Like tamales, dumplings are best made in large batches, with friends and family nearby. With the Chinese New Year upon us (Jan. 28), here’s a version from “Good Fork Cookbook” (Harry N. Abrams, $29.95) by Sohui Kim, chef-owner of the popular Brooklyn restaurant Good Fork. Kim used to make dumplings with her grandmother and mother at big gatherings, where everyone would go home with some.
“These particular dumplings are a hybrid of Japanese gyoza (with the thin wrapper), Korean mandoo (the use of pork, chives, and tofu, which makes them silky and less like meatballs) and Chinese dumplings (with hoisin and dark soy sauce),” she writes. “I add the hoisin, which I like to joke is Chinese ketchup, because it makes these dumplings a touch sweeter. I think it is actually why people go crazy for them, because the American palate craves sweet and salty.” She recommends cooking up the filling to make pork patties for breakfast or to stick in a bun with kimchee slaw.
Pork and Chive Dumplings with Dipping Sauce
1 large onion, finely diced
5 large cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. minced peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups finely chopped Chinese garlic chives, scallions or regular chives
1 cup crumbled soft tofu
1/3 to 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more if needed
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 lb. ground pork
2 (14 oz.) packages thin or gyoza-style dumpling wrappers (about 100 wrappers)
For the dipping sauce:
1/4 cup dark soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 star anise pod
In a large sauté pan, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic and ginger until translucent and slightly caramelized. Add the chives and cook just to soften them, about 1 minute longer. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and let it cool.
Once the onion has cooled, add the tofu, 1/3 cup of the hoisin sauce, the salt and pepper and mix well. Add the pork to the bowl and mix it with the seasonings until you can see that the chives and tofu are evenly distributed throughout the meat.
In a small frying pan, cook a small spoonful of the meat mixture in a little bit of oil. Taste and adjust the seasoning of the meat with more hoisin sauce and/or salt, if necessary.
Prepare a small dish of water and line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Place about 1 tablespoon of filling in each dumpling wrapper. Using your finger, paint a little water around the edge of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half and simply pinch or crimp it closed. Place each finished dumpling on the baking sheet and repeat until you’ve used all the filling.
You can freeze them directly on the baking sheet until they harden, then pack them into plastic freezer bags. (They do not refrigerate well.) They will last for 3 months.
To make the dipping sauce: In a small saucepan, stir together the soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and star anise and bring them to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring so that the sugar dissolves. Once it does, remove the pot from the heat and let the mixture cool. Discard the star anise before serving.
To cook fresh or frozen dumplings, heat a nonstick frying pan or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet with just enough oil to coat the bottom. Add just enough dumplings so that they are not overcrowded and don’t touch. Brown the dumplings on one side, then add about 1/2-inch of water (a little more if dumplings are frozen), cover and steam the dumplings until nearly all the water evaporates.
Remove the cover and let the dumplings begin to fry again, just long enough to crisp them slightly, then serve them immediately with the dipping sauce. Makes 100 dumplings.
— From “Good Fork Cookbook” by Sohui Kim (Harry N. Abrams, $29.95)