It’s harvest season and cabbages are appearing. While that veggie is tremendously versatile, there are moments when "cabbage” + “pasta” come to mind. That is in part due to the iconic Hungarian Noodles with Cabbage (Káposztás Tészta), but other European cuisines have also hit upon the combo - as in cabbage pierogi.
No surprise that it also appears in far east cuisine in the form of dumplings. We enjoy dumplings, though do not often get to restaurants that excel at making them. They now also appear in grocery store freezers, but it can be fun to make them at home and it’s surprisingly easy. I have several dumpling recipes I will aim to share, but here’s the first. The recipe comes from ATK: Cook’s Illustrated. They call these Wor Tip dumplings which is apparently a Cantonese term that implies that the dumplings are fried to crispness on one side in a wok or pan (Please correct me if I have that wrong…) Technically, you could skip the pan frying step and simply have these steamed - ideally in a bamboo steamer. Truth is, the frying part makes them look gorgeous and pumps up the flavour profile!
purchase 24 gyoza or wonton wrappers (see notes below)
mince 1/2 of a napa cabbage, and let it wilt for 20 minutes (see below); this can be done the day before
grate fresh ginger
separate two eggs - you’ll be using the egg whites
plan ahead: the cabbage wilting and filling chilling will take about an hour (but can be done the day before)
the dumplings themselves can be assembled the day before and kept refrigerated overnight, to be cooked the next day
3 cups minced napa cabbage leaves (about 1/2 medium head)
3/4 tsp table salt
3/4 lb ground pork
4 minced scallions (about 6 TB)
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
4 tsp soy sauce
1.5 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 medium garlic clove, minced (about 1 tsp)
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
Mince (finely chop) the cabbage and toss it with the salt. Place it in a colander set i the sink or over a bowl. The cabbage will begin to wilt and will be at the ideal stage after about 20 minutes. Press the cabbage gently to squeeze out any excess moisture., the transfer to a medium bowl.
In a medium bowl, mix the cabbage with the remaining filling ingredients.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until mixture is cold, at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
I use square wonton wrappers (you’ll need at least 24), filling each with one slightly rounded tablespoon of the chilled filling. Place the filling in the centre of the square. Moisten the edges of the wrapper and fold the square in half diagonally to form a triangle. Be sure to fold in such a way as to remove / minimize air pockets and use your fingers to press the edges firmly together. Transfer the filled dumplings to a tray until ready to cook.
2 TB vegetable oil
1 cup water
Set up: Line a large plate or tray with a double layer of paper towels - you’ll be placing the cooked dumplings on that. Brush 1 TB of the oil over the bottom of a 12-inch nonstick skillet. You’ll be cooking the dumplings in two batches of 12.
Arrange half of the dumplings in the skillet, with a flat side facing down (overlapping just slightly if necessary). Place the skillet over medium-high heat and cook the dumplings, without moving, until golden brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low, add 1⁄2 cup of the water, and cover immediately. Continue to cook, covered, until most of the water is absorbed and the wrappers are slightly translucent, about 10 minutes. Uncover the skillet, increase the heat to medium-high, and continue to cook, without stirring, until the dumpling bottoms are well browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes more.
Slide the dumplings onto the paper towel-lined plate, browned side facing down, and let drain briefly.
Let the skillet cool a wee bit, then wipe it clean with paper towels and repeat with the remaining dumplings, oil, and water.
Transfer the dumplings to a serving platter and serve with a dipping sauce of your choice. There are so many options for dipping sauces - purchased or home made. Here are a few ideas. One of my favourites is soy sauce mixed to taste with maple syrup!