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help me with my chinese dumpling filling

made a whole lotta hand-rolled chinese pork dumplings. however, upon cooking, i felt that the filling felt 'dry' - i see that some recipes use some cornstarch in the filling - mine is below. i used ground pork butt - so lots of fatty pork. what am i doing wrong??

* 1/2 pound napa cabbage (about 1/2 a small head), roughly chopped (squeezed out)
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 2 scallions, roughly chooped
* 1/2 pound fatty ground pork
* 2 teaspoons soy sauce
* 1 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
* 2 teaspoons sugar
*

what will make the filling retain a nice meaty but moist taste?

thanks.

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  1. I like to add soft/silken tofu to the mix....and mince any vegetables into fine chopped. Cornstarch would only tighten the mixture further without the addition of liquids

    also, a finer ground pork will hold together better than a coarse ground meat.

    1. If you're trying to replicate restaurant dumplings, the problem may actually be the pork. Have you ever seen the "fatty" ground pork at a Chinese butcher? It's a specific product, so to speak, and seriously fat-laden. I don't know if there's an official percentage, but to my eye, it looks like 50-50 lean and fat. (There's also "lean" ground pork which is like what you see in American supermarkets and is "lean" only in comparison to the fatty.)

      2 Replies
      1. re: MikeG

        mike g: ideas about how to get closer to that or how to add a feel of moisture to the meat? i cannot use tofu...i use soy sauce am not allowed to eat tofu/soy bean products.

        1. re: redgirl

          I'm by no means an experienced dumpling maker (professional ones are too easy to come by here), so off the top of my head, the only thing I can really think of is adding more fat?

          Did you grind your own pork? If so, you could just add some extra fat along with the butt, either store-bought if it's available, like unsalted fatback, or maybe you could save up some scrap fat in the freezer for your next batch...

      2. How are you cooking your dumplings? Steaming? Boiling? Sauteeing/frying afterwards?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Bacardi1

          I make Chinese dumplings/potstickers all the time, using cooked fillings of either ground chicken/turkey or shrimp. Steam them in a bamboo steamer. Even though the fillings are completely pre-cooked, have never had any dumplings turn out "dry".

          Thus I'm not sure adding more fat is the issue here.

        2. You can add some ground pork fat or lard to the mix to make it fattier. An egg can also help bind it if the filling falls apart after cooking.

          1. I would try adding gelatin (bloom it in chicken stock or pork stock) - it will hold onto liquid and give you some unctuous mouthfeel.

            2 Replies
            1. re: biondanonima

              +1. The technique I was taught is to use congealed (gelatinized) meat stock, chopped up and mixed into the filling. Boxed stock with gelatin added to congeal it would be an acceptable substitute.
              FWIW, I was also taught to salt, drain and then press out most of the liquid from the cabbage.