There’s a recipe in the Song Dynasty classic Mountain Home Light Diet, which uses plum blossoms and sandalwood powder to make wonton wrappers. This recipe for pink jade dumplings is inspired by that ancient dish. The wrapper is made with spinach juice and beetroot water. It will be red and green with the look of a flower bud with calyx. It also has more nutritional value than a standard wonton.
Recipe for Pink Jade Dumplings (serves 4)
300g minced pork
Half a Chinese cabbage
100g green onions
20 Sichuan peppers
20g sliced ginger
Half a tomato
Half a green pepper
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
100ml bone broth
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
Soak the sliced ginger, 20g of the green onions, and peppers in 100ml of bone broth for more than 15 minutes, then strain, retaining the water.
Blanch the spinach in boiling water for 2 minutes to remove the astringency. Then boil the spinach and beet separately, each in 200ml of water, for 5 minutes. Use a blender to liquify the beet and spinach along with their water, rinsing the blender between vegetables.
You should have about 160g of beet water. Mix it with 300g flour. There should be about 110g of spinach water. Mix it with 200g flour. This gives two distinctly coloured doughs. Knead the doughs, wrap them in plastic wrap, and let rest for more than half an hour. The surface of the dough will become even and smooth.
Chop the cabbage and set aside; chop and mix the tomatoes, green peppers, and remaining green onions.
Pour oil in the pan, heat to about 150°C, turn to low heat and add light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar, stirring constantly. When it releases its aroma, simmer for another 3 minutes, then turn off the heat.
Pour the above sauce into the minced pork. Add 3g salt, balsamic vinegar, and sesame oil. Stir in one direction; slowly pour in the green onion and ginger water from step 1, and beat well until it becomes sticky. Add the chopped vegetables from step 4 and mix well.
Sprinkle a little flour on the worktable. Keeping the pink and green doughs separate, roll the pink dough into a 24-inch log and the green dough into a 24-inch rectangle wide enough to wrap around the log. Wrap the rectangle around the log and press the doughs gently together so they stick to each other. Cut the dough log into half-inch sections with a knife, flatten them, then roll them into round dumpling wrappers about 4 inches in diameter, with the edges a little thinner than the centres.
Put a spoonful (about 13 grams) of filling in the centre of each dumpling wrapper, then fold it in half and pinch the seam to make a dumpling.
Put 5 litres of water in a large pot, add 10g of salt to the water, boil, and add the dumplings. Lightly touch the bottom of the pot with the back of a wooden spoon and push in one direction to prevent sticking. After the dumplings float, add 100 ml of cold water. When the dumplings float again, add another 100 ml of cold water. Add cold water a total of three times, and when the dumplings float a final time, they’re ready to serve.
Dumpling dip can be prepared according to personal taste. It’s recommended to mix balsamic vinegar with steamed fish sauce in a 1:1 ratio. You can also add minced garlic, coriander, and chili oil for an extra kick.