Chinese Dumplings (Boiled, Pork/cabbage)

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Title: Chinese Dumplings (Boiled, Pork/cabbage)
Yield: 3 Servings
Categories: Pork, Chinese, Meats

Ingredients:

FILLING
1 lb Fresh lean ground
Pork in a bowl
1/2 c Cabbage, after chopping
Very fine and squeezing
Out water till dry
2 ts Salt (plain old
Iodized salt)
2 1/2 ts Sugar (just white
Granulated)
1 ts Pepper (white or black;
This is optional to taste)
2 tb Soy sauce
2 tb Cornstarch
2 ts Sesame oil
1 sm Bowl of water just for
Sealing wontons
1 md Wonton skins (thickness
Will determine
Cooking time)
SAUCE
2 tb Hot chili sauce
3 tb Soy sauce
1 ts Powdered ginger
1 ts Sesame oil


Here is the way I make dumplings (not wonton soup) at home. Serves a full
meal 2-3 depending on how much each person eats.

Prepare the sauce: Depending on how spicy you like it, adjust. We like it
VERY HOT. Warning: I don't normally measure, I just taste and keep adding
on, so normally I end up with 2 1/2 times as much sauce as we need. WONTONS
& FILLING Put the ground pork in a bowl and press it into a flattened ball.
Sprinkle half of the salt lightly over it, flip the meat over and then do
the same on the other side. Mix it in well, then do the same for the sugar.
When you sprinkle salt and sugar on, make it look like lightly powdered
sugar sprinkled over a cake. If you want pepper of any kind, add it in the
same way. Add in the soy sauce. I like the meat to have a taste of its own,
and for me the color of the meat should be somewhat darker than the color
of the meat after adding the soy sauce. If you are afraid it may be salty
for you, measure it in smaller quantities and smell it to test the
saltiness. Also, you can drop a small ball of it into boiling water to
cook it and test its saltiness at any stage.

I always peel off the outside layer of cabbage, then cut off the big stem
at the bottom enough to easily peel off a couple more leaves. The amount
of cabbage you put in depends on how much you like it. I generally chop
about 3-5 leaves of a small head of cabbage and then whatever I don't use I
just throw away. DO NOT chop a whole head and waste your energy; not even
1/4 of a head, because once it's chopped up and squeezed to get the water
out, it will dry out in the fridge.

Note: The cabbage must be chopped really, really finely. It normally
takes me quite a long time to hand-chop it. I have never used a food
processor, that makes it too watery. If you sit down and go at it, it may
take you 20-30 minutes depending on how much excess you end up chopping and
not needing. Don't dump in all the cabbage you chopped. Pick up a handful
and squeeze out the water, then dump the squeezed cabbage into the
measuring cup and press it down tightly. Mix the cabbage evenly into the
meat.

You can start a pot of water boiling now (depending on your patience), and
use a big pot so you can boil more at once.

Sprinkle the cornstarch heavily and mix in well. You can't overmix.
Depending on how soft you want the meat inside to be, add more to make it
softer. We like our dumplings moderately soft, so this is about what we
put in. Again, you can test it to see how soft it will be when finished if
you drop a small amount into boiling water to test it.

When you're tired of mixing in the cornstarch and it's really sticking to
your hands, add the sesame oil and handle the meat lightly. You want just
enough so that it's not too sticky. Make the dumplings by putting about 1
1/2 tsp into the center of the wonton. Use the water to wet the edges and
fold the skins over into a triangle. This is enough but if you fold the
two 45 degree-angled corners overlapping and stick them together, they are
less likely to fall apart when you cook them.

The boiling water is only for cooking the dumplings. It is not for soup
and we throw away at the end, although I use some water to dilute my sauce
(personal preference; it can get spicy). Put some dumplings in boiling
water, uncovered (don't stuff too many in or they will stick together).
Time the clock for 5 minutes, until they're floating, and then remove them
into a bowl. I sometimes put them into room-temperature water to keep them
from sticking or overcooking; but when you store them if you keep them in
water, they will bloat up. It's better to make only what you can eat.
Leftovers should be stored without any water, just in a bowl and covered so
they don't dry out.

You may need to add water that was used up by the previous batch. Let the
water boil again each time before putting in the new batch. Continue to
cook all the dumplings this way.

Usually they're best when hot so we eat while we're cooking!

Have a good dinner, Tina Mongkolsmai

From Gemini's MASSIVE MealMaster collection at www.synapse.com/~gemini