This year Chinese New Year coincided with the Family Day Holiday in BC. We decided to mark the occasion with some culinary exploration, en famille. I found a great book at the library entitled Moonbeams, Dumplings and Dragon Boats, which we used for recipe inspiration and to learn a bit about New Year's stories and traditions, which helped inform our experience of the occasion.
We decided to make up some dumplings last night, as according to the book they are one of the traditional foods served at midnight on New Year's Eve. We didn't stay up that late with the kids, instead we enjoyed the dumplings while immersing ourselves in the often philosophical and always hilarious exploits of Kung Fu Panda. I appreciate that the films touch on themes of mindfulness and inner peace, presenting these concepts in a way that is accessible and makes sense to kids. I am planning to revisit parts of the second movie in order to write down some of the teachings as I feel they would be beneficial for all of us, pinned up on the wall.
I made up a couple of different components for this recipe, the first being an umami filling meant to take the place of the pork traditionally used. I also made up a vegetable filling, making use of nutrient rich and highly beneficial root vegetables like daikon and burdock. We are using these fillings for a couple of different dishes. The umami filling will go in the middle of sticky rice packets, and the vegetable filling will be paired with vermicelli noodles and rice wrappers to make up homemade spring rolls. I also have a chill garlic dipping sauce in the works, which I will include in another post.
I used a gluten free vegan rice pasta dough recipe care of Something Vegan, which turned out really well, although the dough is not as pliable as its gluten counterpart and needed to be rolled a bit thicker as a result. Another gluten free vegan dough we have tried with success is the one from Allyson Kramer's Great Gluten Free Vegan Eats. This one contains xanthan gum, which allows for a bit of stretch, but still not a lot compared to dough containing gluten. I am curious to explore this further, to see if it is possible to create something that works properly when rolled to a thinner consistency.
1 package smoked tempeh (I love the one by Green Cuisine, available at grocery stores in Victoria)
1 cup shiitakes soaked in 1 cup hot water
1 tbsp grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup tamari or bragg's liquid aminos
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp Five Spice Powder
2 Tbsp coconut oil
Marinade 2 hours or overnight. Strain tempeh and mushrooms. Melt coconut oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add tempeh & mushroom mixture, cooking until mushrooms are soft, tempeh is cooked through and any moisture has evapourated.
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 leek, washed & finely diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2' piece ginger, peeled and grated
1 cup oyster and king oyster mushrooms
2 lg carrots, peeled
1 six inch piece daikon, peeled
4 six inch pieces burdock, peeled
1/2 savoy cabbage
1/4 cup tamari or Bragg's Liquid Aminos
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp coconut sugar
Grate carrot, daikon and burdock (I roughly chopped mine and put it in my Nutribullet!) Finely chop savoy cabbage. Finely dice mushrooms and set vegetables aside. Whisk together tamari, sesame oil and coconut sugar and set aside. Heat coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once coconut oil has melted, add leek. Cook over medium heat until softened, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and ginger, stirring until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are soft and liquid has evapourated. Add carrot, daikon, burdock and cabbage, stirring until vegetables are softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add seasoning and stir to incorporate.
Dumpling Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp braggs or tamari
1 tsp chili flakes (optional)
Whisk ingredients together and serve in small bowls for dipping.