With the exception of maybe ravioli, Abby’s never met a stuffed, wrapped, bundled food she didn’t love. Shumai, quesadillas (aka “Triangles”) fish en Papillote (aka fish presents)…they all have an ERC (Expected Rate of Consumption) in the high 90th percentile. It was no different with these little pork dumplings, which I debuted at the family table last week. See that photo above? There were seven piled on the plate, but the girls kept grabbing them before I was done taking the picture. It was too hard for them to wait.
I would classify this recipe in the Project category. There are lots of things little kids can do — fold, pinch, and “paint,” — to help move along the sometimes tedious work of assembling them. Goes without saying that you should probably not undertake this kind of “project” on a weeknight when the bedtime clock is ticking. Better for a weekend or vacation day.
How to assemble dumplings: 1) You only need a small bit of pork filling. Dip your fingers in water and dot or “paint” the edges of the wonton. 2) Fold one corner over the opposite corner to make a triangle shape. 3) Pinch all sides together.
Takes about 1 hour start to finish; Makes about 3 dozen.
If you are so inclined, you can skip the grating and the mincing and chuck all the filling ingredients (not the wonton wrappers or canola oil) into the food processor and pulse until combined. If you do it this way, no need to cook the pork first. Cook the whole mixture in a saute pan over medium heat after it’s been processed.
1 tablespoon canola oil + 1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
3 scallions, green and white parts, chopped
3/4 pound ground pork
2 teaspoons Chinese Five Spice (optional)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and minced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
1 12-ounce pack of wonton wrappers (available at any Asian specialty market)
canola oil for frying
Add the oils to a large frying pan over medium heat and cook the scallions and ginger for about one minute. Add pork, breaking it up with your spoon in pan, and raise heat to medium-high. Once the pink of the pork is almost gone, add 5-spice, soy sauce, water chestnuts, and cilantro. Let cook another 2 minutes and take off heat. Transfer filling to a bowl.
Set up your dumpling station: A bowl of water, the filling, and your wonton noodles. Assemble as directed in photos above. Add canola oil to a large skillet. Fry in batches over medium-high heat until crispy and golden, about 2 minutes a side. Serve with dipping sauce and snowpeas.
Dipping sauce note: Instead of making my own (which I imagine would be some combination of soy sauce, scallions, rice wine vinegar) I just used that Fairy Dust, I mean Soyaki sauce from Trader Joe’s.