Butternut Squash and Pork Dumplings
Source: Frankie Gaw, First Generation
A Thanksgiving dumpling that pays homage to the Asian American immigrant table. You know, the one that’s a hodgepodge of dishes that don’t resemble your friends’ Thanksgiving tables but are steeped in tradition all the same. I grew up going to my grandma’s house in Memphis. The table was filled with scallion pancakes, dumplings, soy marinated egg, and Corky’s barbecue ribs, sweet potatoes, tofu. A dumpling to me is as Thanksgiving as a whole roasted turkey (I never grew up with that) and this one is filled with juicy ground pork and butternut squash.
Yields 30 dumplings
2 cups flour
¾ cups warm water
1 medium or two small Butternut squash
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4–1 lb of ground pork
3 cloves garlic (about 1 teaspoon grated)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated (a knob the size of a thumb)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon chicken broth
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds, and remove skin with a peeler. With a knife of mandolin, cut the squash into thin slices.
On a sheet pan covered with parchment paper, toss squash with olive oil and evenly lay out the slices.
Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes until softened with slightly browned edges.
To make the dough, pour flour and water into mixing bowl.
Using a silicon spatula or chopsticks, incorporate the flour and water until it’s loosely combined.
Then, use hands to incorporate the rest of the flour and begin kneading the dough until it becomes smooth and the surface is uniform, around 10 minutes. When you press into the dough and it bounces back a little, you know it’s done.
When ready, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for 20-30 min.
Dice roasted squash into small pieces until it becomes a loose mash, about 1 cup worth.
Combine squash with pork and remaining filling ingredients and mix together. Use a circular motion with fingers until filling is homogeneous and sticky. Cover and set aside in fridge.
To make wrappers, lightly dust a work surface with flour. Roll dough into four cylinders the thickness of hot dogs, then cut into 1 inch pieces.
Turn each piece cut side up and with the palm of your hand, press down onto it to flatten to make a roughly flattened circle.
Dust each side with flour and then with a rolling pin, flatten to create a circular wrapper to desired thickness. Repeat with the rest of your marshmellow dough pieces until you have a bunch of wrappers.
Make sure to flour each wrapper as you roll them out so they don’t stick to each other and cover with plastic wrap so they don’t dry out.
If using a pasta machine: Lightly dust a work surface with flour. When your dough is ready, take out and cut in half.
Use your fingers and create a rough rectangle with your two halves roughly the size of a 3×5 index card and put dough through your pasta machine at the lowest setting.
Take your flattened rectangles and fold each into thirds, use your fingers again to create same rough 3×5 rectangle shape once again (the Italian grandmas say this step improves the texture/elasticity of the dough so I happily oblige).
Put your dough rectangles through the pasta machine at its lowest setting.
Increase the pasta machine setting by one, then run your flattened pasta dough through again. Repeat this step, increasing the setting by one and running your dough through until you’re at the 4th or 5th setting of your pasta machine (depending on how thick or thin you like your wrappers).
As wrappers are being made, you can begin filling them. You can fold the dumplings however you’d like and have fun with it as long as the filling is completely sealed within the wrapper.
To cook, steam-fry or boil.
If steam-frying — In a nonstick pan, add a generous dab of oil and place dumplings bottoms down and fry on medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes. When the bottoms have browned, add 1/4 cup of water and place a lid on top (the water will splatter when it hits the oil so be careful!) cover and steam for 6-8 minutes on medium heat. If the water evaporates too early, add a tablespoon more of water. Once the water has evaporated and you’ve reached the cook time, fetch dumplings out of the pan and serve.
If boiling — Place dumplings in a pot of boiling water. Let sit for a couple minutes until the water is boiling again. Pour a 1/2 cup of cold water into the pot to settle the boiling water back down (this will allow the filling to cook without having the wrappers break apart) Wait again until the water is boiling and dumpling start to float. The dumplings should be ready to eat on the second boil (check one to make sure filling is cooked). If not just add another 1/2 cup of water and repeat process until dumplings are floating and water is boiling. Fetch dumplings with a strainer to serve.
Reprinted with permission from First Generation: Recipes from My Taiwanese-American Home by Frankie Gaw, copyright © 2022. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.