Kevin has had a hankering for dumplings lately. It's so easy to buy vegetarian dumplings frozen from the store or order them in a restaurant, but also very disappointing to find that they usually are filled with flavorless cabbage and disgusting MSG. Well, we've had ENOUGH! We are making our own potsticker dumplings. It's a little time consuming, but well worth it. They will have NO CABBAGE AND NO MSG. Just wonderful flavors and textures that we like, and we're making a ton so that we can freeze it and have plenty for future meals. Plus, you can steam them, pan fry them (like we did here) or deep fry them as crispy wontons. In this recipe, we add enough seasoning to the filling that a dipping sauce is unnecessary, you may adjust for your own palate. An interesting touch I learned from my mother is to include jicama into the mix. Jicama provides a slightly sweet and light crunch that really takes these dumplings to another level. The filling recipe can also be used for eggrolls, steamed buns (banh bao), etc. This is also a great recipe to get kids in the kitchen, I remember my brother and I having fun filling the dumplings and rolling up eggrolls. They're fun to make and fun to eat!
For the filling:
32 ounces firm tofu (drained, crumbled and pressed to remove as much water as possible)
2 medium onions finely diced
1 large carrots, grated
10 ounces of various mushrooms (oyster, enoki, etc), finely chopped
1 medium jicama finely diced
1/4 cup fresh leafy herbs such as wild betel (la lot), thai basil, or cilantro, finely chopped
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce or plum sauce
2 tablespoons vegetarian oyster sauce or mushroom sauce
1 tablespoon sriracha sauce or other hot chili sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon grated ginger
salt and pepper to taste
Place the crumbled tofu into a large mixing bowl. Add the onion, carrots, mushrooms, jicama and herbs to the tofu and mix well.
In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, sriracha sauce, and ginger.
Pour the soy sauce over the tofu and mix to distrubute the sauce.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Making the dumplings:
150 potsticker/gyoza/wonton wrappers (about 3 packages)
1 filling recipe above
Lay a pot sticker wrapper on a flat surface. Brush edges of the potsticker with the water. Place 1/2 tablespoon of filling in the center of the potsticker. Fold the wrapper over the filling, making sure there are no air bubbles. Press down the edges to seal. Set aside dumpling and continue to use the rest of the wrappers and the rest of the filling.
To freeze the dumplings for future use, arrange the dumplings in one layer on parchment lined baking sheet so that the dumplings are not touching. Place baking sheet in freezer. The dumplings are ready to put in a freezer bag once fully frozen.
Pan frying the dumplings:
dumplings from recipe above
Add about 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a skillet on medium flame, and shimmy the pan to distribute the oil throughout. Add about 8 dumplings to the hot pan in a single layer.
Cook for two minutes or until nicely browned (takes longer if using frozen dumplings). Turn the dumplings and cook one minute to brown the other side. Add about 2 tablespoons of water to the pan, and immediately cover skillet with lid.
After a minute or two, all the water should be absorbed and cooked away. Remove dumplings to serving plate.
Repeat pan frying for the rest of the dumplings.
Makes about 150 dumplings.