This is a great dish for everyone to make together. Ideally, make the filling ahead, so it has time to cool off. Each family member can customize their own dumplings by including his or her favorite ingredients. Just make sure you keep track of your dumplings, because once you close them up it can be hard to tell which is which!
This recipe comes to us from the Swick-Troekel Family.
- Cut the drained tofu into small cubes and toss with Asian five-spice. Put oil into a wok or pan (enough to fully coat with a thick layer) and heat. Then fry the tofu, stirring often so it doesn’t stick. It may crumble some, but it doesn’t matter! Once it has browned slightly, remove it.
- Add a little more oil and heat again. Fry the garlic and ginger until the garlic is browned. Then add the vegetables, starting with the crunchiest (which take longer to cook). As it starts to look tender, add the next vegetable. Toss and sample often to know when it is tender enough to eat easily.
- Turn off the heat and add the tofu back to the filling and mix.
- Everyone gets a stack of dumpling wrappers and a spoon. Also put out a plate, a dish of water and a bowl of filling. Dumpling building time! Spoon a small amount into the center. Use your finger to place water where you will fold the dumpling, like glue. Try any shape you can imagine! (Parents tend to make a lot of simple triangles, which are most stable and hold the most filling, while the kids make purses, hats, jungle animals, etc).
- You may steam, fry or boil the dumplings. To fry them, you must have 1-2 inches of oil in your pan at a very high heat. This is messy, but the preferred taste for many (crispy, if done right). Boiling tends to make them very soft and doughy, and can result in many exploded dumplings. Steaming gives a firm and chewy dumpling. Spray cooking oil on a steamer is very important, otherwise they stick and rip! Place a vegetable steamer in a large pot (big enough for the steamer, deep enough to be taller than the steamer and dumplings, and with a lid.) Place dumplings on the steamer and boil water below the level of the dumplings. Leave a lid on the pot. Pour a little water over the dumplings once or twice during the next 5 minutes. The dumpling skins should contract and look shiny when they’re finished.
- Remove carefully and eat with dipping sauce or soy sauce. See if you can figure out whose dumpling you are eating!