The backstory: for my birthday, Caitlin gave me a gift card to Chefs.com. I wasn't sure what to use it on for a while, until my Food Network magazine had a dumpling recipe that showed a woman using a bamboo steamer. I thought the basket-like structure was pretty cute, and suddenly the fact that I was currently unable to steam rice, vegetables and dumplings was unbearable. I ordered it right away.
I was lazy and used store-bought wonton wrappers, which did save me a lot of time. Kenzie helped me fill the dumplings since the ones I folded looked more like those little papers we used to fold in elementary school where we'd ask, "pick a number" (do you have any idea what I'm talking about?). Hers looked more like an actual dumpling. Then it was time to steam! We poured a couple inches of water in a big frying pan and got it to a simmer. Then I put some of the dumplings into the basket, put the cover on top, and put the whole contraption over the water. Let the steaming begin! It only took 12 minutes for them to be perfectly steamed. The veggies were cooked but still give a nice little crunch, and the wonton wrappers were translucent and soft. My steamer has two stackable baskets, but I ended up only using one at a time to make sure the dumplings would all cook the same way.
I served the vegetarian steamed with soy sauce, and they were absolutely delicious. Even the people you would never expect to eat a tofu-stuffed dumpling were devouring them. In fact, I made about 40 dumplings, and they all went! We all really loved them. They are so flavorful and healthy and simply amazing. As for anyone nervous about the tofu, you can hardly tell it's even there. It has no taste and the texture just blends into the rest of the vegetables. These little guys will definitely make a reappearance in my bamboo steamer ASAP :)
vegetarian steamed dumplings
2) Cut the tofu in half horizontally and lay between layers of paper towels. Place on a plate, top with another plate, and place a weight on top (a 14-ounce can of vegetables works well). Let stand 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, cut the tofu into 1/4-inch cubes and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the carrots, cabbage, red pepper, scallions, ginger, cilantro, soy sauce, hoisin, sesame oil, egg, salt, and pepper. Lightly stir to combine.
3) To form the dumplings, remove 1 wonton wrapper from the package, covering the others with a damp cloth. Brush the edges of the wrapper lightly with water. Place 1/2 rounded teaspoon of the tofu mixture in the center of the wrapper. Shape as desired. Set on a sheet pan and cover with a damp cloth. Repeat procedure until all of the filling is gone.
4) Using a steaming apparatus of your choice, bring 1/4 to 1/2-inch of water to a simmer over medium heat. Spray the steamer's surface lightly with the non-stick vegetable spray to prevent sticking. Place as many dumplings as will fit into a steamer, without touching each other. Cover and steam for 10 to 12 minutes over medium heat. Remove the dumplings from the steamer to a heatproof platter and place in oven to keep warm. Repeat until all dumplings are cooked.