Pan Fried Pork Dumplings
This coming Valentine’s Day will mark the beginning of my 8th year living in San Diego. Seven years filled with roommates, new friends, first dates, breakups, beer, food, and jobs; Many of which were hilariously awful, but some being genuinely incredible.
I arrived here an unemployed, very broke, 24 year old. I slept on couch cushions on the floor of my friend’s bedroom in La Mesa for nearly 6 months. I’ve had a couple of the absolute worst jobs of my life in this city. I was fired – FIRED! for the first time ever, from not one, but two of these stupid jobs. I had my first ever Everything Bagel in Little Italy about a year ago.
Life is strange. Sometimes it throws so much shit at you all at once, then on the other hand, it denies you the very best kind of bagel until you are 30 years old.
This city is strange too. Some of the best Asian food one may ever encounter in the western hemisphere, and yet, not a single great Chinese restaurant.
Pan Fried Pork Dumplings
1 package wonton wrappers, small kind, round or square
½ lb ground pork, usually lean is the easiest to find, hence:
2 strips thick cut bacon, roughly chopped
1 heaping cup Napa or Savoy cabbage, roughly chopped
1 bunch cilantro stems discarded, roughly chopped
I bunch green onions, roughly chopped
3 inch chunk fresh ginger, peeled & roughly chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 shishito pepper, roughly chopped (Serrano or Jalapeño is fine too)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
Salt & Pepper
Canola, Veggie, Peanut oil for frying
- In a food processor combine the bacon, cabbage, cilantro, green onions, ginger, garlic and shishito. Pulse about 8-10 times until well combined. In a large bowl mix together with the ground pork, soy sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce, and a little salt and a little more pepper. Use right away or let it marinate in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
- Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and dust lightly with cornstarch. This will help to keep the raw wontons from sticking to the prep sheet as well as dry out the bottoms so they get nice and crispy in the frying pan.
- Preheat your oven to 250º
- Put a little bit of water into a small prep bowl. Lay about 4-6 wonton wrappers out on your board, and wrap the open package in a damp towel/paper towel while you work. Spoon way-less-than-you-think of the pork mixture onto the center of each wrapper. I ended up using a rounded 1 teaspoon measurement. With lightly wet fingers gently finger-paint half of the edge of the wrapper. Fold the other edge over and press the edges together firmly. You can pinch/roll/fold the edges however works best to keep them closed. Just be careful not to tear the wrapper. Set the filled wontons aside on the cornstarch dusted baking sheet and continue to fill the wontons.
- Heat a large cast iron or non-stick pan over medium high heat. Add as much oil as needed to create a very, very shallow pool in the pan – maybe 1/4 cup for a 12″ skillet. Heat until the oil is nearly smoking. Add your wontons in batches and space them about an inch apart. I got about 8 at a time into my 12″ skillet. They should begin to brown immediately. Don’t touch them for about 3-5 minutes until they are golden brown. Flip and brown the other side. Transfer browned dumplings to a baking sheet.
- When all your dumplings are browned on both sides and moved to the baking sheet, bake in the oven for 10 minutes. This does two things – keeps them nice and hot while you prep the dipping sauce or other component. It also ensures that the pork is fully cooked.