Friday, January 2, 2015

Pan Fried Vegetable Dumplings

Dumplings are a food that consists of small pieces of dough, either cooked alone or wrapped around a filling. They can be based on flour, potatoes or bread, and may include meat, fish, vegetables, or sweets. They may be cooked by boiling, steaming, simmering, frying, or baking. 
This is a recipe for pan fried dumplings, made from Su-My Wrappers and stuffed with tofu and vegetables like Napa Cabbage, Carrots, Spring Onion, Spinach and Cilantro. These dumplings can be filled and frozen for days and used as and when required. The technique used to cook them is pan frying; which includes browning the dumplings in little oil and then steaming them to perfection. Enjoy these dumplings with a Soy-Garlic dip or just dunk them in Sriracha Sauce!

For the Dumplings:
Dumpling Skins 1 packet
Firm Tofu 1 cup
Vegetables of your choice, finely diced 2 cups
Chili Oil 1 tsp
Chinese salt and pepper mix 1 tbsp
Soy Sauce
Oil to stir-fry

To Serve:
Soy Sauce
Garlic, finely minced 
Sriracha Garlic Sauce

The dumpling making process consists of three stages; Making the filling, Stuffing the dumpling skins and Pan frying or boiling the dumplings. The dumplings can be stuffed and frozen for several days before using them. This enables you to enjoy fresh dumplings whenever you wish to have them!

Preparing the dumplings:
The filling of the dumplings can vary as per your taste and preferences. I have used Tofu, Spinach, Carrots, Napa Cabbage, Spring Onion and Cilantro. Wash and mince the vegetables and keep them separately in containers. Sprinkle salt over them and let them sweat for 10-15 minutes. Remove water from the firm tofu and dice it finely. Set aside. Next, squeeze out all the water from the vegetables and set aside. 

Heat a tsp of Chili Oil in a saucepan. You can use regular oil if you do not want the dumplings to be spicy. Once the oil is heated, add the spring onion whites, carrots and spinach. Mix well and saute for a couple of minutes. Next add tofu and cabbage and mix well. Saute the mixture till the water content dries up completely. Add some Chinese salt-pepper mixture and Soy Sauce and blend it in. Remove from flame and add chopped cilantro. Set aside to cool.

Once the mixture is cool, take some water in a bowl and the dumpling skins. I used the round Su My wrappers from an Asian store. They are thin wrappers that cook quickly. In order to make fried dumplings, use the thick potsticker skins. To make the dumpling, pick the skin, add a spoonful of the filling. Apply water on the edge of the skin and fold it into half. Seal the edges in a crinkled fashion. You may choose to shape them as you like. 

At this stage you may freeze them for future use. First lay them in a single layer in a plate and freeze them. Once they are frozen in about 10-15 minutes, remove and transfer them to a freezing bag. Freeze them till you are ready to make them. To prepare, do not thaw; use them directly from their frozen form.

To serve the dumplings:
The dumplings made can be served in three ways: Steamed, fried or pan fried. Here we make the pan seared dumplings. To do so, heat a tsp of oil in a flat bottom pan. Once heated, lay the dumplings in a single layer. Let them brown on medium flame. Once they are brown, increase the f;lame and add half a cup of water. The water will sizzle violently. Cover the pan and let the dumplings cook. Once all the water is absorbed, remove from flame and serve hot with the Soy dip.

To make the dip:
Mince garlic and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add Soy sauce and Vinegar to taste and mix well. Serve with the dumplings. Alternatively, the dumplings can also be enjoyed with Sriracha Garlic Sauce!

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