I’m a bit stuck as to what to post for you this week. You see, I’ve had a few weeks now of late nights, too much alcohol, and subsequently, a rather junky diet. I haven’t had the energy to go to my regular yoga classes and morning runs. I’m sure you’re well familiar with the experience that it’s a lot harder to fall out of a good habit than to form one again!
But enough! This week I’m getting back into it. And I find the best way for my body to cleanse is to eat (pretty much) 100% raw fruit and vegetables. Honestly, it just puts the bounce back in my step.
So I’ve just come home from yoga, had myself a green smoothie (1 banana, 1 punnet of strawberries, 1/2 bunch Chinese spinach), and now am pondering what to do about the blogging this week. Do my readers want recipes for green smoothies and raw marinated mushrooms? Or is that all a bit too hippy for you
Anyway, I think we have a solution. I made these dumplings on Friday night, which were delicious (and we have at least another dinner’s worth in the freezer – yay!). So I’ll share this recipe. And then for the mid-week post, I’ve got a vague idea about a Mexican salsa and guacamole salad that, despite being all-raw and a salad (a little predictable on a vegan blog), I hope will be delicious and presentable and all things you would want in a satisfying dinner. Not to mention that it could be served with beans and corn chips and grilled to make nachos. But more on that later in the week.
The filling is a simple mix of mushroom, onion and cabbage. The simpler the filling the better I think, because making dumplings can turn into a bit of a laborious exercise. So, if the filling is something that can be whipped up quickly (with the help of a food processor if you have one), the process of actually making thirty-odd dumplings won’t seem so onerous. More like a labour of love.
With dumplings, you pretty much have three options to cook them – potsticker, steam or boil. Potstickers are by far the yummiest, but also the least healthy. They hold together well and have a crusty chewy base, making them perfect as finger food, served with a dipping sauce. Steamed dumplings tend to be served also with a dipping sauce, but as part of the main meal as they need to be eaten with chopsticks or a fork – they don’t hold together as tidily. And boiled dumplings are commonly served in a simple broth to make ‘short soup’. Here I made a short soup, but I’ll explain the other cooking methods anyway.
Handmade dumplings (serves 6-8 people)
I went through one packet of wonton wrappers, and had about 1/3 of the filling leftover. So I recommend you buy two packets of the wrappers and make the entire lot of dumplings – they freeze well and are a delicious lazy dinner option. The leftover wrappers will keep for a while if wrapped well in the fridge, and you can get all creative with other fillings! Funs.
- 2 packets of wonton wrappers
- 50g shiitake mushrooms
- 125g button mushrooms
- 1 onion
- 1/2 inch fresh ginger
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp vegetable oil (peanut is good)
- 1/4 cabbage
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 cups chicken-flavoured stock
- 2 shallots, sliced
- If you have a food processor, process the mushrooms, onion and ginger until minced. If not, chop finely.
- Saute the mushroom mix until browning slightly. Remove from pan and place in a mixing bowl.
- Process or finely chop the cabbage and mix into the mushroom mix, seasoning with soy sauce until it’s quite tasty.
- On a clean, dry surface (chopping board, clean benchtop), lay wonton wrappers out. Fill a cup or bowl with water and lay out a sheet of baking paper on a dry surface.
- Place one teaspoon of filling at the centre of each wrapper – don’t be tempted to overfill the wrappers, you’ll just make it difficult to seal them and they’ll be more likely to fall apart as you cook them.
- Dip your fingers into a cup of water and brush the edges of a wonton wrapper, fold in half to form a triangle, gently pushing out any air bubbles as you press the edges to seal the dumpling. Moisten the two furthest corners of the triangle and pinch together, making cute little parcels. Place on baking paper while you repeat with the rest of the dumplings.
- At this point you can freeze any you’re not using immediately, in a container, with layers of baking paper separating them so they don’t stick together.
- If you’re making short soup, boil the dumplings as per the instructions below. At the same time simmer the stock with shallots. When the dumplings are done, place as many as you like in a bowl and pour the broth over.
- Steam – boil water in a saucepan, line a bamboo steamer with baking paper (cut a few small holes with a sharp knife to help the steam get through) and steam for 5 minutes or until the wonton wrapper looks cooked – i.e. instead of floury it should be sort of translucent. Serve with a dipping sauce and a side of steamed greens.
- Boil – add the dumplings to salted, rapidly boiling water, stir gently to stop them sticking to the bottom of the saucepan, and when they’re bobbing up at the top, scoop them out one by one. Serve as is or add to soup.
- Potstickers – mmmmm potstickers… panfried and steamed with a crispy, chewy bottom. In a skillet with a lid, heat a tablespoon of oil or so and swill around so all the pan is coated, sit the dumplings in the skillet with just enough space so that they don’t touch, leave to fry the bottoms for a minute and then throw in 1/2 cup of water and quickly cover with a lid. Let them steam, covered, until all the water has evaporated. You might need to use a spatula to give them a little help off the pan. Serve with a dipping sauce, as finger food or as part of a main meal.