Momo mo...how do you like it, how do you like it? Momo mo, how do you like to file?
Dumplings (and Disorder)
Okay so there's no disco tune about dumplings, or about dumplings and filing methods. But I've been on a dumpling binge lately. And it ran up against my organizational woes. This is going to be a post about dumplings. But it took a while to pull this all together because of filing disaster. Just stick with me a minute...
Writing up the latest Celebrate Seafood dinner (see Celebrating Seafood and Screening the End of the Line), I was reminded of the prior dinner which included Momos, demonstrated by Chef Andy Husbands. The Dungeness Crab Momos at that dinner were fantastic.
So, a couple weeks back, I began this post about Momos, Tibetan dumpling, those delicate little parcels Chef Husbands is a pro at making. Try his regularly featured Momos at Tremont 647. Husbands is also a World class BBQ champ, anti-hunger advocate and sustainable food champion, so if you're not a fan of dumplings (who are you?) there's plenty of good reasons to visit. You can also come see Chef Husbands at our Teach a Chef to Fish panel at the Boston Seafood Show.
The night I searched high and low for the recipe packet from the Chef Husband's Celebrate Seafood dinner, I wanted to post a recipe to entice readers to attend the next event. But I couldn't find the recipe packet from the dinner. I knew I'd saved it, somewhere. The little packet of recipes was nowhere to be found. I gave up after about an hour, exhausted, frustrated and mad at myself for tossing something useful. Frustrated with the state of my desk and work area, I threw myself into a fit of organizing, re-organizing and shredding and tossing.
The root cause of the constant, time-wasting searching I go through is being a horizontal organizer living in a vertically organized space. I’m convinced that we are hard-wired one way or the other and conversion is not possible. But convert, I must. This particular search ate up too much time, so I gave up after a while.
Amazing what some sleep will do.
Right in the prime spot, in between my screen and the keyboard are several file folders. I open one to consider finishing a post that’s been 75% done for 100% too long. Hm, wonder what’s in this folder just underneath it...? Doh. Assorted “to be dealt with next” items including, guess what, the New England Aquarium Celebrate Seafood Dinner recipe packet.
So, content that I'd located it at last, I finished the other post, knowing I could return to the Momo post when I was done. Plus, they say when you're fixated on a stumbling block, one tactic that can be successful is to do something else, distract yourself from the obsession and come back fresh.
Sitting down to finish a couple days later, do you think I could find that damn folder? Oh yes, I filed it. In my “hot” file. One organzational guru promised me nirvana if only I would adopt his method of designating a “hot” file for all the current, hot items. The problem is that it’s vertically filed, in the drawer. Out of sight, out of mind...and so it goes.
Dumplings, Dumplings and More Dumplings
Another day, another dumpling. I saw a Facebook post by Robin Asbell on Momos and it was all I needed to finish this post. Then life happened. (Ever had it rain inside your house? Twice?)
My next dumpling day was in preparation for the post on Nourish Network that has engaged a lot of readers, I've enjoyed the comments and the tweets and the emails about their own dumpling love, their family stories and their favorite recipes. If you haven't seen it yet, please read For the Love of Dumplings.
A couple of readers were interested in the vegetarian version of my Mom's Gy?za. This was the first time I'd made them without pork, so I paid attention in case they were successful, I wanted to be able to share the experiment. They were so good, I'm looking forward to making them again soon!
Napa cabbage is perfect this time of year.
Vegetarian Gy?za by the Leather District Gourmet
- 1 1/2 cups cabbage, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped black mushrooms (rehydrated dried black mushrooms)
- 1/4 cup shredded carrot
- 1/4 cup minced scallion or garlic chive
- 2 TBSP soy sauce
- 2 TBSP sesame oil
- 1 TBSP fresh ginger, minced
- 1 TBSP fresh garlic, minced
- 1/2 TBSP saké or Madeira
1. Soak black mushrooms (available in Asian grocery stores and some larger markets) in very hot water. Remove and discard stems, chop caps finely.
2. Chop napa cabbage finely, salt it and rub it together. Set cabbage aside to exude water while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
3. Chop scallion finely. Peel and mince finely garlic and ginger.
4. Mix saké, soy sauce, salt, sesame oil in a small bowl or measuring cup.
5. Rinse cabbage in fine colander, place on clean dry kitchen towel and roll up to squeeze out excess water.
6. Mix cabbage, carrots and mushrooms, pour in liquid ingredients and scallion, ginger, garlic.
7. Add a rounded teaspoon of mixture to middle of gyoza wrapper. Holding it in your left hand, dab cornstarch and water slurry lightly around one half the wrapper edge. Using your thumb of one hand and index finger and thumb of the other feed a pleat toward your thumb and pinch gently. Pleat about five or seven times to create a half moon. (The slurry will not be necessary if using fresh homemade wrappers.)
8. Fry in batches of 6-8 dumplings (fan out in a pinwheel in a non-stick pan). You will get a dark golden crispy bottom in 2-3 minutes using about 1 TBSP hot oil. Add 1/2 C hot water, quickly place lid on pan and steam for 8-10 minutes.
Packaged gy?za skins are quick and easy.
* * *
- Dipping sauce can be made from soy sauce, black vinegar, chili oil, scallions all to taste.
- Leftover filling (either vegetarian or meat) can be sautéed and served over rice. Thicken with the strained mushroom soaking liquid, or other broth, and cornstarch. You can add tofu or chopped vegetables.
- To easily peel ginger without losing too much of the fleshy part: invert a spoon and drag firmly across the papery skin. It will peel it much more closely than a vegetable peeler or paring knife.
- To make homemade wrappers see Andrea Nguyen’s Asian Dumplings for recipe, how to video and encouragement. It’s not hard to do, but it does take practice. Practice can be delicious, too.
- To read more about the Japanese obsession with Gy?za read the Oishinbo installment on the topic. Read Rich Auffrey's review here, at The Passionate Foodie.
Momos for you!
? To reward those of you who stuck with this convoluted story of dumplings, I have an offer. Drop a comment here with the name of your favorite dumpling, a link to a dumpling post, or the name of your favorite dumpling book and I'll randomly choose one of the comments to receive the recipe packet including Chef Husband's Momos! It also includes other recipes well worth a try. All feature sustainable seafood! I'll select a winner next weekend.