Steamed Pork Dumplings


  • 14 ounces small Asian style tapioca pearls
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 lb. boneless lean pork, fresh ham or trimmed butt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced coriander roots, or stems
  • 1/4 cup salted radish, rinsed, drained, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • banana or cabbage leaves to line steamers
  • Garnish
  • 1 head Bibb or green leaf lettuce, washed, dried and sep into leaves
  • 1 tablespoon garlic oil, Cook 3 tablespoons minced garlic in 1/4 cup oil
  • 3 tablespoons fried garlic or fried shallots
  • 1/4 cup coriander or mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons Thai or serrano chilles


  • Place the tapioca in a medium bowl and gradually add the water, stirring. Knead to a smooth paste, then cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 1-1 1/2 hours.
  • Thinly slice the pork into strips and then cut crosswise into very small cubes; set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a wok and toss in the garlic and coriander roots. Stir fry until the garlic starts to turn golden, then toss in the pork. Stir fry until the pork has changed color. Add the radish, peanuts, fish sauce, sugar and pepper and stir fry briefly until the sugar has melted and the ingredients are blended. Set aside to cool.
  • When the tapioca is ready; line the steamer racks with banana or cabbage leaves and oil the leaves slightly. Cut the tapioca dough in half. Work with one half at a time, leaving the remaining dough covered with plastic wrap.
  • On a lightly oiled work surface, roll the dough back and forth under your palms into a smooth cylinder about 12" long and 1 1/2" in diameter. Slice crosswise in half, then cut each half into 8 slices.
  • With lightly oiled hands, on the lightly oil surface, flatten a slice of dough to a disk about 1 1/2 " in diameter. Lay it on the palm of one hand and place a slightly heaping teaspoon of the filling in the center. Wrap the dough over the filling, thenpinch the ends and roll in your palm to shape a ball. If the dough cracks, don't worry, it's easy to patch and will be fine. The first few shaping attempts may feel awkward because the dough is not very pliable, but the work goes quickly, as as the dough cooks, it will seal any holes.
  • Place the ball on a steamer rack. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling, making sure the balls are not touching each other on the rack.
  • Once one steamer rack is full, place it over water in a pot or wok and bring to a boil. Cover and steam for 10-15 minutes until the dough is translucent and tender. Remove from the steamer and set aside while you assemble and cook the remaining dumplings. (At this point, they can be left at room temperature for up to 2 hours.)
  • To serve: Arrange the balls on a serving plate lined with lettuce leaves and sprinkle on a little garlic oil, then top with the fried garlic or fried shallots. On another plate, arrange a pile of the remaining leaf lettuce, the coriander or mint leaves and the chopped chiles.
  • To eat, wrap a dumpling, some coriander or mint and a little chile in a lettuce leaf. Each dumpling makes two or three very flavorful mouthfuls.


  • Description:
  • "Northeast Thailand...usually sold in early morning village markets to
  • eat later in the day."
  • Yield:
  • "32 dumplings"
  • SOURCE: Adapted from "Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet"