It’s always nice when everyone at the table can enjoy the same meal and no one feels left out. My beautiful friend Ellen Kanner has been making sure that vegans have delicious and exciting food on her table with her wonderful blog Soulful Vegan, her newsletter Broccoli Rising, and in her award winning books. Her Broccoli Shiitake Shumai are her latest recipe and she was generous enough to share them with us.
I’ve known Ellen and her husband Benjamin for a long time. Back then, we had just opened our first restaurant in South Miami and Ellen was a food writer for the Miami Herald. Have you ever met someone and there’s just an instant connection? Of course we bonded over our love of food. But it was more than that. Ellen’s warm, self-effacing, and so freaking funny. And in a city with a lot of flash but not much substance, Ellen is the real deal. She’s incredibly knowledgeable, totally plugged into the local food scene, and an amazing writer. Although our work paths have crossed paths many times in the past, this is our first recipe “collab”.
It all started one night when she came in for dinner with Benjamin. Since this blogging thing is kind of new for me, I hit Ellen with as many questions as I could recall. With her usual kindness, she answered thoughtfully and thoroughly, not minding my obvious inquisition. And then it hits us, we should work on a blog post together. I decide to create a broccoli recipe as a nod to her newsletter. Ellen keeps the ingredient theme running but decides to take the plunge and dive into shumai, the classic Chinese dumpling. Although she claims they are outside of her comfort zone, she manages just fine. So for those of you who’ve never made dumplings before…this one’s for you. A snack, a finger food, or an appetizer, Ellen Kanner’s Broccoli Shiitake Shumai are here to satisfy your discerning veggie taste buds.
Vegans get a bad rap. It’s true. Mostly I think it’s because people conflate it in their minds with a lifestyle that seems militant or judgmental. But if we just focus on the food aspect, there are a lot of positives that are undeniable. It’s good for our bodies, it’s earth friendly, and it’s economical. But if I can’t sway you with those arguments, maybe deliciousness will. Because who can say no to a dumpling? Plump, savory, and oh so delicious, they’re kind of the perfect food to turn into a vegan option.
For those of you looking for holiday meal inspiration, these Broccoli Shiitake Shumai are perfect for entertaining as you can make the recipe in stages. Plus it’s not such a heavy bite that it will interfere with dinner. The filling is earthy from dried shiitakes, it has some of my favorite flavor boosters like toasted sesame oil and ginger, and the dipping sauce is a piquant delight. These little morsels will be as tempting as anything else you offer, so let’s get into it.
First Make the Broccoli Shiitake Shumai Filling
The filling gets started by soaking the dried shiitakes in hot water so they reconstitute.
While they are softening, I prep the broccoli and tofu.
The broccoli gets quickly blanched in boiling water to retain its bright color.
The filling is done and can be made several hours or even a day or two ahead of time and kept in the fridge until you’re ready to make the shumai.
Shaping the Broccoli Shiitake Shumai
Shumai are really the gateway project for dumplings. They are so easy to assemble and there’s no complicated sealing and crimping, they can give you the confidence to tackle more elaborate ones. Ellen uses vegan wrappers that have become widely available at grocery stores from a brand called Nasoya. They are square and she cuts out circles to shape her Broccoli Shiitake Shumai. I had circle shaped ones on hand already so that’s what I used.
Take out a small stack of wrappers from the pack and keep the rest covered so they don’t dry out. Start by putting a generous tablespoon of filling into the center of a wrapper, and then use one hand to cup and hold it upright (I put my fingers together to form an “O” ) while you use the other hand to gently push the filling down with a spoon or butter knife. Place the dumping on the kitchen counter and finish shaping the dumpling with your fingers so it’s nice and compact.
Place the dumpling on a baking sheet.
Continue until you have used up all of the filling, this will make about 20 shumai. Because there is a lot of water content in the filling, it is best to steam the shumai right away. Leaving them for too long will cause the wrappers to absorb the water and stick to the baking sheet. You can also wrap the baking sheet in plastic wrap first before placing the dumplings which will help keep the dumplings from sticking.
Steaming Broccoli Shiitake Shumai
While they are steaming, whip up the dipping sauce. One of the things I love about Ellen’s recipe is all the fun and clever garnishes she uses, from toasted sesame seeds to minced chilis and scallions. These add a fresh zing to every bite and make for a gorgeous platter.
I loved the dipping sauce so much that I was drizzling it right on top of the shumai!
Thanks again Ellen for sharing your Broccoli Shiitake Shumai, we loved it! Give it a try and let us know what you think, and tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!
