Vegetarian

One-Pot Bean Soup

This wholesome, hearty one-pot bean soup is ideal comfort food on a cold wintry day. This recipe is vegetarian, however it could be adapted for non-vegetarians; for instance vegetable stock could be replaced with chicken stock.

Any mixture of the following beans could be used as desired:

  • Flageolet beans
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Red beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Navy beans (also known as haricot beans)

Serving Suggestions:

Serve alongside whole grain sesame seed rolls.

Version 1

Preparation time: 20 minutes:

Total time: 1 hour

Serves: 4-5 people

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (about 750 milliliters) vegetable stock
  • 1 large yellow onion – finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic – minced
  • 1 small carrot – finely diced
  • ½ stalk celery – finely diced
  • 2 large vine-ripened tomatoes – diced
  • 2 tablespoons pearl barley
  • 1 medium potato – diced
  • 1 cup (about 250 grams) mixed beans – cooked until soft
  • ¾ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • Coarse sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Garnish:

Grated parmesan cheese

 

Method:

In a non-reactive pot, bring stock, onion, garlic, carrot, celery, tomatoes, barley and olive oil to boil, covered, until vegetables have partially softened.

Add potatoes, cooked mixed beans, dried thyme and dried oregano. Season with coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Continue to boil until potatoes are cooked, vegetables have softened and flavors have melded.

Stop heat, serve hot garnished with grated parmesan cheese.

 

Version 2

Preparation time: 20 minutes:

Total time: 1 ½ hour

Serves: 4-5 people 

Ingredients:

  • 1 large yellow onion – finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic – minced
  • 2 large vine-ripened tomatoes – diced
  • 3 cups (about 750 milliliters) vegetable stock
  • 1 small carrot – finely diced
  • ½ stalk celery – finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons pearl barley
  • 1 medium potato – diced
  • 1 cup (about 250 grams) mixed beans – cooked until soft
  • ¾ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • Coarse sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil or unsalted butter for sautéing

Garnish:

Grated parmesan cheese

 

Method:

In a non-reactive pot, heat the olive oil or unsalted butter over medium heat.

Sauté onions until translucent.

Stir in minced garlic and sauté until aromatic.

Add tomatoes and sauté until it soft.

Add stock, carrot, celery and barley bring to a boil, covered, until vegetables are partially softened.

Add potatoes, cooked mixed beans, dried thyme and dried oregano. Season with coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Continue to boil until potatoes are cooked, vegetables have softened and flavors have melded.

Stop heat, serve hot garnished with grated parmesan cheese.

 

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Chinese Style Asian Greens With Oyster Sauce And Garlic Oil

Asian greens prepared with oyster sauce and garlic oil is a popular dish in Chinese cuisine. Asian greens such as bok choy (known as “xiǎo báicài” 小白菜 in Mandarin), choy sum (“cài xīn” 菜心 in Mandarin) and Chinese broccoli (“jiè lán” 芥兰 in Mandarin and “gai lan” 芥蘭 in Cantonese) can be used.

Chinese woks (known as “chao guo” 炒锅) are traditionally made from cast iron and these woks, coupled with a very strong, high flame tend to give the best results. Cast iron woks retain heat better than other materials and the temperature does not fluctuate much compared to woks of other materials. Consequently, once the greens are thrown into the boiling water, some woks may see a sudden drop in heat levels which generally does not happen when cooking with cast iron woks. This sudden drop in heat level means the greens take a longer time to cook which does not produce the best color, aroma, texture and taste compared to greens that are cooked quickly at a high temperature.
This advantage of providing a uniform and stable heating level is a key reason cast iron woks produce superior results when cooking Chinese food.

Additionally, well-seasoned woks impart a distinct “wok flavor” to the food known as “wok hay” 鑊氣 in Cantonese (usually spelled “wok hei” but the pronunciation is closer to “wok hay”) which literally means “wok energy” (wok qi). However an intense flame is necessary to achieve this effect and thus may be extremely difficult to achieve with home stove top flames.

A well-seasoned cast-iron wok is highly durable and could last for generations and there are families today that cook with cast-iron woks passed down from the grandmothers or great-grandmothers of the family. For instance, the cast-iron wok used by my maternal grandmother (who was born in 1928) is still treasured and frequently used by her children.

When blanching the greens, an overcrowded wok must be avoided; if the wok is overcrowded, the leaves don’t cook quickly and end up “sweating” and slow cooking instead, resulting in greens that are limp, discolored and bland.

