Dumpling Dreams
Corn Dumplings - Albóndigas de Maíz
Cookbook Author María Josefa Lluriá De O'Higgins's A Taste of Old Cuba, Harper Collins 1994
Adapted by StarChefs

Yield: 6 Servings

For the Dumplings:

  • 12 ears fresh autumn corn or 3 cups ground corn (found in Latin markets)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 Tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg white

For the Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 2 cups chicken or beef broth

For the Dumplings:

Husk the corn and slice off the kernels with a sharp knife. Grind them in a food processor. Add the garlic, lard, salt, pepper, egg and egg white to the food processor; pulse until everything is well blended. Form the dumplings as you would meatballs, making each one no larger than a golf ball; set aside.

For the Sauce:

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion and green pepper until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Add the tomato puree and broth; bring to a boil. Carefully place the dumplings in the boiling sauce one by one. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens, about 30 minutes.

Sakhoo Sai Moo (Steamed Pork Dumplings)
From Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford's Hot Sour Salty Sweet
Adapted by StarChefs

Yield: 6- 8 servings (32 dumplings)

For Dumplings:

  • 14 ounces small (Asian-style) tapioca pearls
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 lb. boneless lean pork (such as fresh ham or trimmed shoulder)
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
  • 2 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon minced coriander roots
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped salted radish, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped Dry-Roasted Peanuts (recipe below)
  • 2 Tablespoons Thai fish sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons palm sugar, or substitute brown sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • Banana leaves to line the steamers

For Garnish:

  • 1 medium head leaf or Bibb lettuce, separated into leaves, large leaves torn in half
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic oil
  • 2 Tablespoons fried shallots
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped Serrano chiles

Place the tapioca in a medium bowl and gradually add the water, stirring. Knead to a smooth paste, then cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 to 1 ½ hours. Meanwhile, very thinly slice the pork into strips (this is easier if the meat is cold) and then cut crosswise into very small cubes; set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok or large heavy skillet and, when it is hot, toss in the garlic and coriander roots. Stir-fry until the garlic starts to turn golden, about 15 seconds, then toss in the pork. Stir-fry until all the pork has changed color, about 3 minutes. Add the radish, peanuts, fish sauce, sugar, and pepper and stir-fry briefly until the sugar has melted and the ingredients are blended. Set aside to cool.

Line two steamer racks with banana leaves and oil the leaves lightly. Cut the tapioca dough in half. Work with one half at a time, laving the remaining dough covered with plastic wrap. On a lightly oiled work surface, roll the dough back and forth under your palms into a smooth cylinder about 12 inches long and 1 ½ inches in diameter. Slice crosswise in half, and then cut each half into 8 slices.

With lightly oiled, on the lightly oiled surface, flatten a slice of dough to a disk about 1 ½ inches in diameter. Lay it on the palm of one hand and place a slightly heaping teaspoon of the filling in the center. Wrap the dough over the filling, then pinch the ends and roll into a ball. Place the ball on a steamer rack; repeat with remaining dough and filling; making sure the balls are not touching each other on the rack. Cover and steam for 10 to 15 minutes, until dough is translucent and tender; remove and set aside.

To serve, arrange the balls on a serving planter lined with lettuce leaves, sprinkle with garlic oil and top with fried shallots. On another plate, arrange a pile of the remaining leaf lettuce, the mint leaves and chiles. To eat, wrap a dumpling, some mint and chile in a lettuce leaf.