I don’t like to abuse the phrase “game changer”, but sometimes its use is warranted. And this Beef Japchae recipe is one of those times. Japchae is as ubiquitous in Korea as mac and cheese is in the states but it’s more versatile. Although it’s read more
Looking for delicious ways to incorporate more veggies into your meals? Make this Vegetarian Bibimbap! At its most basic, bibimbap means “mixed rice”. But there’s nothing basic about this beloved Korean dish of warm rice topped with seasonal vegetables, a tongue tingling gochujang sauce, and read more
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.
Hello there, funky friends! It’s been a little while. Between opening a new concept- local friends, check out Halo Halo Snack Shack for Miami’s only authentic Asian shaved ice desserts; and waiting for my dear husband (who happens to be not just the executive chef at our restaurants but also our Funky Asian Kitchen photographer) to recover from knee replacement surgery….2023 has been quite a year already. But I’m happy to be back and I have so many exciting recipes to share with you- like the Dashi recipes we’re making today! Foundational to Japanese cuisine, dashi is used in dishes as diverse as hot pots, noodle dishes, stews, and of course as the stock for miso soup. There are several variations that are common in Japan, and I’m going to share three versions that I regularly enjoy.
Katsuobushi and Kombu Dashi
Kombu is essential to making dashi. In fact, all 3 of the dashi variations I am sharing today start by soaking the kombu in water to gently extract its deep umami flavor. I like to soak it for at least an hour, but overnight in the fridge is great too. One of the golden rules in Japanese cuisine, is to never let kombu boil. Why? Because it tends to get slimy and that will transfer to your broth. However, if you’re a rule breaker, you will find that after it’s been boiling for a little while, the slime kind of goes away.
Another lesser rule is to gently wipe down the kombu with a damp cloth before using. This one, I always ignore. The whitish cast on the kombu is not mold; it’s called mannitol and is perfectly natural. It’s a combination of sugar and salts that rises to the surface of the kelp as it dries and adds more umami to your dishes- so really why bother? So rule follower, rule breaker, I’ll let you decide. In the recipes below, I’m following the established principles to give you some guidelines.
Katsuobushi, a dried smoked tuna that is then shaved, is 100% worth seeking out. It’s used in a ton of dishes as a topping/flavoring, stores easily in the pantry, and lasts virtually forever (although really old katsuobushi may lose some of its flavor over time). Japanese cuisine is subtle, relying on seasonality and fresh products above all else. Katsuobushi is one of those ingredients that really lends itself to highlighting those qualities, working in the background, quietly adding some depth, flavor, and light smokiness. You will be amazed at how just these two ingredients create such a complex broth that tastes like it’s been simmered for hours.
Once your water comes to a simmer, make sure to turn off the heat before adding the katsuobushi. Otherwise, the stock will be cloudy and almost slightly bitter. As the bonito flakes steep, they will sink slowly to the bottom of your pot. There’s no need to stir/mix it. Just let it be 😉 Strain your dashi through a sieve to use immediately or store in the fridge. You can also freeze it for convenience.
Anchovy and Kombu Dashi
This next dashi has a bolder fish flavor, though not overpowering. Typically in Japan, it is made with small dried anchovies known as iriko. Personally, I prefer to follow the Korean lead and use some of the bigger ones. Anchovy stock is used regularly in Korean cusine and it pairs well with the assertive, robust flavors of their food. If you’re using the small anchovies, you can use them as is, but if the jumbos are what you have, you’ll want to remove the head and guts. Although it may seem a little tedious, you’ll get a less fishy product that’s also less bitter and more versatile to use. The photo below shows both sizes which you can easily find in most Asian stores.
Removing the heads and gutting the fish is easy to do and requires just a couple minutes. Once you pinch off the heads, put your fingers at the throat area. Pull the hard black guts out (they will come out as 1 hard piece) and continue cleaning the rest of the anchovies.
This stock will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge. Like all stocks, this freezes well if you would like to store some in the freezer.
Shiitake Mushroom Dashi
There aren’t a lot of hardcore vegetarians in Japan. Most people, even those that eat a largely plant based diet, do occasionally eat seafood. But it’s nice to have a vegetarian dashi to add savory oomph if you are avoiding meat. I use dried shiitake mushrooms for the deepest flavor. Once again I start by soaking the kombu, but I add the dried mushrooms too. Place a little dish on top to make sure they are fully submerged. Let that soak for at least an hour, or up to overnight in the fridge.
