Friday, February 12, 2016

Chinese New Year: Vegetable Dumplings!

This past week at the Pomona College Organic Farm, the food coordinators lead a dumpling workshop for Chinese New Year. College and community participants gathered together to chop veggies and shape dough wrappers for the evening's farm potluck.

Below, see some of the progress shots of the dumpling-making process (the full recipes (and links) that these dumplings were based on can be found at the end of this post).

First, flour and water were mixed together and kneaded to create the dumpling dough. The mixture was then wrapped in a cotton cloth and set aside to rise (we used farm t-shirts).

At the same time, another team of people washed and chopped the onions, garlic, ginger, and assorted vegetables. We were gathered around various tables, chatting and dicing:

Some of the chopped scallion, garlic, and ginger was set aside for the dipping sauce.  The rest was sauteed in several oiled pans at a camp stove station as part of the vegetable filling. The pan of vegetables was sauteed in batches and seasoned:

By this point, the dough was ready to make into wrappers.  Strips of dough were cut off and handed around to volunteers.

Using fingers, rolling pins, and plastic cups (as substitute rolling pins), we shaped little round dumpling wrappers, adding flour as necessary to control the stickiness level of the dough:

As the last of the first  veggie filling was finishing up, we began to assemble our dumplings.

Filling was spooned into a wrapper.  Then the circle of dough was pinched closed (forming a half circle). Dumplings were pinched together in varying degrees of complexity, according to the skill level of the participants (I used a pleated folding technique I had observed in a YouTube video):

The assembled dumplings were placed in a greased pan, where they could be fried and/or covered and steamed:

The delicious, finished product, ready to be served with a dipping sauce!


Cooking Workshop: Dumplings! 2/5/16
Pomona College Organic Farm

Dumpling Dough
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons tepid water

Put the flour in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add the water to the flour and knead into a smooth dough. This process should take about 10 minutes. Cover with a damp cloth and let the dough rest for half an hour.

Gluten-free Dumpling Dough
2 1/2 cups of all-purpose gluten-free flour
3/4 cup hot water
1-2 tbsp cold water

Mix all but 1/3 cup of dry ingredients, and then slowly add hot water to the mixture. Knead the dough well, and then add the cold water.

Vegetable Dumplings – makes 20-24
3 tablespoons oil, plus ¼ cup
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1 1/2 cups cabbage, finely shredded
1 1/2 cups carrot, finely shredded
1 cup garlic chives (Chinese chives), finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoon soy sauce
salt, to taste

In a wok or large skillet over medium high heat, add 3 tablespoons oil and add the ginger. Cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the onions and stir-fry until translucent.
Add the chopped mushrooms and stir-fry for another 3-5 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and any liquid released by the mushrooms has cooked off.
Add the cabbage and carrots and stir-fry for another 2 minutes, until the veggies are tender and all the liquid released has been cooked off. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a large mixing bowl and allow to cool.
To the bowl, add the chopped chives, white pepper, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Season with salt to taste (though the soy sauce will usually add enough salt to the filling), and stir in the last 1/4 cup of oil.
To assemble the dumplings, cut the dough into small tablespoon-sized pieces. Roll each out into a circle, and pleat the dumplings. Continue assembling until you've run out of filling and/or dough.
To cook the dumplings, steam them or pan-fry them. To steam, put the dumplings in a steamer lined with a bamboo mat, cabbage leaf, or cheese cloth, and steam for 15-20 minutes.
To pan-fry, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a non-stick pan over medium high heat. Place the dumplings in the pan and allow to fry for 2 minutes. Pour a thin layer of water into the pan, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Allow dumplings to steam until the water has evaporated. Remove the cover, increase heat to medium-high and allow to fry for a few more minutes, until the bottoms of the dumplings are golden brown and crisp.

Serve with soy sauce, Chinese black vinegar, chili sauce, or other dipping sauce of your choice!

Egg and Green Bean Filling– yields about 30
4 large eggs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. toasted Asian sesame oil
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 cup thinly sliced scallions
green beans
grated/chopped ginger
soy sauce

In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
Steam or boil green beans until tender and chop finely.
Heat the vegetable and sesame oils in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 
Add the eggs and cook, stirring occasionally, until large curds form, 30 to 40 seconds. 
Add the scallions and ginger stir to mix evenly. The eggs should be just soft enough to hold the beans together.
Mix eggs with green beans. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
Add toasted sesame oil and soy sauce.

Dipping Sauce
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon finely shredded fresh ginger, or 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic (or both)
1 small scallion, thinly sliced

Mix together.


Happy Chinese New Year!

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