Vegan Dumplings with Black Fungus Mushrooms
I have a new hobby: folding dumplings ;-). I am inspired by Beb Vuyk’s pangsit, and also because of a few new books, I’m reading about Chinese cuisine.
Today I make vegan dumplings.
Dumplings are part of dim sum. I learn from the book of Dutch-Chinese writer Pay-Uun Hiu (Oranjesoep van Witte Wolk) that dim sum means that ‘you choose what your heart desires’. In China, Hiu explains, ‘dim sum is a huge ritual with an unimaginable diversity of small, steamed and fried snacks’.
The book ‘Oranjesoep van Witte Wolk’ is about Pay-Uun who is born in the Netherlands. Her father is Chinese and her mother Dutch. In her book, she takes the reader to her Chinese family in China. Slowly she discovers more and more an unknown and at the same time known world. She explores her family history through all sorts of delicious recipes.
In the meantime, I learn everything about dumplings: the filling, the folding, cooking, steaming and frying. And above all dumplings are easy to freeze as well!
I have frozen them with the raw filling in air-tied plastic containers. I slowly defrost them on the counter in the trays or in bamboo (steam) baskets. I leave the lid on otherwise the dumplings get too dry. When they are completely defrosted, I steam them as normal: 10-15 minutes.
You can easily make the dough for a dumpling yourself. To make firm dumpling dough, you have to use steaming hot water. This makes the sheets firm. Of course, you can also buy them at an Asian store.
The dough sheets (unfilled) can be frozen too.
Do you want to make the sheets yourself? Check out this link.
Vegan dumpling filling for 20-25 large dumplings
Today I test a vegetarian filling for my dumplings. For a filling with meat and fish, check out my Japanese gyoza recipe.
300 grams of Japanese soft tofu
100 grams of leek (or 100 grams of spring onions)
100 grams of dried black fungus mushrooms
3 cm ginger
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 teaspoon of salt
For those who like it and do not necessarily want to eat vegan, add 2 teaspoons of fish sauce.
First, place the dried mushrooms in water for one hour. Let the super soft Japanese tofu drain in a colander (at least half an hour).
Dried black fungus
These mushrooms, by the way, are sold in supermarkets or Asian stores. I buy them dried. Then they are as big as a flat ping pong ball. I place them in some water for an hour and they grow as big as your hand. Cool!
These mushrooms are also great to bring on a camping trip (I like to cook when traveling ;-). You only need to bring a dry bag of mushrooms that weighs nothing and you can make noodles anytime, anywhere ;-).
I finely chop the leeks, parsley, ginger and garlic. I try to chop the ingredients really well. This way noting will puncture the dough during filling.
When the mushrooms have sucked up the liquid, dry them well before cutting. The tofu is already wet enough.
I scoop the tofu through the finely chopped ingredients. The tofu works as a batter and binds everything together.
Then I add the sesame oil, soy sauce, pepper and salt and if you like, the fish sauce.
I use a light soy sauce, but Kikkoman soy sauce (dark) works fine too. Dark soy sauces are less salty than light soy sauces. If you want to know more about soy sauces, this is a nice read from seriouseats.com.
Fill up the dumplings
I spoon a dessertspoon of filling on my (defrosted) dough sheet. I have sprinkled my kitchen counter with cornstarch to prevent sticking.
I wet the edges with a finger dipped in water and fold the sheet once. I gently press around the filling to push any air out.
Now I flip the top edge (rim) towards me and gently pick up the dumpling and stick the corners (on the other side) to each other with a wet finger.
Then you get a dumpling that looks like this. Officially there are special folding methods for each filling or for the way you use them (in a soup for example). I’m not that far yet, but I do have a Pinterest about it ;-). Check out my pin board.
I place the dumplings on a piece of baking paper that is on the bottom of my steam basket. I make sure that the paper does not fit exactly. It is smaller than the bottom of the basket; this way all the steam can pass well.
I steam my dumplings for 15 minutes and serve warm in the basket with some chili and salty soy sauce.
I steam by filling my wok with boiling hot water and place the bamboo basket on top. I make sure the basket does not touch the water.
So and now makan! For me this is the perfect lunch ;-). Lapar!