Sunday, December 19, 2010


Asian Dumplings--Allergen-Free!
(NO soy, corn, dairy, or gluten; vegan and delicious!)

Bitter, Sweet, Sour, and Salty- the four taste senses. And then there's Umami...some say it's a taste sense all by itself. But we say it's what happens when when there's a flavor explosion in your mouth, setting off all the taste senses at once. Umami gets you first when the savory scent hits your nostrils immediately setting off the digestion process-salivation.

We always get a hankering for our daddy chef's Oriental Shumai. It's one of our favorite comfort foods. Little Girl and I can no longer have anything with gluten anymore, and not only that, but our favorite umami has to be dispensed with as well because we have found that we're not reacting well to soy sauce. Even soy sauce that is wheat-free. So our favorite comfort food is no longer. Bummer. But wait....


In order to make the girls happy, the Chef gets to work. Using the basic dough recipe for Asian Dumplings in Crystal DuBoyce's Easy Gourmet for Gluten Free Vegans cookbook, he starts off first with the wrappers. Taking care of that part, he sets to work next making a simple vegetable filling of Nappa cabbage, carrots, green onions, onions, cilantro, and garlic, all chopped very fine. He sautes this in a little sesame oil and adds a dash of salt until it's soft and wilted. Drain off the excess liquid before stuffing the wrappers. That's what happens next.


Once the dumplings are made, a little bit of pure sesame oil is added to a clean pan and heated over medium-high. The dumplings are browned off on each side. About a quarter cup of water is added to the dumplings and then quickly covered to steam them. After a moment, the dumplings are placed in a serving dish.

Here is where things are different for us. Usually Brian hits the pan with the dumplings in them with lemon juice, soy sauce, and some kind of spice like hot sauce, chili oil, or whatever spice we have on hand. That's pretty much it. Well, as I mentioned earlier, no more soy sauce for us. Let's pick it up from the last step, and then let me explain how he made this super-delicious soy-less umami sauce for the dumplings: Mince garlic and ginger and place in a clean saute pan with a touch of sesame oil. Soften them up a bit over medium heat, and then add a little water. Pour in some tamarind sauce. Or if your tamarind sauce is thick, then just go ahead and mix the water with the tamarind. (You can find Tamarind sauce or paste in Asian markets, and some large grocers also will carry this type of item.) Throw in a splash of lemon juice, and some agave nectar to sweeten it up and balance the taste--think umami! Finish it off by adding in some chopped cilantro and green onion. Pour over your dumplings and serve. Don't forget the chopsticks. Enjoy!

Fresh sauteed mung bean sprouts go so well with dumplings. Just brown off a ton of garlic in sesame oil. Add finely shredded vegetable (if you so desire) such as carrots or Nappa cabbage or green onions or whatever and saute. Add in the mung bean sprouts and continue to saute until all veggies are soft. Add sea salt and serve.


Don't be afraid to get creative in the kitchen! Plant foods are the basis for good, healthy vegan meals providing a vast assortment for the palate. We never need be bored with our food! Have fun and experiment.

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