I have fond memories of a little J enjoying her first dumpling. She looked so surprised when she found tasty soup inside the thin wrappers and she cutely asked for more. It’s so pleasing to see this kiwi-born kid enjoying Asian cuisine as much as good o’ fish and chips.
Her favourite dumplings are pork and chinese cabbage filled. They require an extra step than their Pork and Chives cousin (check out that post and see how sweet J looks when she was a little younger).
Here, the Wong Bok (Chinese Cabbage) needs to be sliced, salted to draw moisture out. I let the cabbage sit in a sieve over a large bowl and squeeze as much water out of them as I can. It will look like there is a huge amount of cabbage, don’t worry, it does reduce drastically in volume after salting and a whole cabbage can indeed go into making 120 dumplings.
They are the perfect partner to beautiful pork mince, as their flavour is more neutral than chives, providing a clean tasting match. You also won’t feel the need to brush your teeth and gargle with mouthwash three times after eating them.
J and I enjoy this time together, wrapping the little parcels. Below are photos with her showing you how the pleating is done (scroll to the bottom for the recipe itself) or watch my viral-ish dumpling making reel.
They are perfect for freezing (on a tray, dusted with a bit of flour); boiling, steaming and pan frying. I have included two cooking methods in the recipe below. Now, time to roll up your sleeves and get ready to wrap!
Pork and Chinese Cabbage filling
- 1kg lean pork mince
- 1 large Chinese Cabbage (Wong Bok)
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp chicken stock powder
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 4 tbsp shao xhing wine (or sherry)
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 3 tbsp corn starch or potato starch
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 packet of dumpling wrappers (120 pcs), these can be round or square shape. (Another post coming later with a recipe for the wrappers.)
- Small bowl of water, for sealing
- Extra flour, for dusting
- Wash cabbage leaves and slice finely. Sprinkle 3 teaspoons of salt over the cabbage and set it aside for 15 minutes.
- Transfer the cabbage to a sieve over a large bowl to drain. Press and squeeze as much water out of the cabbage as you can. Discard liquid. Mix cabbage with all of the filling ingredients together and let it marinate for 20 minutes.
- In the mean time, take the dumpling wrappers out of the fridge and let it return to room temperature before starting to make the dumpling. They are more pliable i.e. if you are greedy you can fit more into each dumpling.
- Take a little spoonful of filling and place it in the middle of the wrapper.
- Dip your finger into the bowl of water and wet the edge of the wrapper.
- Fold the wrapper over the filling, forming a moon shape.
- Hold the dumpling in your left hand, like holding a taco.
- With your right index and middle fingers, flex the dough towards the left to form one pleat.
- Press the dough down together against your left thumb, which is just supporting the other side of the dumpling.
- Repeat 5 times. (There’s a short video on my Insta stories, under Recipes – Salty and now, in 2022, a reel!)
- For boiled dumplings: Fill half of a large pot or saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. (note not to fill over two-thirds of the pot as you will be adding more water later on.) Add 1 tsp salt to the water and add 30 dumplings in, be careful not to over crowd the pot.
- When the water returns to a boil, pour in half a cup of cold water and wait for it to return to a boil. At this point, you add a second half cup of cold water. This is repeated until you have added water three times in total and the water has returned to a full boil. The dumplings are ready! Repeat to cook the rest of the dumplings, if not freezing for later.
- For pan fried dumplings: heat a large pan with 2 tsp of oil. When the pan is hot, place dumplings in, flat bottoms down, in a circular pattern. Cook on medium high for 1-2 minutes till the bottom is nicely crisp. Pour in hot water that goes to a third of the height of the dumplings. Note: it will bubble like mad! Cover with lid and let it cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Keep an eye on it to make sure the water hasn’t evaporated too quickly. Once the water has evaporated, a lattice skin will form on the bottom of the pan. Take it off the heat, and carefully place a plate over the dumplings. Flip the pan while holding the plate with the other hand so that the cooked dumplings are transferred over to the plate entirely, without breaking the lattice skin. (Imagine flipping an upside down cake on a plate) If flipping isn’t an option, just remove dumplings with tongs.
- Serve with chilli oil, a tiny bit of soy sauce, sesame oil and Chinese vinegar.
The Wong Bok was kindly gifted by The Fresh Grower. Thank you!