Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Chinese Dumplings (Pork & Cabbage)

Dumplings must be one of the most diverse foods in the world, and is found in almost every cuisine - Asian, Middle Eastern, South American, African, European and North American. The variations between each cuisine could be far and wide, but dumplings are basically cooked balls of dough. They could be flour, potato or bread based, and could also be sweet or savory.

Today, I'll be making Chinese pork and cabbage dumplings. Forgive me for giving it such a general name, but personally, I don't quite know the difference between a wonton (Chinese), jiaozi (Chinese), potsticker (Westerners), gyoza (Japanese) or mandou (Korean), other than they are basically the same thing - meat wrapped in dough - in different languages.

The beautiful thing about making dumplings is that anything can go in it. Today, I'm making pork and cabbage dumplings, but it could also be pork, cabbage and black fungus, or pork and leek, or pork and water chestnuts, and the list is endless [also realized, I haven't even started with shrimp, chicken, beef and other meats yet!]

Recipe: Chinese Dumplings (Pork & Cabbage)

2 cups white flour
1/2 cup water

1/2 pound ground pork
3 leaves of napa cabbage (finely cut)
1/2 tablespoon chinese cooking wine
1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 tablespoon light soya sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 clove of garlic (minced)
white pepper powder

finely cut ginger
black vinegar


Add water to the flour, mix and knead for 20 to 25 minutes. The dough will start out flaky, but it will eventually get soft. Cover the dough with a wet towel and set aside.

Add the napa cabbage, chinese cooking wine, oyster sauce, light soya sauce, sesame wine, white pepper powder and garlic to the ground pork and mix.

To prepare the skin, divide the dough into four equal balls. Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough until it is approximately 1/16" in thickness. Using a knife, cut 3"x 3" squares out of the dough. Put a small spoonful of filling into the center of the skin, and fold it in half, making a small triangle, and seal it up tightly by pressing both sides of the skin together. Then, fold the left and right edges of the triangle together.

To cook the dumpling, heat up a pot of water until it boils. Drop the dumplings into the boiling water. As soon as the dumplings start to float, dish them out onto a serving plate.

Serve with black vinegar and ginger. 

dumplings in soup with napa cabbage, served with rice balls (bears)

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