For the past few years I coordinated the Asian food stall for our school fetes. Last year we sold over 1,000 pan fried dumplings which was one of the most popular food on the day. To make these dumplings, I held a dumpling party at our house. Many Chinese families from the school came to help out. I was rewarded handsomely – I learnt many family dumpling tricks from all over China.
Now I am preparing for this year’s fete again. I am keen to experiment a few more varieties of dumplings.
One of the mums from school told me about a thick bush of fennel by the railway. She gathered some of the herbs and made pork and fennel dumplings, a popular dish from Northern China.
I didn’t gather the herbs from the side of the railway, but I did make the pork and fennel dumplings. I used a thicker shop bought wrappers and steamed the dumplings. I am a Cantonese after all and I love my steamed dumplings. They were really yummy.
Recipe is as follows:
Black pepper and ginger water
- 2 tsp sichuan pepper corns (or black pepper corns)
- a few 2 pieces of ginger, thinly sliced
- boiling water
Lightly crash the pepper corns; place black pepper corns and ginger in a cup and pour over boiling water; leave aside to infuse and cool.
- 300g pork mince
- 1 bunch of fresh fennel, approximately 50g
- a handful of corn kernels, approximately 50g (I used frozen corn kernels. I found them softer and more suitable for dumplings)
- 1/2 carrot, approximately 50g, skin peeled and graded
- 20g of green shallot (scallion), finely sliced
- 1/2 tsp grated ginger, or to taste
- 1/4 tsp white pepper, or to taste
- 1 tsp chicken bouillon
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp cooking sake
- 2-3 tbsp of black pepper & ginger water (see above)
- salt to taste
- 30-40 shop bought dumpling wrappers (I used a thicker wrapper typically used for boiled dumplings)
- Combine all ingredients – I use a mixer with a K-beater. If you don’t have a mixer, mix the ingredients in a large bowl with a pair of chopstick, stirring, one direction only, for approximately 5 minutes. The idea is to make the pork mince into a smooth paste. You may like to add a little more or less liquid if the paste is too thick or too thin.
- If you have time, transfer the paste to a container and leave it in the fridge overnight – the flavor will intensify.
- Wrap the dumplings – see video below.
- Steam the dumplings in a steamer for approx 10-15 minutes
- If preferred, serve with a dipping sauce of black vinegar, soy and minced garlic. The
- proportion of vinegar, soy and garlic is as-you-please to suit your taste.