The Princess rolled over on her silk bed mat, and stared again at the letter in her hand. She should have destroyed it, to be safe – but it was cryptic enough that only she and the rebels would be able to decipher the instructions. And so – even though its contents were now indelibly etched in her mind – she saved the crinkled paper, thinking that she had nothing that connected her so definitively with the rebel leader.
But would it work? She wasn’t sure. There were many moving parts – of which she was just one. Her mind jumped erratically from scenario to scenario, unable to rest as she contemplated what else she could possibly do to improve their chances.
The Princess popped up and peered through the silk canopy at her ladies-in-waiting, all spies of the Prime Minister or her father. They were asleep on their own mats near the main entrance of her chambers, outside of which four guards roamed.
She got to her feet and backed towards the east corner of her room. Glancing quickly at the paper in her hands, she knelt and felt around for the two corner floorboards. Grasping their edges, she pulled them upwards. There was a large empty space underneath – a hole of pure blackness. How had the Rebel known of this secret tunnel’s existence to her chambers, when she, the King’s daughter, didn’t? There was no time to speculate. She dropped into the hole, pulled the floorboards back into place above her, and began to make her way in darkness the only direction she could. Eventually the tunnel narrowed and the air grew stifling. Just as she was starting to panic in the claustrophobic confines, she felt soft fabric above her. She moved the cloth slightly and attempted to peek out, but could see and hear nothing – so she uncovered the hole completely and climbed out of the tunnel. Glancing around, her eyes already adjusted, she could make out the shapes of various clay pots and ceramic vases – ah. The kitchen storage rooms.
Here, she would find what she needed. As she worked in darkness, her mind turned to the long journey ahead. They would need supplies, enough for many days. She turned back to her task, intent on finishing before the palace awoke. Finally, when it was complete, she moved swiftly around the storage room, emptying larders, collecting dumplings and other transportable food into tightly packed bundles. Then she moved to the far corner of the storage room and placed everything in a large, empty kimchi pot. There. Phase 1 was complete. She slipped back down into the tunnel and returned to her room.
[To be continued! Of course…
For past installments of the Princess & the Rebel drama and related recipes, click here.]
- Potsticker Dough
- 1 c tigernut flour
- 1 c cassava flour
- ½ c tapioca flour or arrowroot starch
- 1.5 tsp sea salt
- 2 tb olive oil
- ¾ c hot water (start with ½ c and add more as needed to form dough ball)
- More tapioca flour/arrowroot starch for dusting
- 1 pound grassfed ground beef
- 1 onion, minced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tb fresh ginger, minced
- 1 cup (when cooked) boiled/steamed spinach or watercress, chopped & drained
- 3 scallion stalks, chopped
- 1 tb coconut aminos
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tb apple cider vinegar
- olive or avocado oil for cooking
- Cook filling, sauteing onion, garlic, ginger, & scallions over medium heat before adding beef to brown. After beef has browned, add cooked greens and seasoning (ACV, aminos, sea salt). Pour off (and drink, because it's deliciously complex/nutritious) any excess liquid (Note: not actually necessary to pre-cook the filling...I just usually do 1) to taste it beforehand and 2) because it takes the guesswork out of how long to cook the dumplings.)
- While filling mixture is cooling, make potsticker dough, whisking together all the dry ingredients + oil. Add in hot water and mix until dough ball forms (dough should be knead-able, not sticky, with a good springy quality).
- Roll the dough out on tapioca/arrowroot-floured parchment paper, as thin as possible (ideally to less than 1mm thickness). Cut out circular rounds (I used a container lid for this.)
- Fill rounds with ~1 tb of filling. Dip your finger in water and run it around the edge of the circle. Seal the edges together carefully and crimp as desired (Note #2: this dough is not as strong as your regular glutinous wheat dough. It takes a bit of finesse/TLC - i.e. a delicate balance between keeping it wet enough to avoid becoming brittle, and flouring your surfaces enough so the dough doesn't stick. As you're working you may need to cover the remaining dough with a damp paper towel, or add a tiny bit more water if it dries out.)
- Place formed dumplings on a starch-dusted plate.
- Heat up a non-stick pan over medium heat with ~2 tb olive/avocado oil. When oil is hot, add five or six dumplings (make sure they don't stick to each other). Cook for ~3-5 mins per side, until dumplings have browned.
- Add ~1/2 cup of water and cover pan so dumplings absorb water/steam. Cook covered for ~5 minutes, or until all the water has evaporated. Crisp for a minute or two more in pan, then serve with kimchi or a coconut aminos + scallion/chives dipping sauce.
This post has been shared on Phoenix Helix’s Paleo-AIP Roundtable.