Simple dumplings and a special collab!

Dumplings are my favourite to make (and eat) because you can pretty much put anything you like inside, and they’ll turn out amazing. They are also so fun to prepare and feel like origami in the kitchen. As tomorrow is my birthday, I wanted to bring something a bit special: ahoy all crocheters out there, not only will you get a recipe, you’ll also get an amazing crochet tutorial for your very own fantastic yarn-dumplings! This special tutorial was made to order by my cousin over at Yarntastic Vibes. Go check her out: she’s a pretty amazing lady!

dumplings

For the recipe, I pretty much use whatever is in my fridge to make the filling paste in my food processor. Of course, you can chop everything up by hand, but I prefer to use my food processor for a faster solution. I’m sharing my basic recipe here, but you’ll also find a list of great additions below.

dumplings2

Here is what you need:

For the filling:

  • 1/2 block firm tofu (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 green onion stalks
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup cabbage
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • salt, pepper and chili flakes to taste

For the wrapping and cooking:

  • Dumpling wraps, rounds: I find these at my local Asian grocery store. They are very cheap, vegan (flour and water) and very convenient.
  • 1 tbs sesame oil

For the dipping sauce:

  • 1 tsp vinegar (I like to use balsamic, but of course Chinese black vinegar would be ideal)
  • 3 tsp soy sauce

Other possible add-ons:

  • mushrooms: oyster mushrooms give a really nice shew, but any kind will work
  • cooked beans: great substitute for the tofu, if you prefer to go soy-free
  • spinach or other leafy greens: dumplings are a perfect way to hide our greens!
  • kimchi: for dumplings with a kick
  • nuts: for a bitier bite

Here is what you do:

  1. Cut out the ends of your carrot, and pulse in your food processor until you have small chunks. You want to stop just before you get a smooth, homogeneous mixture so that your dumplings have a bit of crunchiness. Transfer the carrots to a bowl.
  2. Place the rest of your filling ingredients in your food processor and process until you have a smooth paste. Transfer to the carrots and mix well.
  3. Form your dumplings by placing one teaspoon of filling in the centre of your wrapper. Circle the rim of your wrapper with some water to help it stick and fold one side over the other. Press firmly to seal, or pleat for a more traditional look. Check out Mary’s Test Kitchen’s tutorial. Repeat until you are out of filling.
  4. To cook, place your sesame oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is warm, place your dumplings. Let cook for a few minutes, and add 1/2 cup of water to the pan. Cover and let cook until all the water has evaporated. You might need to add more water depending on the size of your pan. You know your dumplings are cooked once the wrapper is slightly more translucent on the rim. At that point, uncover and let your dumplings grill until they are nice and golden on their bottoms. Serve hot and enjoy with the dipping sauce!

dumplings4

Making dumplings might be intimidating, but it’s actually very simple. I find that you don’t really need to cook the filling before you make the dumplings: the vegetables maintain a nice crunch that way! I love how versatile and impressive this looks. Let me know if you try this out!

dumplings3

If cooking is not quite your thing, check out the following crochet tutorial for another fun dumpling night!

Hi there my Lighthearted friends, it’s SO nice to meet you all! Before we get started with today’s appetizer, I would like to thank my cousin for letting me be her guest on her blog for the day…thank you cousin <3! Anyways I would like to introduce myself to you all before we get started with this delicious appetizer. My name is Annie, and I am the behind the scenes person of Yarntastic Vibes. I love to knit and crochet but mostly am a full-time crocheter. I love to watch my imaginations come to life with the hooks and create my own colour works with the needles. However, I only knit seasonally since knitting takes a little longer for me. Well with that being said, let’s get started with the appetizer, shall we! Don’t worry friends this dish is fairly easy to cook up and it’s delicious as well ;). I will walk you through it step by step, I promise! 

annies dumplings1

Here are the main ingredients that you will need in order to make your dumplings:  

  • A size 4.25 hook (or US size G) 
  • A couple of grams of tan coloured yarn  
  • Some stuffing  
  • Yarn needle  
  • And scissors 

Some abbreviations that you will need to know: 

  • ML = Magic Loop  
  • SCS = Single Crochets  
  • DCS = Double Crochets 
  • INC = Increase  
  • CH = Chain  

Now that you’ve gathered all of your ingredients and knowledge, it’s time to make the dumpling wraps!  

annies dumplings 2

Dumpling Wraps (Make 4):  

Round 1) Create 6 scs in ML (6) 

 [[or you could also chain 2 and then make 6 scs into the second st from the hook]] 

 Round 2) Create 2 scs in each st around (12) 

Round 3) *1 sc in next st, 1 inc* around for 6x (18) 

Round 4) *1 sc in next 2 sts, 1 inc* around for 6x (24 

Round 5) *1 sc in next 3 sts, 1 inc* around for 6x (30 

Round 6) *1 sc in next 4 sts, 1 inc* around for 6x (36 

We’re not done yet, we still have to do the detailing of the fork’s imprint! To do so, fold your dumpling wrap with the tail end on the inside like so… 

annies 3

 Now take your hook and insert it into the next st then chain 3 and then turn your work over. 

 annies 4

Next, yarn over, insert your hook into the next st and pull through, yarn over once more, and pull through for your first double crochet…  

 annies5

annies6

annies7

annies11

annies8

Since you made the first two double crochets with the chain 3 and your first DC, you would want to make 3 more DCs for a total of 5 DCs for a single bobble stitch.  

