Ding Dong Ditch! That’s what Anna and Vince did with the help of their daughter, Tori. We knew the day their Great 8 invitations would be delivered, but not exactly when. A ding from my phone and here comes the text! “Check your porch.” Anxiously awaiting the theme and my designated dish, I hurried to the door just as Vince and his cohorts sped away!
Chinese New Year! Another theme we haven’t done! How fun is that! And the invitation, playing traditional Chinese music, was hanging in a planter, with a Year of the Monkey puppet holding the menu! Once again…they outdid themselves. Lucky me, I get to make Pork Dumplings! I have always loved dumplings and pot stickers! How did Anna know that? I don’t think she did, but I’m sure glad I got dibs on it! I had always wanted one of those double layer bamboo steamers…now I’ve got an excuse! It’s so fun and easy to use and the steamer totally completes the presentation!
I searched a few recipes and found the perfect one on Epicurious, and it included a little bit of ginger, which I LOVE! Yay! A few ingredients that I had never used or heard of, but were easily found at one of our nearby Chinese markets. The Black Vinegar is pretty intriguing, right? Thank goodness the labels also had some words in English!
Making the filling was really simple, and assembling the dumplings was pretty fun! Since I love crafting, Anna knew exactly what dish to give me to make! “Crafting” with food that’s delicious…even better!
Makes about 60 dumplings.
Adapted from Epicurious.
With your sharpest knife, finely mince the raw pork (unless your butcher has it ground fine enough for you).
Over high heat, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the cabbage halves and blanch to just wilt.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the cabbage from the water and squeeze out any excess liquid. This can be done using a strainer set over a bowl or a clean dish towel.
Then roughly chop the cabbage.
Place grated ginger in a small bowl. Add 2 Tablespoons of water, it should be enough to cover the grated ginger, then let sit for a few minutes. (You will use the ginger infused water and discard the actual ginger.)
Slice scallions in half lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise and include the white, light green, and dark green parts. Then add to the pork.
Strain the ginger infused water onto the pork and with a wooden spoon push on the ginger to squeeze out all the infused juice, then discard the ginger solids.
Mix the soy sauce, cooking wine, sesame oil, salt, and pepper into the pork mixture until well combined.
Then add the chopped cabbage and mix well.
Line a baking sheet with foil. This is where you will place each finished dumpling.
Onto the center of one dumpling wrapper place a heaping tablespoon of the pork filling.
Dip your finger into the small bowl of water then dampen the outer edge of the dumpling wrapper and fold the wrapper over so it becomes a half-moon shape.
Be sure the wrapper is completely sealed so there is no filling oozing out. If the dumpling cannot be sealed because of too much filling, remove the excess. This will ensure that the dumplings remain sealed while cooking.
Then place each dumpling onto the prepared baking sheet. Make sure they aren't touching one another or they will stick together.
Line a Bamboo steamer with a few Napa cabbage leaves that have been misted with cooking spray, (to prevent the dumplings from sticking), both levels if your steamer has two. Add dumplings on top of cabbage leaves.
Place the steamer in a wok shaped pan with an 1-1/2” of simmering water, (or a pan with curved sides). The reason the curved sides or wok work best is because the bottom of the steamer isn’t directly touching the bottom of the pot (only the side to avoid burning. The dumplings are done when the wrappers (“skins”) are translucent
Mix all the sauce ingredients together and serve with the dumplings.
Gr8 Do Ahead Tip:
After the assembly is complete and the dumplings are lined up on the baking sheet, freeze them for a couple of hours. Once frozen, they can be put into a freezer bag and frozen for up to one month.
Recipe adapted from Epicurious