Xin Nian Kuai Le! Happy Chinese New Year!
Today marks the beginning of the Chinese lunisolar calendar, an important time for families to come together to celebrate with a meal and fireworks. That’s my kind of holiday.
Last night I made dumplings, surprisingly, for the first time. Today, I will make them again! They were easy, light, fresh and absolutely delicious. I took them to a party, steamed them on-site in my rice cooker (more on that) and they were gobbled up as quickly as I placed them on the platter. Perfect packets of deliciousness. I made a vegetarian version which was super easy because other than the steaming there was no cooking involved. A whirl of the food processor, some quick chops, a stir and I was ready to scoop, fold, pinch. I’m sure that sauteed ground pork, ground chicken or chopped shrimp would be great additions to this recipe, I just haven’t experimented yet.
- Dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked for 20 minutes, drained and chopped
- 1 small can of water chestnuts, drained
- 1 medium carrot, shredded
- 1 head of baby bok choy, cut into 1/4" ribbons
- 1 Tbls fresh ginger
- 3 scallions, chopped
- 3 Tbls sesame oil
- 2 Tbls soy sauce
- Package of wonton wrappers
- Small bowl of water
- Ponzu* sauce for serving
- In a food processor combine rehydrated, chopped shiitakes with the water chestnuts. Pulse to a fine mince. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and combine with shredded carrots, bok choy chiffonade, ginger, scallions, sesame oil and soy sauce. Mix well. On your work surface, set wonton wrappers with a damp towel to cover them while they are waiting to be used. Prepare a small dipping bowl of warm water. Working one wrapper at a time, spoon a heaping Tbls of the dumpling filling in the center of the wrapper. Using your fingertip, wet the outer edges of the dumpling wrapper with water. Bring two opposite corners to the center, pinch to seal. Bring the remaining two corners to the center, pinch to seal. Make sure all edges are sealed tight to form a perfect little bundle.
- To steam, you could set a colander or steaming tray over a pot of boiling water. Make sure to spray your steamer before placing dumplings on the surface or they may stick, and cover the pot for steaming. Alternatively, you could line your steaming tray with lettuce or bok choy leaves to prevent sticking. Steaming should take approximately 10 minutes.
- I used my rice cooker which comes with its own steaming tray. I place two cups of water in the cooker and once the water was nice and steamy, I added the sprayed tray with as many dumplings that could fit without touching one another. Closed the rice cooker and steamed for about 10 minutes. Work in batches until all of your dumplings have been steamed.
- Try to allow to cool slightly before serving with Ponzu* dipping sauce.
- *Ponzu is a citrus seasoned soy sauce. If you don't have it on-hand, it's worth picking up but you could substitute 1/4 cup of soy sauce mixed with 2 Tbls rice wine vinegar, or more to taste.