Pork Dumplings (Makes 70-80)
• ½ medium head Napa cabbage (1 pound)
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 1-pound ground pork
• 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
• 1 bunch cilantro, minced (about ¾ cup)
• 3 tablespoons soy sauce
• 2-inch fresh ginger, finely minced
• 2 tablespoons sesame oil
• 2 large eggs, whisked
• 1 package round dumpling, wonton, or gyoza wrappers
Instructions for Making the Dumplings
1. Slice the cabbage and mix with salt: Slice the half-head of cabbage down its length, through the root, to make 2 quarters. Then slice each quarter into very thin strips, cutting cross-wise. Toss the strips with the salt in a large mixing bowl and leave for 5-10 minutes.
2. Squeeze the liquid from the cabbage: After 5-10 minutes, grab handfuls of the cabbage and squeeze out the water. Transfer this squeezed cabbage to another mixing bowl.
3. Combine the cabbage with the rest of the filling ingredients: In the bowl with the squeezed cabbage, add the ground pork, sliced scallions, soy sauce, cilantro, ginger, eggs, and sesame oil. Use your hands to work the mixture together, until fully combined.
4. Arrange your dumpling making station: Clear a large space on the counter. Set a small bowl of water, the bowl of filling, and a parchment-lined baking sheet nearby. Open the package of dumpling wrappers, and arrange a few on the work space in front of you.
5. Place 1 scant tablespoon of filling on each dumpling wrapper: It doesn’t look like much, but using any more gets messy and makes the dumplings hard to pleat close. Once you get the hang of pleating the dumplings, you can try adding a bit more filling if you like.
6. Dampen the edge of the wrapper with water: Dip your finger in the bowl of water and run it around the edge of the dumpling. This will help to seal it.
7. Fold the dumpling in half: Lift the dumpling from the work surface, and fold it in half. Press the top closed.
8. Make a pleat in either side: Use your opposite thumbs to fold a tiny pleat on either side of the dumpling, then press firmly to seal the dumpling closed. You may need to add a little bit of water under the pleat to make it stick closed.
9. Repeat with all the wrappers and filling: Continue filling and pleating the rest of the wrappers – this is where a few extra hands might come in handy. As you finish each dumpling, line it up on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
Instructions for Cooking the Dumplings
1. Sear the dumplings in a skillet: Add a tablespoon of oil to a skillet, and warm over a high heat. When the oil is shimmering, arrange the dumplings in the pan as close as they’ll fit together without actually touching. Cook until the bottoms have turned brown and golden.
2. Add 3 tablespoons of water to the pan: Pour 3 tablespoons of water in the pan – it will immediately sizzle and begin to stream.
3. Cover the pan and lower the heat: Cover the pan immediately and reduce the heat to low.
4. Cook the dumplings for 3-5 minutes if fresh, or 6-8 minutes if frozen: when done, the wrappers will be translucent and noodle-like; the filling will be opaque and warmed through.
5. Transfer to a plate and serve: Transfer the cooked dumplings to a plate, and serve with soy sauce, or any other type of sauce.
N.B. If you’re not going to cook all the dumplings at once, you can freeze some. They can last up to 3 months in the freezer.