Some of my earliest memories of childhood are of making dumplings with my mother. I could hardly reach the table by standing, so I’d be kneeling on a stool and would help press the dumpling skins flat before we rolled them out. It’s funny to realize how, in times of duress, we tend to gravitate towards the familiar. These scents, tastes, sounds from our past give us something to hold on to and regain our balance or ground us out.
This is a recipe that was born from necessity aboard the fishing boat Aventura. It became the go-to meal as it was fast, delicious and very much not fussy. It’s pretty much a Chinese dumpling flipped on it’s head. The skin is integrated into the filling so that a beautiful crust can be formed while the insides remain tender and soft. On the boat, I would mix up a bigger batch of these, refrigerate them and fry them up as we needed them at meal times. You can probably do the same at home.
As you’re mixing up the batter, make sure to take a big sniff of the salmon mixed with the minced scallions, cilantro and ginger. Smell that? That’s the smell of my childhood.
1 pound of Wild, Alaskan Salmon
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
3 stalks of scallions, minced
1/2 bunch of cilantro minced
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste
A splash of Chinese Xiaoxing rice wine
A dash of sesame oil
Panko Bread crumbs
1 egg (optional)
Skin and cut the fish into 1/4 inch cubes. Add the minced ginger, scallions, cilantro, soy sauce, salt and pepper, and splash of dry white wine or Chinese Xiaoxing rice wine and sesame oil. Stir.
Mix in a handful of Panko crumbs and a beaten egg. What I’m looking for is a mixture that I can form into patties and will hold together. There’s a tendency to add too much egg which will lead you away from a solid crust. A better solution to more egg is to cut the cubes a little bit finer next time. Form into patties and put aside.
Now pan sear. Because you’re forming the patties, you can control thickness and thus figure out what it’s going to take to get a CRUST but also be pink in the center. Now do the batch – I usually try to portion so that there are two patties per plate. Dress with microgreens or sprouts and a drizzle of Mae Ploy – or some sort of Asian Style Aioli.
This goes great with a nice dry Riesling!