Well worth the time to make and serve, especially as a surprise appetizer during Lunar New Year. Dumplings are a symbol of bags of money or bars of gold for the New Year.
3 tablespoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese Black Vinegar
1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
1 pinch White Pepper
Chinese Hot Pepper Sauce to your taste (optional)
4 Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
1 ounce Dried Rice Noodle (Mai Fun)
1/2 pound Asian Essentials Napa Cabbage Leaves
1/2 pound Baby Bok Choy
2 ounces firm tofu, well blotted and crumbled
3 tablespoons Sesame Oil
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 inch Organic Ginger, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon Monosodium Glutamate (optional)
1 package Won Ton Wrappers
For the Dipping Sauce
In small serving bowl, combine all ingredients.
Set aside to serve with dumplings.
In small bowl, combine mushrooms with boiling water to cover. Let sit 30 minutes to soften. Drain; remove tough stems and finely dice caps. Blot excess moisture. Set aside.
In small bowl, combine noodles with boiling water to cover. Let sit 10 minutes to soften. Drain; finely dice. blot excess moisture. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add the Napa cabbage; blanch until just wilted. Using a slotted spoon, remove cabbage to strainer set over a large bowl. Press down on cabbage to squeeze out all liquid.
Set two blotted leaves on a serving plate; set aside. This will keep the cooked won tons from sticking to the plate. Transfer the remaining leaves to cutting board; roughly dice.
Using the same pot of boiling water, repeat the process with the Bok Choy. Drain, press out water, pat dry, and chop all of the Bok Choy. Reduce the heat to a low simmer, or cover and keep warm to cook the Won Tons.
Place all chopped vegetables in a large bowl. Finely dice or crumble the well-blotted bean curd; add to vegetable mixture. Add the sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, and monosodium glutamate (optional) to the vegetable mixture. Stir in chopped mushrooms and noodles until completely incorporated.
Wrap and fill the Dumplings
*Using a spoon or chopsticks, place one heaping tablespoon of dumpling filling in the center of the dumpling wrapper. Using your fingertip dab the outer edge of the dumpling wrapper with water. Seal the sides of the dumpling into a rectangle shape. Be sure the dumpling is completely sealed. If there is too much filling or filling is wet, the dumpling cannot be sealed. Remove the extra filling to prevent leakage during cooking.
Line up the finished dumplings on a foil-lined cookie sheet to prevent them from sticking. You can freeze dumplings this way for up to one month.
Cooking the Dumplings
To cook the dumplings, bring Bok Choy and Napa Cabbage water back to a gentle boil. Without crowding the pot, carefully lower prepared won tons into the saved pot of boiling water and boil for approximately three to five minutes. Crowding the pot will cause the won tons to stick to each other. Won tons are done when the dumpling skins are translucent and the dumplings have been floating for about three minutes.
Remove from pot carefully with a slotted spoon and transfer to the serving plate lined with the blanched Napa leaves. Serve hot with the dipping sauce.
*The key to successfully filled won tons is a dry work surface. water or excessive moisture will prevent the won tons from sealing or will make them split.
*Work with one dumpling at a time until you are comfortable filling and folding without allowing the filling to soak the wrapper.
*Do not overfill wrappers. Less is more. Overfilling will cause the won ton to either split or fall apart during cooking.