Wicked Holiday Solutions | Smoked Tofu and Spinach Dumpling Recipe
December 15, 2019
If you’re making rounds to all the holiday parties this season, you’ve probably grown a little tired of the uninspired veggie trays and chips and dip as vegan options. But as we show in our latest online cooking class The Wicked Party Class, there are so many amazing ways to wow your guests with little, unexpected and totally delicious plant-based appetizers.
This vegan dumplings recipe is hands-down my favorite party food. As mentioned in the Wicked healthy Cookbook: “years back, I was fortunate to work with my good friend Chef David Bailey—a badass kitchen ninja, and head chef at my SAF Restaurant in London. David makes incredible pan-Asian food, and he wowed me with a version of these spinach and date dumplings. It’s an unusual combination that totally works. I like it even better with a little smoked tofu for protein and earthiness. A drizzle of black vinaigrette gives the dumplings a sharp, malty taste that balances the sweet, savory, and spicy notes in the filling. Place them individually on Chinese spoons, and load a bunch up onto your tray for your party guests to snack on throughout the night. This one is totally worth the effort- your guests will be blown away!”
- 4 C fresh spinach leaves
- ½ C water chestnuts
- 1 block (6 to 8 oz.) smoked or baked tofu (see Pro Tips), cubed
- ¼ C minced pitted dates
- 2 T sherry vinegar
- 1 T toasted sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 T minced fresh ginger
- 1 t minced red chile (leave out the seeds for less heat)
- ½ t sea salt
- 1 to 1½ packages (12 oz. each) round eggless dumpling skins, about 3½-inch diameter (see Pro Tips)
- 1 T cornstarch
- Spray oil for cooking
- Cabbage leaves or bamboo leaves, optional
- ½ C Black Vinaigrette
- To make the filling, set a steam basket over simmering water in a pan. Put the spinach in the steamer, cover, and steam just until the spinach wilts, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a colander and press water from the spinach. Finely chop then transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
- Pulse the water chestnuts in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add the cubed tofu and pulse a few more times until everything is finely chopped, but not pureed to a mush. Add to the mixing bowl with the spinach, along with dates, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, chile, and salt. Mix thoroughly, making sure that the dates are evenly distributed.
- To assemble the dumplings, set the bowl of filling, a small cup of water, your dumpling skins, and a baking sheet on a work surface. Scatter some cornstarch over a large baking sheet (to help keep the dumplings from sticking to the pan).
- For each dumpling, mound about a tablespoon of filling in the center of the dumpling skin. Dip your finger in the water and moisten the entire edge of the dumpling. Pick up the dumpling and gently fold it like a taco in your palm. Starting at one corner, crimp the edge of the dumpling skin that is facing you, pressing against the back side that is flat. Continue crimping around the edge of the dumpling to enclose and seal in the filling. You should have enough filling for 25 to 35 dumplings.
- To sauté the dumplings: Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Spray a layer of oil in the pan bottom, then add enough dumplings to fill the pan without overcrowding. Sear the dumplings until golden on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Add a splash of water to the pan, cover, and steam the dumplings until they release from the pan bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat to sauté all the dumplings.
- To steam the dumplings instead of frying them: Line a steamer basket with cabbage leaves or bamboo leaves (or spray the basket with oil) to prevent sticking. Put the dumplings in the steamer in batches, place over simmering water, cover, and steam until the dumplings are tender, about 3 minutes.
- Serve the dumplings with a drizzle of black vinaigrette.
- Look for smoked or baked tofu near the raw tofu in your market. Or use our Lemongrass Tofu from the Banh Mi recipe.
- I like to use 12-ounce packages of Twin Dragon eggless round gyoza (dumpling) wrappers. These skins are about 3½ inches in diameter. Other brands will work but may contain egg.