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 read more
Gung Hay Fat Choy!
Lunar New Year, one of the most important holidays in China, starts today. But don’t worry, celebrations typically last for weeks. So you have plenty of time to throw your own Lunar New Year dinner party. And no such menu would be complete without Longevity Noodles. Long strands of noodles symbolize a long life, and are served at birthday celebrations as well. There are a lot of steps to this recipe, but this is a special occasion dish. What’s a few extra steps in the pursuit of a long, healthy life? And once you dig into these Longevity Noodles, with their tangy sauce and plump shrimp, savory pork, meaty mushrooms, and crunchy toppings, you’ll know it was worth it.
Longevity Noodles Sauce
I start this recipe by whipping up a very quick, but deeply flavorful sauce. Pantry staples like oyster sauce, soy sauce, and Shaoxing wine gets stirred together with some chicken stock and set aside.
Then I move on to prepping the vegetables. Get everything ready so you can move to the stove and set up an assembly line of cooking.
Longevity Noodles Toppings
The toppings are what really set this noodle dish apart. Fried shallots and peanuts and ribbons of egg crepe add tons of flavor and texture. Because this dish has a lot of moving parts, there are some shortcuts I can recommend if you just don’t have the time or energy to go full out.
1. The egg crepe can be substituted with simple boiled eggs. I think soft fried eggs might be nice too, although casual and a little messy.
2. You can buy fried shallots in the Asian market. They come in a tub and you’ll get way more than you need so use the rest to top fried rice, noodles soups, or salads.
3. You can buy roasted peanuts instead of frying your own.
That said, I think you’ll be surprised by how much more flavorful homemade toppings can be. I don’t even really like peanuts, but straight from frying them in the pan, they were pretty great. If you find it’s too much prep work for one day, you can do things in stages. Cut up all of the veggies and start prepping some of the toppings the day before so you can focus on finishing the dish on the second day.
Once cool enough to handle, I cut the stack in half and slice them into ribbons.
It’s important to keep an eye on the shallots. Start them on higher heat and then when they start to get a light golden brown, you can turn the heat down and continue frying until they are evenly fried and a nice bronze color.
Likewise, you want to watch the peanuts carefully. When they have a hint of color and you think you want to leave them for a couple more minutes-Don’t! Take them out. The peanuts are so hot they will count to brown off heat so don’t leave them in the oil too long.
Now that the toppings are done it’s time to make the pork sauce. First I put on a big pot of water because by the time it’s boiling, the pork will be done and it will be time to cook the noodles and shrimp and assemble our Longevity Noodles.
The Shrimp and Noodles
Now we are in the home stretch. At this point your water should be boiling, and we’ll turn off the heat and quickly cook the shrimp in it. This is the perfect way to cook plump and juicy shrimp-indirect heat. Shrimp is so delicate and cooks so quickly, it’s not necessary to hit it with a ton of heat. Gentle cooking is the best way.
Then scoop them out and set aside, and bring the water back to a boil. I know there are an endless variety of noodles in an Asian market. We want long, thin wheat ones for Longevity Noodles. Often you’ll find them just for the occasion, in lucky red boxes. However, I included somen as an option, which is a thin Japanese noodle. It’s similar to the long life noodles and will work if you cannot find the other ones.
Because they are so thin, they cook in under a minute! As soon as the noodles float to the surface, they are ready. After draining them, I give them a quick rinse to remove excess starch. Then I add the toasted sesame oil, coating each strand. This gives extra flavor but also keeps the strands from clumping up.
Now it’s time to assemble! Pour the pork sauce over the noodles, and garnish with all the delicious toppings!
Longevity Noodles are so special and festive, try them for your next celebration! Long life is as good a reason as any to indulge in a big platter of noodles, right? Let me know what you think of them by rating and commenting on the recipe below, and tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love seeing your creations!
- 4 Tablespoons oyster sauce
- 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 Tablespoons shaoxing wine
- ½ cup chicken stock
- ½ cup neutral oil
- 3 large shallots
- 5 Tablespoons raw peanuts (with the skins)
- 3 eggs
- 2 scallions, minced
- 8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms
- ½ large yellow onion
- 1 pound ground pork
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
- ½ teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 Tablespoon water
- 8 pieces of large shrimp (I used 21/25 size)
- 300 grams ultra thin wheat noodles (about 10 ounces)
- ½ Tablespoon sesame oil
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Make the sauce:
- Combine the oyster sauce, soy sauce, shaoxing wine, and chicken stock in a small bowl.
