Sunday, January 06, 2013

Inauthentic Asian cooking class with WWPD

Dumplings! Such an outside-only food, right? Not so! You, too, can make your suburban New Jersey scientist-housing into an inadvertently-vegan dim-sum emporium. This will probably have to be something I make when we have people over, because I have a tendency to overdo it with these, and am parked on the couch now for that very reason.

You will need:

-An Asian supermarket or grocery. (Such as.)
-Japanese or the slightly thicker Korean dumpling wrappers, preferably the ones without egg or strange preservatives. I say this because that's what I've used thus far - with eggs and with possible carcinogens might work fine, too.
-Ginger, finely chopped
-Scallions, finely chopped
-Pea shoots or bok choy, finely chopped
-Extra-firm tofu, diced
-Rice vinegar
-Soy sauce
-Sesame oil (of which there can never be too much, although opinions differ)

You may add:

-Chopped garlic
-A dash of wine

Quantities? Anything goes, just make sure the whole thing isn't too liquidy.

-Fill a small bowl with water, and use that to seal as much of the filling as comfortably fits in each wrapper. And really pinch them closed, so the filling stays in!
-Heat (medium-high flame) a large pan - non-stick might help - and put some but not too much peanut oil in.
-Place the dumplings in, so as to just about fill the pan.
-As soon as they're in, they're already quite fried. At that point, toss in some water - perhaps the water you'd used to seal the dumplings? - and quickly cover the pan.
-Check your email or something. Post photos of your pet to Facebook. Better yet: start prepping the next batch of dumplings. Just be sure to let them steam, without leaving them covered once the water's gone, in which case they're likely to burn.
-Lift the top off the pan, and let the water cook off.
-Once the water's cooked off, either the dumplings are done, if you prefer a kind of half-steamed, half-fried approach, or you can flip them and go with unambiguously-fried. Just make sure, either way, that they're out of the pan before they even come close to charred.

The dumplings are ready! Serve them with a dipping sauce, aka soy sauce in a small bowl, or something involving lime, hot sauce, probably other sauces as well.)

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