Monday, October 27, 2014

Cabbage Dumplings

Class this week! My students requested dumplings and noodles. We're making our own noodles - pasta is easy and fun - and adding some Asian sauces. We are not making our own dumpling wrappers however. Thank goodness for decent wonton wrappers in most every well-stocked supermarket! This is a vegetarian dumpling, stuffed with cabbage and shiitakes. It's served with a simple hot-sour-spicy dipping sauce.

Using a cole slaw mix makes this a bit quicker. It's a lot cheaper to chop your own cabbage but we're trading money for time in this recipe. There are often large pieces of cabbage or carrot in the cole slaw mix. Quickly chop the cole slaw to cut down any chunks. This makes it easier to put in the wrappers later.

Leftover filling makes a good Asian "frittata." I'll be posting that super-simple recipe later this week.

Cabbage Dumplings with Hot and Sour Dipping Sauce
(makes a bunch, about 30)

14 oz. bag cole slaw mix, chopped into small bits
6 fresh shiitakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 scallions, minced
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ½ Tablespoons soy sauce
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

1 package (around 1 pound) round wonton wrappers
non-stick cooking spray

Hot and Sour Dipping Sauce
4 Tablespoons soy sauce
3 Tablespoons cider or rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
chile oil, Siracha sauce, or chile garlic paste (optional)

Remove the stems from the shiitakes (stems are too tough to eat but you can add them to soup for flavoring). Chop caps into small bits. Mix with the cole slaw.

Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the oil. Add the garlic and scallions. Stir fry for 20 seconds. Add the cole slaw mix. Stir fry until the cabbage is no longer crunchy, stirring so that it doesn't burn. It's OK to get a little char; this brings out the sweetness in the cabbage but you don't want to incinerate it. Add the soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Stir until the soy has been absorbed by the cabbage. Remove from the heat and add the sesame oil. Stir then let it cool for 10 minutes in the fridge.

To wrap dumplings, place 1 heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of the wrapper. Carefully pick up the wrapper in your hand and hold in your palm. Using 1 finger on your other hand, smear a little bit of water along the edge of half of the wrapper. Press the edges together to seal. If you want to impress your friends, learn how to pleat the edge but that's just showing off. :-) Fill and seal all the dumplings.

Put an inch of water in a pot that fits the steamer and bring to a boil. Spray the steamer with cooking spray and place the dumplings in the steamer in a single layer and not touching (or they will stick together). Place in the pot over boiling water. Cover and steam for 8 minutes. Serve with dipping sauce.

To make the dipping sauce: combine soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and chile oil in a small bowl and mix to dissolve the sugar. The soy and the vinegar are the base. If you like it really sour, leave out the sugar. If you like it spicy, add the chile oil/sauce.

Dumplings can be made ahead then frozen. If frozen, cook for 10 minutes.

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