Chinese food tastes best when consumed hot and freshly cooked, so serve straight away.

Serves: 2
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb Asian greens such as bok choy or choy sum or Chinese broccoli
  • 1/2 teaspoon oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons boiling hot water
  • Freshly ground white pepper as desired (optional)

For garlic oil:
2 tablespoons oil
4-5 cloves of garlic – very finely minced

Method:

In a small glass / ceramic bowl, combine oyster sauce and light soy sauce. Mix well and set aside.

Prepare the garlic oil. Heat up a wok over high flame. Do not add oil until the wok is well heated up.

Pour 2 tablespoons oil and let the oil heat up.

Swirl the wok to evenly coat the oil around the wok.

Add minced garlic, fry till garlic turns brown and fragrant. Stir frequently. Do not burn the garlic.

Pour this garlic oil into the bowl of oyster sauce and light soy sauce. Stir and set aside.

Wash greens thoroughly to remove dirt and grit. Optionally, cut into halves or quarters lengthwise.

Have a bowl of cold water ready. Set aside.

In a cast iron wok, bring some water to a rolling boil over high heat.

Add salt and 1/2 teaspoon oil.

Then add the washed and drained greens.

Toss quickly then cover with a lid, until greens are cooked through yet retains its vibrant green hue, fresh taste, crunch and texture. This usually takes just a few minutes, depending on the strength of the flame and the type of wok (cast iron woks retain heat better than other metals and hence generally require less time).

Once cooked, immediately take out the greens and soak them in the bowl of cold water set aside earlier.

Once cooled, arrange the greens neatly on a plate.

Pour two tablespoons of hot water (some take two tablespoons from the boiling water used to blanch the greens) into the bowl of oyster sauce mixture prepared earlier. Mix well.

Drizzle the sauce over the freshly cooked greens.

Serve straight away with rice.

Unohana 卯の花

A bowl of Unohana, alongside a pair of chopsticks.

Unohana 卯の花 – a good source of protein for vegetarians

A feature on Japanese dinner tables since ancient times, unohana 卯の花, is a wholesome Japanese side dish of “okara” おから sauteed with mixed vegetables and seasonings. “Okara” おから (which literally translates into “beancurd refuse”) is the mushy pulp which is left over after making soymilk or tofu. It is believed to be highly nutritious, low in fat, rich in proteins, calcium, fiber and other nutrients such as iron, riboflavin and niacin. Its high fiber content could potentially prevent some types of cancer such as intestinal cancer.

Okara is gluten-free and a good source of protein for vegetarians. Okara is very susceptible to spoilage and hence should ideally be used fresh. Even under refrigeration, its shelf life is usually no more than 2-3 days.

Unohana should be sweet rather than salty. Like most traditional dishes, there are no strict recipes for unohana. While the key ingredients (okara, carrots and “negi” 葱 which refers to scallions or Japanese leeks) are usually unchanged, other ingredients are added or omitted (such as shiitake mushrooms, konjac, burdock root, chikuwa and abura-age) and the quantities of each ingredient (such as the vegetables) tends to vary based on individual preference and is usually estimated rather than strictly measured out. Some families traditionally do not use onions to make unohana, while others enjoy the additional flavor onions contribute.

Used for over a thousand years in Japanese cuisine, konjac, known in Japanese as “konnyaku” こんにゃく, (also known as konjaku, devil’s tongue, voodoo lily, elephant yam) is a flavorless, jelly-like starch made from a plant bearing the scientific name Amorphophallus konjac. It is believed to have a host of health benefits such as controlling diabetes, cholesterol levels, eliminating toxins and helps maintain a healthy digestive system hence the Japanese moniker “broom of the stomach” 胃のほうき (“i no houki”).

An equal quantity of dashi だし, can be used in place of the “shiitake water” or a 50/50 combination of both can be used. Vegetarians can use the “shiitake water” and omit dashi altogether.

