Happy New Year!!! :: 2008 Viva the Veg-ness

Chinese vegan New Years

Happy New Year everyone! 2008 in the hizzy!! Are you excited for it or what? I apologize for the corny title…but yeah…whateva, you like it. So these past couple of days has been pretty food-filled. Mainly Asian foods due to my family’s ethnicity. And typically, a lot of Asian cultures are pretty traditional in regards to the types of foods to be eaten for New Years. Traditional in so much as many different types of dishes symbolize or are thought to bring about things such as good luck, prosperity and the like.

Soooo…what I’m gonna give ya’ll over the next couple of days are some very simple traditional New Years Asian vegan recipes!! Woooooo! Yeah didn’t think they had that did ya. Well I didn’t at least. Not until recently!

Okay, so pictured above are some mouth-watering vegan dumplings, paired with a very delicious vegan sauce to dip them in, and lastly, some very satisfying sweet potato porridge. Chinese tradition has it that dumplings are symbolic of good luck and prosperity, mainly having to do with money. Play on playa.

Anyway, my boyfriend’s dad is a bomb ass chef, and he is the one who is responsible for all that goodness up there. And even though I’ve been lucky enough to eat a lot of his dishes that he specially prepares, and also for the fact that he is able to tell me how he made these delicious vegan recipes, unfortunately I do not have all the exact measurements. Zut alors! But I have faith in you.

First thangs first:

Vegan Chinese dumplings

green onions, finely chopped
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
4 tbsp. medium chopped bamboo shoots or water chestnuts
shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped Napa cabbage
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. dry sherry
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
1 tbsp. sesame oil
pinch of sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. salt
whatever other veggies that you see fit
dumpling skins [a.k.a Jiao Zi Pi in Chinese, you can get these at most Asian markets]
a bit of water

Sprinkle salt on chopped cabbage and let sit in a colander for about 30 min. Squeeze dry (either by hand or in a potato ricer) and place into bowl. Add all of the remaining ingredients and mix well. Also add a splash of chili paste, to taste if you like it hot.

To actually construct:
1. Place dumpling skin in the palm of your hand. Dip a finger in cold water and wet the edges of the dumpling skin.
2. Spoon a lump of filling (approx. 1 tbsp.) into the middle of the skin.
3. Fold dumpling in half. Pinch top of semi-circle together.
4. Push in on both sides of dumpling, so that the dumpling should look like the letter “I” from the top.
5. Bend one half of each “top” of the “I” and press against middle edge of dumpling. Seal all edges of dumpling.
6. Your dumpling should look like a half-moon with a big bulge in the middle!

After they’re all done and looking pretty [or not, as in my case], get a big wok if you can, or any big and deep pan should suffice. Add some canola oil [or olive oil, your choice] to the pan and put the heat on about medium. After the oil is warmed up, place as many dumplings as you want into the pan. After it’s been simmering for several minutes, take a rice bowl full of water and dump it into the pan. Cover the pan/wok, and let them cook for about 10 minutes, or until most of the water is gone. After that, they are ready to be consumed!

Dipping Sauce for Vegan Dumplings

1 chopped up garlic clove
soy sauce
sesame oil

This part is so simple and easy, I love that! So basically take a bowl that’s big enough for dipping your dumplings…usually a rice bowl should be sufficient. Fill it with your desired amount of soy sauce. Toss in the chopped up garlic clove and mix it around a bit. Then add a little dollop of sesame oil, a little dash of vinegar, and then you’re good to go!

The last recipe is tha BOMB. It goes so well with the tastiness of the dumplings. It totally balances the whole meal. And best of all: E-Z E!!

Sweet Potato Porridge

1 cup of rice (white or brown, whichever you prefer)
10 cups of water
1 washed, peeled and chopped up sweet potato

First you put the rice and the 10 cups of water into a pot and put it on high heat. Then after it starts boiling, let it boil on high for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes is up, throw in the peeled and chopped up sweet potato and mix it around. Put the heat on medium and cook it for another 20 minutes. You gotta keep an eye on it though, just to make sure that it doesn’t overflow or nuttin’. Then it’s ready to serve!!!

So there you have it folks. Some wonderfully tasty and delightfully EASY New Year’s vegan recipes to start your year off right!! Who loves ya??!