Thursday, April 28, 2011

Vegetable Dumplings

As some of you know, I love doughy pockets of deliciousness. That's why I couldn't resist pairing last night's hot and sour soup with some vegetable dumplings. I had never attempted them before but walking by some wonton wrappers at my favorite Asian market, Li Ming's, was all the encouragement I needed. Well, that and I wanted to try out some of those fun dumpling folding techniques I'd seen. Since I'm not very dexterous, I limited the number of folding styles I tried to two. I'm happy to report they didn't come out half bad, despite what I expected.

While I was doing some dumpling related research on the interwebs, I came across this Saveur article. It mentions using wonton wrappers to make one of my favorite foods of all time -- ravioli. Yes, yet another pocket of doughy goodness. So if you end up making these and have leftover wrappers you might want to give ravioli a shot. If you do, please let me know how it goes. In the meantime, I'm off to think of crafty filling possibilities (and, I'm not going to lie, watch Private Practice).

Vegetable Dumplings
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes about 25 dumplings
  • 4 oz / 113 g firm tofu, pressed
  • 1 cup napa cabbage, shredded then chopped into smaller pieces lengthwise (I used green cabbage but I think it a softer cabbage would have worked better)
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot, or about one medium carrot
  • 3 tablespoons scallions
  • 2 teaspoons grated or minced ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil 
  • 3 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 cup vegetable stock or water
  • About 25 wonton wrappers
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon garlic chili sauce
  • 1 batch of dipping sauce 
1.  Preheat the oven to 200 F / 93 C. Toss all the ingredients except for the vegetable stock, wonton wrappers and dipping sauce in a mixing bowl until combined. Dip a finger in some water and use it to dampen the outer perimeter of a wonton wrapper. Place a heaped tablespoon of filling in the center and seal using the method of your choice. If you're using round wrappers and would like to make gyoza style dumplings you should check out the fantastic Epicurious video Deb at Smitten Kitchen suggested. I found it incredibly helpful. If you'd rather make round dumplings that look like Tibetan momos, this video shows you how to do so. I stuck to these two dumpling shapes. If you're using square dumplings you may want to pinch them together in a square pouch shape like this. You could always go rogue and make up your own dumpling shapes.
2.  Heat one teaspoon of the canola oil in a large, preferably non-stick, skillet over medium heat. Place about one third of the dumplings in the pan -- make sure they don't touch --  and cook uncovered for about 2 minutes. Turn the heat to low and add 1/3 cup of stock or water. Cover the skillet and let the dumplings steam for about 2-3 minutes. When they're done, use a spatula to carefully place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet in the oven to keep them warm. Repeat the process with the remaining two thirds of the dumplings. Serve them with a side of dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce
Also adapted from Smitten Kitchen
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon garlic chili sauce
Whisk all the ingredients together. How easy is that?, as the Barefoot Contessa would say. If you know you're a big dipper (I am) you can make a double batch.

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