandma told me her recipe in that classic way - get some pork hind butt meat, make sure there's enough fat, add some ginger and white pepper, make sure you add some water, take four chopsticks and stir clockwise, then wrap your dumplings. SMH.

I scoured the internets to look for a bunch of recipes, then Frankenstein-ed something together. Feel free to change things around but make sure there is a 40% ratio of meat to vegetable and a 5:8 ratio of meat to water (LOL now I sound like my grandma, but with just vague numbers).

I also didn't try to make my own skins, but that's also something you can do if you want. There is a recipe for dumpling skins here. It's definitely easy to buy them (freeze whatever you have left over for the next wrapping session) and keep in mind ... dumpling/potsticker skins are the same (round), wonton skins are different (square).

I need to learn how to pleat dumplings the "gyoza" way ... these were done by M and I thought he would do different than the mash-in-half-then-pleat method haha

Pork & Napa Cabbage Dumplings
Makes approx 35

Napa or regular cabbage
2 tsp sea salt

Chop the cabbage into tiny pieces, like almost-minced. Season with 2 tsp salt and let it sit for 10 minutes to draw out the water. Scrape into a paper towel or into a kitchen towel and then squeeze out all the water possible. Measure the weight and use 40% more ground pork than the amount of cabbage and adjust the measurements below

150 grams dehydrated cabbage
210 grams seasoned ground pork
1/2 tsp sea salt
50-60 milliliters water
Pinch white pepper powder
1/2 tsp white or dark sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp grated ginger
One finely chopped green or spring onion

Mix all ingredients thoroughly together with a spoon. Don't overwork the meat mixture or it will become tough. The vegetables and water should make the meat "soft" for the dumplings. Let the mixture sit for an hour to marry the flavors, then fill and pleat the wrappers in the form you like best.

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