Pork Dumplings – 猪肉饺子 – Zhūròu Jiǎozi

Steamed Pork Dumplings

Ingredients:

50 Dumpling or Wonton Wrappers
1 Nappa Cabbage (if steaming)
Safflower or Vegetable Oil (if frying)

Filling
1 lb ground Pork
2 Tbsp fresh Ginger, minced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2-3 red Chili Peppers, de-seeded and minced (include white ribs for more heat) or Jalapeño
3 Scallions, the white portion chopped (use the green portion in the sauce)
3 Tbsp Water Chestnuts, minced
1 tsp Sichuan Peppercorns, coarsely ground (optional)
1 tsp Soy Sauce

Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup Soy Sauce
1 tsp-1 Tbsp Hot Chili Oil
1 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Honey
1 tsp fresh Ginger, minced
1 tsp Sesame Seeds
Scallion Greens, chopped

Directions:

  • Prepare the Filling – Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl by hand. Let rest for 1 to 3 hours.
  • Fill the Dumplings – Line a baking sheet or table with parchment paper for Dumplings to sit on before they are steamed. Fill a bowl with cold water. Use a pastry brush or rolled paper towel to coat wrspper edges of a Wraper. Take a bite-size portion of the filling and put it in the center of the wrapper. Fold* the wrapper sealing along the wet edges, set on parchment, and repeat.
  • A. Steam the Dumplings – In preparation, put the steam basket in the pan or pot you are going to use. Add just enough water to be brlow the base of the basket. Remove the basket and line with leaves of Cabbage, not closing off all the holes. Place the dumplings on top of the cabbage, leaving space so they do not touch each other or the sides. Bring the water to a boil. Carefully set the basket in the water and cover. Cook for about 12 minutes. Remove and repeat. You can cover the cooked dumplings to retain moisture before serving. They should ideally be eaten immediately, while additional batches cook.
  • B. Fry the Dumplings – Heat a wok or large frying pan on medium heat. Add a little oil. Carefully add some dumplings, and cook, lightly tossing, until the side touching the pan is a dark golden brown. Remove to a paper towel lined rack to drain excess oil.
  • Prepare the Dipping Sauce – In a small bowl, mix all the liquid ingredients of the Sauce together with a fork or whisk. Adjust the taste to your liking between salty, sweet, hot, and bitter. Stir in the Dry ingredients.
  • Serve with dipping sauce on the side as soon as the Dumplings are done, especially if steaming. If you are serving later, frying is recommended over steaming.

* Folding. There are many ways tonfold dumplings, some requiring practice and skill. Round wrappers are either folded in half and crymped along the folded edge making a slight crescent shale, or the edge bunched up to the center making a tear drop.

If using square shaped or wonton wrappers, the easiest is to fold diagonally, then pull the opposing side corners together and press against the mound of stuffing–think of a person folding their arms. Another way is to pull the corners rogether resembling a hobo sack. As you work with dumplings, play with folds that you find online and feel comfortable with. The key thing is to not tear the wrapper and to make sure the insides are sealed.

Notes: These are a Chinese version known as Jiaozi 餃子 and are either boiled (水餃 water dumpling), steamed (蒸餃 steamed dumpling), or fried (煎餃 dry-fried dumpling or 鍋貼 pan-stick). They are traditionally circular wrappers folded in half and crymped along the edge to make a crescent shape.

When cooking, I do recommend using cooking chopsticks or tongs…this helps with transfering dumplings in and out of the cooking vessels…the fillings are damn hot if you try to use your fingers…so I’m told…

I should note thst dumpling dough is different than wonton dough, though you can use the more readily available wonton wrappers. Wontons are thinner whereas dumoling dough is more like ravioli pasta. The ingredients are different…maybe I will play with dough recipes, but for now, I will stick with store bought wrappers.

Stuffed dumplings are served all around the world with various fillings–perogies, empañadas, samosas, and ravioli are just a few examples that are not East Asian.

You can play with spices and fillings to suit your palate and needs. I’ve seen some with various ground meats and seafood, or all vegetables, with bean pastes, and even fusion hybrids such as stuffed with meatloaf! Often left over fillings make great snacks fried in patties or balls.


The limits are your imagination. I hope to add a few different fillings and dipping sauces as I experiment.

Sesame-Ginger Dressing

Sesame-Ginger Dressing

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Sesame Oil
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp Honey
1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
2 Tbsp minced Ginger
1 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
1/2 cup Soy Sauce

Directions:

  • Whisk together all ingredients.

Makes a little over 1 cup

NOTES: If not served immediately, the dressing will separate. Just whisk together when ready to serve. To add an extra kick, you may choose to add some Wasabi to it…just be careful.

