Chinese New Year pork & cabbage dumplings

Happy Saturday to you – not this time from bed (whaaat?!), but actually from my desk at home! As you willl know if you stop by regularly, Nick and I have just returned from an epic 14 day trip to Shanghai/Berlin/Amsterdam/Berlin/Shanghai and back home to Auckland. Phew! One of the absolute highlights of my stay in Shanghai was having the opportunity to learn dumpling making with the aunty of the lovely Connie who works with Nick. Jiang Hongdi, a professional chef was a patient yet whirlwind of a teacher – it was a tricky business catching her hands still enough to take a photo! She demonstrated how to make traditional pork and cabbage dumplings, and a vegetarian mushroom variety. She showed how to cook them three ways, steamed, boiled and fried, with the unanimous decision that the fried were our favorites. The recipe is surprisingly easy, and I am going to give the details below – at this point though the quantities will involve a little bit of guess work, but I wanted to get the recipe on the blog in time for Chinese New Year celebrations. At some stage (!) I will make them (or a version of), here at home and give you the absolute specifics. In the meantime, if the quantities are large, they can easily be frozen, defrosted and cooked normally. A huge thank you to Connie and Hongdi for a wonderful morning, and such delightful hospitality, I am so grateful :)Crikey – still feeling a bit zombie-d out since getting home just a few days ago. The first evening home after our 12 hour flight, we hosted family at a local restaurant and bar for farewell drinks for my darling Henry. The next night Rich, Nick, Pog and I had a last night dinner at our favourite Coco’s Cantina, then the following morning (yesterday!) we rose at ‘sparrow fart’ (as my Dad would say – super early) to get Henry to the airport. In typical fashion he was outrageously well organised for his move to Melbourne. My gorgeous Aunty Pauline collected him from the airport and delivered him safely to his new flat, where his pre-ordered bedding and essentials were all ready and waiting for him. He then set about a flurry of room organisation to transform his room into his standard Vogue-Living-but-cooler look, and managed to get out to a few gallery openings in the evening. That boy (man) is style personified and I couldn’t be prouder! Meanwhile, next we have the strapping young Rich getting himself sorted (haha) for the big move to uni in Wellington in a few weeks. Dear God – cue mid-life crisis any moment now – pottery? (again), belly dancing? bridge? what in the hell awaits, I’ll let you know when I do, but I suspect it will be an even deeper immersion in my obsession with cooking and photography…

1.5 kilos pork mince
1.5 kilos blanched, well drained cabbage, very finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh ginger
400g finely chopped spring onions
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1/4 cup shaoxing wine
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 teaspoon white pepper

1 tbsp caster sugar

A large (sorry I’m not sure quite how many, but I would guess about 100!!!) number of dumpling wrappers. It would obviously make sense to either half the quantities, or freeze half of the dumplings as it makes such a large number!

Mix all of the filling ingredients together. Place a wrapper in the palm of your hand, mound a tablespoonful of filling in the centre, then wipe the inside half edge of the wrapper with water. Fold the dumpling into a half moon shape then very firmly pinch the middle of the edge together. Next very firmly squeeze the edges, using your hands to compress the dumpling – see pics for a visual guide. To cook, either drop into boiling water or steam over boiling water for about five minutes. Alternatively, pour a little oil into the base of a large frying pan and heat to medium. Arrange your dumplings bottom-side down and cook for a few minutes until golden on the base. Add 1/4 cup water to the pan and cover with a bamboo steamer lid and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until cooked through. The steamer lid will enable the dumplings to finish off their cooking by steaming, yet stop too much condensation from dripping down onto them. Repeat! Serve simply with Chinese rice vinegar.


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