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Chef Nyesha Arrington of Native shares her childhood memories of making Korean food with her grandmother, and how to make those little pockets of love we like to call dumplings.

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Transcript

- The short rib dumpling really tells the story of my grandmother and her love for food and what inspired me to cook. Cooking next to my grandmother and watching her make these amazing mixtures to fill the dumplings with, I truly felt like they were little pockets of love when I would eat them. My name's Nyesha Arrington. I'm the executive chef and partner at Native Restaurant in Santa Monica. My grandmother's from Korea and then I learned how to cook very authentic Korean cuisine with her. I was definitely my grandmother's first sous chef. I like to say that was my first cooking job ever. When my friends were out playing, I was inside peeling garlic and making dumplings and making wontons. And I truly feel that that was the first time I understood a culture through food. And since then I've always been on a pursuit to evoke those emotions in people through the canvas of a plate. I've always wanted to put a dish on the menu that celebrates her and that's really why I chose the short rib dumpling. It celebrates her life. She passed away when I was young, so her memories for me live on through my cooking. I love cooking with short ribs. They are a less expensive cut of meat, but the flavor goes a long way. We're gonna take our short ribs and place them into a large pot. We're gonna cover them with cold water, bring the water to a boil, and what that does is pull all the impurities out of the meat and gives you a really clear jus. As the water's boiling, you wanna skim off any of the residue that rises to the top. We're gonna remove them from the water and pat them dry. Now we're gonna start to build the sauce we're going to use for cooking. In a blender, we're going to add sweet onion and a pear. I love to use fruits and vegetables to thicken my sauces, and pears just have a natural amount of pectin in them. We're going to blend everything until it's smooth and scraping down the edges until you go. It should look like the texture of applesauce and this is gonna allow it to stick to the meat. Add mirin, I like to use mirin because it adds a nice sweetness to the mixture. I mix everything together until it's completely incorporated. Now we're going to start building our layers of flavor. Into a pan that's been heated to about a medium high heat, we're gonna add a little bit of oil. We're gonna add our short ribs back in until we get a nice sear on them. We are going to spoon our marinade over the meat. We add our carrots and our onions and cook everything until it's golden brown. What this is gonna do is develop our flavor and actually impart lots of caramelization notes in our result of the sauce. We add soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, Korean chili flake, and pulverized sesame seeds. And my grandmother was very passionate about having thoroughly toasted sesame seeds, so it's something that is very important to me. Add water and stir everything together and bring it to a boil. We're gonna turn down the heat and let this simmer for a few hours. You're looking really for this to be a sort of loose meat and very relaxed. Once the meat has been cooked through, it should look like jelly almost. It should actually be really soft and fork tender and fall apart pretty easily. We wanna cool the short rib in the jus, which is really important because it's going to thoroughly soak up the jus that it's cooked in. So once the mixture is cool, we're gonna strain out the braising liquid. And we're gonna reduce this liquid by half to concentrate flavor and to not have the mixture be too loose or wet. While the braising liquid is reducing, we wanna make sure that the meat is sort of broken up and becomes more pliable in the dumpling itself. Add some chopped parsley and chopped thyme. And then pour the braising liquid back in. We start to fold all of our ingredients together. Really what you're looking for is a mixture that's very consistent, not too big of chunks, you wanna see the carrot, you wanna see the herbs. Once we fold all the ingredients together, we're going to reserve until it's time to stuff the dumplings. It's really amazing being able to make the dumpling dough and make huge sheets of it. It has an amazing texture and steams up very nicely. Into a pot of boiling water, we're gonna add baking soda, and this is really going to give our dough an impeccable texture. Into a standing mixture we're going to add our flour. To our flour we're gonna add our boiling water with the baking soda, and then we're going to add in our salt. On the last step we're gonna add in our one egg yolk. You wouldn't wanna do this in the beginning because we don't want to cook our egg yolk. Mix everything together on medium speed. You want everything to be very smooth and a little bit of tacky. Once the dough is mixed together, we're going to take it out and place it onto our work surface. Knead the dumpling dough into a ball, place into a bowl and cover it. Let it rest so that a lot of the proteins that we've developed while mixing can relax and will be easier to roll out when it's time to make the dumplings. This dish is amazing because it utilizes actually all of the short rib, using every single part of it. The first thing we're gonna do is roll out our dough. We're gonna cut the dough into quarters so it's easier to work with. We're gonna bat it down with a roller and this is really gonna allow us to have a thinner surface to roll through the pasta machine. We roll the dough through the pasta machine. You want to develop the gluten, so I'll fold the dough into thirds and roll it through the machine and rotate that every few times so that I get a perfect rectangle. Once the desired thickness is reached in the dough, you're just gonna trim the edges off and this is gonna allow us to have a workable surface. To the dough we're gonna add our filling. You want about an inch in diameter, really just enough to create that perfect bite. Spray with a little bit of water. And this is allowing us just to have a tacky surface for it to stick together. We're gonna roll the dumpling into a tight roll and then we're gonna slice it. Once we have our dumplings cut, we're going to place them into the steamer to cook. I'm looking for a surface that is cooked throughout, definitely firm to the touch, but not too firm. You want them to be pillowy and soft and unctuous inside. Once the dumplings are cooked, we're gonna add them to our plate. To garnish, we're going to add red mustard frills, which I absolutely adore with short rib because mustard is one of those classic pairings. And then we're gonna top with our crunchy beef crackling. Finish the dumplings with charred Brussels sprouts. And then we're going to top with beef fat and that's just gonna give this an impeccable mouth feel. We finish this with the beef broth, essentially the cooking liquid left over from the braising of the short rib, which really fortifies and enriches the flavor of the filling. And that is our short rib dumplings. This dish is really amazing. It has impeccable texture from the short rib filling and a beautiful silky sheet of the dumpling dough. It has this amazing sort of earthiness coming from the Brussels sprouts and a small amount of mustard flavor from the red mustard frills. Every bite, you're gonna get a little bit of something different, whether it be the beef crackling, a little bit of the beef fat, some of the chewy dumpling dough, and the freshness from the greens, it's really amazing. I love this dish because it really represents something that is special to me growing up. Cooking next to my grandmother were some of the most favorite memories that I have today. And this is just a little piece of me to the guests saying, welcome to Native. And this dish honors my grandmother by celebrating her life and legacy of love through food.