Okara is quite flavorless on its own so dried shiitake 椎茸 mushrooms (“shii” 椎 is the Japanese name of this particular type of mushroom while “take” 茸 means “mushroom” in Japanese) are preferred over fresh as the dried ones have a stronger flavor and aroma.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 cup tightly packed fresh okara
  • 1/2 medium-sized onion – sliced (optional)
  • 3-5 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 carrot – chopped, diced or julienned
  • 4-5 tablespoons konjac – chopped or julienned
  • 3 tablespoons shoyu
  • 2-3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon mirin or sake
  • Pinch of sea salt – optional
  • 3-4 green onions or 3/4 Japanese leek – julienned or thinly sliced

Other optional ingredients:

  • 1/2 burdock root – scrubbed and cut to thin shreds
  • 1 chikuwa – cut to short strips
  • 1 abura-age – cut to short strips

Method:

Soak dried shiitake mushrooms in 1 cup spring water for about 3-4 hours.

Drain shiitake mushrooms and reserve the “shiitake water”.

Slice shiitake mushrooms.

Mix shiitake water (or dashi if using), shoyu, mirin or sake and honey in a bowl.

Heat oil in a pot over medium heat.

Cook sliced onions until translucent. If not using onions, proceed to next step.

Add shiitake mushrooms, carrots, burdock root (if using) konyaku and saute.

Add okara and cook until crumbly.

Add chikuwa (if using), abura-age (if using) and the mixture of shiitake water (or dashi), shoyu, mirin or sake and honey.

Reduce heat and cook until liquid evaporates, stirring to prevent the mixture from sticking to the pot.

Add salt (if using).

Add sliced scallions or Japanese leek and turn off heat.

Serve either at room temperature or cold.

The unohana tastes better if allowed to sit in a refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight to let the flavors develop.

Spicy, Hot Sri Lankan Dhal/Red Lentil Curry (“Miris Parippu” මිරිස් පරිප්පු)

“Miris parippu” is a Sri Lankan red lentil dish, hot due to a generous addition of red chili powder and spicy due to raw curry powder. “Miris” මිරිස් means “chili” in Singhalese while “parippu” පරිප්පු means “red lentils”, so taken together, the dish “miris parippu” මිරිස් පරිප්පු literally means “chili dhal” (“dhal’ being the more popular name in Sri Lanka for red lentils) or “chili red lentils”.

The red lentils are often soaked for at least 2-3 hours, or overnight if possible as when soaked they are easier to cook and easier to digest. Red lentil curries are quite popular in Sri Lanka where meat consumption is relatively low by world standards, particularly among vegetarians as it is believed to be a good plant-based source of protein.

As with most Sri Lankan dishes, there are no fixed recipes and ingredient ratios may vary depending on the individual’s preference. For instance, some cooks add tomatoes, while some leave it out. Some add a cinnamon stick while some may omit this. Some may like adding a few drops of juice from a freshly squeezed key lime while some prefer the dish without this (other varieties of lime such as kaffir lime are usually not used. Other citrus fruits are never used).

Regular Sri Lankan coconut oil, simply known as “pol thel” පොල් තෙල් in Singhalese (“pol” පොල් meaning “coconut” and “thel” තෙල් meaning “oil) results a in very flavorful and aromatic dish and it is strongly recommended to use this type of oil. Virgin coconut oil is has a very delicate flavor and aroma and as it thus usually not used to make this dish. Other types of flavorless oils such as canola or palm oil could work while delicate oils such as olive oil or robust oils such as peanut oil, sesame oil or soybean oil are not suitable. For the most authentic outcome, regular Sri Lankan coconut oil is the only choice.

Red onions, known as “rathu luunu” රතු ලූනු (“rathu” රතු meaning “red” and “luunu” ලූනු meaning “onion) in Singhalese are usually used for most Sri Lankan dishes. They are believed to be healthier and more delicious than their larger cousins, the onions commonly known as “Bombay onions” among Sri Lankans.

Good quality raw Sri Lankan curry powder (known as “amu thuna paha kudu” අමු තුනපහ කුඩු, “amu” අමු = “raw”, “thuna paha” තුනපහ = “three five” in reference to the three to five spices that go into making a curry powder, “kudu” කුඩු = “powder”) is imperative for a quality outcome. Sri Lankan curry powder is comprised of a distinct concoction of spices and as a consequence, curry powders from other cuisines such as those from Malaysia or India would not produce an authentic outcome. Curry powders lose their flavor and aroma with age, so fresher powders produce better results and older curry powders may require larger quantities to have the same result.

