Thursday, 19 January 2012

Steamed Cabbage Dim-Sum Dumplings


Chinese New Year is in a few days' time! Growing up, that was the day we all looked forward to and got excited about. It's when we have festive cheesy music, new clothes, huge family gatherings with relatives you never knew you had, and of course, lots and lots of food. See why I never was that excited about Christmas? This is our "Christmas".

That's one thing that's keeping me cheerful. My laptop's been taken away for a repair, and it's not only costing a hell lot, it's smack before portfolio submission, and will take about a week. It's not just withdrawal symptoms I'm suffering from, it's the flu symptoms too.

I've got here a slight twist on traditional dim-sum, using cabbage leaves instead of gyoza/potsticker wrappers or wonton skins. It's a lot lighter and fresher, and makes for a welcome change from the indulgent treats around this period, especially if you, like me, are feeling under the weather lately.

Steamed Cabbage Dim-Sum Dumplings
Ingredients
Makes 10 cabbage rolls
5 large cabbage leaves (I used a January King, wrinkly savoy would be pretty too)
300g free-range british pork mince
1 bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
1/2" piece of ginger, finely chopped
1 tbsp good soy sauce (traditionally brewed and fermented)
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
generous dash of white pepper

Dipping sauce
2 tbsp good soy sauce
2 tbsp black rice vinegar
(opt, not for the s) chilli oil

Method
1. In a large bowl, mix the ginger, soy sauce, pepper and sesame oil with the pork, stirring vigorously in one direction till the mixture comes together. Gather the ball of mixture and slap it back down into the bowl repeatedly. These tips are important! They will result in a better springier texture.

Stir in the spring onions after that or they get mushed up (I realised this from experience) then leave to marinade.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, and blanch the cabbage leaves so they become more flexible and easy to work with. Refresh in cold water and pat dry. Slice each leaf into half, removing the hard stalk in the meanwhile (don't waste, just pop into your mouth;)

3. To wrap, place 1 tbsp of filling in the centre of the leaf wrapper. Bring the bottom up, the sides together, and then roll away from you, till you get a nice tight cabbage roll.


4. Arrange the cabbage dumplings on a lined bamboo steamer, or you can simply use a plate set over a steaming rack. Steam for 8-10 min till cooked.


5. Serve warm with the soy-vinegar dipping sauce.

I think the savoy cabbage really just begs to be stuffed, its large, beautifully wrinkled leaves serving as the perfect wrap, but you can use any cabbage really. The leaves become really soft and delicate after steaming, so you can easily bite through into the savoury, juicy pork-and-spring-onion filling. And the super simple vinegar soy dipping sauce just adds that bit of acidity which complements each bite really well, I think it'd be nicer with shreds of ginger in it too actually.


You can of course stuff it with your filling of choice. Prawns, maybe water chestnuts or something crunchy, and if you want to use chicken, make sure it's kind of fatty, i.e. not breast meat. I've done something similar before in spring with collard greens, "pseudo-lmades"; they're larger so I stuffed them with rice, toasted nuts, sweet raisins and lots of fresh herbs, but anyway, this is just so you know you can really stuff these cabbage dumplings with whatever you want!

Happy Chinese New Year, may it be filled with food, prosperity (definitely need a bit of this after the laptop repair), health, happiness, and more food (:

I'm also happy to add that this recipe appears in this month's Flavour magazine!

41 comments:

  1. These sound lovely; really like the idea of the cabbage leaves!

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  2. Wow, these look amazing! Can I come and celebrate the Chinese New Year with YOU! My mouth is watering!

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  3. These are beautiful and they sound delicious as well! I was just checking out the bamboo steamers at the market the other day. I might need to get one so that I can try this. Can these be made in a different kind of steamer?

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  4. This looks so good. I have never tried this kind of dumpling before!

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  5. Hmmm cabbage leaves as a wonton wrapper sounds wonderful! What a perfect little package. Looks so delicious and healthy.

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  6. Use cabbage instead of dumpling skin, sound refreshing and good.
    Wishing you a Happy Lunar New Year and Gong Xi Fa Cai!

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  7. Heh - I have the exact same chopsticks as you :) Really pretty little dumplings Shuhan - I've had stuffed cabbage leaves before - these look like a much more well flavoured, dainty version of them. Must give them a try sometime :)

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  8. I really need to cook with cabbage. These look great. I see a veggie version in my near future!

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  9. Hello Shu Han, first of all thank you for visiting my blog and leaving the kind comment! You have a beautiful site running here. I really like the idea of using cabbage as the dumpling wrapper! What a great way to enjoy the tradition in a healthier way! Happy Chinese New Year to you!!

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  10. They look lovely and light indeed! Cabbage rolls are as international as dumplings and they vary as much as dumplings in different countries. This New Year celebration description sounds like a big wedding where you meet relatives you have never heard about :-)
    I hope you felt better after this obviously comforting dish and I hope your laptop is repaired soon.

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  11. Looks good and easy. Thanks for sharing :)

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  12. Thanks for this delicious looking idea for stuffed cabbage rolls. I love this idea as I don't always have time to find wonton wrappers and this solves my dilemma!

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  13. CNY is always exciting for a kid with all the good food and the ang-pows. Miss those days when I get to receive. Now it is my turn to give :)

    Your cabbage rolls look wonderful! A nice change using cabbage as the wrap. Wishing you a very Happy Chinese New Year!

