Saturday, 5 February 2011

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Chinese Vegetarian Dumplings/Kinesisk Vegetar Dumplinger/素食饺子[sù shí jiǎo zi]


This is a healthier and more nutritious version of Chinese dumplings, using buckwheat in the dough, instead of just pure white flour.



Serves 4-8

Makes approx. 80 dumplings

Ingredients for filling:
- 8-10 dried shitake mushrooms
- 1 cube of tofu cut into small cubes
- 1 medium carrot shredded
- 100g Chinese cabbage leaves finely chopped or shredded (discard stem)
- 100g frozen minced spinach (hakket spinat)
- 1 - 2 eggs beaten (optional)
- 3 stalks spring onions chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 TBS minced ginger
- 1 TBS soy sauce
- 2 TBS Chinese sesame oil
- 1 TBS oyster sauce
- 1 TBS Chinese Shaoxing rice wine (optional)
- 2 tsp sugar (optional)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 TBS cooking oil

Ingredients for dough:
- 3 cups white wheat flour
- 1 cup Graham wheat flour or Buckwheat (you can also simply just use white wheat flour here)
- 1 3/4 cups water (if you are using pure white wheat flour instead of buckwheat, you don't need so much water)
- 1/2 cup flour (to prevent sticking during kneading)
- 2 litre of water for boiling the dumplings

Directions:

Fillings:
1. In a mixing bowl, combine minced meat, minced Chinese cabbage and the sesame oil and mix thoroughly.
(The purpose is for the oil to seal the food first so as to prevent water loss from meat and cabbage when adding salt afterwards.)

2. Add the eggs and mix thoroughly.

3. Add the other seasoning and mix thoroughly.

Dough:
1. If you are using graham flour or buckwheat, grind it in a baby blender into powder first.

2. In another mixing bowl, mix flour and water gradually until it forms a dough.

3. Knead dough by hand until soft (the dough should not be too hard or too soft).

4. On a clean table top, scatter some dry flour, knead and roll the dough into a sausage.

5. Divide the sausage dough into small portions each about 2 inches thick by cutting it.

6. Roll each portion with a rolling pin until flat small pancake shape *.

7. To make dumpling, hold the pancake with your palm and put the filling in the center; then wrap into half-moon shape and seal the edges.

Boiling Dumplings:
1. In a pot of boiling water, add the dumplings and stir to prevent them from sticking together.

2. When the water comes to a boil again and the dumplings float to the surface, add some cold water to slow down the cooking process of the dough so it doesn't break apart while allowing the filling to finish cooking.

3. Repeat step 2 one more time.

4. Dish the dumpling out and serve with the Classic Chinese Dipping Sauce.

Alternatively, you can also steam the dumplings for 10 minutes.

* If using pasta machine to roll dough, the thickness of my machine setting is no. 5. If using round cookie cutter, the mold diameter is 8cm.

Tips:
1. You can also boil dumplings in broth together with vermicelli made from bean starch or rice noodles and serve them together in a noodle dumpling soup.

2. You can use different vegetables such as celery, capsicum and cucumber.

Storage:
If you make in batches, they can keep in the freezer for 8 weeks.

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Additional Information:
The trick to making tasty vegetarian dumplings is that you need to stir-fry the ingredients first - especially the shitake mushrooms and the tofu, so that the taste would exude out. Otherwise, the dumplings will taste very flat. Thus, making vegetarian dumplings are considerably more work than making dumplings containing meat.

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