Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Chinese New Year - Vegetable Dumplings
Every year I get very excited by the approach of Awards Season (Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and of course, the ultimate -- Oscars) which oh so nicely a lines with the Chinese New Year...so you basically get an excuse to watch the RED CARPET while popping dumplings into your mouth - can it get any better?? (Oh and maybe a nice healthy alternative at a Super Bowl Party!)
For the Oscars a couple years ago Nick & I made vegetable dumpling which didn't really do it for me (he happened to like them, or so he says). I tracked my distaste to the watery filling - something I've vowed never to repeat (aka. don't cook your filling first!). The dumplings posted here are easy, delicious, and very festive. Also, a great excuse to use our bamboo steamer, a lovely wedding gift from our friends Pete & Andrew.
This recipe was adapted from a standard I found online:
1/2 pound firm tofu (I like the baked tofu that is REALLY firm. If you use plain old firm tofu I suggest to weight it down in between 2 towels to ring out some of the moisture...don't want a soggy dumpling!)
1/2 cup grated carrots (I used broccoli slaw from Trader Joe's because we had it at home)
1/2 cup shredded cabbage (I used purple cabbage-pretty!)
2 tablespoons scallions
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce (my favorite!!)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 egg *could make vegan and omit egg
pinch of salt
Small bowl of water
35-40 wonton wrappers
Put everything for the filling into the food processor and wizz up until it is finely chopped but not mush.
Scoop a teaspoon of the filling into the center of a wonton wrapper and wet 2 of the sides then fold up and pinch to seal (basically making the opposite points connect).
Keep a baking sheet handy for the finished dumplings, covered by a wet cloth, as you make all the dumplings.
Once all the dumplings are made, boil a 1/2 inch of water in a pot (I used a wok) below your steamer. Once it is boiled, turn down to medium. Spray the steamer with oil and lay the dumplings in (make sure they don't touch). Steam for 10-15 minutes.
Once the dumplings are cooked, place them on the baking sheet (still covered with wet cloth) and place in 200 degree oven to keep warm as you make the rest.
Nick mixed up a quick dipping sauce of soy sauce, hoisin, ginger, orange juice, and water (to thin it out) -- and added some floating cilantro leaves & scallions. Basically, mix small amounts of everything and taste and add/subtract things to make it perfect for you.