St Patrick’s Day bacon and cabbage pot stickers

Serves: 0
Course: Starter
Cooking Time: 0 hr 20 mins
  • Makes 20 medium-size dumplings
  • For the wrappers:2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
  • ½ cup (120ml) boiling water
  • ½ cup (120ml) cold water For the filling:3/4 cup (300g) cabbage, roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped kale
  • ?lb (150g) shredded boiled ham (or Irish bacon)
  • ? teaspoon ground white pepper (or freshly ground black pepper)
  • ½ tablespoon soy sauce
  • ½ tablespoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • For the slurry /glue:1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ cup (120ml) water
  • Sunflower oil, for frying
  • For the dipping sauce :
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • ½ cup (115g) scallions, chopped
  • ¼ cup (60ml) brown rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup (60ml) soy sauce </li><li/></ul>

I will never forget my first St. Patrick’s Day experience after moving to Ireland.

Everything in the little village nearest to us was closed on the day – the post office, the bank, a good number of shops. About the only place with open doors was the church; it was not only a national holiday, but a religious one as well.

My mother-in-law invited us to the farmhouse for dinner, and I could hardly contain my excitement about having my first authentic Irish corned beef and cabbage. We sat down at the dinner table while Peggy brought out generous plates of roasted pork loin with mashed potatoes covered in a white creamy parsley sauce accompanied by a bit of boiled cabbage on the side. I was stunned. Where was the corned beef, and why on earth was there so little cabbage?

I explained to my new family that in America, most people eat corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day. My father-in-law looked at me like I was mad and then calmly reasoned, “We do not eat corned beef, t’wouldn’t be the nicest.”

I could tell by the look in his eye that corned beef was not held in the same esteem as the beautiful chunk of pork loin, known as “bacon” here in Ireland. I felt at once surprised and embarrassed.

Over the years, our Paddy’s Day celebrations have evolved. We have begun a ritual of going for a long walk on the farm and visiting one of the few fairy forts (circular mound dwellings from ancient times) still exisiting on the land for a picnic. I bring all the fixings, and we sit under an ivy-covered tree and nibble away, all the time being on the lookout for fairies.

Since I always like to try something a little different from roast bacon and cabbage, one year I made an Asian-style potsticker dumpling with pork, cabbage, and parsley sauce. I borrowed the dumpling wrapper recipe from my friend and blogger, Molly Yeh ( and went to town with traditional ingredients. A couple of hours later, we walked out the door with a basket of dumplings, dipping sauce, chopsticks, and a flask of tea. With a picnic like that, who needs corned beef and cabbage?

Method: Make the wrappers. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt.

Gradually stir in the boiling water until the mixture is mealy. Gradually add the cold water, and stir until the mixture comes together into a dough.

Knead the dough on a floured surface, adding more flour as necessary, until the dough becomes smooth.

Transfer to a clean bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rest while you make the filling.

Make the filling: Put the cabbage in a food processor and pulse until finely minced. Transfer to a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Pulse the ginger, kale, ham, pepper, soy sauce, rice wine, and sesame oil in a food processor to mix well. Set aside.

Squeeze the water out of the cabbage and into the sink. Place the dry cabbage in a dry bowl and add the ham mixture. Fold together with your hands.

Make the dumplings: Roll out the dumpling dough into a circle and cut out wrappers with 2-inch round cookie cutters. Set aside.

Mix together the cornstarch and water for the slurry in a small bowl. Take onedumpling wrapper, and spoon about 1 tablespoon of the ham mixture into the middle. Dip one finger into the slurry, and paint the edges of the dumpling wrapper. Fold the bottom side of the wrapper over the filling and press into a half-moon shape. Place on a baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and repeat with the rest of dumplings. Make sure the dumplings do not touch each other on the sheet.

When all the dumplings are assembled, you can cook immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to several hours. To cook, half-fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. Gently slide in one-third of the dumplings. When the water returns to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer gently for 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon, and repeat with remaining dumplings.

Coat the bottom of a frying pan with the sunflower oil and place over medium heat until hot. Fry dumplings until they are golden on each side.

Make the dipping sauce: Heat the sesame oil in a saucepan until it smokes. Add the scallions, then the brown rice wine vinegar and soy sauce. Mix well, then take off the heat and pour into a bowl for dipping.

Scullery Notes: Salting and squeezing the water out of the cabbage is essential. It prevents your dumplings from being waterlogged and soggy.