I mentioned the steamed pork dumplings in this post. It’s our favorite thing to get when we order Chinese take-out, and I wanted to have control over exactly what goes into them and know their nutritional information and point value. Plus our fave Chinese place closed and the new place made a much doughier dumpling. Still good, but not the same. So I found a recipe I thought I could try and the fun began! I've made them four or five times and it gets easier each time.
I was not paying attention at the grocery store and bought a little over a pound of ground pork this time instead of the 1 ¾ pounds that the half a recipe calls for. So here are the amounts I ended up with:
1.2 lbs ground pork
3 cups chopped cabbage
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 ½ tablespoons sesame oil
46 wonton wrappers (I must have overfilled the dumplings a little, half a recipe should make 50 dumplings but I think only being off by 4 is not too shabby.)
I chopped about half a head of cabbage and added to the pork in the mixing bowl. Usually I buy the angel hair coleslaw mix but I went to the store twice and they were out both times. It was fun to practice chopping, and the odds and ends that didn’t make it into the dumplings went into my admittedly eccentric Mystery Broth freezer bag (explained here).
I also enjoy smashing garlic, a hobby which comes in handy when cooking. I mixed it up just for you this time. One garlic clove went into the garlic press.
And the other got my favorite treatment, I laid the flat of a knife on it and then slammed the knife into the garlic clove, smashing it. Then I chopped it, no pictures of the chopping, not as exciting.
I grated a nub of fresh ginger into the mixture. To be honest, it was a nub of frozen ginger. When I buy ginger, I snap it into pieces about the size of the end of my thumb and keep it in the freezer since I don’t use it that often.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix. I use my hands, and yes, it kinda grosses me out. But the end result is worth it.
Prepare your work space by flouring the spot you will be assembling the dumplings and setting a small bowl of water nearby for dipping your fingers when wetting the wonton wrappers.
I recommend laying out the wonton wrappers and spooning in the filling assembly-line style. I lay out as many wonton wrappers as I have space for, then put a little less than a tablespoon of the pork mixture in each one.
The next part I do one at a time. Wet the edges of a dumpling, fold it over into a triangle and press the edges together. I find it’s easiest to press the apex of the triangle together first, then to do the edges while you hold the dumpling. Then if you overfilled it you can poke the filling around to make sure you have clean wonton wrapper edges for sealing.
Here is a handful of dumplings that I have on parchment paper and am about to put in the freezer. We only eat about 15 at one meal so this time I made as many dumplings as I could with the filling and froze the excess dumplings for future, much easier homemade Chinese dinners. In the past I have just frozen the excess dumpling mixture because I didn't have two hours to spare putting together the entire batch.
Steam the dumplings for 20 to 30 minutes. I use a stainless steel steamer basket and non-stick spray. The basket can fit about 8 of them; if they touch they will stick together. Serve with your sauce of choice. I like a combination of equal parts rice vinegar, mirin (a sweet cooking wine or sake), soy sauce and maybe a half teaspoon chili paste per serving.
Some people say to sauté them a little to give them some color. It might make them prettier but I just like them steamed. They are full of flavor and are one of my favorite dinners. I like the dipping sauce as much as I like the dumplings. I was thinking maybe I should marinate some veggies in the sauce and grill or broil them. Or use it as a salad dressing. Currently my go-to salad dressing is a few splashes of rice vinegar and two teaspoons of olive oil. But I digress.
Since the recipe made three times what we will eat, I spread the extra out on trays without cooking them, and froze them. Once they were close to frozen solid I tossed them in a big Ziploc bag.
The next two times we want dumplings, I can steam the frozen ones for about 35 minutes, make the sauce and maybe a salad, and dinner is served!
Now I just need to figure out what to do with the other half of that head of cabbage. Any ideas?