 You would want to make a total of 8 bobble stitches along with a sc around the seem to make the dumplings look like this…  

annies9

Remember to stuff your dumpling before you close it off with your last bobble stitch!  

annies10

Here’s my favourite part of crocheting. Cut off about 5 inches of yarn and thread it through your yarn needle. Take the yarn needle and pass it through the stitches on the inside of the dumplings to hide the tail, and voila! You have your very first side dish of dumplings :D! Congratulations you!  

annies dumplings1

Well, that was fun! Thanks again Anne for letting me be your guest blogger today :). I’ll pass the baton over to you now so you can sign us off <3.  

Thank you so much for sharing this amazing tutorial, Annie! Go visit her page, and let us know if you try our dumplings out!

Chuc Mung Nam Moi!

Happy Lunar New Year! or as we say in Vietnam, Chuc Mung Nam Moi!

IMG_2102.JPG

To celebrate this, I wanted to share a Vietnamese specialty with you. Every new year, or Tet, my mom buys banh chung. Banh Chung is a glutinous rice cake filled with mung bean paste and tofu. It is steamed in a banana leaf, and extremely sticky!

This cake is a traditional meal for the new year’s, and it’s generally eaten with some pickled vegetables.

You can eat this as is, but also pan fry it. This is usually how we like to eat it. The sticky rice becomes crunchy and crispy, while the beans soften.

If you are interested in cooking these I suggest checking out Van’s Kitchen tutorial. Simply skip the fish sauce, and switch the meat for some tofu, tempeh or soy proteins, to make it vegan. Harm yourself with a lot of patience, but be ready for some serious deliciousness!

Anyways, happy new year! You get an extra chance to make resolutions and stick to them this time!

 

Daikon Cakes Recipe Trial

When I was a kid, my mom would sometimes bring back Lo Bak Go (or daikon cake) from Chinatown. She would cut the round steamed cake into squares that she then fried with a little bit of oil in a skillet. Crispy on the outside, tender in the inside, I would always devour these in a matter of minutes.

IMG_2003.JPG

I really wanted to recreate this cake because it is savoury and rich in flavours, but not vegan. Usually, dried shrimps and Chinese sausages are part of the mix. I had already tried to make some, but it is a long process: you have to prepare the dough, steam it, cool it down, and then fry it up. Way too long for Tuesday night.

IMG_2001.JPG

So when I saw this video from Cooking with Dog, I was really excited and I wanted to try it out. However, they too use shrimps. So I changed it up a little bit.

Here is what I used:

  • 600g daikon radish (make sure you choose one that is white, as the green ones have a very pungent flavour)
  • 200 g rice flour
  • 200 g glutinous rice flour (mochiko)
  • 6 king oyster mushrooms
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms with the stems
  • 3 green onion stalks
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • sesame oil
  • water

Following Francis’ instructions, you grate (or put in your food processor) the daikon radish. Then, instead of working on the shrimps, I pulsed the mushrooms and green onions and stir-fried them with sesame oil. For the rest, I followed the instructions.

The result is a crispy daikon cake that is reminiscent of the original one. The shiitake mushroom stems really give a lot of texture and remind me of the shrimps. The inside of the cake is not as tender as the steamed version, but this is a lot quicker to make.

IMG_2002

As a sauce, I like to eat turnip cake with some tamari (or soy sauce) mixed with a little bit of sriracha hot sauce: very simple, yet effective!

IMG_1999.JPG

Overall, I have to say that I am happy with this recipe as it is quick, has a lot of flavour and is easy to bring with you as lunch. However, I have yet to find something quite as good as what my mom prepared for me as a kid.

Let me know if you have your own version of Lo Bak Go! 🙂

Orange Sauce Stir Fry

About two years ago, I posted a recipe for General Tao Tofu. However, there was nothing truly amazing about this recipe as the sauce, which is the heart of the recipe, was store bought. Since then, I have been on the look out for recipes to make my own Chinese restaurant inspired recipes.

IMG_0564.JPG

I served some stir fried vegetables and tofu in this sauce with some sweet potato hash browns. Yum!

Well, I came up with a great orange sauce to add to your stir fries that really has a great flavour and will kick over all the store bought versions. It’s really easy, you probably already have all the ingredients in your kitchen, and it is really impressively tasty.

IMG_0562.JPG

Here is what you need for the sauce:

  • 3 cups orange juice (you can use store bought, or pressed. I usually go with a carton of pulpy orange juice.)
  • 3 tsp corn starch
  • 2 tbs tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sriracha or to taste
  • 1 tbs maple syrup

Here is what you do:

  1. Once you have your basic stir fry going (mixed vegetables, tofu or tempeh) and almost cooked, lower the heat to medium.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all the sauce ingredients with a whisk until the corn starch is completely dissolved.
  3. Pour the liquid mix into your pan and stir. After a few minutes, the sauce should start to thicken up. Mix to make sure all the vegetables are well coated in the sauce.
  4. Serve hot, garnish with sesame seeds and green onion, and enjoy!

IMG_0566.JPG

This is the most amazing sauce I have prepared so far. It is thick and packed with orange flavour. It goes well with whatever stir fry you want to prepare: I made a “traditional” stir fry with greens and tofu, a chickpea sauté and just a vegetable dish. They were all delicious and quite popular too!

IMG_0560.JPG

Let me know what you think, and how it goes if you try it out!