- Stir to combine and set aside.
Prep the vegetables:
- Cut the stems off of the shiitakes and discard. Slice the mushrooms and set aside.
- Slice the onions thin and set aside.
- Trim, peel, and slice the shallots paper thin.
Prep the Toppings:
- Crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk to scramble them. Set aside.
- Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat for a couple minutes. Take a paper towel and crumple it. Dip it into the neutral oil and wipe the inside of the pan with the oil.
- Add 2 Tablespoons of the egg to the pan and swirl it to cover the bottom of the pan. Keep swirling until you don’t have any more liquid egg to swirl.
- Cover the pan with a lid and cook the egg for 20 seconds and then take the lid off.
- Blow onto the egg. (The edge will lift up). Flip the egg with chopsticks or a spatula and cook the other side for another couple of seconds.
- Transfer the egg crepe to a plate.
- Continue cooking in the same way until all of the egg is used up and you have a pile of egg crepes. Set the plate aside to cool.
- Heat a small skillet over medium high heat for several minutes with the oil in the pan.
- Test the oil with a piece of shallot. If it sizzles, add the rest of the shallots. If not, heat the oil for another minute or two before adding the shallots.
- Use a pair of tongs or chopsticks to separate the shallots into individual rings. Cook the shallots for 3-4 minutes until starting to get golden. Then, turn the heat to medium and continue cooking until a deep golden brown, another minute or two.
- (If the shallots start to turn dark too soon, turn the heat down or take the pan off of the heat for the rest of the cooking time).
- Transfer the shallots onto some paper towels with a slotted spoon, leaving the oil in the pan.
- Add the peanuts to the shallot oil and heat the pan over medium low heat for about 5 minutes until the nuts are golden in color.
- Transfer the peanuts with a slotted spoon onto some paper towels and set aside.
- Reserve the oil.
- Bring 3 quarts of water to boil in a pot over high heat. Then put a lid on the pot and lower the heat to medium.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat for several minutes. Add 1 Tablespoon of the reserved peanut oil and add the ground pork. Let the pork cook for 2 minutes untouched before using a spatula to break up the meat. Continue cooking for a minute.
- Add the shiitake mushrooms and stir to combine.
- Next, add the onions and the garlic and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the pork is fully cooked.
- Add the sauce and cook for another 3-4 mins. until the sauce has reduced a little and the onions are tender.
- Add the cornstarch and stir quickly to incorporate.
- Cook the sauce for another minute to thicken.
- Set aside the pan while you boil the noodles.
Shrimp and Noodles:
- Take the lid off of your pot and make sure that your pot of water is boiling. Add the shrimp, turn off the heat, and let the shrimp sit in the water for 2 minutes to cook. Scoop the shrimp out and set aside.
- Return the water to a boil and add the noodles and cook them for approximately 40 seconds to 1 minute. As soon as the noodles float to the surface, they are cooked. If you’re not sure, take a quick taste.
- Drain the noodles in a colander in the sink, rinse with running water to remove excess noodle starch, and then shake the colander to make sure you have eliminated as much water as possible.
- Add the sesame oil to the noodles and mix well to coat the strands. Transfer the noodles to a large serving platter and spread them out a little.
- Pour the meat sauce over the noodles. Garnish the noodles with the egg crepe, peanuts, fried shallots and scallions. Put the shrimp around the noodles or group them on one area of the dish.
- Serve Longevity Noodles immediately.
*This dish has many steps but it’s a celebration dish which requires a little more time and care. If you would like to cut down on some of the steps, here are some suggestions:
- You can substitute the egg crepe with simple soft boiled eggs. Simmer the eggs on medium heat for 8 minutes. Cool under running water and then peel and cut the eggs in half.
- Buy toasted peanuts and skip cooking them yourself.
- You can also buy ready to use fried shallots at an asian market. They come in a container and can be used as a topping for other noodle dishes, fried rices, etc.
*The remaining oil can be used for any of your cooking needs.
Keywords: lunar new year, good luck, long life, noodles,
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