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Meat Dumplings (Jiao Zi)

For the filling:
2 pounds ground beef or ground pork (alternatively, use 1 pound ground beef and 1 pound ground pork)
4 to 4 1/2 pounds Napa cabbage, ends trimmed
1 cup (4 ounces) Chinese chives (see note) or scallions, finely minced
1 cup (4 ounces) gingerroot, finely minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (canola, corn or safflower)

Wash cabbage, and cut into large chunks. Place cabbage in a large pot, adding water to cover, then cover pot. Bring to a boil, and reduce to medium heat, cooking for 15 to 20 minutes.

Drain cabbage, and rinse with cold water. Chop cabbage as finely as possible, and, using both hands, squeeze the water out. (This prevents the filling from soaking through the dumpling skins.) After you squeeze the water out, you should have about 1 1/4 pounds of cabbage for the filling.

In a large mixing bowl, use your hands to thoroughly combine the meat, cabbage, chives, gingerroot, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and vegetable oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 1 day in advance.

Yield: Approximately 90.

Note: Chinese chives are available at Lotus in the Strip District.

Thomas Kuo of North Hills

Sunday, April 09, 2000

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