January 31, 2023

Vegetable & Mushroom Dumpling 蔬菜蘑菇餃

Vegetable, chinese,Mushroom,Dumpling,recipe,  vegetarian,蔬菜,蘑菇,餃

Hope that all our dear readers have had a most auspicious Chinese New Year!  We've been pretty quiet, just resting after the fierce study schedule we've been on to support my little girl's long and hard preparation for mid year exams.  It's crazy that the schools in HK have so many exams!  😵‍💫

So better late than never, here's our vegetarian offering for the Chinese New Year: a simple but really yummy vegetable dumpling!  It's a tradition to eat vegetarian on the first day of the new year to cleanse the body and spirit as well as to cleanse out the energy of the old year.

We like vegetable dumplings but have found that it's hard to find a really good one.  Recently, however, we tried a mushroom and vegetable dumpling at one of our local dumpling shops that was simple and yet so memorable and tasty.  I kept wanting to go back for more.  This is our version of that same yummilicious Vegetable and Mushroom Dumpling 蔬菜蘑菇餃.

Vegetable, chinese,Mushroom,Dumpling,recipe,  vegetarian,蔬菜,蘑菇,餃

The key to the simple and yet captivating flavor of this dumpling is the use of mushrooms.  The rich, woodsy, cinnamon tinged taste of matsutake mushrooms 松茸蘑菇, used in the original dumplings, were the reason for the distinct and addictive taste.  So much flavor!

Matsutake mushroom, however tasty, is quite expensive.  And hard to find.  So I substituted with another rising mushroom star, the Yunnan porcini mushroom 牛肝菌.  The meaty, nutty flavor surely would be a perfect flavor backbone for my vegetarian dumplings!

Another dried mushroom that could be used is the wonderfully fragrant and flavor packed dried shitake mushroom, 冬菇 or 香菇.

Vegetable, chinese,Mushroom,Dumpling,recipe,  vegetarian,蔬菜,蘑菇,餃

I found dried yunnan porcini mushroom at a very reasonable price.  They smelled absolutely gorgeous even dried!  A very good sign of yummy things to come.

The top photo is of the dried mushroom.  The photo right above is the rehydrated mushroom.  When rehydrating the mushroom I used the least of amount of water needed so as to preserve as much of the flavor in the shrooms as possible.  

To do this add a small amount of water to dry shrooms.  Flip and stir the mushrooms often as they are rehydrating.  Ideally there should be very little to no water in the bowl when done.

Vegetable, chinese,Mushroom,Dumpling,recipe,  vegetarian,蔬菜,蘑菇,餃

We decided to use the favorite veggie of Shanghainese, the Shanghai pak choy 上海青.  It's juicy and packed with light, fresh veggie flavor.  I think that Napa cabbage 白菜 would work well too as a backdrop for the mushroom flavors.

Vegetable, chinese,Mushroom,Dumpling,recipe,  vegetarian,蔬菜,蘑菇,餃

Now here's the question to ask when making veggie dumplings:  How does one prepare a dumpling full of vegetables without ending up with watery, mushy dumplings?  What to do with all the extra water content of the veggies?  And how to get the filling to come together instead of fall apart?

Part one of the answer is to treat any veggies used ahead of time with salt.  A light sprinkle of salt and a quick toss will help draw the extra water out of the veggies as well as amp up the flavor.

Once juices are drawn out, simply squeeze the veggies dry.  All the flavor and halfway to non watery dumplings!

Vegetable, chinese,Mushroom,Dumpling,recipe,  vegetarian,蔬菜,蘑菇,餃

To add a touch of crunch we added some wood ear, 木耳, a type of wood fungus. The wood fungus absorbs the flavors it is cooked with and adds texture. 

This is the dried wood ear which is how it is usually sold.  To prepare soak in cool water.  Note that the wood ear will expand to three times its original size.  

Vegetable, chinese,Mushroom,Dumpling,recipe,  vegetarian,蔬菜,蘑菇,餃

After soaking the crunchy textured wood ear is finely chopped.  There is a hardish knob in the middle that needs to be removed.

