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Today's Special | Pan-fried Vegetarian Dumplings

Although I'm not a vegetarian, it seems like at least half the people I know are, so I frequently find myself cooking vegetarian to accommodate guests. I adapted this filling from one that my mother uses to make chive buns. Green bean threads are very thin, translucent noodles -- you can find them in any Asian supermarket and in many larger supermarkets. Serve these dumplings with an assortment of condiments (soy sauce, rice vinegar, black vinegar, chili sauce, sesame oil, chopped scallions) and let your guests mix up their own dipping sauce.  


2 cups mung bean threads (also called cellophane noodles), softened in water and chopped roughly
5 oz. baked bean curd (available at Asian markets in the refrigerated section), diced
8 shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 cup Chinese chive, chopped
3 tsp. soy sauce
1-1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 package dumpling wrappers, or 40 home-made wrappers
1.5 hours or less, depending on how many people are helping

serves makes 40 dumplings (enough for 3-4 people)

1. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a skillet or wok; add garlic and cook for a minute or 2. Add remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Cook for 3 minutes. Adjust seasonings as needed.
2. Drop a small portion of filling into the center of a wrapper. Fold and pleat to encase. Continue until you've used up all the filling. (Check out the step-by-step illustrated guide to folding technique.)
3. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a skillet on medium heat. Arrange the dumplings in the pan and cook until the bottoms are nicely browned. (Note: you will have to do this in batches, since you don't want the dumplings to be touching each other in the pan).
4. Add 1/3 cup of water to the pan. Cover and cook on medium-low heat for five minutes.
5. Remove cover. If there's still liquid in the pan, continue cooking uncovered until the liquid evaporates.
6. Transfer to a plate and serve.


related recipes: pan-fried pork dumpling
boiled shrimp dumplings,
deep-fried scallion-cheese dumplings

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