Saturday, October 26, 2013

Vegan dumplings

I love dumplings, but I'm not a big meat eater. Recently I've been reading a travel blog about an American couple cycling slowly around the world, who are currently in China. They are yoga fanatics and vegan when possible, and I like their relaxed attitude to travel particularly when it comes to making compromises. Like when food ends up on your plate not quite what you thought you ordered. Having travelled with some very demanding, and at times rude, vegetarians, it's refreshing to see people who treat other people's food choices with respect. Their blog is My Five Acres and this vegan recipe is inspired by them.

For my dumpling wrappers I used wholemeal spelt flour, simply because that's what I have at the moment, but any flour will do. Note spelt isn't gluten free, but I'm not gluten intolerant, if you are, sorry to hear it. I usually find that a cup of flour makes enough dumplings for 1-2 people, you just add  enough cold water to make a crumbly dough, knead a few times then wrap in plastic (or cover with a damp cloth, lets be kind to the environment whilst we're about it) and let it do its magic for 30-40 minutes. meanwhile, make your filling.

I had some Taiwanese couch surfers stay with me a year or so ago, and they always carry a dumpling maker with them. To my surprise I already owned one too and hadn't realised it. You can get them in kitchen shops and Asian stores for next to nothing and they're not a bad travel accessory if you plan to do your own cooking a lot.

A usual dumpling filling involves a meat mixture, but for this vegan recipe, I'm using broad beans. I soaked the beans overnight then boiled them. Broad beans have a great earthy taste and texture.

To the beans I added garlic, 

lots of chives from my garden

and of course, chillis!

After chopping them up in the whiz I added olive oil and some curry powder and finished pureeing them with a bamix attachment.

This ended up very green indeed, with quite a bite!

I use my pasta machine to get a consistent thickness for the wrappers. I usually stop at the second last setting as I find the thinnest setting too hard to work with. Alternatively, just use a rolling pin. Then use the opened back of the dumpling maker to cut your rounds.

I had a little trouble using the dumpling maker with my wrappers in this recipe, I think because the flour was still quite doughy and sticky, but usually I place the round in the maker, fill with a teaspoon of filling, moisten the edge with a little water then fold the two sides together. This makes a perfect looking dumpling, like these ones

This time I just did free hand, placing a teaspoon of filling in the centre of each round then folding into the middle.

Then they are placed in paper lined steaming baskets and steamed. Bamboo steamers are also really easy to find in shops and asian stores.

Once cooked, transfer to plate, sprinkle with soy sauce and enjoy!

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