My entry for this month is steamed purple cabbage, eggplant and shiitake mushroom dumplings.
Makes 30 dumplings
- 15 large purple cabbage leaves [could also be white cabbage], whole and with no tears
- 400g fresh shiitake mushrooms, cut in half
- 1 large eggplant [ends cut off] cubed
- 1 small carrot, peeled and cut into very small cubes
- 4 tablespoons light soy sauce [plus extra for dipping sauce]
- 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 handful chopped fresh parsley
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Heat a large pot filled almost 3/4 with water and the pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Add cabbage leaves and submerge them well. Let soften for 5 minutes (if they are very crisp, it could take a minute longer), until they are flexible but still bright colored. Remove from heat, drain and shock the leaves with cold water from the tap. Allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet at medium-high heat with olive and sesame oils, and sauteé the mushrooms, and eggplant for a couple of minutes, until the eggplant begins to brown. Add soy sauce and sugar, and stir well. Bring to a boil and lower heat, letting the mix simmer for 10 minutes or so, stirring every now and then, until the sauce thickens and the veggies are cooked through and very tender. Turn off heat and strain, reserving the sauce as well.
- Process the mushrooms and eggplant with a blender or food processor, until there are no big chunks (don’t make it totally smooth, so there is smooth more texture). Add the cubed carrots and parsley, and mix well by hand. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.
- Prepare the leaves by cutting off the hard base and center stem, so you have two wrappers that can bend easily per leaf, and cut excess so each wrapper is more or less square. Place one teaspon of filling in the center of each wrapper, making sure to use it all up. Fold each dumpling like a burrito: bring the side edges in about a centimeter, and then roll like a cigar from top to bottom, making the dumpling as tight and closed up as possible. Repeat until all are folded.
- Prepare a steamer with parchment paper, and stab the paper in a few places so the steam can come through. Place dumplings on the steamer, making sure they don’t stick together, but they can be fairly packed. You will need to make two batches.
- Bring a pot of 3 inches of water to a boil (size needs to fit your steamer), and place the covered steamer with the dumplings on top. Steam for 8-10 minutes, and remove from heat. Work the second batch.
- Allow 2 minutes of cooling before serving, so they firm up, and serve with the reserved cooking sauce with a splash of added soy sauce.