This recipe is a classic dish in China. It makes heavy use of Napa cabbage, also known as celery cabbage or Chinese cabbage. Napa cabbage originates from an area near Beijing, China, and is often used in Chinese and East Asian cuisines. The Koreans, for example, use Napa cabbage heavily in their kimchis. Napa cabbage keeps well even with minimal refrigeration, and is often the only vegetable available during the cold winter months. This particular dish is hence often made during winter, when the entire family will gather in the kitchen and enjoy the warmth of the stoves while wrapping these dumplings.
All Purpose Flour, 2 cups
Wheat starch, 1/3 cup
Warm water, 0.8 cup
Pork, 1 cup
Napa cabbage, 3 cups
Green onion, 1/3 cup
Ginger, 1 tablespoon
Salt, 2 teaspoons
MSG, 1/4 teaspoon (optional)
Sugar, 1 teaspoon
White Pepper, 1/2 teaspoon
Sesame oil, 1 tablespoon
Cooking wine, 1 tablespoon
Vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon
1) To make dough for the dumpling wrappers, mix all purpose flour, wheat starch, 1/3 teaspoon of salt and warm water (60 °C) in a large bowl. Knead until it forms a dough ball, then cover with wet cheese cloth or a cling film and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Do not use cold water for the dough, or the dough may become flaky.
2) Put pork into a meat grinder to make 1 cup of ground pork meat, or ground pork from the butcher.
3) Add salt, MSG, sugar, white pepper, cooking wine, minced ginger, chopped green onion, and water into the ground pork. Mix well.
4) Add some salt to minced napa cabbage, and wait for 5 minutes.
5) Remove excess moisture from the napa cabbage by squeezing the minced cabbage gently with your hands, and then add the minced cabbage to the ground meat. This will prevent the dumplings from becoming too soggy.
6) Add 1 tablespoon sesame oil and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to the cabbage and pork, and mix well.
7) Wrap the filling in the dumpling wrappers.
8) Place the dumplings in a steamer on a piece of parchment paper to prevent sticking. Steam the dumplings for 30-40 minutes from a cold start, or if placing in steamer that is already boiling, for 15 minutes.
The pork in this recipe should ideally be about 30% fat. Meat from the shoulder or belly is best. However, lean pork is healthier, so if you are watching your cholesterol, you should use lean pork. Lean pork will give a dumpling that is drier, but you can add some vegetable oil to the filling to compensate for this.