Monday, 3 December 2012

Tofu Kimchi Dumplings

Maddy's the biggest fan of kimchi.  Kimchi's a spicy Korean condiment made with fermented cabbage, daikon, spices and lots of chili.  It usually contains fish sauce, so, sorry, vegetarians, but you can find vegetarian-friendly ones in specialty shops, I guess.   It's funny how loads of vegetarians are ignorant of all the things that contain animal products, but I won't spoil it for you... I actually typed out a list, but then deleted it because I felt mean.  So, yes, I won't spoil it for you.  Ignorance is bliss.  I'm giving you guys an imaginary pat on the back now.  

These were sensational.  I've still got the food baby that resulted from these little wonders.  I wouldn't have tried making them without Maddy.  So Maddy loves kimchi, and I came across this recipe and sent her the link.  I spend most of my free time looking at recipes, yes it's a bit sad, but we won't dwell on that.  I spend a lot of time looking at recipes, and bookmark them and all that, but I rarely actually use them.  And I probably wouldn't have gone through the trouble of making them if Maddy didn't suggest making them tonight.
This is Maddy and I and our dumpling smileys!  Maddy's sweet.  I've missed cooking with people.  We had a big dinner with these dumplings and numerous spicy dipping sauces, Swedish caviar out of a tube with ritz crackers, and a salad with the tastiest dressing (credits to Jen).  A big dinner with my NYU friends in London doing their semester abroad.  They're such lovely people.  My birthday's in two days and I'm basically having a birthday..weekend..kind of, in London with them.   I'm not so big on birthdays, I just use it as an excuse to splurge on food.  I'm spending a fortune here in London on food, but it's (almost) my birthday, so it's okay!
You can either boil them or fry them.  We did both, but as expected, the fried ones are better.

Makes about 48 dumplings depending on the size of your wrappers
Recipe from The Kitchn
Ingredients
For the filling:
12 ounces soybean sprouts (can substitute mung bean sprouts)
4 carrots, peeled and grated
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided
Salt
1 (14-ounce) block firm tofu
2 cups cabbage kimchi
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 leek, thinly sliced
1/2 white onion, finely minced
2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon finely minced ginger
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 eggs, beaten

For the dumplings:
48 (4.5-inch) mandu, gyoza, or pot sticker wrappers (can substitute a larger quantity of smaller wrappers)
1 egg, beaten
Toasted sesame oil
Yangnyeomjang - Korean Seasoning Sauce for dipping (or we tried it with siracha, this Thai chilli sauce, soy sauce, whatever you want really! They're good on their own too :) )


Method
Boil the bean sprouts with 1 cup of water until tender, about 15 minutes. Rinse under cold water and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Coarsely chop and squeeze out any excess liquid.

While the bean sprouts are boiling, prepare the carrots, tofu, and kimchi.

Sautée the carrots with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and a pinch of salt until tender, about 2 minutes.

Place the tofu in a cheesecloth or dish towel and squeeze out the excess liquid.

Coarsely chop the kimchi and squeeze out the excess liquid. (Don't let the kimchi juice go to waste; save it for soups, marinades, or sauces.)

In a mixing bowl, combine the bean sprouts, carrots, tofu, kimchi, scallions, leek, onion, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, black pepper, a pinch of salt, and the remaining teaspoon of sesame oil. Mix and mash together (hands work best), taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary. Add the 2 beaten eggs and mix well.

To assemble the dumplings, place about 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper. (Make sure not to overfill, or the dumplings may leak in cooking.) Dip your fingertip in the beaten egg and trace the edge of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over to make a half-circle and pinch the edges together to seal.

To fry the dumplings, heat a little sesame oil in a pan over low heat. Working in batches, place the dumplings in a single layer in the pan, cover, and fry until golden on the bottom. Turn the dumplings over, add 1 teaspoon of cold water to the pan, and cover tightly. Continue cooking until golden on the other side. Serve with yangnyeomjang (Korean seasoning sauce) for dipping.

Dumplings can also be steamed or boiled in soups.

To freeze, place uncooked dumplings in a single layer on a tray and freeze until firm. Turn the dumplings over and return to the freezer until completely frozen, then transfer to an airtight container or bag.

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