- 1 stalk broccoli
- 3 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 4 ounces firm tofu
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon peeled and minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- sesame seeds or cilantro leaves for garnish, if desired
- wonton wrappers (I used Nasoya vegan wrappers, available in some grocery stores)
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon brown sugar or palm sugar
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon warm water
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon Serrano or Thai chili, sliced thin
- 1/2 teaspoon scallion, the green top, sliced thin
- Drop dried shiitakes into a small bowl. Pour boiling water over to cover. Set aside to let the mushrooms plump and rehydrate — at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, wrap tofu in kitchen towels and press to get rid of any extra water.
- Coarsely chop the broccoli, from stalk to florets. You’ll be using all of it, wasting nothing.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the broccoli and blanch for half a minutes or so, until broccoli is bright green. Drain well.
- Pulse the broccoli, shiitakes and tofu, garlic and ginger in a food processor just until mixture becomes pebbly, not processed to a paste.
- Add the soy, sesame oil and sea salt and pulse again until everything just comes together. The shiitakes, ginger and soy provide a little umami, the broccoli and tofu add texture and nourishment. That’s it for the filling. Now comes the stuffing part!
- Cut wonton wrappers into 3-inch rounds. You can do this using a biscuit cutter or even the rim of a drinking glass. Cover the wrappers with a slightly damp kitchen towel to keep them from drying out.
- Assemble the wrappers, the filling, and a spoon.
- Place a wrapper in your palm, cupping it between your forefinger and thumb. Place about a teaspoon of the filling in the center. Gently cup the wrapper around the filling so it looks like a blossom. Congratulations, you’ve made your first shumai. Keep it going.
- Set shumai in a steamer basket over a pot of simmering water. Steam shumai for 8 to 10 minutes or until they smell rich and the wrappers are opaque.
- Garnish broccoli shiitake shumai with a few sesame seeds or cilantro leaves, if desired. Serve with the dipping sauce.
- In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, sesame oil and water.
- Stir until the brown sugar or palm sugar dissolves.
Let’s all take a moment to appreciate the humble unsung hero, the rotisserie chicken. Dress her up or dress her down, she’s always recipe ready! Like a lot of people, I can’t resist grabbing one of Costco’s famous chickens whenever I’m there, and I’ve developed several recipes that take advantage of its delicious convenience (not to mention its budget friendly price). This Lemon Chicken Salad is one of my favorites, and I hope it will be one of yours too. I know it’s all pumpkin spice this and autumn that, but frankly the weather across much of the country is still really hot, and this cold no-cook salad with a bright and savory dressing is a great way to beat the heat.
Lemon Chicken Salad Dressing
I love this dressing so much. It’s got all of my fave flavor boosters; like freshly grated ginger, minced garlic, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and mirin. Lots of lemon zest and fresh squeezed juice add bright citrusy flavor.
Then I just stir in the minced garlic and ginger, and a sliced Thai bird chili. You can omit the chili if you’d like; we like it hot around here…
Make the Lemon Chicken Salad
Once the dressing is done, I quickly compose the salad. I used rotisserie chicken in this recipe, but any leftover chicken will do. And the flavors are so robust that any mild seasoning on the chicken will not interfere. You can give the chicken a quick rinse if you are concerned, but I wouldn’t bother.
I like to cut the chicken into large chunks so it feels substantial and I like the herbs to be roughly chopped so you can tell what they are. The secret to making leftovers appealing is to have it look fresh and deliberate, like you intentionally made the salad this way. No sad leftovers here…no one will know.
I love endive in this salad. Its slight bitterness plays really well with the dressing and it’s available well into the cold winter months. You can sub any other chicory you prefer, or even arugula or watercress.
My Lemon Chicken Salad makes a wonderful light supper, or brunch highlight and leftovers are perfect the next day…leftovers from leftovers? Let’s make it a thing. Grab a rotisserie chicken today and see for yourself! Let me know what you think by leaving a comment, and of course tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you.
- 1 pound leftover chicken cut into bite sized pieces
- A handful of cilantro (about ¼ cup), roughly chopped
- 2 scallions trimmed and cut thin on an angle
- 2 small endive, radicchio, or a couple handfuls of lettuce leaves
- Sliced lemon for garnish
- 1 Tablespoon neutral oil
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon peeled, minced ginger
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 Tablespoon mirin
- 1 large lemon
- 1 fresh thai bird chili, stemmed and thinly sliced (optional)
- Wash and zest the lemon into a mixing cup/bowl. Juice the lemon into the bowl and then add the other dressing ingredients. Stir to combine.
- Put the chicken, cilantro, scallion, and dressing into a mixing bowl and toss to combine.
- Wash and slice the endive into thin rounds. Pile the endive onto a platter. Nestle the chicken onto the endive and serve.
Keywords: rotisserie chicken, lemon, quick, salad, dinner salads,