Every once in a while, I have a hankerin' for steamed chinese dumplings. They're called jiao zi, and they're also really good pan fried. Unfortunately, it takes one person forever to make them, which is why I only do it a few times a year.
But they're totally worth it. Do it.
You, dear reader, might wonder why one would willingly mix pork and shrimp together. Surely that is a revolting combination! Worry not -- they're wonderful.
What, you ask, is shaoxing? It's a rice wine used in cooking. If there's a Chinese grocery store around, it will definitely be there. After some enthusiastic googling, I learned that the kind that comes in a red-labeled bottle is supposed to be the best. If you haven't a Chinese grocery nearby, that's what Amazon is for.Or just substitute it with a dry sherry, which, as far as I'm concerned, is harder to justify going on a trip to buy than shaoxing. No excuses!
Also, you can't use the sesame oil that goes in middle eastern cooking. That stuff isn't the same as the toasted sesame oil used in Chinese cookery. The two taste completely different. Get the right stuff. It's important.
You could make your own wrappers, but I've never bothered. Asian grocers carry them, they're cheap, and are just as good. Buy some and save yourself a million hours of rolling out a hundred or more tiny little wrappers.
There are a ton of recipes for this stuff that are out there, but I usually use this one. If you really decide that you're into this sort of thing, there are about a million different things you can use for a filling. You should.
Jiao Zi (Pork and Shrimp Dumplings)
gyoza wrappers (found in an asian grocery; don't get the thicker ones for wontons)
2 cups finely chopped bok choy or napa cabbage (NOT normal cabbage)
12 oz. ground pork
8 oz. peeled shrimp
3 scallions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T shaoxing
1 and 1/2 T grated fresh ginger
1 T soy sauce
2 t toasted Asian sesame oil
1/2 t granulated sugar
Mix the salt with the bok choy or cabbage in a bowl and let it sit for about a half hour. This'll pull out a lot of the water in the cabbage, which is important to ensure that the dumplings don't fall apart. Next, put the drained cabbage into a cloth and squeeze out even more water.
Throw all the ingredients into a big bowl and mix thoroughly. You could refrigerate the mixture to help keep things together, but I never bother.
After the mixture is prepared, put about a tablespoon onto each wrapper, wet half of the edges of the flour, and seal the dumpling. There are fancier ways to close them, but getting it right every time isn't assured. Lay them out on wax paper or plates making sure they don't touch. They'll stick together otherwise.
Steam them about 10 minutes or so. Or pan fry them. Store the remainder in the freezer, uncooked. Don't bother cooking them ahead, since they'll be gross that way.
You can buy ponzu sauce over the counter at most groceries, even bad ones. That's fine, I suppose. But this is better. It comes from Japanese cooking.
1/4 c red/sendai miso paste
1/4 c chicken stock, made only from bones (no herbs, carrots, etc.)
1 T toasted sesame oil
1 t finely chopped garlic
1 t finely chopped ginger
1 T finely chopped scallion, white bits only
1 T sugar
1 hot chili paste (basically chilis that were roasted, chopped and mixed with oil)
1/4 c sake
1 T mirin
1 T vinegar
Mix all that together. Dip dumplings in it.