Wednesday, February 18, 2015

New Years Eve!

Tomorrow is Chinese New Year, and will be the Year of the Goat/Sheep. I know that I will be celebrating by shoving a years worth of Dim Sum down my gob.

Dumplings represent many things for the new year, like wealth, family unity, and delicacy. I think they represent things I should eat more of.

My friend Sue (amazing caterer by the way) had recently tried some soup dumplings at a restaurant and wanted to replicate them.  Traditionally they are filled with a pork broth and meatball. When she had them, the restaurant veered from tradition by filling them with French Onion Soup. So we decided to try to replicate for her, the French Onion soup. And make for me a veggie version.

The dough is the biggest challenge. You want it to hold the soup in, while still being light and lovely. We found a great recipe here.

The dough came together beautifully, smooth but slightly tacky. And it only has 3 ingredients! Love that.

Sue filled hers with some caramelized onions and beef broth she had gelatinized with  gelatin, and a touch of shredded cheese, to complete the French Onion Soup flavors.

For my filling a used reconstituted shiitake mushrooms, chopped wild garlic, shallots, soy sauce and sesame oil with just a sprinkling of corn starch to hold it lightly together.

For my soup I used mushroom broth that I thickened with Agar Agar. A really cool vegan stand in for gelatin. The agar agar broth needs to stay in the fridge until you are just ready to fill and steam, or it starts to break down.

In they went to the steamer.

While we waited we partook of some Korean Kimchi Pancakes, because why wouldn't we? I found the pancake mix (all vegan!) at the Asian market and wanted to try it out. I think I may have fallen in love. The kimchi spice is eased up by the pancake batter. They are crispy and chewy and just nicely spicy.

When they came out of the steamer they were fantastic. We ate them with some soy and shallot braised greens on the side. 

We still need to practice a bit more, with the pleating of the dumplings, but this dough is marvelous. It is in the repertoire from here on in.