Wednesday, February 17, 2021

A Foodie Post - Vegetarian Dumplings

Over the course of 2020, everyone took up new hobbies from puzzle-building to baking. Lockdown will do that to you. While I personally never jumped on the banana bread bandwagon, I understand the motivation to bake, build, or just be productive in some way when nothing else can be done. Well here in Nashville, we are on day three of Winter Storm Uri, which has successfully closed coffee shops, restaurants, bars, and even grocery stores. The last time I left my apartment was Sunday, and here we are on Tuesday night. And so last night, I decided to do some baking (ok, technically cooking) of my own.

Influenced by the Chinese Lunar New Year last Friday, I took a trip to the local International market and decided to try my hand at making dumplings (I had watched a documentary on Youtube that morning and thought it could be fun). So I bought all of the ingredients based off what I saw in that documentary and other YouTube how-to's, and adjusted the recipe to work with what I could find. I'll be honest, it takes awhile (it took me nearly two hours, but what else is a girl to do when life literally freezes to a halt?). Versatile, delicious, heavenly; if you've got the time, it is so, so worth it.

Without any further rambling ado (because who wants to scroll through a novel when all you really want is the recipe), here's my recipe for vegetarian dumplings:

You will need:

  • 1 package dumpling wrappers (thawed - you can find these in the freezer section, see the ones I found below.)
  • 3 eggs
  • 4c spinach
  • 1c shredded cabbage
  • 1 red pepper
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1c mushrooms
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Japanese Furikake seasoning (Trader Joe's)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Other options to add, depending on your preferences:
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4c chopped onion
  • 1/4c chopped carrots 
  • 2c ground chicken or beef, cooked
  • Soy sauce, sushi ginger, wasabi (to serve with it)
These are the wrappers I found, in the freezer section of the International Market
1. Add the olive oil to a skillet and heat until thoroughly coated, then add your eggs. Scramble until fluffy. Set aside.

2. While the eggs cool, rinse the spinach, red pepper, and mushrooms and chop (and any other optional vegetables). Peel and chop the garlic.

3. Move the eggs to a large bowl (or the meat, if you're not making a vegetarian version) and add the mirin, sesame oil, soy sauce, and Japanese seasoning, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir thoroughly.

4. Add the chopped vegetables, shredded cabbage, and garlic to the egg mixture and mix. Use a fork (or your hands) to ensure there are no major clumps of egg or meat.
5. Cover a large workspace with flour, then remove the dumpling wrappers from their packaging. Carefully peel the wrappers apart (this can be tedious, as they rip easily) and place on the surface.

6. Spoon a 2-3 tbsp portion of the egg/veggie/meat mixture onto the center of each wrapper. 

7. Spread a small amount of warm water along the edge of half the wrapper (I used my finger). This is critical to ensure the wrappers will stick shut. Only do this one at a time as you make each dumpling.

8. Fold the dough hotdog-style over the filling, and slowly gather the edges, pinching them together to create the signature folded look of the dumplings. As you finish, place them on a large plate or cookie sheet (something that will fit in your freezer).
9. Once all of the dumplings have been formed (God bless you, that is the most time-consuming part), put the plate/cookie sheet/tray into the freezer. Leave for 10 minutes.

10. While you wait, get the water boiling on your steamer. I used a metal steamer but a bamboo steaming basket would likely work better. 

11. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat down slightly and fill the basket with your dumplings. Cover and let steam for 15 minutes (20-25 minutes if you used meat instead of egg).
12. Remove from heat and let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. If you used a metal steamer, the dough will likely stick to the bottom a bit (it sinks through the holes) so the longer they cool, the easier they are to remove. 

13. Serve with soy sauce, sushi ginger, and wasabi (optional). Enjoy!
And that's it! I had a bit of the filling leftover so I ate it as a side dish (since I used the entire package of wrappers). Additionally, you can freeze leftover dumplings and either steam or pan-fry them as needed. I'd love to hear if you try out the recipe, so please leave a comment down below if you do. Or, if you have a different recipe you'd like to see here, I'm always up for a challenge. Until next time, bon apetit!

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