Preparing the dish according to traditional Sri Lankan coooking methods where food is cooked in an organic, unglazed clay pot, over a firewood fire, stirred and ladled with an organic, unglazed Sri Lankan coconut shell spoon is generally believed to produce a far more flavorful, nutritious and aromatic dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup red lentils – washed and soaked for at least 2-3 hours, preferably overnight
  • 3-4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 8-10 red onions – peeled and sliced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic – peeled, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 dried red chilies – cut to 1-inch pieces, soaked in a concentrated salt water solution
  • 2-4 fresh green chilies – slit down the middle
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh curry leaves
  • 1 fresh pandan leaf
  • 1- 1 1/2 tablespoons red chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon red chili flakes
  • 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons raw Sri Lankan curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt as desired

Method:

Lightly heat a clay pot over medium heat.

Add coconut oil and let it heat up.

Add black mustard seeds and let splutter.

Add shallots, garlic, red chilies, green chilies, curry leaves and pandan leaf. Cook until onions and garlic are fragrant and slightly brown.

Lower heat to low.

Add red chili powder, red chili flakes, raw curry powder and turmeric powder. Roast, slowly over low flame until the spice powders are aromatic, stirring frequently, be careful not to burn. The mixture should turn into a deep, brownish-maroon hue.

Once spice powders are roasted, add lentils and water as required, to completely cover the lentils plus just a bit more.

Cook until the lentils are soft and mushy, stir every now and then.

Once cooked, add salt as desired.

Serve hot with rice, roti or bread.

Note:
For a version with coconut milk, follow the recipe as above but add about 1/4 cup of fresh, thick coconut milk after the red lentils have been cooked till soft and mushy. Let stew until the mixture thickens slightly then add salt as desired.

Szechuan Fish Fragrant Eggplant 鱼香茄子 (Yu Xiang Qiezi)

A plate of Szechuan Fish Fragrant Eggplant "Yu Xiang Qiezi" 鱼香茄子 served with white rice and Chinese tea.

A plate of Szechuan Fish Fragrant Eggplant “Yu Xiang Qiezi” 鱼香茄子 served with white rice and Chinese tea

Featuring a fusion of salty, sweet, sour and spicy flavors, fish fragrant eggplant or “yu xiang qiezi” is a signature Szechuan (or Sichuan) dish prepared with Asian eggplants flavored with a hot garlic sauce.
“Yu xiang qie zi” 鱼香茄子 literally translates into “fish fragrant eggplant” (“yu” 鱼 means” “fish”, “xiang” 香means “fragrant” or “flavored” and “qiezi” 茄子 means “eggplant”, or “aubergine” as it is known in the UK or “brinjal” as it is commonly known in South Asia).

Despite its name, the dish contains no fish and so is actually vegetarian. The meaning behind the name stems from the seasoning mixture which is known as “yu xiang” 鱼香 (which literally means “fish fragrance”). Dishes that belong to the “yu xiang” family, i.e., prepared with “yu xiang” seasoning ingredients typically have “yu xiang” affixed to their name, in this case “fish fragrant eggplant” is “yu xiang qiezi”.

A very common ingredient in traditional Szechuan dishes, doubanjiang 豆瓣酱 is a salty paste of fermented broad beans and soybeans.

Chinese rock sugar, known as “bing tang” 冰糖 is milder than the granulated refined sugar popularly consumed in the West. Bing tang usually comes in irregular-sized lumps which must be broken into pieces before they can be used.

It is generally accepted among Chinese that bing tang is healthier and produces a superior appearance and flavor when used for cooking. While some recipes for this dish may call for regular granulated sugar instead of bing tang, for a quality and authentic outcome bing tang is recommended.

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams Asian eggplants/aubergines/brinjals
  • 3 Szechuan pickled red chili peppers – sliced
  • 1 tablespoon doubanjiang
  • 1 1/4 cups (about 300 ml) cooking oil if deep frying / 2-6 tablespoons cooking oil if shallow frying
  • 1 tablespoon ginger – minced
  • 2 garlic cloves – minced
  • 2-3 spring onions – white and green parts sliced separately

Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon black vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine
  • 3/4 teaspoon potato flour mixed with some cold water to form a thick paste
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon Chinese rock sugar “bing tang”
  • Sea salt as desired

Method:

Wash and cut eggplants into 3 inch slices ensuring every slice has skin.

If deep frying, soak eggplants in cold water for about 15-20 minutes. This helps to remove any bitter tastes.

If shallow frying, sprinkle salt over the eggplants and let it sit for about 1 hour to let it release moisture.

In a small bowl, combine ingredients for sauce. Mix well. Set aside.

