Smoked Tofu and Spinach Dumplings

Spinach, tofu, and dates seems like a crazy combination but it totally works. The black vinaigrette dip perfectly balances the sweetness of the dates. The smoked tofu in the filling also gives the dumplings a nice chew and a big bump of protein. Killer party food!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups/120 g fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup/130 g water chestnuts
  • 1 block (8 oz/227 g) smoked or baked tofu
  • 1/2 a jalapeno pepper (leave out the seeds for less heat)
  • 1/4 cup/37 g pitted dates
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp grated or minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • About 35 round Dumpling Skins or store-bought
  • Vegetable oil
  • Thinly sliced green onion, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup/120 ml Black Vinaigrette

 

If you’re using store-bought dumpling skins, you’ll need 1 to 1½ packages (12 oz/340 g each) round eggless dumpling skins that are about 3½ inches/9 cm in diameter. We like Twin Dragon gyoza wrappers because they’re eggless.

To steam the dumplings instead of frying them: Line a steamer basket with cabbage leaves or bamboo leaves (or spray the basket with oil) to prevent sticking. Put the dumplings in the steamer in batches, place over simmering water, cover, and steam until the dumplings are tender, about 3 minutes.

This recipe was adapted from the Wicked Healthy Cookbook, available here!

Instructions

  1. To make the filling, set a steam basket over simmering water in a pan. Put the spinach in the steamer, cover, and steam just until the spinach wilts, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a colander and press water from the spinach. Finely chop then transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Pulse the water chestnuts in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Cube the tofu and add to the processor with the jalapeno. Pulse a few more times until everything is finely chopped but not pureed to a mush. Add to the mixing bowl with the spinach. Mince the dates and garlic and add to the bowl along with the vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, and salt. Mix thoroughly, making sure that the dates are evenly distributed. Scatter 1 tablespoon cornstarch over the top and mix again until the filling holds together. It might help to use your hands for this part.
  3. To assemble the dumplings, set the bowl of filling, a small cup of water, your dumpling skins, and a baking sheet on a work surface. Scatter another tablespoon cornstarch over the baking sheet to help keep the dumplings from sticking.
  4. For each dumpling, mound about a tablespoon of filling in the center of the dumpling skin. Dip your finger in the water and moisten the entire edge of the dumpling. Pick up the dumpling and gently fold it like a taco in your palm. Pinch the edges together right at the top. Now push each open end of the taco toward the middle, pinching them together at the top. From the top down, it should look like an X. Straighten out the X with your fingers, making sure all edges are sealed. Continue making X-shaped dumplings with the remaining skins and filling. You should have enough filling for 25 to 35 dumplings.
  5. To sauté the dumplings: Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Swirl in enough oil to coat the pan bottom, then add enough dumplings to fill the pan without overcrowding. Sear the dumplings until golden on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. They should get nice and crisp. Add a splash of water to the pan, cover, and steam the dumplings until they release from the pan bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. You can tell when the dumpling skins are fully cooked: the filling will be visible through the skins. Transfer to a platter then repeat to sauté all the dumplings.
  6. Serve those bad boys with a garnish of green onions and the black vinaigrette for dipping.
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