Thanksgiving is like the Super Bowl for passionate cooks. We save recipes all year, and begin creating our menu months in advance. And of course the classics and family favorites have to be there, but it’s a good opportunity to experiment with something new and read more
Tag: asian appetizers
Dumplings are always among the most popular appetizer choices on our menus, particularly the vegetarian ones because it’s an easy one to hook carnivores too. It’s a cliché to say “you won’t even miss the meat”, but when it comes to these Mushroom Dumplings, it really is true! Savory, meaty mushrooms marry with soft crumbled tofu before being stuffed in a crispy wonton wrapper. To top it off, there’s a super tangy dipping sauce. Mushroom Dumplings are a perfect party food. They can be made ahead, they look beautiful on a platter, and it’s always nice to make sure that everyone, meat-eaters and vegans alike, can get in on the dumpling fun.
Dumplings, Potstickers, Gyoza, Wontons
A crispy wrapper, umami rich fillings…whatever you call them, everyone loves them. This recipe does take longer than most that I share, but that’s why I make a big batch. This recipe makes 50 Mushroom Dumplings, which sounds like a ridiculous amount, but when you have some friends or family over, they get snapped up quickly. Also, a pack of dumpling wrappers are generally around 50 pieces, so it makes sense to just use them up rather than leave you with a half pack of skins. Leftovers are good for a week in the fridge and you can even re-crisp them in a non-stick skillet for a couple minutes if you like.
Generally, when making a big batch of dumplings, I would tell you to freeze any extras raw and then just cook them off as usual, straight from the freezer. However, this one has tofu, which is not freezer friendly because of the water content. I didn’t try to freeze any myself, so I can’t say for sure whether or not they’ll come out with the proper texture. If you think you’ll never be able to finish 50 dumplings, I would say go ahead and halve the recipe.
Don’t be alarmed at how many steps there seem to be; it’s an easy and fun process and I really detail every bit of the process to make it as easy as possible. And you can make them over two days, I like to make the filling one day, and stuff the dumplings the next. Typically, in Asian households, families will get together to stuff dumplings, particularly around the holidays. So if you have older children who love to help out in the kitchen, this dumpling recipe is perfect with a cooked filling and simple fold over closure.
Let’s Get Started
I start making Mushroom Dumplings by soaking dried shiitake mushrooms. I use dried rather than fresh ones because dried shiitakes have a flavor fresh cannot match and you really want a deep savory flavor when making a filling. Plus they add a nice, chewy texture without as much moisture. When buying dried shiitakes, either at the Asian grocery or even in the international or Asian aisle of a regular grocery store, look for thick crackly ones, not thin flat ones with a pale color. If you look at the bowl below you can see that the shiitakes look like turtle shells. Those are high quality dried shiitakes which will have better flavor and texture than the pale flat ones.
I cook the mushrooms in two batches because you want to cook off the liquid and having a fully loaded pan makes it more difficult. When the cremini mushrooms are cooked down and most of the liquid evaporated, I pour them into a bowl and set them aside. Then I reheat the same pan and cook the shiitakes. Once they’re cooked, go ahead and combine them with the other mushrooms.
Now it’s time to add the tofu to our Mushroom Dumpling filling. The bland flavor of the tofu really complements the mushrooms. Tofu also adds a little heft and a pillowy textural contrast. And a good bit of protein.
The key to Mushroom Dumplings, so they don’t fall apart while cooking, is to drain off as much excess liquid as possible from the filling. I put it in a colander fitted inside a bowl, and weigh it down. Letting it drain overnight in the fridge this way is ideal, but give it at least two hours. As you can see from the photo on the right, there is about 1/2 a cup of liquid that is drained off! Not draining the liquid would make it difficult to stuff the wrappers and also cause the finished dumplings to split open.
Stuffing the Mushroom Dumplings
To simplify these dumplings, I make a simple fold over crescent shape, pressing to seal without doing the more time consuming pleats. (If you are feeling fancy and want to practice your pleating skills, I show you how in my Pork Gyoza.) I start by whisking an egg with some water to seal the dumplings. You can make this vegan by using only water, just make sure you are really creating a good seal.
Keep stuffing and sealing until you’ve used up all of the filling. You should yield about 5o dumplings when you’re finished.
You can hold the raw dumplings for a couple of hours in the fridge, but the skin gets softer and sticker as it absorbs the liquid from the filling. If you plan on serving them the following day, I would cook them off, cool them down, and then refrigerate in a container. Then reheat them right before serving. You can do that easily in a non-stick skillet for a minute or two on each side. No one will know that they’re not freshly cooked!