Heat up a cast iron wok over high flame.

Add cooking oil and let it heat up.

Carefully dip a pair of wooden cooking chopsticks into the oil (ensure the chopsticks are dry. Water droplets could make the oil splatter violently potentially causing burns). If it sizzles, the oil is ready.

Add the eggplant and fry until golden on the outside but soft inside. The flesh will be creamy white color (not roasted) and the skin will be a vibrant purple hue.

Take out eggplants and drain on paper towels.

Drain out oil leaving about 1 tablespoon.

Add garlic, ginger, Szechuan pickled red chili peppers and white portions of green onions.

Stir fry till aromatic.

Add doubanjiang and roast until red oil seeps out.

Add fried eggplants.

Add the sauce. Stir to coat the mixture evenly.

Take off heat, garnish with sliced green onions.

Serve hot with white rice.

Jiaozi (Dumplings) 饺子

A mainstay of Chinese cuisine, “jiǎozi” 饺子, which means “dumplings” in Mandarin, is a stuffed dumpling with origins in the Eastern Han Dynasty dating back 2,000 years ago.

Although widely consumed in China all year round, especially in the northern regions, these succulent treats are one of the most popular traditional foods consumed during Chinese New Year (also known as Spring Festival 春节 chūnjié) and is often prepared by family members on the eve on the new year. Jiǎozi’s importance as a Chinese New Year staple stems from its shape, which closely resembles the gold and silver ingots used as currency in ancient China and is thus consumed to usher wealth, good fortune and prosperity for the new year. Sometimes, a sanitized coin would be stuffed into a jiǎozi; the lucky one to land the coin-stuffed dumpling is believed to enjoy good fortune for the coming year.

Jiǎozi is also traditionally consumed by folks in northern China during the Dongzhi Festival 冬至 (Winter Solstice Festival), a tradition born out of the belief that eating dumplings helps prevent frostbitten ears.

As the story goes, during one particularly cold winter, Zhang Zhongjing 张仲景 , one of China’s most distinguished physicians who lived during the Han Dynasty, saw many local people suffering from frostbitten ears. In an effort to alleviate their situation, the kindly doctor mixed some traditional Chinese medicine, meat and other ingredients and made a new kind of food with vague resemblance to ears – dumplings. These dumplings were distributed to the local people who were cured of their frostbite. Word went around that consuming dumplings cured frostbite which grew into the tradition we see in northern China today. Zhang Zhongjing 张仲景 is also thus credited as the inventor of jiǎozi.

Jiaozi’s delicate wrapper or skin, known as “jiaozi pi” 餃子皮 in Mandarin is made with wheat flour. The wheat grain, a staple of northern Chinese cuisine (rice is the staple or southern Chinese cuisine) has been milled for thousands of years in China.
Initially, flour milling was a grueling affair where equipment such as the saddle quern were operated by hand to grind wheat grains into flour. Later, mechanized flour processes let to increased productivity gains; the Chinese were believed to be one of the first users of water powered milling equipment.
After grinding the wheat grains, the resultant flour needs to be sifted to separate the finer grains from the coarser ones (so the coarser grains could be discarded or reground). The Chinese again are believed to be the pioneers of flour sifting, having extrapolated the prevalent technology for weaving silk using a fine mesh. Evidence exists that the sieving of powders for human consumption was practiced in China before such processing began in the West.

The jiaozi wrapper is made by mixing the flour with an adequate quantity of water. The amount of water required would vary with the quality of the dough, humidity conditions etc. Thus, it would be difficult to specify a fixed ratio of flour to water and seasoned Chinese cooks rarely go by any recipes when making jiaozi dough.

Traditionally, boiling water is used to form the dough because it helps produce a softer and elastic dough (cold water does not produce the same qualities and hence results in an inferior dough). Needless to say, freshly ground floor produces a better quality dough resulting in a jiaozi that is superior taste-wise and nutrition-wise.

Jiǎozi’s versatility has given rise to a plethora of stuffings such as beef with celery, shrimp and eggs with leeks as well as vegetarian stuffings. Arguably the most popular traditional stuffing is a mixture of ground pork, Chinese cabbage, scallions, soy sauce, salt, sugar and monosodium glutamate (MSG).

Jiǎozi are traditionally boiled or steamed. When the dumplings are pan-fried they are known as guōtiē 锅贴 which in Mandarin literally means “stuck to the wok”.

