Why This Recipe Works
- Sautéeing the ramps in a wok gives them a bit of charring and caramelization, making their natural sugars even sweeter.
Things that are good:
[x] Ramps [x] Bacon [x] Dumplings [x] Ramp dumplings [x] Bacon dumplings [x] Ramps and bacon
There is only one logical conclusion to this series of statements:
[xxxxxx] Bacon and Ramp Dumplings.
Get it? Got it? Good. Here's how you do it.
For this to work, I knew that I needed to balance the flavor of both the bacon and the ramps, and that the filling needed to come together in a cohesive yet tender and moist consistency after cooking. I tried a number of different combinations of fillings before I settled on the final recipe.
Using straight up bacon is just a bit too smoky, overwhelming everything in its path. A combination of fatty pork and bacon was much better. I love the fact that bacon is already cured, making it great at retaining moisture (like a good sausage), even when you cook it to well done. But texturewise, you need something in there to break up the meatiness. Salted finely chopped cabbage is the standard addition and I saw no reason to sway from it. It breaks up texture without distracting from the flavor of the filling.
Speaking of flavor, a dash of soy sauce and Chinese cooking wine, a tiny tiny drizzle of sesame oil (the stuff is powerful!), some sugar, and ginger are my go-to dumpling flavorings.
But what about the ramps? Yeah, what about them? These are ramp dumplings after all.
Yes, it gets ramps. If I were using yellow chives for my dumplings I'd add them in directly raw, but with ramps I always like to sautée them first to give them a bit of charring and caramelization, making their natural sugars even sweeter. A brief stir-fry in a wok is easy enough, especially since we'll be using that wok to crisp up our dumplings later.
You can use store-bought dumpling wrappers with the recipe (linked above and below), or if you want to go all out, I've included a recipe for homemade dumpling wrappers.
Bacon and Ramp Dumplings
Ramps and bacon go exceptionally well together. Here they go hand in hand inside a crisp Chinese-style dumpling.
For the Dough:
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 cup boiling water
For the Filling:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 pound ramps, whites finely sliced, greens roughly chopped
2 cups roughly chopped fresh Napa cabbage
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces bacon, roughly chopped
4 ounces fatty ground pork
1/4-inch disk fresh ginger, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar (or rice vinegar)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon finely minced ginger
Vegetable oil for frying
For the Dough: place flour in bowl of food processor. With machine running, slowly drizzle in water until cohesive dough is formed (you probably won't need all the water). Allow dough to ride around processor for 30 seconds. Form into a ball using floured hands and transfer to a bowl. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for at least 30 minutes.
For the Filling: Heat vegetable oil in a wok over high heat until smoking. Add ramps and cook, stirring and tossing frequently, until lightly browned and fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl and wipe out wok. Place cabbage and salt in food processor and pulse until finely chopped, about ten 1-second pulses. Transfer to a fine-meshed strainer set over a bowl. Allow to rest for 30 minutes to drain.
Combine ramps, drained cabbage, bacon, pork, ginger, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and rice wine in a food processor and pulse until a paste-like mixture is formed, about 15 short pulses, scraping down sides as necessary.
Microwave a small ball of the filling in a bowl for 10 seconds and eat it to taste for seasoning. Add more salt, soy sauce, or sugar as necessary and repeat tasting/seasoning step until the filling tastes like you want it to. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To Make the Dumplings: Divide dough into 4 sections, and each section into 10 small tablespoon-sized balls, making 40 balls total. On a well-floured work surface, roll each ball into a round 3 1/2- to 4-inches in diameter. Stack wrappers and keep under plastic until all of them are rolled out.
To form dumplings, place 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of a wrapper. Moisten the edges of the wrapper with a wet fingertip or a pastry brush. Fold in half and pinch the bottom-right corner closed. Pleat the front edge of the wrapper repeatedly, pinching the edge closed after each pleat until the entire dumpling is sealed. Transfer sealed dumplings to a lightly floured wooden or parchment-lined board.
To Serve: Combine soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and ginger in a small bowl and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a 6 to 12 dumplings and boil until they float (about 1 minute). Continue boiling for 2 minutes longer, then transfer to a plate with a wire-mesh spider or slotted spoon. Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet or the bottom of a well-seasoned cast wok over medium heat until shimmering. Carefully add dumplings flat-side down and cook, swirling occasionally, until bottom of dumplings are golden brown and crisp. Serve immediately with dipping sauce. Repeat step 7 with remaining dumplings, working in batches.
Store-bought dumpling skins can be used in place of homemade. If using store-bought, exclude the dough ingredients and skip the 1st step and the 5th step.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 4g||5%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||4%|
|Total Carbohydrate 6g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||1%|
|Total Sugars 0g|
|Vitamin C 1mg||6%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|