Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Vegetable steamed Dumplings (Mantis/Baozi/momo/bao)

The first time I tried these lovely dumplings were when my lovely Sis-in-law who is originally from Kazakhstan made them for us when Anjalie was born. We fell in love with these right away. I have been making these regularly ever since for the past 3 years. We all enjoy them and it has become a family favourite for dinner and lunch. Recently, I found out that like many old recipes this one too transcends countries and languages. The very same dumplings or slight variation of it is called by various names in many parts of the world such as Mantis in Russian/Turkish/Persian/Pukhtoon, Baozi in Chinese, Momo in Nepalese or Bao in Vietnamese. I am sure I am missing out a lot of other cuisines and their names for this dish and will be thankful for anyone who could let me know. Regardless of the name this recipe is very simple and involves making a filled bun made from leavened dough. The filling could be savoury or sweet and vegetarian or meat.   According to legend they were invented by the scholar and military strategist Zhuge Liang during the 3rd century AD. For more info on the legend see here. Legend or not, these dumplings are absolutely scrumptious with soft and fluffy outsides with moist filling that bursts out with full flavour into our mouth. I find that it is a great way to get children to eat veggies as well. Anjalie loves these dumplings especially the savoury ones (she is usually not big on sweets anyway). The recipe below is for vegetarian dumplings. But you can include your favourite minced meat to this recipe as well. I even got a chance to make sweet dumplings with apple and spices filling, yumm! I do not have one of those Chinese bamboo steamers. So I used my pressure cooker instead. A rice cooker can also be used for this or even a stock pot with a steamer that can fit over it. Additionally these dumplings can be frozen for later use before steam-cooking them. To make around 12 dumplings...

Savoury Dumpling

You will need:
For the wrap:
2 cups white bread flour/ all purpose/plain flour
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp active dried yeast
1/2 tbsp butter (melted)
approx 200 ml warm water (adjust according to need)

Dessert- Apple Dumplings

For savoury filling (enough to stuff 10 dumplings):
1 pak choi - chopped fine
1/2 onion or 2 shallots - chopped fine
2 green/salad onion- chopped fine
1 red sweet pepper - chopped fine
1 carrot - jullienned
4 med. mushrooms - chopped fine
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste (or 1 inch ginger + 3 cloves of garlic chopped fine)
2 fresh chillies chopped (only for adults)
salt and black pepper to taste
2 tsp oil

For sweet filling (enough to stuff 2 dumplings):
1/2 apple (any kind) -chopped fine
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
1/4 tsp dried ginger powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Mix all the dry ingredients for the wrap in a mixing bowl.  Add melted butter and mix well. Add water (little bit at a time) and mix into a dough. Knead for 2-3 mins (try not to over knead). Cover and leave to raise for 1 hr. You can make the filling in the mean time.

Chop the veggies for savoury filling. If using meat, season the meat with salt and black pepper and lightly brown them in a skillet. Heat oil in a wok/skillet to med-high. Add onions, green onions, ginger, garlic and fry till the onion is transparent. Add the veggies (& meat). Add salt to taste, cover and cook until the veggies & meat are all cooked (but not mashed). You can sprinkle a little water in between to help with the cooking. But do not add too much water. The filling should not be too soggy. After removing Anjalie's portion, I usually add the chillies and cook for another 30 secs for the adults. Leave the filling to cool thoroughly.

After the 1 hr (or when the dough is doubled), punch down the dough and turn it onto a lightly covered surface. Roll the dough into a log and cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll them into balls. Cover and let them raise for 20 mins. Roll out 10 of the balls into circle of approx 4-5 inch diameter.

Add 1.5 tbsp (this is generous) of the filling.

Seal the edges by bring them together in the centre.

Line the steam-pan with cabbage (I find this works best!) or with greased parchment paper and place the dumplings with 1-2 cms space between them and steam cook for 20 mins.

You may have to do this in batches...

Just before you are ready to steam the dessert dumplings, mix the ingredients for the sweet fillings and place into the remaining 2 rolled out circles and seal the edges with a fork. Place immediately into the steamer and steam cook for 20 mins. Do not prepare the filling too early or the apples will ooze out water and make the dumpling soggy.

Serve the savoury dumplings warm with low-sodium soy sauce and chilli sauce and the sweet dumplings with condensed milk/cream. Enjoy with the whole family!

Sending this to Walk through Memory lane event hosted by Sowmya and Gayathri.

WTML 2013

1 comment:

  1. so versatile and great stuffed snack... both the sweet and the savory version look great!! Thanks for sending this yummy recipe to my event.. Looking for more yummy recipes...

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    Event - WTML w giveaway


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