Hawaiian Pork Chops

Hawaiian Pork Chops

Ingredients:
4 thick-cut Pork Chops (8-10 oz each)
1 Tbsp Steak Spice Rub
1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup Coconut Rum
1 can Pineapple Chunks
1 Shallot, diced
3 cloves Garlic, sliced horizontal
2 tsp fresh Ginger, minced
1 Bell Pepper, diced
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Granulated Sugar
2 tsp Dijon Mustard

Directions:

  • Rub the Steak Spice Rub on both sides of the chops. Use more Spice Rub if needed.
  • Preheat the Oven to 400°F.
  • Heat a large heavy skillet on high with the Olive Oil.
  • Place the Chops in the skillet and let cook for 2 minutes. Do not move them while they cook.
  • Flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Remove to a baking sheet and place in the oven.
  • Deglaze the pan with the Coconut Rum. Be careful, as it will likely flame up.
  • Add the Pineapple and Juice, as well as all the other ingredients to the pan.
  • Cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring constantly, and coating the Fruit with the sauce.
  • Remove the Pork Chops from the Oven (if internal temp is at 160°F) and plate.
  • Pour the Sauce and Fruit over the Pork Chops.

Makes 4 chops.

NOTES: It appears that any recipe with Pineapple is called “Hawaiian”–though no specific “style” of cooking seems to accompany it. I prefer a pan sauce, myself.  Though the pan sauce could be used as a glaze poured on pork chops cooked on the grill.

General Tso’s Chicken – 左宗棠雞

Ingredients:
3 lb Chicken Thighs, boneless, skinless, cut in bite-size chunks
1 cup & 2 Tbsp Corn Starch, divided
1-3 tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1/4 cup Shaoxing Rice Wine 绍兴酒
1/2 cup and 1 tsp Soy Sauce, divided
1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
1/2 cup Chicken Broth
3 Tbsp Honey
1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
4 cloves Garlic, slivered
1 Tbsp Ginger, minced
8-12 Dried Tiānjīn Red Chili Peppers 天津辣椒
2 Scallions, cut in pieces
4 cups Broccoli, cut in bite size pieces
2 cloves Garlic, minced
Juice of 1 Lemon

1 1/2-2 cups Brown Rice
3-4 cups Water (or more)

Directions:

  • Cook the Brown Rice according to the directions on the bag and set aside
  • In a seal-able plastic bag, combine 1 cup Corn Starch and the Cayenne Pepper, mixing well.
  • Pat the Chicken pieces dry with a paper towel, and add to the bag. Seal and shake, coating the chicken in the powder.
  • Bring a wok to high heat and add 1/2 of the Vegetable Oil.
  • Remove the chicken from the bag and saute in the oil until browned on all sides.
  • Drain the chicken on paper towels.
  • Blanch or Steam the Broccoli spears and set to the side.
  • In a glass, whisk together the Rice Wine and remaining Cornstarch.
  • Heat the wok again, and add the Rice Wine/Corn Starch mixture, 1/2 cup of Soy Sauce, Rice Wine Vinegar, the Honey, Chicken Broth, Ginger, slivered Garlic, and Crushed Red Pepper, mixing well.
  • Heat until the mixture begins to bubble.
  • Add the Scallions, Tiānjīn Red Chili Peppers, and Chicken and coat well.
  • Pour the Mixture into a serving dish.
  • In another sealed bag, combine the remaining Soy Sauce, minced Garlic, and Lemon Juice.
  • add the Broccoli Spears and mix well.
  • Garnish the Chicken with the Broccoli or serve in a separate dish.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: So I was inspired to make this dish because of a very awful version that I ordered in from the local take-away. This version should be more flavorful, slightly spicier, and not as unhealthy as the heavy batter, deep-fried kind.

General Tso’s Chicken is believed to have been created in New York City in the 1970s as an attempt to introduce the spicier Hunan cuisine to what was generally Cantonese cuisine in the city. There are two chefs who are attributed as possible inventors of this dish, Chef Peng Jia of Peng’s Restaurant formerly of E 44th St and Chef T. T. Wong of the Shun Lee Palace restaurants. I have also found claims of invention by a chef in Taiwan about the same time. As far as I can tell, the Peng Jia seems to be the most widely accepted, though no one seems to know for sure.

General Tso’s Chicken is named after Zuo Zongtang (左宗棠, 1812–1885), a Qing Dynasty general from Hunan Provence. I cannot find any reason or rational as to why the dish is named after him. Another source suggests that the name is really a mis-translation. Eileen Yin-Fei Lo states in her book The Chinese Kitchen that the dish originates from a simple Hunan chicken dish, and that the reference to “Zongtang” in “Zuo Zongtang chicken” was not a reference to Zuo Zongtang’s given name, but rather a reference to the homonym zōngtáng 宗堂, meaning “ancestral meeting hall”. As one who is completely ignorant to Chinese languages, I’ll have to take her word for it. Also regionally, in the US, there are various spellings of used…Gua, Tsao, Tsa, Cua, Zuo, etc… reflecting how poorly we Americans transliterate Chinese.

