Pork and lettuce dumplings

Pork dumplings are pretty easy to make. The typical filling for pork dumplings are cabbage, not lettuce. Due to somewhat limited supplies and a refusal to brave the crowds at the supermarket for 1 measly cabbage, I decided to use the lettuce that was probably 2 weeks old and slowly wilting in my fridge (and this is after I gave said lettuce the princess treatment by hand washing them in soapy water and rinsing and then putting them in an air tight container). I also added carrots because carrots are in plentiful supply in my fridge.

When I made this batch of pork and lettuce dumplings, I had no idea that 700g of mince pork would equate to filling what felt like 1001 dumplings over a period of almost 3 hours. That does not include the pork filling-a-mixing and vegetable chopping. I may also have been watching Netflix at time of wrapping such that my dumpling production rate was not at it’s optimal level. My wrapping skills are also not great so I tend to use less filling (I have issues sealing the dumpling if I overfill) than the pro grandma’s at Hutong’s (legendary dumpling bar in Melbourne).

I did 3 different styles of dumplings, all the same filling, because I ran out of white dumpling wrappers so I moved on to some frozen wonton wrappers (yellow ones). There are a few styles of dumpings, first image on the left below are Wontons, followed by Jiao Zi (just plain chinese dumplings) in the middle, then Gyoza on the right. The Jiao Zi is the easiest to wrap and gyozas are trickier to master. Have a look on youtube to see how the different ones are wrapped.

Ingredients

Makes approximately 60 dumplings

700g pork mince
1.5 cups finely chopped lettuce or 1 cup of cabbage
1 carrot finely diced
1 cup of chives or spring onions
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
2 tbsp ShaoXing (chinese cooking) wine
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic grated
1/2 inch thumb sized ginger grated
1tsp salt
2tsp white pepper
1/4 cup of water or chicken stock

60 – 70 gyoza, Jiao Zi or wonton wrappers
2-3 tbsp oil for pan frying

Method

  1. If using lettuce, microwave it for 2 mins and let cool before adding other ingredients.
  2. Mix all remaining ingredients and knead for 5 mins. This ensures the dumplings have a bouncy texture and allows the pork to absorb the water/ stock. You can stir to combine with a spoon if you are not fussed on springiness of filling.
  3. Take a teaspoon of filling, plate it on a plate and microwave for 15-20 seconds. Taste, and if not salty enough, add more salt or soy sauce.
  4. Add 1 tsp of filling to dumpling wrapper of choice and wet the edges of the wrapper with a finger. Depending on which version of dumpling you are making, you can add or reduce the filling used as long as you can seal the edges of the wrapper securely.
  5. Place the wrapped dumplings on a tray laid with baking paper. Ensure tray fits in freezer if you plan to freeze the dumplings. The dumpling must not touch each other as they will stick.
  6. Place tray with dumplings in freezer and freeze for 1 hr, then you can place them in a container or ziplock bag. They should keep easily for 3-6 mths frozen.
  7. Cooking time for:
    Gyoza: Place gyoza in non stick pan with lid. Add 2-3 tbsp oil, add dumplings and swirl the dumplings around to ensure the bottom is well coated in oil. Add 1/4 cup of boiling water, cover pan with lid and simmer on medium heat. Once water evaporates, the gyoza will start pan frying and will be crispy on bottom. This process should take 8 mins for fresh dumpling, 10 mins for frozen dumplings (add 20% more water for frozen dumplings). Gyozas can also be boiled for 8-10 mins (8mins if fresh, 10 minutes if frozen).

    Jiao Zi: If you wrap Jiao Zi the way I did above, they are better off boiled as there isnt a large surface area on the base to crisp up. Jiao Zi should be boiled for 8-10 mins (8 mins if fresh, 10 mins if frozen).

    Wontons: Can be deep fried or boiled. Deep fry for 4-5 mins on medium heat or boil for 6-8 mins (6 mins if fresh, 7-8 mins if frozen).

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