I have been craving comfort food, and because of my Chinese background, my kind of comfort food isn’t mashed potatoes and mac n’ cheese, it’s stuff like congee, noodles and dumplings. Alas, I’m in the long-term process of trying to heal my gut, and address food intolerance symptoms like my severe eczema – and as such, I can’t eat rice (which makes congee – a rice porridge, impossible for me), or wheat and most other flours that are usually used to make noodles and dumplings. So what’s a food-restricted girl to do, but to come up with a grain-free, egg-free, dumpling, right? Well, the universe has decided that the world just ain’t ready for my dumplings quite yet.
Full disclosure: My grain-free, egg-free dumpling wrappers were a complete and utter disaster, and I learned the hard way that it’s probably not a good idea to develop a recipe that will also double as your dinner. The inevitable failure just makes you cranky and hungry and scrambling to fix it enough to fill your belly. After the dumpling wrappers failed, I improvised and made a stir-fry dish that had all the flavors of dumplings, just without the packaging – huzzah! a stir-fry success from a dumpling failure.
In true Chinese family-style cooking, I hadn’t actually written down the exact quantities required of the dish and just threw in amounts that felt right, so I ended up making it again when my second dumpling wrapper experiment also failed. For a loosey-goosey way to improvise your own stir-fry, check out Nom Nom Paleo’s Garbage Stir-Fry. The first time I saw her post, I wish I’d come up with the name, because it’s exactly how my family cooks: identify suitable ingredients, cook quickly in wok, and done! The key to a good stir-fry is to season well, and taste as you cook. My mother’s own Chinese cooking techniques usually involve pre-marinating your meat as well, for at least an hour before you start cooking. For those of you who are less experimental, follow the recipe and enjoy the flavor of a good pork dumpling sans wrapper.
(And not to worry, I haven’t given up on AIP-friendly, egg-free, grain-free dumplings yet. I’ll make sure to post those when I finally get wrappers that work!)
Tip: Freeze your ginger and grate it
One tip about the ginger in this recipe: I freeze fresh ginger and grate it whenever I need some. It allows me to slowly use up ginger as I need it, and not have it go all wrinkly and sad, or worse, moldy. Also, I hated ginger as a kid. Actually, I still hated it as an adult. I love the smell of it, but never liked the big pieces of it that my mother used to flavor her cooking (sorry Mom). It was only when I started grating it that I realized ginger isn’t so bad.
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- 1 lb ground pork
- 2 tbsp of gluten-free organic soy sauce, or coconut aminos
- 3 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 2-3 tbsp coconut oil
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, finely chipped
- 2 tbsp finely grated ginger
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 1 medium head of nappa cabbage (about 7-8 cups) chopped
- In a mixing bowl, add the ground pork, soy sauce or coconut aminos, sesame oil and sea salt and mix until well combined. If you have the foresight, you can do this about an hour before cooking to allow the meat to absorb the flavors, if not, no worries as it still tastes good.
- In a large, wok, on medium-high heat, add some coconut oil and lightly stir fry the garlic, ginger and green onions until the garlic is lightly browned.
- Add the ground pork mixture into the wok and stir-fry until the meat is mostly cooked – some pinkness is okay.
- Add in your chopped nappa cabbage, a few handfuls at a time. The nappa will wilt as it cooks and make more room for the rest of your cabbage. Keep stir-frying until the nappa is sufficiently wilted and your pork is completely cooked.