Isn’t VeganMoFo the best? Normally probably wouldn’t have posted about this dish but it’s the Vegan Month of Food and I challenged myself to post something before the Chopped! competition deadline and well, here we are.
The challenge, which was posted on the MoFo HQ on Friday, was to create an original dish incorporating four ingredients: plums, radishes, jalapeños, and oolong tea. I spent the weekend away from home and didn’t have time to experiment, but I found radishes and plums at the market today so I still wanted to give this a try. I had to hurry and pretty much went with the first thing that came into my head: dumpling soup. I filled the dumplings with spiced lentils and a plum and jalapeño chutney and served them in an oolong broth (not actually made with oolong; see below) with sliced radishes and radish greens.
A few things: 1. I didn’t have oolong tea. The Internet tells me its taste is somewhere inbetween black and green tea so I used a mixture of both, which probably tastes nothing like oolong but it’s what I had; 2. The rules state that ideally all components should be home-made, but I had some pre-made gyoza wrappers in the freezer that really wanted me to finally use them in something so I did; 3. Those gyoza wrappers had been in the freezer for a while and the edges had dried out. As a result, some dumplings ripped and the filling seeped into the broth so it wasn’t clear (I tried to add some extra tea for the photo but of course that only made the broth taste watery); 4. This really should be served immediately after the radishes and spring onions have gone into the broth, but I wanted to take a picture so my vegetables went limp.
So, yeah, this was far from perfect. BUT! The actual soup tasted pretty good, considering, and I never would’ve come up with this combination on my own. All in all, I’m happy with the result.
Here are more details on the preparation:
For the chutney, I cooked a cup of diced plums and a diced jalapeño pepper with a few tablespoons of sugar, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of salt until the plums fell apart and the whole thing thickened a bit. I only used about half of the chutney but I’m sure I’ll be able to find a use for the leftovers.
For the lentil filling, I cooked 1/4 cup of lentils with a little over 1/2 cup water and 1/8 teaspoon salt, 2 cloves, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon coriander, and a few pinches of black pepper. When the water had evaporated and the lentils were soft, I added 2 tablespoons or so of cashews and puréed the mixture into a smooth paste.
To make the dumplings, I placed a spoonful of each of the two fillings on a gyoza wrapper and folded them using this technique. I cooked them by first pan-frying the bottoms in a little sunflower oil over medium heat and then adding about half a litre of tea along with some salt to fully cook them.
Meanwhile, I thinly sliced a few radishes and a spring onion. I added the leaves of the radishes in with the dumplings to wilt for a minute or so before adding the other vegetables.