Probably the great-granddaughter of one of the comfort women from the Japanese Army’s occupation during World War II.
Yes, he could work with that. She would have been ostracized by many of her peers for her obvious mixed blood and her clear reversion to her great-grandfather’s Japanese features. Probably even passed over for promotions.
His guess proved accurate over a simple, late-night dinner of noodles with soybean paste and pork dumplings: just turned twenty-seven, she’d been given an undeserved poor review rather than a promotion.
It took only a phone call to fix that, which he made while at the table. Her commanding officer would be transferred to the Tibetan wilderness, and her promotion to master sergeant would be signed by tomorrow. Over a dessert of aiwowo—sticky rice cone cake with a sweet bean paste center and a red fleck of sugar jelly perched like a nipple atop the perfect white ball—a quick e-mail fixed the trivial matter of the advanced health care needed by her ill mother.
Note: I love pork dumplings. And this scene is from a “very bad” Chinese general’s point of view. So, I decided to redeem the pork dumpling from his evil clutches and learn how to make them.
Note 2: I made these with wonton wrappers, which is fine if they’re fried. If you prefer to steam your dumplings, track down or make dumpling wrappers (our stores don’t have them).
Prep Time 20 minutes: / Cook Time: 10 minutes / Total time: 30 minutes
Makes about 25 dumplings
- 1-1/2 tsp. minced fresh ginger root (you really want the fresh over the powdered)
- 2 cloves garlic, coarse chopped
- 1 scallion, coarse chopped
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1-1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil
- 1 egg
- 1 c. cabbage, chopped (Note: If you use napa cabbage, sprinkle heavily with salt and set aside in a colander for 20 minutes, squeeze hard, and towel dry. We just use white or red head cabbage.)
- 1 lb. ground pork
- Wonton wrappers (Dumpling wrappers are better but harder to find.)
- Hoisin sauce, hot mustard sauce, and/or sweet sauce for dipping. (I just use hoisin on my dumplings.)
- In a food processor, combine all filling ingredients except pork. Process until minced, but not a past or a puree (10-15 seconds).
- Add pork, process until well blended and relatively smooth. (5-10 1 second pulses) (Note: if you don’t have a food processor, it only takes a few minutes to mince everything fine, stir in the liquids, and then combine with the ground pork.)
- Make a fingerbowl of water. Rub a damp finger along two adjacent edges of the wonton wrapper.
- Place a rounded (but not mounded) teaspoon of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Compact it with fingers or another teaspoon to drive out as much air as possible.
- Fold over diagonally and press the two points together. Hold up by the points in one hand.
- Start at the outer tip, pinching together tight against the mixture, and work up the side toward the point leaving as few air pockets as possible. Be careful to not squeeze the mixture out the other side.
- Repeat from the other edge. (There are lots of videos on how to make pretty folds, I never remember to look them up until my fingers are covered in pork mixture, so I make a few graceless folds and it still tasted great. If you do it right, taking two pleats up each side, it will curve in slightly on itself to make a love seat form when plopped down on its middle.)
- Set on a plate dusted lightly with flour. (Literally, stick your dry hand in the flour, dust it off over the plate, and that should do it.)
- Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
- Cook in batches so that they aren’t touching (with more oil as needed for each batch). Cook until interior over 160°F (about 3 minutes). (With tongs, I tip them onto either side for an additional 20-30 seconds a side to fully cook the wonton dough and I love the crunchy finish.)
- Serve with sauce(s). Crunch! Crunch! Crunch! Happy! Happy! Happy!
Don’t overfill or they blow out while cooking. This is about right, showing the two wetted edges. Fold dry corner to wet corner.
Matt’s poorly folded pork dumplings.