My Grandma Ruth is an awesome cook. She claims that, as a child, her mother refused to let her in the kitchen because she’d get in the way. Thus, when she married my grandfather, he knew how to cook better than she did (which wasn’t saying much), and over the next few years she taught herself from cookbooks. Remembering her mother’s mistake, my dad and his brother and sister all left the home with a good culinary background.
My grandma cooks less often now that she lives by herself, so when I visit her she often sends me home with some cooking tools or spices that she’s not using. The last time I visited, she sent me home with two volumes of yearly Cook’s Illustrated magazine compilations. I love Cook’s- it’s the magazine for cooking nerds, filled with facts about tools and ingredients, the science behind cooking, and of course delicious recipes. Yesterday was the first chance I had to try one of the recipes, which I loved:
Sesame Beef and Cabbage Dumplings, adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, Sept./Oct. 1994
- 2 cups cabbage, finely shredded
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 oz ground beef
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp chili oil
- 1 package wonton wrappers- usually in the refrigerated case in the supermarket
- I bought the cabbage already cut up, but after measuring it I decided to mince it finer. An easy way to do this is to use kitchen scissors to snip the cabbage while it’s in the measuring cup.
- Toss the cabbage with the salt and leave in a colander to wilt a bit while you get everything ready- 10-15 min.
- Mince the shallot and garlic quite small.
- To toast the sesame seeds, I just heated them in a pan on the stove over a medium-high flame until they browned a bit and started smelling a little nutty.
- Rinse and squeeze the cabbage out
- Mix all ingredients (other than wrappers, duh) together in a small bowl. You can use all sesame oil instead of the chili if you don’t like spice.
- Fill the wontons: moisten any area of the wrapper you want to stick together and pinch well to seal. I made pyramid and purse-shaped dumplings but the POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS!
- I steamed the dumplings; you can also boil, pan-fry or deep fry. Steaming leaves the wrappers a bit chewy, which I liked.
- To steam, fill a pot with water to just below a steamer basket. Grease the steamer basket and bring the water to a simmer. Place the dumplings in the steamer at least 1/2″ apart, cover, and turn the burner to high. Steam for 5 minutes.
Dumplings and wonton wrappers, pre-steaming
They were pretty delish, if I do say so.