To provide a little dramatic theater if I’m serving these at a party, I portion out shredded ginger into dipping bowls and then pour the sauce over. For dinner with the fam, I just mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl before we dig in.
Speaking of parties, make these alongside a batch of Pork Gyoza and Fried Spring Rolls for a fun, stress-free finger foods holiday party. Make a batch of my magic color changing Butterfly Citrus Cocktails and you can throw a New Year’s Eve party you will actually enjoy.
Let me know what you think about these Mushroom Dumplings- leave a comment below, rate the recipe, and of course don’t forget to show off your creations by tagging us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!
- 12 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 4 Tablespoons of neutral oil plus more for pan searing dumplings
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms
- ½ large onion, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tablespoon peeled and minced ginger
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ cup sake
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 scallions, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 oz medium firm tofu
- 1 package dumpling wrappers*
- 1 egg*
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup black vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons shredded ginger
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
Make the Filling:
- Soak shiitake mushrooms in 2 cups of warm water for 15-30 mins. (Put a small plate on top of the mushrooms to fully submerge them in the water.)
- Drain and squeeze the mushrooms dry. Remove the hard stems and discard. Coarsely chop and set aside.
- While you are rehydrating the shiitakes, prep your vegetables and make the cremini mushroom mixture:
- Coarsely chop the cremini mushrooms.
- In a large pan, heat a pan over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and the onion. Cook for 3-4 mins until soft and starting to caramelize, and then add the fresh chopped mushrooms.
- Add the salt and ground black pepper. Raise the heat to high, and cook for another 2-3 mins, letting the moisture evaporate and the mushrooms cook down.
- Put the cremini mushrooms in a bowl and set aside.
- Heat the same pan over medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté for 10 seconds. Add the shiitakes and cook for 3 mins, stirring constantly.
- Add the sake, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar. Cook for an additional 3-4 mins until the liquid is mostly gone.
- Add the scallions, mix to combine, and then add the shiitakes to the bowl with the other mushrooms.
- Press the tofu gently between paper towels and eliminate some of the liquid. Squeeze the tofu over a colander, crumbling it into small pieces with your hands, until it resembles large curd cottage cheese.
- Add it to the mushroom mixture and stir to combine.
- Put the mixture in the same colander you used to drain the tofu and place a bowl underneath it. If your colander does not have a foot, then put a small plate underneath to prop the colander up. (You want as much liquid as possible to drain off).
- Cover the filling with plastic wrap and put a weight on top (I put a bowl on top under the weight to keep the weight clean).
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight to drain.
Fill the Dumplings:
- Crack the egg into a small bowl and mix with 1 tablespoon of water. Whisk with a fork to combine.
- Pick up 1 dumpling wrapper. Using a pastry brush or small spoon, brush the edge of half of the wrapper with the egg wash. Place a heaping 1 tablespoon of the filling in the middle.
- Seal the wrapper either by simply folding it over and pinching to seal it tight (push out any air as you seal it) or by practicing your crimping skills and pleating the dumplings as you seal them closed.
- Pro-tip: Use a finger from one hand to tuck the filling into the dumpling while using the other to seal it and squeeze out any air.
- Continue with the rest of the wrappers until you finish all of the filling. You will yield approximately 50 pieces.
Pan Fry Dumplings:
- Heat a non stick or well seasoned pan over medium heat for several minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and swirl the pan to coat the surface. Place 8-12 dumplings (depending on the size of your pan) in the pan, making sure there is enough space between dumplings so they do not touch.
- Sear the dumplings for 2-3 mins (check and see if the bottoms are golden brown). Flip and brown the other side for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add 2-3 Tablespoons of water to the pan, cover with a lid, and cook for 2 mins. Uncover and cook for another minute to crisp up the bottoms again.
- Repeat with remaining dumplings by cooking in batches. Serve with the black vinegar dipping sauce.
- Combine the soy sauce, black vinegar, sugar, shredded ginger, and sesame oil.
- Stir until the sugar is totally dissolved.
- Use immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
* There are vegan wrappers available, look for the Nasoya brand.
* The dumplings can be sealed with water to make these vegan.
* If you do not have black vinegar, use red wine or sherry vinegar instead.
* The dumplings should be cooked within an hour or two of sealing them as the moisture from the filling will start to soften the skins and make them fragile. If you are planning on serving them the following day, cook off the dumplings and then let them cool to room temperature. Transfer the dumplings to a container and refrigerate until ready to serve. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and then re-heat the dumplings for 1-2 minutes on each side, using a little oil if needed. Serve immediately.
* Any leftovers keep for up to a week in the fridge. Reheat them using the direction above.
Keywords: dumplings, potstickers, vegan dumplings, mushrooms, tofu, plant based, make ahead, wontons