A Meal With Chinese Dumplings—Vegan And Shrimp

slide_333405_3325037_freeDumplings go by different names depending on their country of  origin. In China they are called jiaozis; in Japan, shumai or gyoza; in the United States, wontons or pot stickers; Latinos call them empanadas, pierogies are Polish; kreplach are Jewish; and raviol are Italian.

All of these dumplings are readily available in the United States or you can make your own. The rules are open-ended. The stuffing is dependent on one’s culture and the creativity of the chef. Eating them is extraordinary, and preparing them is almost more enjoyable.

In New York City, Chinatown dumplings are special. We discovered our favorites at a four-story building that amazed all our friends and family. All the floors were filled with hundreds of customers who waited with baited breath for the carts that carried the “dim sum” of the day. We all had our favorites. Here are two dumpling recipes I hope you enjoy as well. Bon Appétit!

dim-sumVegan Tofu & Quinoa Dumplings

Makes 12-15 dumplings

vegetarian dumplings

2 oz extra firm tofu, pureed
2 large fresh shiitake mushrooms, sautéed
¼ cup cooked quinoa
½ cup vegetable broth
¼ cup steamed spinach, finely chopped
½ vidalia onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, sautéed and minced
½ tsp ginger, grated
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
ground pepper
1 package pot sticker wrappers

1. Purée and drain tofu.

2. Sauté mushrooms; add cooked quinoa, sautéed and diced onion, and minced garlic.

3. Add the puréed tofu and rest of the ingredients including ginger, soy, fish sauce and ground pepper, and mix well. Set aside.

4. Moisten the edges of each pot sticker wrapper with water and put 1 tsp of your mixture in the center.

5. Gather the edges of the wrapper up around the filling to pleat the sides; some of the filling should remain exposed. Then repeat.

6. Rig a steamer in a large pot over an inch of water; bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

7. Put as many dumplings in the steamer as you can fit in a single layer (on a plate) and cover pot. Repeat until all are done, about 4-6 minutes.

8. Make your dipping sauce with sesame, ginger, soy and fish sauce.

Shrimp and Cilantro Shu Mai

(Adapted from Mark Bittman’s The Minimalist)
Yields 10 to 12 dumplings

shu mai

shumai

½ cup soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
½ lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ to ¾ cup fresh cilantro leaves
¼ cup scallions, roughly chopped
12 pot sticker wrappers

1. Combine the soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil and ginger in a bowl. Put half the shrimp, half the cilantro and all the scallions in a food processor and pulse; add the soy mixture to create a smooth paste, about 1 to 2 tbsp.

2. Purée remaining shrimp and cilantro, add to a bowl and stir.

3. Place a pot sticker on a work surface, moisten the edges with water; put 1 tsp of the filling in the center. Gather the edges of the wrapper up around the filling, squeezing gently to pleat the sides; leave some filling exposed.

4. Rig a steamer in a large pot over an inch of water; bring to a boil, put dumplings on a plate, reduce to a simmer and cover. Add lime juice to remaining soy mixture to make dipping sauce.

5. Put as many dumplings in the steamer as you can fit in a single layer (on a plate) and cover the pot. Repeat.

Chef Allan Zox

 

Check out Zox’s Kitchen on www.longislandweekly.com for more recipes. Visit www.zoxkitchen.com for details about past columns.

 

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