I received a bamboo steamer as a gift over the holidays from my in-house taste tester. It was partially a hint to make some of the awesome dumplings we had when we were in Sydney, Australia. I’ll some day try to re-create those dumplings, in the meantime, I adapted three recipes and created my own dim sum extravaganza.
If you get a brand new bamboo steamer, heat some water in a wok to boiling. Place the steamer over the water, and let it sit there empty for about 30 minutes. When you’re ready to use it for cooking, line the bottom with lettuce or cabbage leaves so all your hard work doesn’t end up just sticking to the bottom of the steamer. (Trust me, I experimented by not using them for the last batch and I really don’t want to go through that clean-up again.)
The stuffings are very easy and quick to make. Count on spending a little time in the assembly of the dumplings; although, they are a lot of fun to put together.
Three Recipes for Vegetarian Steamed Dumplings
Prior to starting these recipes, cut 14 oz block of tofu in half, press with paper towels for at least 20 minutes. Two of the recipes below require one half of the entire block.
1 package won-ton wrappers (40)
lettuce or cabbage leaves for bamboo steamer
Dumplings with Tofu and Vegetables
(inspired by Alton Brown)
7 oz firm tofu, diced
1/2 cup broccoli slaw (prepackaged shredded mix)
1/2 cup shredded carrots
2 T finely chopped scallions
1 T soy sauce
1 T hoisin sauce
1 egg lightly beaten
Finely chop shredded broccoli and carrots. Put ingredients in small bowl and mix to combine.
Shitake and Soy
6 shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced and chopped
1 T soy sauce
Combine in bowl.
Spicy Tofu with Chili Garlic
7 oz tofu, diced
1 T chili paste with garlic
1 scallion, finely chopped
Place ingredients in small bowl. Stir to combine.
Place lettuce or cabbage leaves in bottom of bamboo steamer. (Leaves prevent the dumplings from sticking to the bamboo…trust me.)
Place wonton wrapper on flat surface. Scoop a heaping teaspoon of filling in middle of wrapper. Wet finger with water and brush the edges so that they will stick together when folded. Fold into a triangle or into a bundle. Place dumpling in steamer. Cover dumplings with damp paper towel while working on assembling the rest.
Once you’ve filled the steamer trays, fill the bottom of wok with water (not enough to touch bottom of steamer) and bring to a boil. Place covered bamboo steamer in wok. (Be sure to remove the damp paper towels from inside of steamer used during preparation!) Allow to steam for 10-15 minutes.
While they are cooking, assemble more of the dumplings until you run out of filling (or run out of energy). Put finished dumplings in a preheated 200 degree oven until all are finished cooking. Otherwise, serve dumplings straight from the steamer.