The dumpling filling has a well-balanced texture with veggies, tofu, and rice vermicelli and is seasoned with plenty of aromatics, soy sauce, and just a dash of curry powder to enhance its richness.
You can freeze raw or cooked dumplings. Place them on a baking tray and seal them in with plastic wrap. Once they are completely frozen (after about a day), transfer them to a resealable plastic bag to save freezer space. They can be frozen for up to 1 month. To cook frozen dumplings, cook them like the fresh dumplings, but when covered in the pan, cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer and with a bit more water, about 1/4 cup (60 ml), to make sure there is enough steam to heat through. To reheat cooked dumplings, you can either microwave them (the dumpling won’t be crispy in this case), in 1-minute intervals until heated through or heat them in a slightly oiled nonstick skillet for 4 to 5 minutes.
- 1/4 cup (9 g) dried shiitake mushrooms, (7 or 8 small mushrooms)
- 2 cups (480 ml) hot water, or as much as needed to cover mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons dried wood ear mushrooms (or 1/2 cup, or 75 g minced bamboo shoots)
- 1 small bundle 1 1/2 ounces (or 45 grams) dried rice vermicelli noodles
- 5 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 cup (110 g) finely chopped carrots (about 4 medium carrots)
- 2 cups (140 g) shredded cabbage
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 block (8 ounces or about 227 g) firm tofu, crumbled by hand
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup (or sugar)
- 1/2 cup (30 g) finely chopped scallions
- 50 frozen dumpling wrappers, thawed
- Dumpling dipping sauce or Chinkiang vinegar, for serving
- In separate medium bowls, cover the dried shiitake mushrooms and wood ear mushrooms with at least 1 cup (240 ml) of hot water each. Let the mushrooms soak for 20 minutes, or until tender throughout.
- Strain and gently rinse the mushrooms with water. Squeeze out the excess water from the shitake mushrooms and rub off any debris. Remove and discard the tough stems of the shiitake mushrooms and mince the caps; this should yield about ¼ cup (35 g) loosely packed minced shiitakes. Remove and discard the tough parts of the wood ear mushrooms and mince the mushrooms if they are big, or thinly slice them if small; this should yield about ½ cup (70 g) loosely packed minced wood ear mushrooms.
- Cook the dried rice vermicelli according to the package instructions. Strain the cooked vermicelli and coarsely chop the noodles into ½-inch (1 cm) pieces.
- In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil over medium heat until hot. Add the garlic and ginger, stirring a few times to release the fragrance. Add the shiitake mushrooms, wood ear mushrooms, and carrots and cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add the cabbage, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and curry powder. Cook and stir for another 2 minutes, until the cabbage turns tender and all the liquid has evaporated. Transfer to a large plate to cool to room temperature.
- Heat another 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil in the same pan. Add the tofu and cook for 1 minute, breaking it up into smaller chunks with a spatula. Add the vermicelli, the remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and the maple syrup. Cook and stir until all the liquid has evaporated, 2 minutes or so. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and let cool to room temperature.
- Once the tofu and cabbage mixtures have cooled, add the cabbage mixture to the bowl with the tofu, add the scallions, and stir to mix well.
- Prepare your workstation by placing a plate with the dumpling wrappers, the bowl of dumpling filling (with a spoon), a small bowl of water, and a large plate or tray to hold the folded dumplings.
- Place a dumpling wrapper on the palm of one hand and, using the other hand, spoon about 1 tablespoon of dumpling filling on the center of the wrapper. Still using this hand, dip your finger into the bowl of water and use it to wet the edges of the wrapper, then fold the edges of the wrapper over the filling and seal them together. Press the edges again to seal well. You can use any method you are comfortable with to fold the dumplings.
- To cook the dumplings, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the dumplings in batches in a single layer. Cook until the bottoms turn golden. Add 2 tablespoons of water, cover, and cook until the dumplings are cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Immediately transfer the dumplings to a large plate. Repeat with the remaining dumplings.
- Serve the dumplings immediately with dumpling dipping sauce or a simple drizzle of Chinkiang vinegar.