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Pork and Chive Dumplings with Black Vinegar Dipping Sauce
Make the dumpling dough: Place flour and salt in a medium bowl and stir with chopsticks. Slowly add in almost all the water as you stir with chopsticks, but don’t use the entire cup at first. As you mix, a shaggy dough mixture will start to form. If the dough isn’t coming together, add the remainder of the water and continue to mix. Use your hands to knead the dough either in the bowl or on a clean work surface for 7-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 20-25 minutes. Knead the dough for another 5 minutes then cover with a slightly damp kitchen towel. Let rest for another hour.
While the dough rests, make the filling: In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and mix with chopsticks or your hands. Stir everything together until just combined, and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Make the dipping sauce: Gently toast the spices in a small, dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer spices to a small saucepan with the vinegar, soy sauce and sugar. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and allow to cool.
Once the dough has rested and is soft to the touch, divide into 4 pieces and roll those pieces out into a long log about 1” thick. Cut each log into ½-inch pieces, each piece should weigh between 11-13 grams and as uniform in size as possible. Roll each piece into a ball and store, sprinkled with flour so they don’t stick, underneath a damp kitchen towel. Working one at a time, flatten the ball into a small round disk with the palm of your hand. Use a small rolling pin or 1-inch thick wooden dowel with one hand and hold the disc in the other hand. Working in small movements, start to flatten the dough with the pin, rolling up from the bottom, and turning about ⅛ rotation each time you roll, so the disc begins to flatten into a wrapper. Continue this process, adding more flour as needed so nothing sticks, until the dough has turned into about a 3 ½-inch circle.
The dough should be very thin but not so thin that the filling will rip through, with the edges being thinner than the middle of the circle. Place the wrapper on a floured surface and cover with a damp towel. Repeat this process until all the dough is used.
Using a tablespoon or chopsticks, scoop the filling into one dumpling and fold the wrapper in half over the filling to make a half circle. Use floured fingers to pinch the middle of the half circle together, then start by crimping the front half of the wrapper towards the middle, repeating 2-3 more times until you get to the end of the half circle. Repeat this with the remaining unsealed half, until the entire dumpling is tightly sealed in a neat, crimped package. Place on a lightly floured plate or tray and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Repeat until all the filling is used.
To cook: Set a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Pour enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the pan and fill the pan with dumplings, giving them about ½-inch of space in between. Pour about ⅓ cup of water into the pan and cover with a lid. Let steam until all the water has evaporated, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the lid and cook until the bottoms are golden brown and crispy, about 1-2 more minutes. Remove the dumplings from the pan and set on their sides (as you don’t want to let the crispy bottoms get soggy). Serve immediately, or continue cooking another batch of dumplings. Uncooked dumplings can be frozen raw for up to 2 months. Cook from frozen in the same manner, but add ½ cup water and steam for 8-10 minutes.
To serve, divide dumplings among plates and pour the dipping sauce into individual bowls. Top dumplings with scallions and cilantro.
Tip: -Alternatively, you can make the dough in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Use the same process but only knead for 5-7 minutes the first time (rather than 7-10). Use a pasta roller rather than rolling out the individual pieces by dividing the rested dough in half, coating generously with flour and rolling each dough half gradually down to the 6 thinness setting on the pasta roller, then cutting out the individual wrappers with a 3 ½-inch ring cutter.