Dumplings, also known as jiaozi, are one of the very traditional Chinese soul foods. They are made with thinly hand rolled dough and all kinds of different fillings from pork, to beef, chicken, fish, shrimp, tofu, vegetables… you name it.
In old times when people work in kitchen without food processor or stand mixer, making dumplings was labor intensive work which required collaborative help of the most family members. There was a lot of kneading, chopping, dicing, rolling, and wrapping work involved. I still remember the time when I was very young and all of us sitting around a large table making dumplings together. For that very reason, dumplings used to be festival food. People couldn’t afford regular daily consumption of dumplings.
But now things have changed quite a lot. Dumplings are popular and have become our daily food. We serve dumplings as breakfast, lunch or dinner. They prevail in daily life as well as celebrating festivals too.
I still love making dumplings at home. It reminds me of the good old times living within a large warm and loving family.
Dumplings can be boiled, steamed or pan fried. The one I am making this time is pan fried pork dumplings with mushrooms and bamboo shoots. Yum!
1 lb pork shoulder
1 pack of frozen bamboo shoots（1 lb / 454g）
1 handful dry wood ear mushrooms
1 pack of dumpling wraps (sold in frozen food section in most Asian grocery stores)
1 tablespoon rice cooking wine
1 to 2 teaspoon oyster sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 to 2 stalks of green onions, finely chopped
Chicken broth/ water
salt to taste
white sesame seeds
The season for fresh bamboo shoots is really short. It starts with the very first signs of spring, and ends within 2 to 3 weeks. For the rest of year, only frozen and dried bamboo shoots are available on the market.
Soak the dry wood ear mushrooms for 2 to 3 hours. Rinse under running water. Drain well.
Thaw the frozen bamboo shoots in fridge overnight. Discard any extra liquid.
Grind the pork should with a meat grinder. If you don’t have a meat grinder, remember to ask for help to do so in the store, or you also buy the ground pork.
Add ground pork to a medium bowl, along with ground white pepper, oyster sauce, rice cooking wine, ground ginger, sugar and half of the chopped green onions. Whisk with a pair of chopsticks or a wooden spoon. Gradually add chicken stock/water while whisking. The more and harder you whisk, the more tender and elastic the ground pork filling will be.
Use a food processor to finely chop the wood ear mushroom and bamboo shoots.
Add to the ground pork mixture.
Mix with a pair of chopsticks until well combined.
Heat a wok over high heat. Add oil, and then two eggs and a pinch of salt. Cook the eggs into scrambled eggs.
Add the scrambled eggs to the ground pork mixture. Season with salt and whisk the pork really hard until everything is well mixed again.
Brush the dumpling wrapper’s edge with a little water or egg wash.
Add a couple tablespoons’ pork filling to its center.
Wrap it up.
Repeat the process until all the dumplings are finished.
Heat a small cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons oil, and then about 10 dumplings. Use more oil and a larger pan if you want to cook more than 10 dumplings at a time.
Pan-fry the dumplings for a couple minutes.
Add 1/3 cup of water. Cover with lid immediately after adding water to the pan.
When all the water evaporates, reduce the heat to medium low. Sprinkle with remaining chopped green onions and white sesame seeds on top.
The bottoms of dumplings are golden brown.
Remove from heat and serve them hot immediately.
The crunchy golden bottoms of the dumplings are the best part.
The traditional way is to eat them with a dipping sauce made with soy sauce, vinegar and chili oil.
Bon appetite! O(∩_∩)O~