Homemade Vegetarian Dumplings + Announcement!

8 Aug

I have some news to formally announce to you since I have just looked back through my recent posts and realized I have not mentioned it previously.

As of September this blog will be on tentative hiatus for an entire academic year because I am moving to Beijing to study abroad at Tsinghua University.  My apartment in China will have a fully decked-out kitchen but because I’m unsure of the availability of certain ingredients and also myself (school + trying to explore the city and go to concerts and parks and museums and such = probable mess), I don’t know how frequently I’ll be able to update.

That being said, I have a blog dedicated to my China experience, which will be found here and will also have links to some of the other things I do across the Internet.

Before September, though, I have a nice long month that will be filled with posts beginning with this insanely simple and delicious dumpling recipe!

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You can fill dumplings with pretty much anything, but I made half of the dumplings kimchi-filled and the other half filled with an egg + spring onion mixture that I found in Fuchsia Dunlop‘s Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking.  Fuchsia Dunlop’s book has a lot of really great filling options, and also is just plain excellent so I highly recommend getting it.  I’ll probably hunt down a copy whilst in China so I have things to cook.

 

Ingredients:

  • Package of dumpling skins.  You can make your own, but why bother?  These are really cheap and it’s hard to make good skins.
  • 2 eggs
  • ~4 spring onions, white and green parts
  • 1/4 cup kimchi
  • Ground Sichuan peppercorns (optional)

Recipe:

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For the first set of dumplings, scramble two eggs.  When just cooked, transfer to cutting board and chop finely.  Also chop the spring onions finely.


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For the other set of dumplings, drain 1/4 cup kimchi.  I salted the kimchi and put it in a wire strainer to draw out the moisture and let it sit over the sink for a few minutes.

In a small bowl, mix the eggs and onions.  Chop the drained kimchi finely and place in another small bowl.

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Now, the fun part!  Folding dumplings is monotonous on its own, so put on a podcast or a show or something while you make these.  I think I was watching Orphan Black…

For folding directions with pictures, I highly recommend this step-by-step from Appetite for China.  Once you start folding it totally makes sense, but it seems very confusing at first.

Hold a dumpling skin in one hand and drop a spoonful of filling in the middle.  Wet the tip of your finger with water and run it along the upper half so the skin will stick to itself.

Fold the skin like a taco.  Starting from the right of the dumpling taco, pinch the end and fold the dough over.  So you’ll be pinching on the right and folding the dough over from your left, progressively working leftwards.

Does this make sense?

Sorry.

I would follow the link if I were you.

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I was going to make my own pictorial, but I was learning while folding and didn’t want to try to make an instructional thing on top of that.

Maybe next time?

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So do this until you run out of filling.  I had about two dozen by the end.  You can boil them all at once, pan fry them, or freeze them for later.  If you boil them, heat a pot of water to a rolling boil and drop in the dumplings.  You should cook them for 4-5 minutes, dropping in a cup of cold water every time the water starts to boil rapidly (according to Fuchsia Dunlop’s book) so they don’t fall apart.

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You know, it really thrills me to make things that you most often buy pre-made.  Like dumplings or ravioli, pumpkin purée, etc.  It feels self-sufficient, I think.  Like you’re putting effort into your life instead of being a passive consumer and accepting what is given to you without question or curiosity.  Perhaps this is too heavy for a blog post about dumplings.  Perhaps it is just heavy enough.

In any case, we have 26 days together until I leave, and many recipes to cover!

 

But before I go, a recommendation.  I have been giving more and more consideration to joining the Peace Corps, and my consideration recently turned much more committed after reading Rajeev Goyal’s A Spring in Namje.  Goyal was a PC volunteer in Nepal about 10 years ago teaching English.  However, the town in which Goyal was stationed (Namje, way up in the mountains) and the surrounding area was experiencing a crippling water shortage by dint of being way up in the mountains, far above the river.  All day people would have to trek down to the river and then trek back up hauling containers of water.

Goyal proposed building a water pump.  The water pump ended up being 21 feet taller than the Empire State Building, assembled by the people of Namje, engineered by a few men from the town who didn’t even have a complete high school education, and financed by serious lobbying of the Nepalese ex-pat community in New York as well as some other sources by Goyal.  The pump was successful and the town has since prospered (for a given definition; you’ll have to read the book).

That, however, is only half the book.  The other half covers Goyal’s tenure as a UN translator and his current career as a Congressional bird-dogger who lobbies for increased Peace Corps funding.  His book–and career and life and abilities–is incredible and I highly, highly recommend it for everyone.

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