Recipe: Vegetable dumplings
DUMPLING PARTY: Vegetable, pork and seafood dumplings along with cheater's scallion pancakes. (Mel Melcon, Los Angeles Times)
Total time: About 1 1/2 hours Servings: 8 (makes 32 dumplings)
6 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 large bunch fresh spinach, stems removed
2 large eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons hot sesame oil
1 cup finely diced firm tofu
6 green onions, white and green parts, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
About 32 round dumpling wrappers
Peanut oil if frying
1. Soak the mushrooms in boiling water for 20 minutes. Drain well, then remove any stems and cut the caps into a one-eighth-inch dice. Place in a mixing bowl.
2. Carefully wash the spinach leaves in several changes of water. With just the water clinging to the leaves, add to a large pot. Cover and cook over high heat just until the leaves wilt, about 2 minutes. Drain well, squeeze dry and finely chop. Add to the mushrooms.
3. Beat 1 egg in a small bowl with salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the beaten egg and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook until set, flipping once. Turn out onto a plate and repeat with the second egg. Cut these flat omelets into a one-fourth-inch dice and add to the bowl with spinach.
4. Add the tofu, green onions, garlic, ginger and soy sauce. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary.
5. To stuff the dumplings, mound about 2 teaspoons of the filling in the center of each wrapper and brush the outer edges lightly with water to moisten. Fold the wrapper in half, into a half-moon shape, then pinch it together at the center of the top edge. Pleat the edges of the wrapper to enclose the filling. Repeat with the remaining dumplings.
6. To pan-fry the dumplings, heat a 10-inch skillet with a lid over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil and swirl the pan. When the oil is hot, place 8 to 10 dumplings in the pan, leaving room between each, and cook until the bottoms just start to brown, about 2 minutes. Add one-third cup water and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pan and cook until the dumplings are soft on top, crisp on the bottom and the filling is firm, 5 to 7 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dumplings.
7. To steam the dumplings, use a steamer of your choice and bring 1 to 2 inches of water to a simmer (make sure the water level does not reach the bottom of the steamer). Lightly oil the steamer rack and place the dumplings on the rack about 1 inch apart from one another (the dumplings will need to be steamed in batches). Place the steamer over the simmering water and cover. Steam the dumplings until the filling is firm and the wrapper is slightly translucent, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the steamer from the water and gently remove the dumplings to a warm place until all of the dumplings are cooked. Serve warm with a dipping sauce.
Each serving: 183 calories; 11 grams protein; 24 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 6 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 56 mg. cholesterol; 349 mg. sodium.