Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dumpling Soup

When we first discovered the vast selection of frozen dumplings and pot-stickers at our local Asian grocery, Victor and I felt just a teensy bit ripped off. Here we were paying upwards of $4 for a single order of the dumplings in a restaurant, when we could buy an entire bag for less than that. Of course, we'd have to cook them ourselves.

Fortunately, that's no great hardship, and over the years, they have been a staple for those nights when neither of us can muster the energy to cook something from scratch. Plus they're fast, so they don't need to heat the kitchen up too much (perfect for those Minnesota summers).

(Now that we live in Seattle, we mostly buy them at Uwajimaya, but in MN we were big fans of United Noodle.)

Usually, we briefly steam and then pan fry the dumplings (I use the microwave for steaming - just 1 minute at 100%! - but Victor prefers to steam them in the pan with a little water prior to frying). If we start a small batch of rice in the rice maker before getting the dumplings going, we can have dinner on the table in just the time it takes for the rice to cook (about 15 minutes). If we're feeling particularly impatient, we just make more dumplings and forgo the rice. To health things up a bit, we sometimes add spinach or baby bok choi.

Even though it's late June, it's still somewhat cool here in Seattle, and I was craving soup today, so I went for a slightly more complex preparation:

Easy Peasy Dumpling Soup
serves 1
  • 2 C. stock (I used frozen chicken stock)
  • 8 dumplings or potstickers (these are my favorite kind)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 shallot
  • fish sauce
  • dumpling sauce (soy sauce would be fine, too, you'd just need to balance the flavors a bit more)
  • cilantro, stems separated from leaves
  • sugar (palm sugar would be most appropriate, if you happen to have some... I didn't have any today)
  • salt
  • pepper (fresh-ground)
Slice the garlic and shallot thinly. Combine the stock, garlic, shallot, and cilantro stems in a medium pot. Add a small amount of fish sauce and dumpling sauce. Simmer for five minutes. Add dumplings and simmer another two minutes. Add sugar (~ 1 tsp), salt, and pepper to taste. Add cilantro leaves. Slurp!

Some spinach or other leafy green would be good here, too. This recipe is easily expanded to feed more people - just taste towards the end to be sure it's neither too salty nor too sweet.

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