Brown Rice Dumplings with Chinese Vegetables
I have been having so much fun with dumplings lately, I wanted to come up with a gluten-free steamed dumpling so that everyone can partake. The wrappers are made with brown rice flour and steam up tender and flavorful. For a pretty pairing, share the plate with vibrant Chinese broccoli and baby bok choy, blanched crisp and tender, and creamy Chinese eggplant. Finally top them off with a lively Sichuan-inspired sauce for a delicious supper. If time is tight, make the dumplings and sauce in advance.
Worthy Chinese ingredients to add to your pantry (and essential to Sichuan cooking) are doubanjiang (fermented chili broad bean paste), Sichuan peppercorns, aged Chinese black vinegar, a good quality Shaoxing wine (look for one without added salt), and a good quality aged soy sauce.
Prep time 1 hour for dumplings plus 30 minutes for filling and sauce
Cook time 30 minutes
Makes 24-26 three-inch dumplings
1 pound Chinese broccoli (gai lan), bottoms trimmed
¾ pound baby bok choy
3 dark firm Chinese eggplants
3 cups water acidulated with 3 tablespoons white vinegar
2 shallots, cut in half and sliced thinly
2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine
3 cloves garlic, minced
¾ inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
½ teaspoon crushed Sichuan peppercorns
1 tablespoon doubanjiang
2 teaspoons black vinegar
2 teaspoons date paste
½ cup water or vegetable broth
Slurry of 1 tablespoon corn starch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons red miso, dissolved in hot water or soy sauce, or to taste
1 large shallot, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1-2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine to deglaze pan
3 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced, tough stems removed
4 cloves garlic
½ cup packed cilantro
1-inch fresh ginger, peeled, grated
4 baby bok choy, diced
1/3 cup Chinese chives or 2 scallions, sliced
½ teaspoon freshly crushed Sichuan peppercorns
½ teaspoon Chinese black vinegar
¼ teaspoon chili flakes or to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
1-2 teaspoons red miso or soy sauce or to taste
250 grams brown rice flour
15 grams tapioca flour
145 to160 milliliters very hot water
1 to 2 scallions, sliced thinly
Sprinkle of your favorite chili flakes
Blanch the Chinese broccoli in rapidly boiling water for 4-6 minutes, testing frequently for doneness. Thicker stems will take longer. Do not overcook but they should be crispy-tender. Plunge in ice water to brighten their color and halt cooking.
Similarly, blanch the baby bok choy for 3 to 4 minutes, depending on their size, and taste to test doneness. Shock in an ice bath immediately.
Cut the Chinese eggplants in 3-inch lengths, then slice in half. Soak for a few minutes in the acidulated water to preserve its purple color when it cooks. Slice in batons and steam for 4-5 minutes, just until a chopstick penetrates easily.
To make date paste, steep 1/3 cup pitted dates in boiling water to soften, then blend the dates with 1/4 cup of the soaking water until smooth. Add more of the water if needed.
Heat a skillet for 3 minutes over a medium flame. Add the shallots, lower heat, cook until they become translucent and release their liquid. As they begin to darken the pan, deglaze with the Shaoxing wine, scraping up the caramelized sugars from the pan.
Stir in the garlic and ginger, and cook a minute. Add the crushed Sichuan peppers, the doubanjiang, black vinegar, and date paste and cook for two minutes. Add the water broth and stir well. When it reaches a simmer, stir in the corn starch slurry. Lower heat and thicken the sauce to a pourable consistency.
Remove from heat and stir in the miso or soy sauce to taste. Garnish with the scallion and chili flakes.
Using a mezzaluna or chef knife, mince the garlic and cilantro together.
Heat a skillet for 3 minutes over a medium flame. Add the shallots, lower heat, cook until they become translucent and release their liquid. As they begin to darke