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Brown Rice Dumplings with Chinese Vegetables


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


Ingredients

Vegetables

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

Finishing Sauce

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

Dumpling Filling

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

Dumplings

250 grams brown rice flour

15 grams tapioca flour

145 to160 milliliters very hot water


Garnishes

1 to 2 scallions, sliced thinly

Sprinkle of your favorite chili flakes


Directions

Vegetables

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.

Finishing Sauce

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.


Dumpling Filling

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 darken the pan, deglaze with the Shaoxing wine, scraping up the caramelized sugars from the pan.

Add the shiitakes, garlic-cilantro mix, ginger, and bok choy. Cover and cook on low until the mix softens and becomes fragrant. Stir in the chives or scallions, cover, and cook for another minute.

Uncover. Season with the Sichuan pepper, black vinegar and chili flakes. Stir in 1 tablespoons of the tapioca flour. Cook a minute or two more, stirring until the filling thickens and dries out. Add more tapioca if it is still watery. Remove from flame and season with miso or soy sauce to taste.

Toss in a food processor and pulse 2 or 3 times to create a uniform mince.

Dumplings

Add the flour to a food processor and pour in 145 milliliters of the hot water. Run for 2 minutes or until the mix gathers into a ball. It takes time to hydrate the flour so be patient. The heat is essential to tenderize and hydrate the flour. The dough should be supple but not wet. Adjust flour or hot water as needed.


Remove, knead for just a minute. If the dough’s texture is right, you should not need to add flour as you knead the dough but add bit of flour if it sticks. The kneaded dough should become smooth and as soft as an ear lobe. Keep the dough in a bowl you have rinsed with hot water and cover it tightly to keep the dough warm and to prevent drying.


Break off a ping-pong ball size of dough, cover the rest, and roll into a ball. Lightly dust the board and press the dough into a disk. Then using a dowel roll it into a 3 1/2 inch circle, thinning the perimeter more than the center. Use a glass or cutter to cut a 3-inch wrapper. Return the scraps to your bowl.

Lay the disk in your palm, floured side facing down. Dip your finger in water and wet the perimeter. Use a small spoon to mound the filling in the center, pressing it lightly, and leaving a border at the edges.


Lacking the elasticity of gluten, brown rice dumplings cannot be folded decoratively without tearing. However, you can shape pretty dumplings by bending up the sides like a taco, then pressing the edges together to form a half moon. Seal them well. Gently press them on the board to flatten their bottoms so they stay erect while steaming. If you like, bend the sealed edge in and out to make a wavy pattern, as in the photo.

Repeat until all your dough, including the scraps, are rolled, filled, and folded. If the dough cools and dries before your dumplings are finished, add a spoonful of hot water and knead it in to restore its flexibility.


Steam in flat-bottomed steaming baskets for 5 minutes. If using a metal steamer, line with perforated parchment paper or banana leaves to prevent sticking.



Plate the warm vegetables and steamed dumplings while hot, and drizzle with lots of warm finishing sauce. Garnish with scallion slivers and chili flakes if you like.

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Cathy Katin-Grazzini

Plant-Based Chef, Nutritional Coach, Culinary Instructor

86 Regan Rd, Ridgefield, CT 06877  USA

tel. 203.438.4952

ckgrazzini@gmail.com

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