Potsticker Hom (Stuffing)
In Cantonese we call the savory filling of a dumpling "hom" or salty ingredient.
1/2 pound pork butt - chopped
1/2 head napa cabbage - shredded,
salted, rinsed, and squeezed dry**
ginger - finely shredded or grated
** for a Korean version, rinse kimchee and chop finely
There's something about succulent slightly fatty pork seasoned with ginger, garlic and soy sauce - just assertive enough to capture your attention and then allow you to move on to other sensations.
Shred napa cabbage and put into a colander to drain. Add a generous amount of salt, mix and let it sit for about 20 minutes to extract the liquid from the cabbage. Rinse the cabbage to remove the excess salt and squeeze dry with your hands. The amount of salted and squeezed cabbage should be about 1/3 to 1/2 the amount of chopped pork. While salting the cabbage, chop the meat.
The texture of the meat is important. Chewy with bite, juicy and creamy all at the same time. Hand chopping is the classic method. I admit I take a shortcut and grind the meat by machine. The old way is to chop the meat using two large Chinese cleavers like a drummer in a rock band. You get a varied texture with some hefty chunks as well as creamy paste. When you grind it by machine, it's all uniform with no creamy texture.
Or - try approximating the hand chopping technique by double or triple grinding a portion to give it a varied texture. Either way, lighten the texture by beating it. Beat the chopped meat in the same circular direction with your bare hand.
This northern dish has a simplicity of ingredients that I admire. Pork, cabbage, and seasonings. Its the technique and proportions that count. Season with salt, white pepper, and finely grated ginger. Cook a small portion of the seasoned meat and taste. Correct seasonings. The potsticker hom is ready to use.
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