fab. vegan recipe for Chinese new year: ‘Chinese vegetable dumplings (potstickers)’

Posted on February 9, 2013

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Today (9th February), the ‘thriving vegetarian’ posted a fab. vegan recipe on her web-site titled ‘Chinese vegetable dumplings (potstickers)’. Tomorrow (10th February) is the Chinese and lunar new year, and dumplings are a special Chinese new year food.

‘… Do you love those dumplings that you can order with Chinese food? I sure do, so I wanted to learn how to make my own. It takes a little time, but it’s not hard at all!

Usually the dumplings come filled with meat or vegetables and then they’re either steamed or fried. I always thought they were a really delicious treat, especially when dipped in the soy sauce that they come with.

They’re often part of dim sum, a way to enjoy many Chinese foods a bite or two at a time! They’re also a favorite food for Chinese New Year, which is February 10 with the Year of the Snake. Dumplings are enjoyed during this time. It’s believed they bring wealth in the coming year because they’re shaped like old coins.

The dumplings are also called potstickers. There are some funny stories about why that is. I’ve heard that a Chinese chef in the Imperial Court discovered his dumplings were burning. In order to save them, he tossed water in the pan. In another tale, he just flipped them and served them burnt side up, saying that this was his new creation. Nice save!

In honor of Chinese New Year here’s how I make them. I don’t generally care for just dipping them in soy sauce alone. I think it’s too salty and overpowering. So I’ve also included my dipping sauce recipe. Even if I’m ordering dumplings from the Chinese restaurant up the street, I’ll still usually whip up my own sauce while I’m waiting for the delivery to come.

Chinese Vegetable Dumplings (Potstickers)
Makes about 24.

6 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 oz rice noodles (maifun)
1 small head napa cabbage, about 1 pound
1 head baby bok choy, about ½ pound
1 small carrot
½ tsp ginger, grated
1 Tbsp tamari
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup water
toasted sesame oil for frying, about 1 to 2 Tbsp more

Dumpling Sauce
1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
¼ cup tamari
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp water
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, grated
¼ tsp crushed red pepper

Bring a medium pan of water to boil. Place the dried shiitake mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Place the rice noodles in another small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let the noodles sit for 10 minutes, then drain. Dice finely and set aside. Let the mushrooms sit for 30 minutes, then drain. Dice finely and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Separate the napa cabbage leaves. Place them in the boiling water. Cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Remove the cabbage to a colander, but keep the water boiling. Press gently against the cabbage to squeeze out any excess water. Toss the entire head of baby bok choy into the boiling water and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Place in the colander and squeeze out excess water.

While the cabbage and bok choy are cooling, prepare the rest of the vegetable filling. Place the diced shiitake and rice noodles in a medium bowl. Peel the carrot and grate it into the bowl. Finely chop the napa cabbage and bok choy and add to the bowl. Add the grated ginger, tamari, and 1 tablespoon of the toasted sesame oil and stir well to combine. This vegetable filling may be prepared a day in advance and refrigerated, if desired. If using immediately, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes …

Mix the flour and water in a medium bowl until a cohesive dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead for 4 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 20 minutes …

Prepare the dumpling sauce. Whisk together the seasoned rice vinegar, tamari, water, toasted sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and crushed red pepper in a small bowl …

Roll the dough into a rough 12″x8″ rectangle onto a lightly-floured surface. You’ll want it not too thick, but not too thin, maybe about ¼” …

To cut out the dumplings, get something that’s 3 to 3½ inches in diameter. I found a highball glass that was perfect. A biscuit or cookie cutter would work really well, too. Dip the cutter into flour and cut out as many shapes as you can get. Gather the extra dough back into a ball and set aside while you fill these dumplings …

Place about 1 tablespoon of the vegetable filling on each circle …

Fill a small bowl or cup with water. Dip your finger into the water and trace it around the edges of the dough, rubbing a little to create a sticky area. Fold one edge over the other and press to seal. Repeat with the remaining circles …

Roll any leftover dough into another square. Cut out as many shapes as you can and fill them. Continue until you run out of dough or filling. At this point, you can freeze them or make them immediately. To freeze, dust them with flour and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet in the freezer. When they are slightly solid, transfer to a plastic bag to freeze completely.

If you’re cooking them now, preheat 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil in a large skillet (make sure you have a lid that fits it). When hot but not smoking, add as many dumplings as will fit without crowding. Fry for 3 minutes, checking to be sure they aren’t burning or sticking …

Pour ½ cup water into the skillet carefully as it may spatter. Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to low, and cook until most of the water has evaporated, about 5 to 6 minutes. Uncover and cook until the rest of the water evaporates and the bottoms are browned and crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes longer …

Remove the dumplings from the skillet. If you have any left to cook, add another tablespoon of peanut oil, heat, and repeat this process until all of them are finished.

Serve hot with the dipping sauce. 新年快樂! (xīn nián kuài lè—Happy New Year in Mandarin!) …’

Read the item and recipe, view lots of images and add your comment online at http://thrivingvegetarian.com/blog/cooking/chinese-vegetable-dumplings-potstickers/

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