My amazing friend Katie Chin is…well, she’s amazing. I met her when I was a cookbook editor, and was lucky enough to become the editor of her first cookbook, Everyday Chinese Cooking, which she co-authored with her mom, the kind yet formidable Leeann Chin. Leeann’s story is amazing, a true story of perseverance and determination and grit and bravery.
Katie went on from this first book to author several others on Asian cuisine, and became a well known author and chef in the Asian cooking world. Leeann died several years ago, having achieved so much herself, and also having proudly watched her daughter achieve such deserved recognition. Both Chins are/were expert in the kind of Chinese cooking that makes us feel cared for and just plain hungry.
Which brings us to dumplings. Dumplings are one of the happiest foods on the planet. Steamed, fried, potstickers, vegetarian, porky, shrimpy, I have not met a dumpling I don’t like, and neither has anyone in my family. Neither has anyone, I’m going to go out on a limb and say.
So when I was browsing through one of Katie’s cookbooks, Katie Chin’s Everyday Chinese Cookbook: 101 Delicious Recipes from My Mother’s Kitchen, that was where I landed. Making dumplings is not hard – it takes time, for sure, until you get good at it, but it’s more a matter of patience and then muscle memory than it is big time skill. Now when it comes to making beautiful dumplings, the kinds with intricate pleats and fold, that’s a whole other level of dumpling craft, and I am 100% not there. Maybe someday. But luckily for us, as long as you seal those babies up, they will taste terrific.
So this is my slight adaptation of Katie and Leeann’s vegetarian dumpling recipe. I went for a simple triangle shape here, using a square dumpling wrapper.
Filling and Sealing Dumplings
Be careful not to over stuff the dumplings, so you can seal them. The egg white will hold the wrapers shut as it dries. You can press down along the edges, or sort of stand up the dumpling and pinch all around until it is sealed.
Shiitake Mushroom and Spinach Dumplings: Perfect vegetarian dumplings with a super simple dipping sauce.Tweet This
These are potstickers, which means that first they are browned in a pan.
Then water is added and the pan is covered. This allows the dumplings to finish cooking, and the steam also causes the dumplings to unstick from the pot and be easy to take out with a spatula (hence the name potstickers…that get unstuck).
And while I am a sucker for a good dumpling, I’m really a sucker for dumplings plus dipping sauce. Three ingredients and you are done. All of one extra minute. Don’t skip it.
In Katie’s book, she not only shares recipes, she shares the inspiring story of her mother’s life and the stories of her own Chinese-American upbringing, and how she has translated all of Leeann’s cooking acumen into her life. Katie is grateful to Leeann; we now are grateful to Katie.
More Asian-Inspired Recipes:
Shiitake Mushroom and Spinach Dumplings
For the Shiitake Mushroom and Spinach Dumplings
- 8 ounces firm tofu
- 2 egg whites divided
- 2 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion scallion, white and green parts
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon dark sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon all-purpose cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro (fresh coriander)
- ½ cup stemmed and finely chopped fresh shiitake mushrooms
- ¼ cup finely chopped spinach
- 30 store-bought square potsticker wrappers
- 3 tablespoons oil divided, for frying
- Water for cooking
For the Dipping Sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon chopped scallion (green and white parts)
- Drain the tofu and pat dry, then dice finely.
- In a large bowl, combine one of the egg whites, the ginger, garlic, green onion, soy sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch, cilantro leaves, mushrooms and spinach until blended. Add the tofu and toss gently into mixture.
- Make the dipping sauce: Combine the soy sauce and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Sprinkle scallion on top and set aside.
- Beat the remaining egg white with 2 teaspoons water. Lay one potsticker wrapper on a clean work surface, and place 2 teaspoons of the filling in the center of the circle. Brush egg white mixture along the edge of the wrapper, then fold over to form a triangle and seal the dumpling shut. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
- Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and reduce the heat to medium. Add 10 dumplings and pan-fry for 1 minute. Add 4 tablespoons water, then cover and cook for 1 minute more.
- Remove the cover and continue to cook until the water is gone, about 2 minutes. Place the dumpling on a plate lined with paper towels briefly when you take them out of the pan to blot any extra oil. Repeat the process until all of the dumplings are cooked. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce alongside.
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