Sunday, January 11, 2009

Chinese New Year Dumplings & Dipping Sauce

Ingredients for dumplings:
1/2 lb. green cabbage, very finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
3 T Asian sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 egg white
1 T Chinese rice wine, or dry sherry
1/2 lb. ground pork (or ground beef or lamb)
25 round Asian pasta wrappers, either store-bought or homemade

Ingredients for dipping sauce:
2 T white vinegar
2 T soy sauce
2 T Asian sesame oil
2 T Chinese rice wine, or dry sherry (optional)
pinch of chopped green onions
1-2 teaspoons red chili paste

Ingredients for homemade wonton wrappers:
7-9 T cold water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Preparing the dumplings:
Toss the cabbage with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and let sit for 20 minutes. Drain off any excess water, then stir in the green onions.

Mix the sesame oil, sugar, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, the white pepper, egg white and wine into the pork. Add the cabbage misture and stir until evenly combined.

Holding a wrapper in the palm of one hand, place 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Tightly close up the dumpling in a half-moon shape. If using store-bought wrappers, dip your finger in water and trace the inside perimeter of the wrapper with water to help create a seal. Make sure each dumpling has a clean seal about 1/4-inch wide to prevent water from entering the dumplings when they are boiled. Repeat for all of the dumplings.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the dumplings and cook for 7 minutes. Drain.

Drizzle the dumplings with a little sesame oil to prevent sticking, and serve immediately with the dipping sauce.

Makes about 25 dumplings

Preparing the dipping sauce:
Mix together all ingredients. Taste and, if needed, add more vinegar or red chili paste to balance the flavors. Transfer to a small bowl and serve alongside the dumplings.

Preparing the wonton wrappers:
Mix 7 tablespoons of water into the flour until it forms a soft dough. Add more water as needed to bring the doiugh together. Shape into a ball and let sit for 15 minutes.

Form the dough into a long 1-inch thick roll. Cut the roll into 1-inch lengths, roll each into a ball, then use a rolling pin to roll out thin, round wrappers about 4 inches in diameter. Dust with flour to prevent wrappers from sticking to each other.

Makes about 25 wrappers


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