Expand your dumpling repertoire with these soft and flavourful morsels. A little more challenging to make, they're worth the effort - and are gluten-free!
- 30 pieces of banana leaf or parchment paper, cut into rectangular pieces
- Vegetable oil, for coating
- 1 ½ tbsp (30 ml) vegetable oil
- 1 ½ tbsp (30 ml) sugar
- 2 ½ tbsp (45 ml) shallots, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 150 g pork belly, cut into small cubes
- 115 g small shrimp, peeled and deveined, diced
- 1 ½ tbsp (30 ml) fish sauce
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2 cups tapioca starch
- ½ tsp neutral oil like vegetable oil
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup (250 ml) boiling water + ¼ cup (60 ml) water, if needed
- ¼ cup spring onions, sliced
- Nuoc Cham dipping sauce (see note)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
- If using banana leaves, pour just-boiled water into a large heat-proof bowl. Place several banana leaves into the bowl, just for a few seconds, then remove and wipe each leaf dry on both sides using a paper towel. Repeat for all leaves and set aside.
- Heat the vegetable oil over medium-low heat in a skillet. Add sugar to skillet and wait until it has melted and turned a caramel brown colour. Add shallots and garlic to pan and sauté until fragrant. Add pork belly, turn heat to medium-high, and sauté until pork is almost cooked through. Add shrimp, fish sauce, salt and pepper to skillet and stir to combine. Sauté shrimp and pork over medium heat until shrimp is cooked and liquid has evaporated, then remove from heat and set aside.
- To make the dough, combine tapioca starch, oil, and salt in a large bowl. Add just-boiled water to dough one ladle at a time, stirring as you pour. You should keep adding water until it forms a malleable-looking dough. If it starts to get sticky, you’ve added too much water. Add more flour until it is no longer sticky. Knead briefly until it is quite pliable.
- Place one of the banana leaves lengthwise on a flat surface, or parchment paper if using. Cut a ½ inch (1.3 cm) thick strip off the end of one of the banana leaves; we will use this to tie up the banana leaf. Brush the side of the banana leaf (or parchment paper) facing up with some vegetable oil.
- Tear off a piece of dough and place on the banana leaf. Using your fingers, spread and press dough into a rectangle on top of the banana leaf, mirroring the rectangular shape of the banana leaf. Place some pork and shrimp in the centre of the dough. The amount will depend on the size of your dough rectangle.
- If there is enough dough from the edges, pull and spread over the shrimp and pork. Otherwise, add a thin layer from the remaining dough until shrimp and pork are covered.
- Take the bottom edge of the banana leaf and fold in toward the centre, then take the top edge of the banana leaf and fold down toward the centre so that both sides are tightly folded around the dough. Fold the open sides of the banana leaf downwards to create a nice tight package. Tie up using your strip of banana leaf. Repeat until all ingredients are finished.
- Working in batches, placing the banana leaves in a bamboo steamer. Place over a wok of boiling water, and steam for 15 to 20 minutes.
- To serve, unwrap banana leaves and leaving dumplings in leaf, sprinkle with sliced spring onion, and serve with Nuoc Cham dipping sauce (see note).
● To make the nuoc cham dipping sauce, combine 1 tablespoon sugar, 2 tablespoons of fish sauce and 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar in a small heatproof bowl. Pour ½ cup hot water over top and stir until sugar has dissolved. Let cool. Meanwhile, add g1 minced garlic clove and 1 chopped Thai chilli to a bowl or mortar. Add 2 tablespoons of lime juice and use a pestle or fork to mash together. Add garlic mixture to fish sauce mixture and stir well to combine.