Boiled jiǎozi, known as “shuǐjiǎo” 水饺 in Mandarin, is made by dropping the dumplings in boiling water and boiling them until they float and the skins turn somewhat transparent. The traditional method calls for boiling the jiaozi three times, each time after adding a certain quantity of cold water.
Steamed jiǎozi, known as “zhēng jiǎo” 蒸饺 is made by steaming the dumplings in circular bamboo steamers stacked over a wok of boiling hot water.

Jiaozi wrapper:

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups wheat flour
  • Boiling water as required to form a dough

Method:

Sift flour.

Bring water to a boil.

Slowly add a portion of the boiling water to the sifted flour.

Mix with chopsticks until the dough forms a crumbly texture. If the dough is too dry add more water.

When dough is cool enough to handle, take out and knead until it forms a soft, pliable and elastic texture. The dough should not be sticky. Add flour or water as required.

Wrap the dough with a damp cloth and set aside to rest for about 1 hour.

After an hour, divide the dough into quarters. Roll each quarter into a rope about 1 inch (about 2.5 centimeters) in diameter.

Cut the rope into 5/8 inch (about 1.5 centimeters) pieces.

Flatten each piece with your palms and roll into rounds with a rolling pin. Each round should be 3 – 3 1/2 (about 7.5 cm – 8.5 cm) inches in diameter and 1/16 – 1/8inches (about 0.1cm – 0.3 cm) thick.

Keep the skins covered to ensure they stay moist and don’t dry out. Ideally, assemble the jiaozi immediately after rolling out the wrapper.

Version 1 (Vegetarian filling)
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Chinese black mushrooms- soaked in warm water, washed and chopped to cubes
  • 3/4 cup carrot – sliced thinly
  • 1lb (about 500 grams) medium sized Chinese cabbage
  • 1 inch sized ginger – minced
  • 4 green onions (white and green portions) – minced
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Salt as desired
  • 1-2 tbsp peanut oil

Method:

Separate cabbage leaves and blanch in boiling water. Set aside to cool.

Once cooled, slice the cabbage thinly.

Heat a wok over medium high heat.

Add peanut oil and then add ginger.

Fry till fragrant.

Add chopped mushrooms and fry until mushrooms are tender.

Add cabbage and carrots. Fry till tender. Mixture should be mushy.

Set aside to cool.

Once cooled, add sesame oil, soy sauce, Shao Xing wine, salt and chopped green onions.

Filling is ready for jiaozi assembly.

Version 2 (Pork and cabbage filling)
Ingredients:

  • 1 lb (about 500 grams) pork with fat – minced
  • 1 lb (about 500 grams) medium sized Chinese cabbage
  • 2-3 green onions (white and green portions) – minced
  • 1 inch piece ginger – minced
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • Salt as desired
  • 1/4 – 3/4 cup pork stock

Method:

Separate cabbage leaves and blanch in boiling water. Set aside to cool.

Once cooled, chop the cabbage to 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces.

Combine chopped cabbage with all other ingredients, except the pork stock.

Add the pork stock a little at a time, mixing continuously in clockwise direction, until the mixture turns wet and sticky. You may not require all the pork stock, so don’t add all at once.

Filling is ready for jiaozi assembly.

Assembling the jiaozi:

Take a jiaozi wrapper and set it on the working table.

Moisten the edge of the wrapper with water (this may not be necessary if the wrapper is freshly rolled out or has not been set aside for too long).

Place one tablespoon of filling into the wrapper.

Fold the wrapper, bringing the edges close together but ensure they don’t stick.

Starting from the right side, pinch one edge into pleats, pasting the pleat onto the other edge, thereby forming a crescent shaped jiaozi that is pleated on one side.

Cooking the jiaozi:

Boiled jiaozi:

Pour water to a large wok.

Bring the water to a boil over high heat.

Add as many jiaozi that would cover the base of the wok but don’t overcrowd it. Stir gently to ensure none of the jiaozi stick to the base of the wok.

When water comes to a boil, add about 1 cup of cold water. Cover and bring water to a boil. Repeat this process two times.

When the water boils for the third time, the dumplings are ready.

Steamed jiaozi:

Arrange dumplings in a bamboo steamer basket.

Pour 3 cups of water into a large wok.

Bring water to boil over high heat.

When water boils, place the bamboo steamer basket into the wok.

Steam for about 6-10 minutes.