Year of the Pig Dumplings

cuisine Chinese
difficulty Moderate
season Year Round
serves 6

Ingredients for the Pork Dumplings

3/4 pound ground pork 1/4 pork belly, finely chopped 3 tablespoons3 tablespoons chopped scallions 1 tablespoon 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro 3/4 teaspoon3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon1/4 teaspoon soy sauce 1 teaspoon 1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon1 teaspoon corn starch 24 dumpling wrappers Peanut or vegetable oil

For the Sauce

1 teaspoon chili paste 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger 1 tablespoon minced scallion, white and light green parts only 1 clove minced garlic 2 1/2 ounces Chinkiang black-rice vinegar 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Directions

  1.  In a food processor, mix the meats with all the other ingredients for 10 minutes at a low speed.
  2.  Lightly dust a HALF SHEET BAKING TRAY with flour.
  3.  Scoop out a tablespoon of pork mixture and add it into the middle of the dumpling wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half and stick the edges together using your fingers (have a small bowl of water to dip your pointer finger in and lightly wet the edge if the dumplings are difficult to seal).
  4.  Place the folded pork dumpling on the baking tray. Repeat step 3 until all the dumplings are formed.
  5.  Next, bring a LARGE WIDE BRIMMED POT of water to a boil, add the dumplings, without crowding them (depending on the size of the pot, this step may require making the dumplings in batches). Adjust the temperature to a simmering point so as not to violently cook the dumplings and risk them breaking apart and cook for 7 to 10 minutes.
  6.  Using a Chinese strainer, lift the dumplings from the pot and place them on a serving tray. Reserve until ready to sear.
  7.  In a glass bowl, add the chili paste, ginger, scallion, and garlic. Add a dash of vinegar and mix it thoroughly. Finish the sauce with the sesame oil and stir to combine.
  8.  When it is time to serve the dumplings, heat a cast iron skillet over high heat for 5 minutes.
  9.  Add a very thin coat of oil to the pan, wipe to leave just a fine coating, and sear the dumplings until golden brown on one side only.
  10.  Transfer the cooked dumplings to a serving plate and pass with the sauce and chopsticks.

Kitchen Notes

Especially juicy if made with 1/2 pound home ground pork shoulder and 1/4 pound pork belly. The dumplings are delicious served traditionally without searing, but the searing allows the chef to complete the intensive labor before the celebration begins and serve a hot plate of good fortune in under 3 minutes. To avoid greasy dumplings, oil the skillet and wipe it out with a paper towel before adding the dumplings. These dumplings may also be seared on the OFYR grill, the cast iron surface sears the dumpling side in one minute.