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Savory steamed dumplings: Sweet potato, shiitake and mock duck (gluten)

Posted Nov 18 2008 12:21am
My Dad turned 89 last week and we had a large gathering at my house. I made all of the food; which was all vegan. It was carnivore approved and no one missed any of the flesh or (milk) puss they were used to. I made a variety of foods and my guests nagged me to give them the recipes. Since they all came from my head, I need to blog as much of the dishes as I can before I forget. 

One of the show stoppers was my steamed dumplings. These little suckers are a little time consuming to make, but well worth it. If you've never made asian dumplings, I'd suggest watching a tutorial on the web. If you google it, you'll find step by step images and video on how to stuff and fold the dumpling. When buying the dumpling skins, make sure they are the round ones (the square ones are for wonton and the thickness is different) and vegan (some brands contain egg). 

I used to make one dumpling at a time, but I found it easier to lay out as many dumpling skins as you can (I used an extra large cutting board as my base), place the stuffing in each, then fold (you must wet the rim of the dumpling before you fold and pinch the skin edges together). You will need something to steam the dumplings with. I use the traditional bamboo steamers, which is placed in a wok. The wok contains the water which then steams the dumplings. I line my bamboo steamer with parchment paper. The dumplings peel right off and there is no cleanup. I also flavor the water in the wok with miso and/or large chunks of sea salt. 

Dumpling contents:
Put the following in a food processor.....
- 1 large sweet potato (cooked: either bake ahead of time or pop in the microwave until soft)

- 1 handful of shiitake mushrooms (I used fresh ones, however if you use the dried ones make sure you rehydrate them enough to be soft)

- 1 can of mock duck (wheat gluten) drained (you can use your own seitan, but this stuff has been perfectly flavored for the job)

- a couple of shakes of dark mushroom soy sauce (this stuff is the bomb! - it has a rich, salty flavor that brings out the flavor of the mushrooms)

- a couple of shakes of vegan mushroom oyster sauce (this stuff is also the bomb - it has a sweet taste that will bring out the flavor of the sweet potato)

- a few shakes of thick ground pepper

Pulse in the food processor until everything is chopped up. You want a thick consistency, not creamy; so don't blend the mixture. You might want to open the food processor between each pulse to push the contents down. 

I stored the mixture in the fridge for 24 hours to bring out the flavor. If you don't have that much time, you can probably start stuffing the dumplings whenever you want. Just make sure that the mixture is at least room temperature or colder. If you used a hot potato, you'll need to wait until the mixture cools. 

Now start stuffing the dumplings. Each dumpling will only hold a little dollop of the mixture, so you can make around 25 or so from this recipe. Don't over stuff the dumpling or it will tear. 
Serve warm, with a dipping sauce (although they're so tasty you don't really need extra sauce). I prefer sweet chili sauce or hoisin (plum sauce). However, tradational dipping sauce is fine too, but is salty rather than sweet. 
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