Saturday, January 14, 2012

Thai-Style Pork Dumplings with Coriander Dipping Sauce

I know these dumplings are good because: a) I ate them and thought to myself "mmm, these are really good". b) my daughter ate a two of them and told me they were good before she spotted a piece of red pepper in the third one and spit it out and declared she wouldn't eat any more (which is a little weird because I'm pretty sure she likes red peppers). And c) my dad happened to be over and he ate a whole bunch of them in spite of the fact that there were vegetables of any kind in there (the only veggies he tolerates are lettuce and cucumbers, preferably drizzled with dressing). If you actually ask him what vegetables he likes, he'll usually tell you that he eats blueberries every morning.

Makes 60 dumplings

1/4 cup minced scallion
1 pound ground pork
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger root
1 red bell pepper, minced (about 1/2 cup)
2/3 cup minced cabbage
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon Oriental sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander, plus a few sprigs set aside for garnish
1 large egg, beaten lightly
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

60 shao mai wrappers* (round won ton wrappers), thawed if frozen
cornstarch for dusting the baking sheet

Dipping Sauce:
1 tablespoon naam pla* (fish sauce)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger root
1 tablespoon shredded fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1.      Filling: In a bowl combine all the filling ingredients. Mix well and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.
2.      Put about 1 heaping teaspoon filling in the center of 1 of the wrappers and moisten the edge of the wrapper. Gather the edge of the wrapper up and around the filling and form a waist with the wrapper, pushing the dumpling from the bottom and keeping the filling level with the top of the wrapper. (The filling should not be enclosed.) Continue to make dumplings with the remaining wrappers and filling in the same manner and arrange them in one layer on a baking sheet lined with wax paper dusted lightly with the cornstarch.
The dumplings may be prepared up to this point 8 hours in advance and kept uncovered and chilled (or 1 month in advance and kept covered tightly and frozen). If the dumplings are frozen, do not thaw them before cooking.
3.      Dipping Sauce: Whisk together all the ingredients in a bowl; adjust seasonings to taste.
4.      In a large non-stick skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over high heat until it is hot but not smoking and in it fry half the dumplings, flat sides down, over moderately high heat for 1 minute, or until the undersides are golden. Add 1/2 cup water and steam the dumplings, covered, over moderate heat for 3 minutes, or until the pork is cooked through. (If using frozen dumplings, fry them, frozen, for 1 minute, or until the undersides are golden, and steam them, adding 3/4 cup water per batch, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the pork is cooked through.) Repeat with the remaining oil and dumplings.
5.      Garnish dumplings with coriander sprigs and serve with the dipping sauce.

*available at Asian markets, specialty foods shops, and many supermarkets

from Gourmet, September 1991
chopped red bell pepper
ginger root
chopped cabbage

Mine has little bits of carrot in it because I bought one of those bags of
already shredded cabbage with carrots (great for making quick cole slaw)
everything but the egg
pouring in the egg
filling all mixed
putting filling on a wonton wrapper
(I could only find square ones)
Because my wonton wrappers were square, I couldn't really make
the dumplings look exactly like the recipe instructed. So I played
around, pinching the edges in various ways, trying to figure out out
how to make them look good, but still have the filling open on top.
In the end, I settled for a free form approach (and dropped the whole notion of
them looking great). The filling isn't level with the top, but it got the job done.
pan frying the bottoms
adding water to steam
steamed dumplings

Actually, once they're steamed, from far away a few of
them (if you squint your eyes a bit), look a little like roses.
cilantro (a.k.a. coriander)
mixing the grated ginger into the rest of the dipping sauce
Thai-style dumplings with coriander dipping sauce
pouring some dipping sauce over a dumpling
(that was easier than dipping)

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