As an educator, I am constantly looking for recipes that are easy to execute, fun and delicious!
Behold an intersection of all those traits: handmade dumplings. Very recently, I taught this same recipe to a classroom full of third graders. I am happy to report that children are proficient dumpling makers, and they are more than happy to contribute their nimble hands to the task of making art with food.
Many hands may come in handy since a single pack of wonton wrappers yields around 40 dumplings, and this cooking project can take some time. Therefore, I recommend enlisting your child or another friend to make all 40, because as we all know, many hands make light work. As a bonus, the ingredients are vegan, healthy and inexpensive, truly making them greater than the sum of their parts. This recipe is a perfect way to introduce tofu and Asian flavors to your child, or your meat-a-tarian friends.
Easy Vegan Tofu Dumplings
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
Yields: 40 dumplings
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes
For the dumplings:
1 block extra firm tofu
1 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 Tablespoons soy Sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 large zucchini, finely diced
4 leaves Napa cabbage, white stem removed and chopped
1 bunch of scallions, roots removed, cleaned and minced
1 package Hong Kong-style dumpling wrappers (round)
Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
For the dipping sauce:
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
3 Tablespoons rice vinegar or distilled white vinegar
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1. Take the tofu out of the package and dry it with paper towels, press slightly to remove as much water as possible, then crumble the tofu into a large bowl.
2. Dice zucchini, ginger, garlic, and scallions and add to the large bowl.
3. Cut the white center of the cabbage out, discard then dice the green part of the cabbage into small squares.
4. Add sugar, soy, and sesame oil then add black pepper to taste.
5. Prepare a small bowl with cool water for moistening the dumpling wrapped at the seam.
6. One at a time, place a tablespoon of filling in the center (you do not want to overfill!) then dip your finger in the water, and wet the edges all the way around. Now fold together into a taco, connect the top seam first, press together firmly and continue pressing until all have been sealed.
7. If using a steamer basket, be sure to coat the bamboo steamer with oil or a few leaves of cabbage so that the dumplings don't stick. Also make sure the dumplings do not touch each other, or they will stick during cooking.
8. If pan frying, put 2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil in a wide flat skillet, turn the heat on medium-low and fry until golden brown, flip and cover with a lid, and steam-fry until brown on the other side.
9. While the dumplings are cooking, add soy, sugar, and sesame oil to a small bowl, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add a nicely sliced scallion for garnish, if you wish.
10. Serve dumplings immediately with the dipping sauce.
Another method of cooking the dumplings is in an air fryer. Brush or spray the dumplings lightly with oil and cook them in an air fryer for five minutes at 350 and then flip and repeat for another five minutes until crispy.
If you want to save some dumplings for later, put the raw shaped dumplings on a dry sheet tray or plate and put them directly in the freezer for 15 minutes, then flip, and freeze for another 15 minutes. From there, you should be able to put them in a gallon freezer bag and cook them later, but store them for no longer than a month.
This recipe would be a great family activity for the upcoming holiday vacations we have around the corner. We are also celebrating the new year family-style with our fun, hands-on Noon Year's Eve class on Saturday, December 31 at 11am at Lincoln Square. Kids and adults are welcome and will make:
- Pork Pot Stickers with Soy Dipping Sauce
- Beef and Broccoli Lo Mein
- Sweet and Sour Shrimp with Pineapple and Steamed Rice
- Ginger Pot de Crème