I prefer not to simmer the mushrooms. Instead, as soon as the water almost comes to a simmer, I turn off the heat and let the mushrooms steep in the very hot liquid. This technique gives me a light flavorful liquid but not one that’s going to overpower a dish with mushroom flavor. If you love mushroom flavor and can’t get enough, go ahead and gently simmer it instead of just steeping.
Like the other 2 dashi, this one will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days and also freezes well.
If you’re wondering what to do with the stuff you’ve strained out of the stock, you can definitely save the Kombu and the shiitake mushrooms for another purpose. For the anchovies and katsuobushi, I keep them as a treat for our dog Mina. If you have a 4-legged family member, they would love a couple tablespoons mixed into their meals. You can also try your hand at furikake for a 2-legged family treat.
Now that you have mastered 3 different dashi, the possibilities for them are endless. Try one in my Egg Soufflé for an elegant but easy supper. Replace this homemade dashi for the dashi powder/water combo in the Cold Soba. Use the shiitake version to make Chikuzen, Japan’s famed braised chicken. Or try the anchovy dashi in Tteokbokki or Oden Stew. And of course they will make an excellent egg drop or miso soup. Having these flavorful stocks on hand will up your kitchen game exponentially. Try one, or all 3, and let me know what you think! Tag us on insta @funkyasiankitchen or leave us a comment here; we love hearing from you.
Katsuobushi and Kombu Dashi
- 4 cups water
- 1 ½ cups lightly packed katsuobushi (about 20 grams)
- 2 pieces kombu the size of your hand (about 4”x6”)
Anchovy and Kombu Dashi
- 4 cups water
- ½ cup dried large anchovies (about 25 grams or 15 pieces)
- 1 piece kombu the size of your hand (about 4”x6”)
Vegetarian Shiitake Mushroom and Kombu Dashi
- 1 piece kombu the size of your hand (about 4”x6”)
- 4 cups water
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
To Make Katsuobushi/Kombu Dashi:
- Break the kombu into a couple of pieces and then soak the kombu in the water for at least 1 hour (or even overnight) in the fridge.*
- Pour the kelp water into a pot (save the kombu for a different purpose) and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- As soon as the liquid starts to simmer, add the katsuobushi and turn off the heat. Let the liquid steep for 15 minutes.
- Strain the dashi through a sieve and then use the stock immediately or transfer to the fridge or freeze. The stock keeps for 5 days in the fridge.
To Make Anchovy and Kombu Dashi:
- Break the kombu into a couple of smaller pieces. Add it to the water and soak the kombu for at least 1 hour or overnight in the fridge.
- Head and gut the sardines by breaking off the heads and then pinching out the guts which are hard and black. Discard the head and guts.
- Pull the kombu out and reserve for another use. Then put the anchovies in a pot with the soaking water.
- Bring the pot to a simmer over high heat. Partially cover the pot with a lid, lower the heat to medium and continue to simmer for 15 mins and then strain out the sardines. Either discard or use the sardines in another dish (if you have pets, they love the cooked sardines).
- Use the stock immediately or transfer to the fridge or freeze. The stock keeps for 5 days in the fridge. You can substitute 2 cups of katsuobushi (about 2 cups or 20 grams for the iriko)
To Make Vegetarian Shiitake Mushroom and Kombu Dashi:
- Break the kombu into a couple of smaller pieces. Put the kombu in a container with the water. Wipe off the mushrooms and then soak the mushrooms with the kombu. You can put a bowl on top of the mushrooms to keep them submerged. Soak for at least an hour or even overnight.
- Strain out the kombu and then put the mushrooms and soaking water in a pot. Bring the pot to a bare simmer and then turn off the heat. Let the mushrooms sit in the cooling pot for 10 minutes.
- Squeeze the mushrooms to extract as much liquid as you can and reserve the mushrooms for another purpose. Use immediately or transfer to the fridge or freeze. The stock keeps for 5 days in the fridge.
*kombu becomes a little slimy when heated but if you are in a rush and do not have time for a long soak, put the kombu in a pot with the water and gently heat it on very low heat for 10 minutes before continuing.
Keywords: dashi, stock, japanese, miso, dried fish, dried anchovy, iriko, shiitake, kombu, vegetarian, awase