Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Steamed dumplings (with edamame or shrimp)

Thank you, Mark Bittman! These dumplings are easy and amazing. The original recipe calls for shrimp (which is delicious), but I also made some with edamame, which were equally amazing. I chopped ingredients by hand, but a food processor would make things a long easier (and get you a smoother texture, especially for edamame).

1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, or about 1 1/2 cups of shelled edamame
1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup roughly chopped scallions
a package of dumpling skins
Juice of 1 lime

1. Combine the soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil and ginger in a bowl. Put half the shrimp (or edamame), half the cilantro and all the scallions in a food processor and pulse; add just enough of the soy mixture to create a smooth paste, about 1 to 2 tablespoons. Transfer to a bowl. Roughly chop the remaining shrimp/edamame and cilantro, add them to the bowl and stir to combine.

2. Place a dumpling skin on a work surface, moisten the edges with water, and put 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center. Gather the edges of the wrapper up around the filling, squeezing gently, to pleat the sides; some of the filling should remain exposed. Repeat with the remaining dumpling skins and filling, keeping the dumpling wrappers and dumplings covered with damp towels while you work.

3. Rig a steamer in a large pot over an inch of water; bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Meanwhile, add the lime juice to the remaining soy mixture to make a dipping sauce.

4. Put as many dumplings in the steamer as you can fit in a single layer and cover the pot. Cook until the wrappers are tender, 4 to 6 minutes, then transfer the dumplings to a serving platter. Repeat with the remaining dumplings. Serve with the dipping sauce.

Butternut Squash Soup With Star Anise (with or without Ginger Shrimp)

The anise gives this soup an unusual and delicious flavor. The shrimp are amazing, but the soup would also be great without them, for those of us who don't eat things that once had legs :)

24 large shrimp (about 1 lb), peeled, deveined
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
2/3 cup chopped shallot
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
3 whole star anise
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 3/4 lb butternut squash
6 cups vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Slice the squash in half, and scoop out seeds. Roast in a 450 degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until it's soft and a fork slides in easily.

If including shrimp: toss shrimp with ginger in a bowl and marinate, chilled, 30 minutes (do not marinate any longer or enzymes from ginger will begin to cook shrimp).

Make soup while shrimp marinate:
Cook shallot, garlic, and anise in butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until shallot is softened, about 5 minutes. Scoop out the inside of the roasted squash and add to soup, along with the broth. Simmer about 15 minutes. Remove star anise.

Purée soup in 2 batches in a blender until very smooth, about 1 minute per batch, then transfer to cleaned pan and keep warm, covered.

Sprinkle marinated shrimp with salt. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté shrimp in 2 batches, stirring, until just cooked through, about 3 minutes per batch, transferring to paper towels.

Bring soup to a simmer and season with salt and pepper. Divide among 8 shallow soup bowls and mound 3 shrimp in each bowl.