A lot of times, I want to put a kind of snack food like dumplings or shumai in the bentos, but the bento already has enough meat and eggs for protein, and then I get a little stuck. I thought some vegetarian dumplings would fill that niche for me, so I made some leek dumplings this afternoon.
I couldn't find a recipe anywhere, so I made it up for the most part. It turned out really yummy though. Here it is!
Note: All measurements are approximate so you have a guideline. I didn't actually measure anything.
Recipe: Leek Dumplings
2 1/2 cups chopped leeks (I just used 1 bunch)
3 or 4 water chestnuts, chopped
1 Tbsp grated ginger
2 cloves chopped garlic
2 leaves of chinese or napa cabbage, chopped
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sake
Approximately 30 dumpling wrappers
Fry leeks, water chestnuts, ginger and garlic in a little canola oil over medium until soft and a little brown. This takes some of the bite off the leeks so the dumplings aren't too onion-y tasting, and it helps get some of the water out of the veggies.
Throw everything in a bowl, and add the cabbage, rice vinegar, soy sauce and sake and mix well. Let it sit for about an hour to let all the flavours combine and to let all the liquid drain to the bottom (you don't want the dumpling filling to be too wet).
Take the dumpling wrappers, and drop about a Tbsp of filling on each one. Dip your finger in a bowl of water and run it around the outside of the dumpling (that's what keeps it sticking together).
Bring the bottom edge of the wrapper up to the top to fold it in half, and pleat the sides (I do three pleats on each side). It takes a bit of practice, so don't worry if your first five look a little messy.
Voila! You have a finished dumpling!
Place the dumplings side by side on wax paper. They get a little damp on the back, so the wax paper keeps them from sticking.
If you're planning to freeze them, freeze them side by side on the wax paper, and then put them in a ziplock bag after they're frozen. This keeps them from sticking together.
When you're ready to eat them, heat up some canola oil at about medium heat. Fry on each side until the wrapper starts to turn brown.