Mirabai Perfas shares her recipe for pork and vegetable Big Hug dumplings.
1⁄2 pound ground pork
1 cup kale, finely chopped
3⁄4 cup carrots, finely chopped
2/3 cup cabbage, finely chopped
1⁄4 cup scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Shaoxing cooking wine
or 1 teaspoon sugar
2/3 teaspoon salt, divided
1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil plus more if frying dumplings 40 to 50 round dumpling wrappers
To make the filling:
Heat cooking oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add cabbage, scallions, ginger and garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes stirring frequently. Add 1 teaspoon salt and stir. Turn off heat and transfer to a plate to cool.
To make the dumplings:
Prepare a small bowl of water to wet your wrapper edges and a couple of damp towels to lay over your unused wrappers and finished dumplings to prevent them from drying out.
Take one wrapper and brush the edge with water using a pastry brush or your finger. There should be a wet border that is about a 1⁄4-inch to 1⁄2-inch wide.
Lay the wrapper in your hand and scoop about 1-11⁄2 Tablespoons of filling in the center of the wrapper. Be careful not to overfill or the dumpling will be hard to seal.
Fold the dumpling in half like a taco and pinch together in the center of where the edges meet. Working out from the center pinch together the edges of the wrapper so that you have a half moon with a sealed edge that is about a finger-width wide.
At this point you have a dumpling and can cook them from here. If you would like to make the “Big Hug” shape, take the ends of the half moon in each hand and pull them together to 6 o’clock (the place where you first pinched together the taco is 12 o’clock). Pinch the ends together to seal. Use a little extra water if you have difficulty keeping the ends pinched together.
Use one of your damp towels to place over your completed dumplings while you finish shaping the rest of the dumplings.
Fill a pot with water so that it does not quite touch the bottom of your steamer. Line steamer with a damp cloth or vegetable leaves or oil the bottom of your dumplings so they do not stick to the bottom of the steamer. Bring water to a boil. Add dumplings to steamer and steam for 7-10 minutes. Transfer to plate.
Heat a well-seasoned large cast-iron skillet or large nonstick pan. Add about 11⁄2 Tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add dumplings to pan, making sure not to overcrowd the pan—there should be at least a half-inch between dumplings. Pan fry for 2 or 3 minutes until bottoms are golden brown. Do not move dumplings while they pan fry.
Next, using a pan lid to shield you from any spatter, add about 1⁄4 cup of water to the pan—just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5-6 minutes.
Uncover the pan and cook for another minute or so until all of the water has evaporated from the bottom of the pan. Transfer to plate.
- Be sure to chop the kale fine enough so no large pieces of stem will pierce your wrappers.
- If you are using store-bought wrappers, be sure to buy dumpling wrappers and not wonton wrappers as those are thinner and will break more easily. The brand I like is Twin Marquis and can be found at 167 Fish Market as well as at Nantucket Seafoods.
- An alternative method of frying your dumplings is to steam or boil them first and then panfry them in oil.