Chinese Meat Dumplings

Makes about 50 dumplings

5 cups cored and finely minced Chinese (Napa) cabbage

1 teaspoon salt

1 pound lean ground pork

2 cups finely minced fresh Chinese garlic chives (if unavailable, substitute 1 cup minced leeks – mostly the whites – plus 1 tablespoon minced garlic)

For the Seasonings, mixed together:

2½ tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1½ tablespoons rice wine

1½ tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon cornstarch, or more as needed

To Form, Cook, and Serve the Dumplings:

50 dumpling or gyoza skins

Cornstarch as needed

3 quarts water

Dipping sauce

1.  In a large bowl, combine the cabbage and salt and let sit for 30 minutes.  (This will draw water out of the cabbage).

2.  Squeeze as much water as possible out of the cabbage and combine the cabbage with the ground pork, minced chives, and seasonings in large bowl.  Stir vigorously.  If the mixture seems loose, add another teaspoon of cornstarch.

3.  Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of each dumpling skin and fold the skin over to make a half-moon shape.  Spread a little water along the edge of the skin and use the thumb and index finger of one hand to form small pleats along the outside edge of the skin; the inside edge of the dumpling should curve in a semicircular fashion to conform to the shape of the pleated edge.  Place the sealed dumplings on a baking sheet lightly dusted with cornstarch.

4.  In a large pot, heat the water until boiling.  Add half the dumplings, stirring to prevent them from sticking together, and, once the water boils again, cook for 5 minutes.  Remove with a handled strainer and drain, then cook the remaining dumplings.  Serve the dumplings with the dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce:

¾ cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons peeled and finely shredded fresh ginger

¼ cup water

3 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce

1.  Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.

2.  Transfer to a serving dish and use at room temperature.  Refrigerated, the sauce will keep in a tightly covered container for up to a week.

© Copyright Nina Simonds 2008


Gingery Faux Won Ton Soup with Bow Tie Pasta

6 to 8 Servings


1 bunch Swiss chard (about 1 pound)

1 pound lean ground pork


3½ tablespoons chopped fresh ginger

4 tablespoons chopped scallions, white part only

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine or sake

1 egg, lightly beaten

1½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1½ tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon olive or canola oil

1½ tablespoons chopped garlic

6 cups chicken stock, preferably low-sodium

1½ cups bow tie pasta (farfalle)

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Cut off the root end and discard several inches of the thick stalk end of the Swiss chard. Trim and discard any wilted leaves. Cut the remaining stalk and leaves crosswise into thin ribbons, about ½-inch wide, separating the stalk from the leafy sections.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the ground pork and the seasonings, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon to form a stiff paste. Using your hands and a serving spoon, scoop out a generous tablespoon of the meat mixture and roll it into a ball, dipping the spoon into a cup of water to prevent it from sticking. Place the meatballs on a sheet of wax paper and repeat with the remaining mixture to make 20 meatballs.

3. Heat the olive oil in a heavy soup pot until hot, about 10 seconds.

Add the garlic and the stalk sections of the Swiss chard and stir-fry

over medium-high heat for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock,

partially cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, add

the meatballs and pasta, and cook the soup for about 10 to 12 minutes,

or until the pasta is almost tender. Add the green sections of the chard, partially cover, and continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes, skimming the surface of the soup to remove any scum. Add the salt and pepper, and taste for seasoning, adjusting if necessary. Serve immediately.



 Nibbles for six

Edamame are a wonderful snack to keep in the refrigerator for nibbling.
I also like to serve them as hors d’oeuvres with drinks and I keep a bag in
my fridge to nibble on in the late afternoon when I get hungry.  They are available frozen in Asian markets and many health food supermarkets. I prefer those still in the pod, but you may also buy the beans without pods.   

