Shanghai Golden Egg Dumplings with Chinese Cabbage
"Land of Fish and Rice: Recipes from the Culinary Heart of China"
"Golden egg dumplings are traditionally a New Year’s treat in Shanghai and the wider Jiangnan region. They are made by folding tiny omelets over little mounds of stuffing: somewhat fiddly, but fun. The dumplings may simply be steamed before eating, but more typically are added to a potful of ingredients to make a soupy stew crowned by their golden halo. On special occasions, such dishes can be complex compositions of different ingredients laid out in concentric circles in a great big pot, including perhaps meatballs, chunks of pork belly, hardboiled quail eggs and stuffed wheat gluten or tofu. The following dish is a much simpler version, but do try to use a wonderfully rich and flavorful stock, since it needs to flavor the pale-tasting cabbage and sweet potato noodles. Many people add some chopped water chestnut to the pork mixture, for a little crunch." —Fuchsia Dunlop
- 4 ounces dried sweet potato noodles
- 14 ounces Chinese cabbage
- 5 ounces minced pork
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 2 teaspoon Shaoxing wine, divided
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped spring onion
- 4 large eggs
- Cooking oil as needed
- 1 quart stock
- 1 tablespoon lard
- 3/4 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 2 1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced spring onions, green parts only
- Salt and ground white pepper to taste
Soak the sweet potato noodles: put the sweet potato noodles in a bowl, cover with cold water and leave to soak for at least 2 hours. (You can soak them for half an hour in hot water, but they will be more likely to disintegrate during cooking.)
Make the dumplings: cut the Chinese cabbage into 1–1/2 inch ribbons, discarding any hard stalky bits. Put the pork in a bowl and add 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon of the Shaoxing wine and the chopped ginger and spring onions. Mix well. Beat the eggs with the remaining Shaoxing wine, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon cooking oil.
Pour 1 tablespoon cooking oil into a frying pan and heat over a high flame until faint smoke starts coming off the sides of the pan. Pour any excess oil into a heatproof container, then add a little fresh, cool oil and swirl it around the cooking surface. Over a gentle flame, put a 3-inch metal biscuit cutter in the pan and pour about 1 1/2 tablespoons beaten egg into the ring. When the egg is half-set but still runny on top, put about 1 teaspoon of the pork mixture onto it, off center. Remove the ring with a potholder or chopsticks. Use a spatula to flip half of the egg skin over the pork and press the edges down to make a dumpling. (Some beaten egg may run out of the circle; if you are very fastidious you may trim this off!) Remove the dumpling, which should be golden on both sides, and set aside; the pork does not need to be cooked through at this stage. Repeat with the rest of the egg and pork mixtures. You should end up with about 10 dumplings. (If you are not going to use them immediately, steam them over a high flame for 5 minutes to cook the pork through, then allow them to cool and chill in the fridge.)
Assemble the dish: drain the sweet potato noodles well, then put them in a heavy-bottomed pan with a lid that you can also use as a serving vessel. Put the sliced cabbage on top and add the stock, lard, and soy sauces. Put the dumplings on the surface of the pot in an overlapping circle. Bring the mixture to the boil and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over a medium flame for about 10 minutes, until the cabbage is silkily tender. Serve with a sprinkling of spring onion greens.
Excerpted from Land of Fish and Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop (W. W. Norton & Company). Copyright © 2016. Photography by Yuki Sugiura.