The pork and chive dumplings you get in Chinatown here in NYC usually involve the thin skinned wrappers and garlic chives, a flat, milder flavored variety. Because these can be hard to come by, I’ve modified this recipe to use a small amount of regular chives, some cilantro and a couple bunches of scallions. I use a traditional jiao zi wrapper made out of a cold water dough, making these heartier and more robust that the usual pork and chive dumplings.
For something a little lighter, use thinner pre-made dumpling wrappers (found in Asian Supermarkets) and cook like traditional potstickers. Basically, you steam the dumplings in a covered skillet with 1/4 to a 1/2 c. of water and a few drops of oil until the water evaporates and the bottoms crisp up. Hence the name “potstickers” – I know, sometimes the world just makes a whole lot of sense, doesn’t it? For a great potsticker recipe from start to finish, check out my good friend Chef Tim Ma’s Pan Fried Pork and Chive Potstickers.
The best part of this recipe, and all homemade dumplings, is that the quality is much higher than what you’ll find at restaurants and dumpling joints. You control exactly what is added to the little delicacies, and you still end up keeping the price down. Fresh ingredients at a low price is a hard thing to come by these days, so definitely celebrate a little when you tuck into a plate of these bad boys.
Pan-Fried Pork and Chive Jiao Zi
4 c. of flour
1 1/4 c. of ice water
1/2 tsp. of salt
3/4 lbs. of ground pork
2-3 raw shrimp, minced (optional)
1/4 c. of water
1/2 in. of ginger, minced
1 tsp. of cornstarch
2 tbs. of soy sauce
2 tsp. of sherry
2 tsp. of sesame oil
1/2 tsp. of salt
4 tsp. of sugar
3 bunches of scallions, finely chopped
1 small bunch of cilantro (10-15 stems with leaves), minced
1 small bunch of chives (the plastic pack from the store is fine)
Start by making the dough for the wrappers. Add the four cups of flour to a bowl along with the salt. Slowly stream in water, stirring as you go and making sure not to put any actual ice cubes in the mixture. Add only enough water to get the dough to hold together – if it gets too sticky, add a bit more flour. Knead dough until silky and elastic (about 5-8 minutes) and then wrap with plastic and let chill in the fridge.
Mix all ingredients (except for scallions, cilantro, chives and water) until smooth and a little stringy, making sure to stir all in the same direction. Next, stream your water into the mixture in small amounts, stirring in between each addition. Lastly, add the scallions, cilantro and chives and stir again. Set aside.
Break out your dough and pinch a chunk off the size of a clementine. Run the dough through a pasta roller or roll out by hand to about 1/4 in. thick. Cut out 3-4 in. circles using a cookie cutter or the mouth of a large cup (I use one of my hubby’s beer steins). Place a heaping teaspoon of filling onto the wrapper and pleat the edges to close. Set aside on a floured cookie sheet. Continue to fill the dumplings until you run out of filling or dough – whichever comes first.
Fill a large pot with water and set to boil. When the water is ready, plunk in about 8-12 dumplings and watch the water go from a boil to a simmer. Let the water come back to a boil and then pour in a rough cup and a half of cold water. Let the water come to a boil again and then add cold water a second time. Let the pot come to a boil one last time and then remove dumplings from the water with a slotted spoon. Repeat until you’ve cooked all of the dumplings that you could possibly eat in one sitting.
Serve with Sweet Soy Dipping Sauce.
For a different taste, pick up the thin, round pre-made dumpling wrappers from your local asian market. You can even use the wonton wrappers found in the deli aisle of the regular grocery store, and cut the squares into rounds with a ring mold. Fill your dumplings and set aside on a floured cookie sheet. Add 3-4 tbs. of cooking oil to a skillet and turn on high. As the pan warms up, place the dumplings, seam side up, in the pan one next to another. When the pan is super hot and the oil starts to sizzle (a few minutes), add about 1/2 c. of water to your pan. Immediately cover to trap the whaft of steam that arises when you add the water to the hot pan. Cook until the water has evaporated and the bottoms of the dumplings crisp up.