Vietnamese Shrimp and Pork Breakfast Dumplings ( Banh Bot Loc)


For filling

•     250 gm (1/2 lb.)shrimp
•    10 large shrimps (with heads)
•    250 gm (1/2 lb.) pork belly or pork back
•    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
•    1 tablespoon nouc mam (Vietnamese fish sauce)
•    1 teaspoon salt
•    1 tablespoon sugar
•    Pepper

For dough

•    850 gm (30 oz) tapioca starch
•    Boiling water

For topping

•    60 gm (2 oz) pork fat
•    2 scallion stalks
•    2 tablespoons vegetable oil

To make the filling

Cut pork into small pieces that contain meat, fat, and skin. 
Remove the  tails, legs and veins of the shrimp, but leave their peels intact. 
Sauté the pork in a medium saucepan on medium-high heat until just cooked.  Addthe pork along with vegetable oil, fish sauce, salt, and sugar. Cook until all liquid has almost been absorbed. Add the shrimp and a generous amount of ground black pepper to the filling (pepper is a noticeable, but not a dominant flavour, in many vietnamese dishes). Cook for another minute with stirring.

Making the dough

Place the tapioca starch into a large mixing bowl. Add enough boiling water to the starch to form malleable dough. Start with half a cup 

of water and gradually add in a little more until dough is formed. Knead the dough for approximately five minutes or until the water and starch is combined.

Assembling and cooking Banh Bot Loc

Create dough disks approx 8 cms (3") by 3 mm (1/8"). Place one shrimp and one piece of pork in the center of the dough and fold in half. Repeat with the remainder of the filling and dough.
Cook the banh bot loc in boiling water for 5-8 minutes or until translucent. Remove the dumpling and immediately place it into cold water to stop the cooking process. 

To make the topping
Saute pork fat on high heat. After 15 minutes, crispy pork fat will form within the liquid fat. Drain the liquid fat leaving only the crispy pork fat. Set aside. Chop scallions into thin slices and sauté in vegetable oilor the residual pork fat. Add in crispy pork fat and combine. Spread the onion, oil, and crispy pork fat mixture atop the banh bot loc and serve immediately with spicy fish sauce. A tasty, possibly healthier (?), alternative to the crispy pork-fat is fried chopped garlic.