Sunday, June 04, 2006

Vegetarian Steamed Dumplings

These are excellent, courtesy of Alton Brown's show, Good Eats. In fact, Master Chow, a meat-lover if ever there was one, actually preferred these to the pork potstickers. I was stunned by the admission.

The key here is to dice everything, including the tofu, very finely, so that you get a little bit of everything in every bite. A food processor works well for this.

You can also make these into potstickers by pan frying them instead of steaming them.


Vegetarian Steamed Dumplings
Adapted from Alton Brown's "Good Eats"

1/2 pound extra firm tofu
1/2 cup coarsely grated carrots. After grating, rough chop a bit more with a chef's knife.
1/2 cup shredded Napa cabbage
2 tablespoons finely chopped red pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bowl of water, plus additional water for steamer
35 to 40 small wonton wrappers
Non-stick vegetable spray, for the steamer. Or you can line the bottome of the steamer with a leaf from the Napa cabbage.

Cut the tofu in half horizontally and lay between layers of paper towels. Place on a plate, top with another plate, and place a weight on top (a 14-ounce can of vegetables works well). Let stand 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, cut the tofu into 1/4-inch cubes (I cut them even smaller than that - about 1/8-inch cubes) and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the carrots, cabbage, red pepper, scallions, ginger, cilantro, soy sauce, hoisin, sesame oil, egg, salt, and pepper. Lightly stir to combine.

To form the dumplings, remove 1 wonton wrapper from the package, covering the others with a damp cloth. Brush the edges of the wrapper lightly with water. Place 1/2 rounded teaspoon of the tofu mixture in the center of the wrapper. Shape as desired. Set on a sheet pan and cover with a damp cloth. Repeat procedure until all of the filling is gone. Do not overfill or your dumplings will burst open!

Using a steaming apparatus of your choice, bring 1/4 to 1/2-inch of water to a simmer over medium heat. Spray the steamer's surface lightly with the non-stick vegetable spray to prevent sticking. Place as many dumplings as will fit into a steamer, without touching each other. Cover and steam for 10 to 12 minutes over medium heat. Remove the dumplings from the steamer to a platter. Repeat until all dumplings are cooked.

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