Vegetarian Kimchi Dumplings

Kimchi dumplings. While I’d like to take credit for it, is not a new creation. A quick google search confirms this fact, but the recipes I find online seem to all be based around meat.

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Just in case you don’t know my situation with meat – no, I’m not vegetarian. Well…sometimes I am… but sometimes I’m not. Confused yet? Don’t worry. It’s about to get clearer soon. :)

I dislike labels but if you wanted to put one on the way I eat, I would be a ‘flexitarian‘. That is, I eat mostly plant-based foods and occasionally a little meat when I feel like it. I believe it’s more sustainable to eat this way and so I do. And no, contrary to the insinuations, ‘plant-based’ does not equal ‘rabbit food’. So yes, I do also eat bread, noodles and a whole heap of delicious goodies on a regular basis. (What is life without noodles and bread? Haha….But seriously though.)

Back to the real issue at hand – the kimchi dumplings!

I didn’t particularly feel like meat on this day so instead of just searching up a tried and true vegetarian kimchi dumpling recipe (what’s the fun in that). I decided to pull a YOLO (as I so often do. In fact, I think I have a kitchen YOLO problem. Some, *ahem* my boyfriend, has recommended I seek help).

What he calls ‘YOLO moments’ (promise, I will stop saying YOLO soon), I call intuitive cooking or recipe creation. The difference is that I am making educated decisions regarding flavour combinations, quantities and cooking methods. Rather than just, you know, throwing the first 7 random ingredients I see in a bowl and wishing for the best… but you know: Tuh-may-toh, tuh-mah-toh. 

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Anyhow, I went on my merry way, sautéing egg and silken tofu (firm tofu will also work) with some sesame oil and a little soy sauce, stirring until they resembled a fragrant and firm mince. This was mixed with chopped up kimchi, chives and white pepper, then tasted to make sure it was yummy (this is how the finished dumplings would taste).

The mixture is wrapped it into ten plump, little dumplings then they are placed, five at a time, into a slightly oiled pan and quickly browned on one side. Then a little water is splashed into the pan, a lid is placed over it, and the dumplings are steamed for a minute or less, to completion. Easy peasy.

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Vegetarian Kimchi Dumplings

Makes 10 dumplings

Ingredients

1/2 packet (150g) silken tofu*

2 eggs

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp soy sauce

3/4 cup kimchi, chopped finely

2 tbsp chive, chopped finely

Pinch of white pepper

10 store-bought gyoza wrappers


1/2-1 tsp sesame oil, for panfrying

2-4 tbsp water


Note: You may also use firm tofu for a firmer texture. For a vegan dumpling, replace the eggs with the other 1/2 packet of tofu (150g). You may find vegan kimchi  in your local health food shop (regular kimchi contains fish sauce). Alternatively, you can also make your own vegan kimchi!

Steps

1. Heat up your sesame oil in a pan over medium heat. Meanwhile, whisk your eggs lighty with a fork. Add in the soy sauce, then crumble your tofu into the egg mixture. When your oil is heated, add your egg and tofu mixture into the pan. Stir constantly, scrambling the eggs while it cooks until it resembles a mince. Continue cooking, letting the excess moisture evaporate from your “mince” until the mixture dries significantly.

2. In a bowl, combine your kimchi, chive and white pepper. Add your tofu mixture to the bowl and stir to combine. Taste, adding additional soy sauce and pepper, if required. To wrap, make sure the mixture is at room temperature and spoon roughly a tablespoon amount of it into a gyoza wrapper. Pinch to edges to seal (I used Maangchi‘s method).

3. Add 1/2 tsp of sesame oil into a clean pan. Once heated, add in your dumplings (one side facing down). Do not overcrowd your pan. Let the side facing the pan brown nicely, then add 2 tbsp of water to the pan. It will begin to evaporate immediately. Once half the water is evaporated, cover with a lid and let steam until the remaining water is also evaporated. Repeat with remaining dumplings, transferring cooked dumplings onto a plate. Serve immediately.

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