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  14. wow this looks really good for Chinese New Year! Great job!
    Have a great Chinese New Year!

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  15. This is a really clever idea. I love January King cabbage - when I can find it. Happy Chinese New Year!

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  16. Happy Chinese New Year to you.... love all your recipes. Especially this one the simple instructions are inspiring me to make the dumplings at home since I love eating them at the local Dim Sum restaurant:)

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  17. lizzie: thanks lizzie!

    farine: haha i wouldn't mind at all!

    mycookinghut: thanks!

    mary: you don't have to get a bamboo steamer, you can just arrange them neatly on a plate, set it over a rack over boiling water.

    anna: thanks!

    anh: it's pretty much the same thing, but with a different wrapper (:

    ashlea: thank you!
    sonia: gong xi fa cai! it is a much lighter alternative!

    charles: OMG really! from where?? I got them from my ex-roommate!

    littlemacaroon: gong xi fa cai!!

    megsmith: thanks, sounds great! you could try springroll fillings!

    yi: thanks so much, and happy cny too!

    sissi: it will be back next monday ): 10 days without a computer has been agonizing. grahh and the cost of a keyboard is ridiculous. BUT. oh well. it will get better (:

    munaty: thanks, i hope you try it (:

    laura: yup, it started out partly because I didn't want to bother with getting wonton wrappers also!

    biren: haha oh yah, I forgot that you don't get to always receive money on cny after you reach a certain point in life >< haha. i'm sure you still have fun though! happy cny!

    shannon: you too!

    katy: It's my favourite for now (: I get it at the farmers' market!

    malli: thank you, that's so sweet! this one is really quite simple, I hope you try it! rmb to watch out for all the little tips to make sure it's really juicy and springy inside!

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  18. Happy Chinese New Year to you Shu Han! I just came back from a Shanghai Dumpling restaurant and am really full, but I would love to eat this!! Love the cabbage wrap. Extra veggie sauce... I actually like to dip this in ponzu sauce...

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  19. This looks amazingly lovely. Will try this recipe during Chinese New Year. Gong Xi Fa Chai :)

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  20. nami: what a great idea to dip it in ponzu sauce! it's kind of tangy liek vinegar, but fruitier too, hmm will try that in future!

    i- thank you so much! hapy cny!!

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  21. very nice idea! yesterday i had some of these cabbage rolls in a restaurant and they use minced chicken meat plus some minced dried oysters and some veggies as fillings. Happy dragon year!

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  22. Wow! What a lovely blog you've created, such wonderful and delightful recipes! I accidentally came to your site and have now bookmarked it. Keep up the good work, you really are talented! :-) Maria

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  23. Your blog is beautiful! I've been meaning to make Dim Sum since last year, this recipe is fab. Thanks for stopping too.

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  24. lena: oooh i actually have never had cabbage rolls in a traditional ci restaurant before!

    maria: thank you so so much! I'm really honoured, please keep coming and commenting (:

    avillagepantry: thanks, i hope you make them! (:

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  25. wow. these are awesome!

    made them last night with savoy cabbage... and eating remainder for lunch today. yummmm. so tasty and simple.

    one thing: I did mashed ginger instead of chopped, but think lacked a bit of crunchiness. going to try them again with sliced ginger and maybe corriander, a bit more kick next time.

    thanks so much

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    Replies
    1. yay(: I'm always happy to hear from people who have tried out my recipes! I'm glad you enjoyed it! you can keep the mashed ginger if you like, and maybe add something else for the crunch? traditionally, it would be water chestnuts, which is really refreshing!

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  26. These is soo presentable & yummy! I'm trying this recipe tomorrow! Btw I've tried your simple spiced rice recipe ... Gosh! it was a delight!! Thanks again for sharing your recipes :)

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  27. There is not one helpful comment about how the dish turned out, all everyone says is when they WILL make it. This is not how recipe comments work!

    Anyway, I DID try it already and I thought the recipe is great. I used Napa cabbage (Chinese cabbage) and wrapping was quite easy. I anticipated some problems. Overall, great flavor, and a really easy recipe that I would definitely make again. Thank you for posting this.

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    1. I think Lorrin up there has done it too! Thanks, always happy to hear from people who've tried my recipes! It's really quite easy to wrap once you get the hang of it huh! And so much fun too actually (: Thanks so much for letting me know how it went too x

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  28. I made them today with savoy cabbage, tasted incredible. Very surprised at how well they hold together as well! Thanks very much!

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    1. yay! always really happy to hear from those who have given my recipes a go! glad you liked it, and hope to see you back on the blog x

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  29. This looks SO GOOD. Will have to give it a go and serve to some guinea pigs this week. Happy CNY! x

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    1. yay cheers christine! let me know how it goes. GONG XI FA CAI!

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  30. looks so good usually i make with wonton wrappers but have been meaning to try with this - so glad to have found your recipe

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  31. Just found you on Instagram, and so glad!
    All your food looks so delicious!

    If you have a moment, do you mind checking my blog out too please? Thanks! :)

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  32. Was looking for something to make using up some roast pork.I didn't have any wonton nor did I want to make any, but had a savoy cabbage that was getting a bit long in the tooth. Added an egg and a bit more oil for moisture as I wasn't using fresh mince and the result was a great left over meal - thank you very much!

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    Replies
    1. Always makes my day when someone tries a recipe and likes it enough to leave a comment! Thanks so much for taking the time to drop by the blog and pleased you enjoyed the dumplings :)

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