Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Concocting a Delicious Dumpling Mixture, Save the Dumplings

I make dumplings about once a month (it's easier than you think; click here for the recipe and video), but last night I experimented and cooked a jazzed-up version of just the filling (ground pork-based), which I served over brown rice. With dumplings, the raw filling cooks inside the wonton skins when the entire package is pan-fried, steamed or baked, so a little jiggering was necessary.

First, I sautéed the ground pork (from Keith Gibson's Grazin' Angus Acres farm) and frozen turnip cubes (frozen carrots work fine as well) in a minimal amount of coconut oil, since the pork was very fatty. When the pork was about 80 percent cooked and the turnips defrosted, I removed them to a bowl and added minced ginger and leeks (in lieu of the usual scallions) to the pan. I let those cook in the pork fat for a couple minutes and then added minced garlic. (Since garlic will burn quite easily, it doesn't need as much cooking time as the ginger and scallions/leeks.)

When those ingredients were soft, I added the ground pork—which, thanks to carryover cooking, had cooked to 100 percent while in the bowl—and turnips, plus some chopped, raw baby bok choy greens and stirred to combine. (The residual heat in the pan cooked the delicate greens.) I then added the liquids: roughly equal parts soy sauce and water, a half part rice vinegar and a drop or two of toasted sesame oil. I stirred again to combine and sampled. The mixture's flavor mirrored the taste of the filling of my dumplings, exactly what I was hoping for.

Feel free to use any type of ground meat and don't hesitate to experiment with other vegetables and greens. I only added the turnips and bok choy greens to the mixture because I didn't want to dirty other pans. 

I use the Eden Foods brand of brown rice vinegar and toasted sesame oil. The soy sauce I use is Oshawa's unpasteurized soy sauce; its flavor and nutrition, I believe, make it worth its price. 

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