Steamed Napa Chicken Dumplings with Curried Beet Coco-Crema and Spicy Herb Oil

I have several friends living in the US from Oceania and the Pacific Islands. I was excited because my Hawaiian friend was coming to stay with me last weekend. I don’t often cook food from this region, so I decided now was the opportunity to knock some socks off. I always feel like I want to riff a friend’s traditional foods when they stay and give them a loving little taste of home.

It’s a bit tragic to me that many people think Hawaiian food is just adding pineapple, teriyaki, or spam to anything and call it good. From the couple years I lived in the islands, I got the vibe that Hawaiian food is an amalgamation of Filipino, Indonesian, Portuguese, Japanese, and Chinese dishes. Good ones. Trust me when I say going to an Auntie’s house for dinner is better than anything you’ll ever get in the hotels or most anything you’ll find in tourist areas. I smashed out this dish with love, and it was a winner all around. Spicy, tender, unctious, sweet, and oh so savory. Bonus: Slap in the middle of the Summer CSA, you can make this from almost everything in your share! Enjoy!
Steamed Napa Chicken Dumplings with Curried Beet Coco-Crema and Spicy Herb Oil
(serves 6)
Special Equipment Needed
Pressure Cooker (instant pot)
Meat grinder (or a food processor would probably work in a pinch)
Some type of magic bullet mini blender (regular in a pinch, but it’s less efficient)
immersion ‘stick’ blender
Beet Coco-Crema:
2 large beets or 3 medium red or candy cane beets, peeled and roughly chopped
1 can coconut cream
2 Tbsp Thai Green Curry Paste
2 Tbsp palm sugar (or the like)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Napa Cabbage Chicken Dumplings:
3 large chicken thighs
½ lb shiitake mushrooms
1 bunch carrots (the tops kind)
4 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp palm sugar (or the like)
1 head napa cabbage
Spicy Herb Oil:
1 cup tulsi basil leaves
1 cup cilantro
1 small serrano pepper
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
¼ cup avocado oil

  1. For the Beet Crema:
    1. Add beets and coconut cream to pressure cooker and cook on high for 15 minutes
    2. After cooking (and cooling off a bit!), add curry paste, sugar and soy and puree with a stick blender
  2. For the Dumplings:
    1. Roast the carrots whole (remove tops) @375F for 45 minutes
    2. Run chicken, carrots, and shiitake mushrooms through the grinder
    3. Add garlic, soy sauce, fish sauce and palm sugar to the mix. Combine.
    4. Boil ~10 cups of water and submerge each napa leaf for about 15 seconds or until slightly wilted.
    5. Take a large spoon of the dumpling filling and add to the stem side of the leaf.
    6. Roll the leaves up with the filling and add seam side down to an oven safe dish with a lid
    7. Steam bake @375F for about 25-30 minutes or until they are bright green and have an internal temperature of 165F
  3. For the Spicy Herb Oil.
    1. Add ginger, serano, basil, cilantro and avocado oil to a small blender and puree to a silky consistency of bright dark green.
  4. Spoon beet coco-crema onto a plate. Top the mixture with 2 or 3 steamed dumplings. Spoon the spicy herb oil to finish.