Who: The Family DALS
What: Dumpling Dinner
When: Wednesday Early Evening, Day 4 of a 6-Day, 90-Plus Degree Heat Wave
Where: Somewhere in Suburban New York
Why: Try them
6:30 I guess I should think about dinner.
6:31 Open fridge. Summer spinach, almost wilted, staring at me. Quick scan reveals heel of cabbage, bag of organic (yet still tasteless) shredded carrots.
6:32 Lightbulb! Dumplings!
6:40 Sauté all greens in aromatics (ginger, onions, garlic); drizzle with soy sauce and vinegar; remove to a bowl.
6:45 Damn it’s hot. Peel kids off TV room couch.
7:00 Hit the neighborhood pool. On the way, send bikini-and-flip-flop clad 12-year-old into store to buy wonton wrappers.
7:40 Home. Dumpling Assembly Line. Remind kids that allowance is something to be earned.
8:00 Dinner: Dumplings + a bowl of raw sugar snap peas.
8:30 Return to pool. (Why shower when you can swim?)
I’ve added chopped water chestnuts before (and also tofu) but I’m guessing that’s not the kind of thing you have lying around…and making use of what you have lying around is the name of the game here. Measurements are approximate — it’s definitely a feel-your-way kind of recipe. If you have leftover cooked shrimp or pork, just chop finely, and use in place of the vegetables below.
2 tablespoons neutral oil such as vegetable (or olive oil in a pinch)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 bunch scallions (light green and white parts only), minced OR 1/2 small onion, chopped
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic, minced
few dashes red pepper flakes
generous handful (about 2 cups) shredded greens (chard, summer spinach, kale, spinach, collards, escarole)
small handful shredded (about a half cup) carrots
small handful shredded (about a half cup) cabbage (Napa, red, savoy)
2 tablespoons soy sauce (or to taste, depending on how many greens you have)
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
20-25 wonton wrappers (I used Nasoya brand)
oil (if frying)
In a deep-sided skillet over medium heat, add oils, then scallions, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Sauté until softened, about 2 minutes. Add vegetables and cook another two minutes until wilted. Add soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Taste. Make sure it’s good. Remove to a bowl and snip with kitchen scissors. (So your kids don’t end up biting into a long stringy green and then declaring it their last bite. It happens.)
Fill a small bowl with water. Working one at a time, using your fingers, paint the rim of a wonton wrapper, then dollop about two teaspoons of your vegetables into the center. Fold over and pinch sides together so they resemble triangles, as shown above. Repeat with remaining dumplings, and don’t be afraid to enlist the kids, especially if those kids have been collecting allowance with not a whole lot to boast on the job description lately.
Once all your dumplings are assembled, steam over simmering water for 4-5 minutes, or fry a half dozen at at time for 1-2 minutes in vegetable oil over medium heat. If frying, remove to a paper-towel lined plate and cover with foil as you go.
Serve with a dipping sauce made of mostly soy sauce, a little rice wine vinegar, and a squeeze of lime juice.