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Chicken/Mushroom Dan Dan Dumplings

Sara Johannes, WP-24 / January 2011

For 6 to 8 servings

Chicken/mushroom filling:
• 1 1/2 lbs. boneless and skinless chicken thighs
• 1 lb. pork butt, cut into cubes
• 2 Tbsps. sea salt
• 1/2 cup pork fat back
• 1/3 cup cornstarch
• 1/3 cup granulated sugar
• 2 Tbsps. sesame oil
• 2 Tbsps. ginger, minced
• 2 tsps. white pepper, freshly ground
• 1 cup spinach, cooked, drained, and chopped
• 1/4 cup Chinese black fungus, cooked, drained, and chopped

  1. Place all ingredients except spinach and fungus in a bowl; mix well; pass through meat grinder set with medium die into clean bowl; add spinach and fungus; mix with clean hands until well combined; cover with plastic wrap; reserve in refrigerator (chill well).

Dan dan sauce:
• salt
• black pepper, freshly ground
• 1/4 lb. ground pork
• 2 Tbsps. canola oil
• 1 Tbsp. chile-infused sesame oil (see note below)
• 2 Tbsps. garlic, minced
• 2 Tbsps. shallots, minced
• 1 Tbsp. sambal oelek chile paste
• 1 Tbsp. red miso paste
• 1 Tbsp. kochujang (Korean chile bean paste)
• 1 Tbsp. palm sugar
• 2 tsps. paprika
• 2 Tbsps. Shaoxing rice wine
• 2 cups chicken stock
• 1 Tbsp. mushroom soy sauce
• 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
• 2 tsps. Sichuan peppercorns, finely ground

  1. Season pork; reserve.

  2. Heat canola oil in heavy-bottomed pot set over medium-high heat; add pork; cook until brown on all sides; remove from pan; place on serving platter; reserve.

  3. Drain the pot; return to medium heat; add sesame oil to the pot; heat; add garlic and shallots; cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes; add chile paste, miso paste, kochujang, sugar, and paprika; stir to combine; cook 2 to 3 minutes; deglaze pan with wine; reduce by 50 percent; add stock; reduce by 25 percent; add reserve pork, soy sauce, vinegar, and peppercorns; bring to a boil; remove from heat; season; reserve (keep warm).

Assembly:
• 36 to 48 wonton wrappers
• 2 lg. egg yolks, lightly beaten with 2 Tbsps. water
• peanuts, toasted and crushed (for serving)
• scallions, thinly sliced (for serving)
• cilantro leaves (for serving)

  1. Place wonton wrappers in rows on clean work surface, working with a few at a time (keep wontons covered to avoid drying out); place 1 Tbsp. filling to one side of the center of each wrapper; brush edges of wrappers with egg wash with pastry brush; fold wrapper in half around filling so that there are three pleats on each side of the filling (dumpling should look like a Mohawk haircut when sitting upright); press around edges to seal; place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper; reserve.

  2. Bring large pot of water to a boil; add wontons in batches; cook until just cooked through; remove with slotted spoon; place on paper towels to drain; reserve (keep warm).

  3. To serve, heat large sauté pan set over medium heat; add dumplings; add reserved sauce; stir to coat; cook until sauce has reduced slightly; remove from heat; divide dumplings and sauce among serving bowls; garnish each with peanuts, scallions, and cilantro.

Food Arts Note: Chile-infused sesame oil can be bought online at www.boyajianinc.com/asian.html
What to drink: Gewürztraminer