In honor of Gwyneth Paltrow, who I think is probably having a bad week, Claire and I made the Vegan Veggie Dumplings from her It's All Good cookbook. I like Gwyneth Paltrow. She has given my family a lot of yummy meals.
We are not vegans here (no, no) and in fact, our very favorite dumplings are the Pan Fried Pork from Luscious Dumplings. Oh, my stars. I just think about them sometimes, for happiness. But we love any good dumpling.
I was surprised at how fun and easy it was to work with the Won Ton wrappers. I thought they would be tricky, but they were not. We will definitely make these again.
Here are Gwyneth's words, with my comments in blue and in brackets:
Note: To freeze the uncooked dumplings so they don’t stick together, line them up on a sheet tray and stick them in the freezer. Once they’re frozen, remove the tray from the freezer and pop the individual dumplings into an airtight container or zip-top plastic bag. They can be steamed or pan-fried right from the freezer, without defrosting.
Makes 30 dumplings [We got 26 out of it. We overfilled a few.]
1/2 small red or yellow onion, roughly chopped [We used yellow. Why am I telling you this? I do not know.]
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped Savoy or green cabbage [We used Savoy because that's the cabbage they had at Whole Foods. I did not notice it tasting different from green cabbage, to be honest. But it was a nice, firm little head of cabbage.]
Neutral oil (like canola, grapeseed, or safflower) [We used this grapeseed oil, which we got at our local grocery store.]
Coarse sea salt
1/2 cup crumbled firm tofu [It is completely inoffensive in this recipe, and probably works as a bit of a binder for the cabbage, etc., because it's a little bit creamy. But I might try grinding up a bit of seasoned chicken next time, just to see. Don't tell Gwyneth.]
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup cooked quinoa [I completely forgot to buy quinoa, so we substituted brown rice, which was just fine.]
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
30 square dumpling wrappers (Find premade ones near the tofu in the refrigerator section of the grocery store. We know they’re usually made with wheat, but considering that they’re a vehicle for quinoa and veggies, we’re pretty okay letting a little gluten fly here!) [We're not watching our gluten here, so we let gluten fly all the time. Everywhere. Flying gluten.]
Dipping Sauce, for serving [Claire made the dipping sauce. The recipe is below. I had her double it but we didn't need to. I should have trusted Gwyneth.]
Blitz the onion, garlic and cabbage together in a food processor until finely chopped. Heat 2 tablespoons neutral oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet and add the cabbage mixture and a large pinch of salt.
Cook, stirring now and then, until the vegetables have softened and are just beginning to brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the tofu, peas, and quinoa and cook until the peas are totally soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the soy sauce and sesame oil. Using a potato masher, crush the mixture so it just begins to hold together. Let the mixture cool to room temperature. [Corgi help is optional.]
Lay a few of your dumpling wrappers on a flat, dry surface and put 1 tablespoon of filling mixture in the middle of each wrapper. Dip your index finger in a little bowl of water and use it to “paint” the edges of each dumpling. Bring each edge together to form a sort-of little pyramid, being sure to press all the edges to form a tight seal.
To cook, use a bamboo steamer set over simmering water to steam the dumplings for 4 minutes. Or you can do them Chinese-restaurant style (a combo of frying and steaming) by heating a slick of neutral oil in a large nonstick pan set over high heat and cooking the dumplings for 2 minutes, or until they’re golden brown on the bottom. [We cooked them Chinese-restaurant style. You definitely want to use a nonstick pan for this.]
Then add 1/2 cup of water to the pan (it will create a lot of steam, so stand back), put a lid on it, and let the dumplings steam until the wrappers are totally soft, another 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and serve with the Dipping Sauce. [I found the easiest way to get them from the pan to the plate was to use tongs rather than a spatula. They removed easily.]
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Mix all the ingredients together, adding more of any of them if you prefer the sauce saltier, or more tart, or milder. It’s a real throw-it-together, not-exact thing. [That's probably true, but we still measured it because we were scared to mess it up.]
[Now you get to eat them. They are so good!]