Recipe reprinted from Dumplings All Day Wong with permission from Page Street Publishing and Lee Ann Wong.
In a large saute pan, render the bacon over medium-high heat until it is completely cooked and crispy. Strain and cool the cooked bacon on a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve the bacon fat.
Preheat a small pot of oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit/190 Degrees Celsius. Trim the bottom ends and old leaves form the brussels sprouts. Reserve any fresh leaves that may have fallen. Quarter the brussels sprouts, leaving the root ends intact.
Divide the trimmed brussels sprouts in half. Deep-fry half of the brussels sprouts in small batches, cooking each batch for 2-3 minutes until the leaves are caramelized. Drain on paper towels and season lightly with salt. Once cool, chop the fried brussels sprouts into small pieces or pulse in a food processor.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the remaining brussels sprouts until tender, about 3 minutes. Refresh in ice water to stop the cooking and then drain on paper towels. Dry the blanched brussels sprouts well with paper towels and then chop finely ( or pulse in the food processor).
Combine the cooked bacon, fried chopped brussels sprouts, blanched chopped brussels sprouts, and minced garlic in a large bowl. In a small bowl, sift together brown sugar and cornstarch until it is well mixed. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the filling, add the fish sauce, vinegar, and bacon fat and mix together until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate the filling for at least an hour.
Fill and form the dumplings in the classic pleat style. [Lee Anne Wong] prefers using pre-made wrappers for this dumpling. Heat a wok or large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon (7.5 ml) oil to the hot pan, tilting the pan to coat the bottom. Place the dumplings in a single layer in the hot pan and cook until the bottoms are golden brown, 1 – 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup (125 ml) water and immediately cover the pan with a tight fitting lid. Cook until all the water has been absorbed and the dumpling skins have cooked through, about 4-5 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dumplings. Serve with the Fish Sauce Caramel.