Northern Chinese Pork and Sauerkraut Dumplings

9 Apr
Growing up, dumpling making was the closest thing to making chocolate chip cookies with your mom or grandmother on weekend afternoon. Except when my family made dumplings, it would involve pretty much the entire extended family. My favourite memories associated with dumplings include impromptu family reunions that resulted from my Grandma’s deciding of “what to have for dinner tonight?” Dumplings meant having my seven aunt and uncles and grandparents sit around the dinner table, talking loudly and over each other while I try to keep up with their fast hands.  When I was really little, I could always tell which ones were self-made by the way their contorted appearance stood out like a sore thumb in a field of immaculate milky ingots.

Here with my little nuclear family you’d imagine we would go for store-brought and call it a day; because dumplings are as much about family as nourishment. We however, still keep up the tradition between the three of us. This spring, my Grandmother, the rock and matriarch of the family, passed away. I have so many memories of her in the kitchen, not just making these dumplings but virtually everything that raised me into a person. Cooking makes me think of her.

I hope this recipe will inspire many of you who know what I’m talking about to keep up your own traditions, or try this for the first time with your loved ones and start a new one.
Dumpling dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold water
¼ tsp salt
Mix well with clean hands and knead into a smooth ball. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes or more.
To form into wrappers, work with half portions of the dough at a time; roll out into a long rope about 1 inch in diameter. Cut rope in to 1 inch segments; each segment will make 1 wrapper. Press down the segment with your flat palm and roll out on to a floured surface with rolling pin, until wrapper is as thin as depicted and about the palm of your hand in size.
Mix ingredients below in a sizeable bowl until mixture appears uniform
2 lb. lean ground pork
1 cup. finely chopped green onion
½ cup soy sauce
1 tbsp. sesame oil
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp. grated ginger
2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. chicken stock powder
Blend 500 g Chinese Sauerkraut and 300 g Bok choi in food processor and squeeze out moisture in cheesecloth or strainer before incorporating into previous mixture.
Makes about 2 dozen
To fold dumplings, place about 1 level tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper. Fold the dough over the filling as if it were a taco, and pinch the edges tightly to seal. How to fold a dumpling
To cook, bring a large pot of water to boil and add half the dumplings ata time, giving a gentle stir occasionally. Done in approximately 10 minutes per batch. Alternatively, boil water with steaming basket. Place dumplings on muslin cloth or cheesecloth lined steaming basket and steam for 15-20 minutes per batch.

Serve with anything from Chinese vinegar, sesame oil, minced garlic and soy sauce !

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