1 one-pound bag edamame or soybeans in pods, frozen
2 teaspoons salt (sea salt preferred)

1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Drop the edamame
into the boiling water, stir, and return to a boil over high heat.
Reduce the heat to medium high, cook for 1 ½ minutes, then drain in a large colander. Refresh the beans under cold, running water, tossing by hand so that they cool evenly. Drain thoroughly.
2. Transfer the cool soybeans pods to a large bowl and add the salt. Toss lightly to coat evenly and serve. To eat, simply suck the soybeans out of their pods.


Six servings

Everyone loves barbecued spareribs and this recipe has to be one of my favorites.
Have these garlicky glazed ribs as an appetizer or entrée with vegetables and steamed rice. Serve with hot mustard for extra spice.

3 pounds Baby-back, country-style, or Chinese spareribs
(If they are long, you may ask the butcher to cut them across the length.) 

Marinade, (mixed together):
1 cup hoisin sauce
¼ cup  soy sauce
6 tablespoons rice wine or sake
¼ cups ketchup
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons water

1. Bring a large pot of with 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add the spareribs
and return to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 20 minutes. Drain the spareribs and let cool. 
2. Using a sharp knife, separate the ribs, cutting between the bones. Place in a bowl. Pour the mixed Marinade ingredients onto the ribs and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap, and let marinate for at least 4 hours, or overnight, in the refrigerator.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the spareribs on a baking sheet that has been lined with aluminum foil, spooning the marinade on top. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.
Transfer to a serving platter and serve warm or at room temperature.


Nibbles for six (Makes about 4 cups)

Both adults and children love crisp, spiced almonds.
The nuts freeze beautifully so I prepare them in large batches and
freeze them in plastic bags to have on hand. To serve, just defrost them at room
temperature and serve or reheat briefly in the oven. *

1 teaspoon olive or corn oil
1 pound raw, skinned almonds  (or walnuts or peanuts.)
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
½  cup sugar
1 ½  tablespoons five-spice powder OR mix the following seasonings:
1 ½ to 2 teaspoons allspice 
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt

1.Preheat the oven to 300 F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet with the oil.
2.Put the almonds in a bowl. Mix the egg whites with the almonds and stir to coat.
In a paper or a plastic bag, mix the sugar with the spices. Drain the almonds in a
strainer and drop them into the paper bag.  Holding the bag shut, shake it to coat the almonds with the spices. Spread the coated nuts in a single layer on the greased cookie sheet and roast, stirring occasionally, for 40 to 45 minutes until golden and crisp. To test for doneness, cut the almond in half and make certain the inside is opaque and crisp. Let cool, then transfer to a serving dish. (These will keep for up to 1 week in a tightly covered container and indefinitely in the freezer. )

 *To re-crisp the nuts, bake them  in a 350-degree oven until crisp before serving.


Satisfying snacks for six 

Since I am a New Englander by birth, I prefer to eat seafood simply. Crisp-cooked shrimp with a horseradish-flavored sauce is the essence of simplicity. I add extra flavor by first poaching the shrimp with a little rice wine and some ginger and scallions which imparts its own subtle and unique seasoning. 

2 tablespoons rice wine, sake, or very dry sherry
6 slices fresh ginger, smashed with the flat side of a knife
6 stalks scallion, ends trimmed, smashed with the flat side of a knife
1 ½ pounds medium to large shrimp in shells

Spicy Cocktail Sauce, (mixed together) :
1 cup ketchup
1 ½  tablespoons horseradish, or to taste
1 ½  teaspoons hot chili paste, or to taste              
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice or to taste    

1.  Bring six cups of water plus the sake, ginger slices, and scallions to a boil, then add the shrimp. Once the water reaches a boil again, cook the shrimp for 1½ minutes or until cooked through. Drain in a colander and let cool slightly, then remove the shells and any black veins. Put the shrimp in a bowl and chill.
2.  Spoon the cocktail sauce into a bowl and place in the middle of a platter. Mound the chilled shrimp around the sauce and serve.

Disclaimer: Herbs, foods, and other natural remedies are not substitutes for professional medical care.
For a specific health problem, consult a qualified health-care giver for guidance.