Honoring China in the Everyday: Vegetarian Dumplings

February 1, 2018 Chinese Culture, Chinese food, Chinese Holidays, Chinese New Year, February 2018 Feature - Honoring China in the Everyday, Nicole, recipes 0 Comments

Happy Year of the Dog!

February 16th marks the start of the Chinese New Year and this February at NHBO we are focusing on ways to incorporate our children’s birth culture into the everyday. We’ll be sharing posts from parents who are doing this in big, elaborate ways and some in simple, small ways… but the common thread is being purposeful in finding ways to incorporate China into our day-to-day. And the upcoming Chinese New Year is a wonderful place to start!



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Chinese jiǎozi are the quintessential food of Spring Festival. And with the celebration just weeks away, I’d like to share a vegetarian egg and green onion recipe. It’s a fun, simple dumpling filling!

In my opinion, this one is easier to whip up compared to traditional pork dumplings. It requires ingredients that are usually on-hand or easy to purchase at the grocery store. Plus, all of the filling ingredients are already cooked, so there is no worry about getting the meat up to the proper temperature.



You can use store-bought dumpling wrappers or make your own. As I’ve shared in the past, making them from scratch isn’t as intimidating as it might seem, though store-bought obviously require less time. You do need a Chinese-style rolling pin like THIS one. I think homemade wrappers are easier to work with and more forgiving compared to the store-bought version.

Wrapper dough:

Ingredients (makes about 32 wrappers):

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup just-boiled water (wait 90 seconds after bubbling has stopped)

Directions:

Put 2 cups of flour in a stand mixer while waiting for the water to boil. With the mixer going, slowly add the just-boiled water to the flour until a dough ball forms. Add more water or flour as needed to make a dough ball that’s not sticky. Knead the dough by hand for a minute (dough will be warm and somewhat rough), and then quickly place in a ziplock bag, making sure to squeeze out all the air before sealing. Set aside and let the dough rest for at least 20 minutes, but up to 2 hours. While the dough is resting, mix up the filling.


Filling:

Ingredients:

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
5 large eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cup green onion, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat both oils in a pan.
  2. Fry minced garlic until aroma is released.
  3. Add beaten eggs and scramble into small pieces. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.
  4. Add green onions. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
  5. Taste the filling for salt content. It should be a little on the salty side, just slightly more than you’d think is necessary.







Making the Dumplings

:
1. Take the dough ball out of the ziplock bag and knead it on a floured surface for a few minutes. The dough will be wet from the condensation in the bag, and will need a little flour kneaded into it. Place the dough ball on your work surface and keep covered with a towel to retain moisture.



2. Cut off a small ½-ounce piece of dough (a kitchen scale will make this part easier, but you can just eyeball it too) and roll into a ball. With your hand, flatten the ball on your work surface to make a circle.



3. Using your Chinese-style rolling pin, roll out the dough, leaving the middle slightly thicker than the outside. To do this, roll from the middle out and rotate the dough, working your way around the whole wrapper. The wrapper should be thin (especially on the edges) and large enough to fit in the palm of your hand. It doesn’t need to be a perfectly-shaped circle, so don’t worry about getting it rolled exactly right.




4. Spoon about 1 tablespoon (depending on the size of the wrapper) of the filling into the middle of the wrapper. Make sure not to over-stuff the wrappers, or they will be difficult to close.



5. Fold the dough in half over the filling to create a half-moon shape, and then press the sides together. Make sure to squeeze out any excess air. Dumpling folding is a real art that I have not mastered. If they stay closed, I feel successful. Note: If you are using store-bought wrappers, you will need to use water to close the wrappers (dab your finger in water and run along the outside edge of the wrapper). This process is a little quicker if you are using homemade wrappers, because the dough sticks together without this extra step.



6. Place your finished dumpling on a tray and cover with a towel.

Repeat steps 2-6 over again until all of the dumplings are made. This recipe will make about 32 dumplings, but this is dependent on how big your dumpling wrappers are, as well as how much filling is going into each one. Remember, it goes much faster if you work as a team!


Cooking the Dumplings

There are a couple methods to do this, with the easiest being boiling:

Boil: To do that, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Depending on the size of your pot, add about half the dumplings to the water and give them a gentle stir so they don’t stick together. Boil for about 5 minutes and then remove from the pot. Remember, everything is cooked already, so no need to be concerned about getting up to temperature. Serve alone or with a dumpling dipping sauce of your choice!

Fry: Pan-frying dumplings is another delicious alternative! To do that, add 1 tablespoon of frying oil per every 5 dumplings to a frying pan. Add dumplings to the pan, pinched side up, when the oil is hot. Fry for about 1 minute, and then add ½ cup water to the pan. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 minutes or until the water has boiled away. Add 1 tbsp of oil to the pan, and then turn to medium heat. Cook off any leftover liquid, about 1 minute. Remove the dumplings from the pan and serve alone or with a dumpling dipping sauce of your choice!

Boil and fry: This is my favorite way to enjoy these vegetarian dumplings. Boil the dumplings first (with instructions above) and then pan-fry for a few minutes to make the outside wrappers crispy. Add dumplings to a hot pan with 1 tablespoon of oil for every 5 dumplings. I usually fry these already-boiled dumplings on their sides, turning to make sure both sides get crispy. Remove the dumplings from the pan and serve alone or with a dumpling dipping sauce of your choice!



For further reading, you can find other recipe posts here, other posts about celebrating Chinese New Year here and books about Chinese New Year here.

Xīn nián kuài lè wǒ de péng yǒu!

Happy New Year my friends!

NicoleNHBOSig



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