I just love this recipe, and I have to tell you, I am not sure why I made it in the first place, because I was absolutely sure it was going to be a disaster. But I found the recipe on the Steamy Kitchen blog (quick aside: Steamy Kitchen is a fabulous recipe site, written and photographed by the even more fabulous Jaden Hair. Jaden is one of those rock star food bloggers with a television show and a huge blog and a cookbook…and she still took the time to visit my little blog when it was in its toddler stages and leave me an encouraging comment that made me think — hey, maybe I can actually DO this. Jaden, you rock, and I hope everyone in the USA buys your new cookbook.)
Anyway, Jaden made these dumplings look so good and sound so easy that I put them on the menu and got the ingredients. And scheduled them for a weekday dinner. And then got home on that weeknight and thought to myself — am I NUTS?? The recipe made 50 of them, and I could just see myself making dumplings into the wee hours of the morning and then watching them all self-destruct as I put them into the boiling water.
So I enlisted the helpful Southern husband, figuring it would be comforting to share the blame when everything went South (went South…Southern husband…get it?? I crack myself up!) and we got down to it. And you know what? 15 minutes later we had 50 adorable looking little pork dumplings. I held my breath and lowered them into the boiling water, and 6 minutes later we had the most perfect little cooked dumplings. Not a single one fell apart. I popped them onto plates with a puddle of Sweet Ginger Chili sauce (see link below) and they were as light and tender and delicious as can be.
I got this fabulous sauce at Fairway (natch!) but you can order it online and I promise you won’t be sorry.Anyway, thank you to the amazing Jaden for this recipe, and go check out her website AND her great new cookbook:
- 12 ounces napa cabbage leaves, roughly chopped (or regular cabbage)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or ½ teaspoon table salt)
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (use microplane grater)
- ¼ cup minced Chinese chives or green onions (white and green parts)
- ⅔ pound ground pork
- ⅛ teaspoon ground white pepper (or freshly ground black pepper)
- 1½ tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 package frozen round dumpling wrappers (gyoza/potsticker wrappers), defrosted at room temperature for 30 minutes
- for the slurry: 1 tablespoon cornstarch + ½ cup water
- To make the filling, put the cabbage in a food processor and process until cabbage is finely minced. Remove the cabbage to a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Let cabbage sit for 10 minutes. In the meantime, return the food processor bowl to the stand and add the ginger, chives, pork, pepper, soy sauce, rice wine and sesame oil. Pulse 4 times to mix the ingredients well. Set aside.
- Use your hands to grab a handful of the cabbage and squeeze and discard the excess moisture out into the sink. You can also spoon all of the cabbage onto a cheesecloth and then squeeze all the water out. Place the dry cabbage back into the large bowl and add the pork mixture. Fold the cabbage into the pork mixture.
- Mix together the slurry. Take one dumpling wrapper, spoon scant 1 tablespoon of the pork mixture onto the middle of the wrapper. Dip one finger into the slurry and “paint” the edges of the dumpling wrapper. Bring up the bottom side of the wrapper, fold up and press to shape into a half-moon shape, encasing all of the filling. Place on baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap and repeat with rest of dumplings. Make sure that the dumplings do not touch each other on the sheet.
- 4 When all dumplings assembled, you can cook immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to several hours. To cook, half-fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. When boiling, and gently slide in ⅓ of the dumplings. 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. Serve with hot chili sauce.