DELICIOUS VEGETABLE DUMPLING
Dumplings changed my life during my senior year in college.
A carnivore at heart, I was a meat-only-filling sort of person for most of my childhood. When it came to fillings, pork was the most common, and the only variety came from the type of vegetable that accompanied it, such as cabbage or Chinese chives.
Everything changed on a calm spring Saturday.
When my housemates and I had nothing better to do at lunchtime on a Saturday (oh, college), two of us drove half an hour out of our way to eat dumplings. My usual order of pork with chive came after a short glance at the menu. Then one of my housemates said she’d like to order the vegetable dumplings from the Chinese restaurant.
“What?” was my initial answer. WHY?”
Problematic was my lack of experience with good vegetable dumplings. They’re usually quite bland, based on my experience with them.
We had to test each other’s dumplings when they came out. That isn’t all, either. There was nothing better than the vegetable dumplings. The second (and third) rounds of drinks that we ordered were just as bad. Only vegetarian dumplings were on the menu, which is something I’m ashamed to admit.
When I first tasted those delicious veggie dumplings, I knew I had to duplicate them. I eventually found this recipe and tweaked it a little before using it. Almost exact replication of the original!
FOR THE DUMPLING WRAPPERS:
- 3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 cup of tepid water (plus 2 tablespoons)
- FOR THE FILLING:
- 3 tbsp. of oil(plus ¼ cup)
- 1 tbsp. of ginger (minced)
- 1 pc. of large onion (chopped)
- 2 cups of chopped shiitake mushrooms
- 1 1/2 cups of cabbage (finely shredded)
- 1 1/2 cups of carrot (finely shredded)
- 1 cup of garlic chives (finely chopped)
- 1/2 tsp. of white pepper
- 2 tsp. of sesame oil
- 3 tbsp. of Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
- 2 tbsp. of soy sauce
- 1 tsp. of sugar
- salt (to taste)
- To begin, prepare the dumpling wrapper dough. In a large mixing basin, combine the flour and salt. To make a smooth dough, combine the flour and water and knead until combined. About 10 minutes should be enough time for this procedure. Dough should be let to rest for an hour before being used.
- Make the filling while you wait. Add the ginger to a wok or large skillet with 3 tablespoons of oil. Allow cooking for 30 seconds or until aromatic. Stir-fry the onions until they are transparent.
- For 3-5 minutes, add the sliced mushrooms and stir-fry until they are soft and any liquid created by the mushrooms has been cooked off.
- Cook for another 2 minutes, then toss in the cabbage and carrots. Cook for another 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Cool the vegetable mixture in a big basin before transferring it there.
- Add the chopped chives, white pepper, sesame oil, shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and sugar to the bowl, and mix thoroughly. Taste for salt, and then add the final 1/4 cup of oil, if desired (though the soy sauce normally provides enough salt to the filling).
- Small tablespoon-sized pieces of dough should be cut to make dumplings. Each dumpling should be rolled out into a round and then pleated (see this post for step-by-step photos on how to fold a dumpling). Until you’re out of dough or filling, keep constructing.
- The dumplings can be steamed or pan-fried. You can use a bamboo mat, cabbage leaf, or cheesecloth to steam the dumplings for 15-20 minutes.
- Cooking on a nonstick skillet with 2 tbsp. oil on medium-high heat is all that’s needed for this method. Allow the dumplings to fry for two minutes in the pan. Cover the pan with a lid and reduce the heat to medium-low before adding a thin layer of water. When steaming dumplings, let them cook until the water has disappeared. When the bottoms of the dumplings are golden brown and crisp, remove the lid and raise the heat to medium-high.