Pork and Napa Cabbage Water Dumplings (Shuijiao)

Pork and Napa Cabbage Water Dumplings (Shuijiao)

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For dough
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
about 3/4 cup almost boiling water

For filling:
2 cups lightly packed finely chopped napa cabbage, cut from whole leaves (about 7 oz)
1/2 tsp, plus scant 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp finely minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup chopped Chinese chives or scallions (white and green parts)
2/3 lb ground pork, fattier kind preferred, coarsely chopped to loosen
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 cup chicken stock or water
1 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
1 tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
Tangy Soy Dipping Sauce


Add flour to the bowl of a food processor.  With the motor running, add 3/4 cup water in a slow steady stream.    Run machine until dough just forms a ball around the blade.  The dough should be soft, but firm enough to hold its shape when pinched.  If necessary, add water by the teaspoon or flour by the tablespoon to achieve the correct consistency.  Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough for about 30 seconds.  The dough should be nearly smooth and somewhat elastic.  Place the dough in a zip-top plastic bag and seal tightly closed, expelling excess air.  Set aside to rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes and up to two hours.  The dough will become earlobe soft.
Put cabbage in a bowl and toss with 1/2 tsp salt.  Set aside for about 15 minutes to draw excess moisture from the cabbage.  Drain in a mesh strainer, flush with water, and drain again.  To remove more moisture, squeeze the cabbage in your hands over the sink, or wring it out in a cotton kitchen towel.  You should have about 1/2 cup firmly packed cabbage remaining.
Transfer the cabbage to a bowl and add ginger, chives/scallions and pork.  Use a fork or spatula to stir and lightly mash the ingredients together.
In a small bowl, stir together the remaining scant 1/2 tsp salt, white pepper, chicken stock, soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine, canola oil and sesame oil.  Pour the liquid mixture over the pork-cabbage mixture, then stir and fold the ingredients together into a thick, cohesive mixture.  Cover and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Remove dough from the ziploc and place on a lightly floured work surface.  Cut the dough in half, placing half of the dough back in the bag to prevent drying.  Roll the dough into a 1-inch thick log and cut into 16 even-sized pieces.  Dust the dough with flour.  Next, flatten each dough disk into a thin circle about 1/8-inch thick using a tortilla press or a heavy, flat-bottomed object.  I cut a quart-sized freezer ziploc bag in half and placed the floured dough dish in between the two pieces of plastic and then used the lid of one of our all-clad pots to flatten the dough.  Repeat with remaining dough pieces.
Take flattened dough pieces one to roll them out.  Aim for 3 1/4-inch diameter wrappers.  Imagine a quarter-sized circle in the center of the wrapper.  This is the "belly" of the wrapper - you want the dumpling to retain a thicker belly.  Use a small rolling pin to roll out the outer 1/2 to 3/4-inch of the wrapper.  Try to roll the rolling pin with the palm of one hand while using the other hand to turn the wrapper in the opposite direction.  Continue to dust the wrapper with flour if it sticks to the rolling pin or the work surface.  Place finished wrappers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and lightly dusted with flour.
Before assembling the dumplings, line another baking sheet with parchment paper.  For each dumpling, hold the wrapper in a slightly cupped hand.  Scoop up about 1 tbsp filling and position it slightly off center toward the upper half of the wrapper.  Press and shape the filling into a flat mound and keep 1/2 to 3/4-inch of wrapper clear on all sides.  Fold the bottom edge of the wrapper to meet the top edge and pinch together to seal well.  Place the base of the dumpling down on a work surface and gently push down to steady the dumpling and make it sit flat.  Repeat with remaining dumplings and wrappers keeping assembled dumplings covered with a dry kitchen towel.
To cook the dumplings, half-fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Add half of the dumplings, gently dropping each one into the water.  Nudge the dumplings apart with a wooden spoon to keep them from sticking together and/or to the bottom of the pot.  Return the water to a simmer and lower the heat to maintain the simmer.  Cook the dumplings for about 8 minutes, until the dumplings float to the surface, look glossy and are puffed up and somewhat translucent.  Remove dumplings with a slotted spoon, a few at a time, placing the cooked dumplings on a plate.  Return water to a boil and cook the remaining dumplings.  Return the first batch of cooked dumplings to the hot water to reheat for 30 seconds.
Serve hot dumplings immediately with Tangy Soy Dipping Sauce.