Pork Dumplings for the New Year
Homemade pork dumplings are one of our favorite Lunar New Year traditions. They’re delicious, of course, but for us, they’re also an experience best shared — both the work of assembling them and the joy of eating them. It’s so fun to get friends and family together, put on the dumpling playlist, and stuff a bunch of wrappers. It’s one of those annual rituals that reminds us that food is love. And what better way to celebrate a year well lived and a new beginning than over a steamy platter of homemade dumplings?
This recipe makes up to 50 dumplings, so it’s perfect for entertaining, and you can make them ahead and put them in the freezer ‘til the new year arrives.
The filling is made with classic Chinese dumpling ingredients, a combination of pork, cabbage, shrimp, sesame oil, and aromatics that’s so lushly savory your dumpling-makers will be tempted to fry it up and eat it by itself. What makes it so irresistible? We think it’s the grated ginger — the dumplings and the sauce are redolent with it, and we dig how it complements the rich pork and keeps the whole thing light and lively.
In the test kitchen, our chefs stressed the importance of cutting the cabbage finely and then salting it and letting it drain over a strainer for a bit. Removing the water is of great textural import — nobody likes a soggy dumpling!
Speaking of that, let’s talk about the dipping sauce. It’s a simple affair, but it hits all the notes: soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sugar. What’s missing? Heat! For the perfect bite, drizzle on chile oil, sprinkle on green onions, dip the end of the dumpling ever-so-lightly in the sauce — and then pop it in your mouth and enjoy the interplay of salt, fat, acid, and heat. Happy New Year!
Our tips: After step seven, you can place the sheet tray of dumplings directly into the freezer. Once the dumplings are frozen, a couple of hours or so later, transfer them to a freezer-safe storage container. They can stay in the freezer for up to 1 month. When you’re ready, steam them directly from the freezer without thawing. They’ll take about 15 to 20 minutes to cook through. And, P.S., don’t forget that the folks in our seafood department will peel and devein those shrimp for you!
Servings: 40 to 50 dumplings
Pork Dumplings for the New Year
To make the filling: In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, shrimp, ginger, soy sauce, sherry, salt, and white pepper. Stir until the ingredients are well combined and form a sticky paste. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour, or up to 1 day.
Place a mesh strainer on top of a medium bowl. Combine the chopped napa cabbage with 2 pinches of salt in the mesh strainer and rest for 15 minutes to drain. Squeeze and press any excess water from the cabbage, discard the excess water in the bowl, and add the cabbage to the pork.
Add the green onion and sesame oil to the pork, and mix well.
To make the sauce: In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, water, ginger, sesame oil, and sugar. Set aside.
To assemble the dumplings: Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a 3 ½” circle cookie cutter, cut the square wonton wrappers into circles.
Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the filling onto the center of 1 dumpling wrapper. Dip your finger into a small bowl of water, wet the edge of the dumpling wrapper, fold it into a half-moon shape, and pinch the center of the open side together. Working from the corners towards the center, pleat the edge to seal. Firmly press the pleats to ensure a well-sealed dumpling.
Place the dumplings on the baking sheet and continue filling, folding, and pleating until you run out of filling or wrappers.
Line your bamboo steamer trays with parchment tray liners. Place the dumplings in a single layer in the steamer ½” apart.
In a steamer pot, bring 2” of water to boil over high heat. Top with the bamboo steam trays, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove cooked dumplings from the tray, and, in batches, re-fill the steam trays and continue steaming until all the remaining dumplings have been cooked.
Garnish with green onions. Serve immediately with dumpling sauce and chile oil.
Recipe adapted from: Omnivores Cookbook