Whether or not Chinese New Year marks a major event in your life, it’s easy to love many of the foods associated with it.
Dumplings are a traditional choice for the holiday, which this year begins Feb. 10. And while there are seemingly endless variations on the simple theme of stuffing rounds of dough with something savory and delicious, the basic steamed dumpling is among my favorites. Not the least because it is incredibly weeknight friendly.
For the dumplings:
12 ounces seasoned baked tofu, cut into cubes
6 scallions, ends trimmed
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, leaves and stems
1/2 cup finely grated carrots
1 whole egg or 2 egg whites, beaten
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon hot sauce
12-ounce package 3-inch square wonton wrappers
For the sweet-and-sour sauce:
1/2 cup rice vinegar (can use cider vinegar instead)
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons apricot jam
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
In a food processor, combine the tofu, scallions, garlic, cilantro, carrots, egg, hoisin, soy sauce, sesame oil and hot sauce. Pulse until the tofu is finely chopped, but not ground, about ten 1-second pulses.
One at a time, place 1 teaspoon of the mixture in the center of each wonton wrapper. Dunk your fingers in water, then use them to wet the edges of the wrapper. Gather the edges of the wrapper over the filling, pinching them together to form a small bundle. Repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers.
In a large saute pan, bring about 1 inch of water to a boil. Set a bamboo or other steamer basket over the water, then lightly coat it with cooking spray.
Working in batches if necessary, arrange the dumplings in the steamer (they should not touch), then cover and steam for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the sweet-and-sour sauce. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinegar, brown sugar, jam, ketchup, soy sauce and hot sauce. Bring to a simmer. In a small glass, mix the cornstarch and water, then add to the saucepan. Simmer for another 2 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
Serve the dumplings with sweet-and-sour sauce on the side for dipping.
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