Huājiāo Chicken – 花椒鸡

Inspired by a Recipe From
Thom Chu, Bridgehampton, NY

Ingredients:
1 lb of Chicken Thighs, boneless, skinless, cut in cubes
2 Tbsp Shaoxing Rice Wine 绍兴酒
3-4 Serrano Peppers, cut in rings
3-4 Dried Tiānjīn Red Chili Peppers 天津辣椒, crushed
3 stalks Scallions, cut in 2″ pieces
3 Tbsp Douban 豆瓣, minced
5 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Tbsp Ginger, minced
1 Tbsp whole Sichuan/Huājiāo Peppercorns 花椒
2 whole Star Anise
1-2 Tbsp Soy Sauce, to taste
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil, divided
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper, ground

Directions:

  • Season the Chicken with the Salt and Pepper.
  • Place in a bowl and marinate with the Shaoxing Wine for 20 minutes.
  • Heat a wok on very high and add no more than a quarter cup of oil. Heat the oil until you just start to see it smoke.
  • Stir fry the Chicken in the wok until browned, then remove and set to the side in a bowl. This is done to prevent the chicken from getting too soggy.
  • Quickly rinse and dry the wok and heat it up again very high with more Vegetable Oil. Make sure the wok is completely dry before putting in the oil or it will spatter hot oil around the stove.
  • When the oil is hot, add the Douban and stir-fry for about 30 seconds.
  • Next add the Garlic and Ginger, and stir-fry for another 30 seconds.
  • Add the Tianjin Chili, Sichuan Chili, and Star Anise; stir-fry for another 30 seconds.
  • Return the Chicken to the wok adding the Soy Sauce and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  • Add the Serrano Chili Peppers and stir-fry for a minute.
  • Finally add the Scallions, and stir-fry for another 30 seconds.

NOTES: I have eaten this under the name “Ahi Zhou Chicken” at a local Chinese restaurant and spent a week trying to figure out the recipe. Thom knew exactly what I was looking for and provided this. I slightly modified the recipe for this post, trying to identify specific ingredients like the types of Chilis used.

This is a Sichuan dish that is typified by the Sichuan Peppercorns.  If you have not had them before, be warned they chemically numb your tongue and act with the other Chili pepper in an amazing way that is numbing and spicy at the same time–or a the Chinese say “Málà”.  Málà 麻辣, literally meaning “numbing and spicy”, is a flavoring common in Sichuan cooking that is derived from these two ingredients working together.

The fresh chili used can be a Jalapeño or Thai Chili if you prefer. I picked Serrano because it has a thinner membrane than the Jalapeño and not as hot as the Thai Chili. Big thanks to Thom for the base of this recipe, and I hope my modifications are not too off from authenticity.

Steak Sauce

Ingredients:
1 cup Tomato Paste
3 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1/2 large Yellow Onion, minced
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 Tbsp Malt Vinegar
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Prepared Mustard
3 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 cup Water
1 tsp Black pepper

Directions:

  • In a pot, combine all ingredients.
  • Bring to a boil, and stirring constantly. Let cook for at least 5 minutes at a boil.
  • Remove from pot to Blender, and puree.
  • Remove, cool or bottle in sterile jar.

See Also:
Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire Sauce

Ingredients:
1 White Onion , chopped
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 1/4″ slice of Ginger
3 Tbsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Peppercorns
1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1 Cinnamon stick
1 tsp Cloves
1/2 tsp Cardamom Pods
2 cups Malt Vinegar
1/2 cup Molasses
1/2 cup Soy Sauce
1/4 cup Tamarind Pulp
3 Tbsp Salt
1/2 tsp Curry Powder
1 Tbsp Anchovy Paste
1/2 cup Water

Specialized Tools:
Cheese Cloth

Directions:

  • In a Cheese Cloth, combine Onion, Garlic, Mustard Seeds, Crushed Red Pepper, Peppercorns, Ginger, Cinnamon Stick, Cloves and Cardamom Pods, making a pouch. This will make it easier to remove the ingredients once the sauce is made.
  • In a large saucepan, Malt Vinegar, Molasses, Soy Sauce, and Tamarind Paste. Bring to boil. Place the Spice Pouch in, and lower the heat, simmering for about 50 minutes.
  • Add the Salt, Curry Powder, Anchovy Paste and Water to the pot. Let simmer 1o more minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the heat, and pour into a container with an air-tight lid. Cover tightly and place in the refrigerator for at least two weeks, squeezing the Spice pouch every day.
  • After “brewing” for two weeks, remove the bundle, and put into sanitized Mason jar for storage.

NOTE: This is exceptional, but not the quickest thing to prepare. If you’re really in a hurry, or think this is just not worth it (you’re losing out) you may, at the last minute, to the degradation of what you are cooking, use Lea & Perinn’s, but never ever ever, a store-bought brand that contains HFCS!