Related post: Chinese Dumplings - Homemade Wrappers
Having experimented with various combinations such as pork & prawn, chicken & prawn, cabbage & leek, my favourite dumpling filling is pork & cabbage. Specifically, very little pork to a whole lot of cabbage. It gives a lovely crunch to the dumplings, and is incredibly light on the tum. It's true, you know. Whenever I eat at restaurants, I feel stuffed after eating a few pork dumplings. But at home, even after 15 cabbage & pork dumplings, I don't get that jelak feeling.
My daughter saw me salting the cabbage (to remove the water content) and I explained why. She said, "Oh yeah, cabbages have very water content at 90%. Potatoes are about 80% and humans, around 70%. I read it in a book."
I burst out laughing in amusement. I love hearing new things from my children because it means that they are getting smarter :)
So, back to the cabbages. Do remember to salt them when you make this filling. You will find copious amounts of water at the bottom of your bowl during/after the salting. Get a cheesecloth or a coffee sock to help you squeeze out all that liquid. Squeeze as much as you humanly can. Wet cabbages will yield soggy dumplings. Not good.
Recipe (for filling)
- 1 large Wong Bok (long cabbage) cut into small shreds for the leafy parts, small squares for the stem part
- Salt (to remove liquid from Wong Bok)
- Knob of young ginger, peeled and minced very finely
* Do not use old ginger or the strong astringent bite will overwhelm everything.
- 350 to 400g minced pork
- Dash of sesame oil
- Dash of dark soy sauce
- 5 stalks spring onions (I have made dumplings without these and they turned out fine)
Finely minced young ginger. Young ginger has a smooth, pale coloured skin. Old ginger has a slightly crinkled, drier, darker skin ... a much stronger astringent bite.
Cut the leafy parts from the stems.
Cube the stems, shred the leaves.
1. Prepare the Wong Bok by cutting it and salting it - about 1 tsp salt per large handful of cabbage. Leave for 15 mins for it to sweat. Using a cheesecloth or coffee sock, squeeze the cabbage as dry as you possibly can.
2. Marinate the pork with the rest of the ingredients.
3. When the cabbage has been squeezed dry, add it to the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Do not add any more salt.
That's it! The filling is done and you are ready to wrap. Next up, the fiery dipping sauce which gives the dumpling their kick.
Recipe (for dipping sauce)
For each serving saucer, mix:
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- A pinch of finely shredded young ginger
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp black vinegar (I use the Narcissus brand)
- 1/2 tsp sambal or chilli paste or chilli oil
- Dash of sugar (optional)
Note that these proportions can be changed according to your taste preferences.
Now you are ready to eat! Boiled or panfried, they are both delicious. Enjoy!