Vegetable, chinese,Mushroom,Dumpling,recipe,  vegetarian,蔬菜,蘑菇,餃

All the ingredients for our vegetable dumpling prepared, chopped and ready for the final mixing and adding of flavorings of sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, salt, white pepper.

And here's the second part to non watery veggie dumplings: the secret is in the sauce.  To bring all the ingredients together and to create a sauce that holds all together, mix in a bit of starch, preferably potato starch.  The added starch will mix with the juices inside the dumpling and when cooked, create a lovely flavored sauce that holds the dumpling together.

Vegetable, chinese,Mushroom,Dumpling,recipe,  vegetarian,蔬菜,蘑菇,餃

On to wrapping the dumpling!  We add a bare tbsp of the filling to one dumpling dough wrapper.  Wet the edges of the dumpling wrapper all around with a wet finger.  Wetting the dough will allow the dough to stick to each other.

Vegetable, chinese,Mushroom,Dumpling,recipe,  vegetarian,蔬菜,蘑菇,餃

Starting from the middle, pleat one side of the dough and seal it to the back.

Vegetable, chinese,Mushroom,Dumpling,recipe,  vegetarian,蔬菜,蘑菇,餃

Repeat on the other side.  Make sure that the seal is complete all around.  Your dumpling is wrapped! 

Check out our Guide to Wrap a Dumpling for more detailed instructions.

Take your homemade, hand wrapped vegetable and mushroom dumplings and pan fry until a golden crispy on the bottom and deliciously cooked in the inside.  Take a bite of our Vegetable and Mushroom Dumplings, both crispy and soft and taste the mushroom infused fillings, juicy and completely delicious and satisfying!  Happy New Year!

Vegetable, chinese,Mushroom,Dumpling,recipe,  vegetarian,蔬菜,蘑菇,餃
Mushroom & Vegetable Dumpling Recipe
(48 dumplings)  Soak/Salt: 2 hrs  Prep: 15 mins  Cook: 12 mins



Make the Filling:

Rehydrate dried wood fungus by adding cool water to cover.  Let sit for 2 hours or until fully rehydrated.  Shake dry and mince.

Rehydrate the dried mushrooms by adding 3 tbsp of room temp water.  Toss occasionally until mushrooms soak up all the water and are plumped, around 1 hour.  Add more water, 1 tsp at a time, if needed.  Mince the mushrooms.

Wash, dry and then mince the bak choy.  Add salt and stir.  Leave for 30 mins.  Squeeze the bak choy dry with your hands.

Stir together bak choy, mushrooms and wood fungus.  Add in sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar and white pepper and potato starch. Stir until thoroughly incorporated.   Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  

Wrap the Dumpling:

Prepare a small bowl of water.  Lay out one dumpling wrapper.  Add bare tbsp of filling.  Use a finger to wet the dough edge all the way around.  

Fold wrapper in half so that the top edges touch.  Pinch the wrapper together here, then start pleating from that middle point to one side.  Be sure to press the pleats firmly as you go, making sure that they are glued together.  You may need to add a touch of water.  

Go back to the middle and pleat to the other side.  Check that the wrapper is sealed all around.  This will make sure that the filling cooks inside the dumpling instead of floating out into the cooking liquid.

Place finished dumplings on a starch dusted tray and cover with a towel while working. 

Cook the Dumplings:

Heat up a non stick pan or a cast iron pan over medium heat.  When hot add oil and swirl around until all cooking surface is coated.  Add in the dumplings, leaving a bit of space between them.  Let pan fry for approx two mins or until the bottom is a light golden brown.

Use to pan cover to cover all but a crack of the pan.  (Important as the next part will splatter quite a bit!)  Add in 1/2 cup water through this crack.  Close cover completely, turn to low heat and let steam for 8 mins.  

Most of the water should be evaporated.  Remove the cover.  Cook for a couple mins more or until the dumplings are dry and the bottoms a deep golden brown.  Use a spatula to loosen and remove dumplings.

Serve with Chinese vinegar and soy sauce as a dipping sauce.  Enjoy!



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