Apparently grocery shopping isn't high on my priority list lately because I'm still digging through my cupboards. It's kinda nice, though! I'm finding stuff that I forgot I had and coming up with creative ways to use them. I've already made a great dessert and a hearty vegetarian chili.
I pulled out my remaining veggies (all the hardy stuff that lasts a long time): Celery, radishes, carrots, cabbage, cilantro, & ginger.
Do you see what I see??? ....Dumplings!!
Awhile back I went shopping at an Asian grocery mart with a friend and came home with a lot of interesting ingredients. However, I got a little intimidated by them once they were in my kitchen, so they've been stashed away for months. Today was the day to take the plunge!
Ma Po Tofu Sauce
And...the scariest of all...mock duck. :/
I eased my mind by going over the ingredient lists.
Oh, it's just seitan! I've had seitan many times. I've even made it from scratch. The fact that it's called 'mock duck' and is in a can is a little less scary now.
Next up, the sauce:
Not bad! But the important part was tasting it. It was really spicy!!
Ok, let's get this party started!
First, I sauteed the following in the 2 Tbs of canola oil over medium heat:
- 1/2 c minced carrot
- 1/2 c minced radish
- 1/3 c minced celery
After the veggies were softened, I added:
- 1/2 head of a small cabbage, shredded
- 2 Tbs Ma Po sauce
- 2 Tbs fresh ginger, minced
Then I drained, rinsed, and minced the seitan. While chopping the ingredients, remember they will be dumpling filling - so keep them small!
I added the seitan and gave it a taste. Whoa, spicy! To give it some more (and milder) flavor I added:
- 1 Tbs low sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tbs honey mustard
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 Tbs cilantro, minced
Looks like dumpling filling to me!
Now, here comes the hard/fun part. First, set yourself up for success. I made an assembly line out of:
- the filling
- a small spoon (to use for filling)
- a bowl of water (to seal the dumplings)
- the wrappers (which I thawed on the counter for 45 minutes)
- 2 wet paper towels (to keep over the dumplings and wrappers to prevent them from drying out)
- a sheet pan lined with parchment
I placed about a tablespoon of filling in the middle of a wrapper,
dampened the edge by dipping my finger in water,
folded it over and sealed it with a bit more water.
I transferred the filled dumplings to the parchment lined sheet pan...
...and then covered them with a damp paper towel to keep them from drying out.
Repeat 50 times, and you're done! I found doing 3 at a time was the most efficient.
The first few were kind of fun, but it takes awhile to fill 50 dumplings by hand! Unfortunately, Stella wasn't much help.
After all of that, I was hungry...and wanted to enjoy some of my hard work! You can steam, boil, or fry dumplings. I chose to cook mine like a pot sticker, which is a combination of all 3 cooking methods.
1. Fry - heat a thin layer of canola oil in a pot over medium heat. Gently place the dumplings in the pan in a single layer. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
2. Steam - pour in 1/2 c water and quickly recover with the lid. (It will spit and spatter and be very scary!)
3. Boil - After 2 minutes remove the lid, crank the heat to high, and boil off the remaining water.
You end up with delicate yet chewy dumplings. I served mine with a quick dipping sauce made out of low sodium soy sauce, mirin (rice wine), ginger and cilantro.
Although they were a bit time consuming, they were very satisfying. And I'm quite proud to have tackled such a project!
- Work quickly - once you set out a dumpling wrapper, it will begin to dry out and will tear easily.
- Cover - keep your wrappers and dumplings covered with a damp cloth or paper towel to keep them from drying out.
- Defrost - if your dumpling wrappers are frozen, you can defrost them overnight in the fridge or on the counter for 45 minutes.
- Make a good seal - you want to make sure the dumpling is sealed all along the entire edge. If there is a hole, your filling will leak out while cooking.
- Mince filling ingredients finely - you don't put much filling in each dumpling, so make sure the ingredients are chopped finely so you are sure to get a bit of everything in each one. Also, big chunks are more likely to tear through the thin wrappers.
- Freeze for later - if you are making a lot of dumplings, you can freeze some to be eaten later. Lay dumplings on a parchment-lined pan (make sure they're not touching) and place in the freezer.
Once completely frozen, transfer to a zip-top bag and place back in the freezer. (If you tried to put them in the bag before they were frozen, they would stick together in one big mess.)
Leftover wrappers can make a quick dessert. Lay on a cookie sheet coated in cooking spray. Spritz the top of the wrappers, too. Then sprinkle with a little cinnamon and sugar.
Bake until crispy - about 7 minutes in a 350 oven.
I enjoyed mine with some vanilla ice cream.
I am so happy to have a stash of dumplings in my freezer! It's hard to find vegetarian dumplings on menus around here. Now I can enjoy them in just a matter of minutes!