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Recipes: Pot-stickers, Yam, Tofu and Pea Curry, Miso Soup

Vegetarian Pot-stickers Hot, vegetarian dumplings tastily filled with tofu and colourful vegetables.

Vegetarian Pot-stickers

Hot, vegetarian dumplings tastily filled with tofu and colourful vegetables.

Preparation time: 35-40 minutes

Cooking time: About 6 minute per batch of pot-stickers

Makes: About 40 to 46 pot-stickers

1 large garlic clove, minced

2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/3 cup grated carrot

1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

1 Tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp hot Asian-style chili sauce

1 (350 gram) tub firm tofu, drained well

2 tsp cornstarch

40 to 46 round, Chinese-style dumpling wrappers (see Note)

- vegetable oil

- small bowl cold water

- rice vinegar, soy sauce and hot Asian-style sauce to taste

Place the first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl. Set a fine sieve over a second bowl. Crumble the tofu into very small pieces into sieve. Let any excess water drip out of the tofu a few minutes. Add the tofu to the ingredients in the medium bowl and mix to combine. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or plastic wrap.

Set a dumpling wrapper on a work surface. Use the tip of your finger to lightly moisten the edges of the wrapper with cold water. Place a heaping teaspoon of the filling in the centre of the wrapper. Fold the dumpling into a half-moon shape and tightly press the edges together to seal. If desired, crimp edges to make a decorative look. Set on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. When setting on the baking sheet, ensure pot-stickers do not touch or they’ll stick together.

Place 1 Tbsp of oil in a large, heavy, non-stick or cast-iron skillet set over medium-high heat. When hot, set in some pot-stickers. Cook, depending on size of pan, 12 to 18 at a time. Cook pot-stickers until golden brown on the bottom; do not turn. Pour in 3 to 4 Tbsp of water, being mindful of splatters from pan. Cover and cook 4 minutes, gently swirling the pan from time to time. Remove lid, continue cooking until the liquid has almost completely evaporated, and then the pot-stickers are ready. (Keep cooked pot-stickers warm in a 200 F oven until all are cooked, or enjoy them now while the second batch cooks.) Serve pot-stickers with rice vinegar, soy sauce and hot chili sauce and let diners flavour them, as desired, with these items.

Note: Round, Chinese-style dumpling wrappers are sold in the produce section of some supermarkets. You’ll also find them in food stores in Chinatown.

Uncooked, these pot-stickers freeze well. After forming and setting on the baking sheet, freeze solid, and then transfer to a freezer bag. Cook from frozen. If thawed they’ll become too soft and difficult to cook. When cooking frozen pot-stickers, use medium heat and cook for a minute or two more; the cooler temperature and longer cooking time will allow them to properly thaw and cook through without overly darkening.

Miso Soup with Salmon, Green Onion and Tofu

Serve this Japanese-style soup for a palate-pleasing light lunch or dinner.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: About 5 minutes

Makes: 4 servings

1 garlic clove, minced

2 to 3 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger

3 3/4 cups vegetable or chicken stock

2 Tbsp soy sauce

3 Tbsp white (shiro) (see Note)

3/4 to 1 lb. salmon fillet, skin removed, flesh cut into 1/2 to 1-inch cubes

1 (300 gram) pkg. soft tofu, cubed

2 to 3 green onions, thinly sliced

Combine the stock, garlic, ginger and soy sauce in a medium pot. Bring to a simmer. Stir in the miso until dissolved. Add the salmon, return to a simmer, and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, until the salmon is just cooked through.

Divide the tofu and green onions among 4 heated bowls. Ladle in the miso soup and enjoy.

Note: Miso is sold in tubs in the refrigerated section of some supermarkets. You'll also find it at Japanese food stores, such as Sakura and Fujiya in Victoria.

Yam, Tofu and Pea Curry

Easy to make, coconut milk-based, vegetarian stew tastily flavoured with curry paste, lime, ginger and garlic.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: About 12 minutes

Makes: 4 servings

2 tsp vegetable oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger

2 Tbsp Indian-style mild or medium curry paste (see Note)

1 (14 oz./ 400 mL can) coconut milk

3/4 cup vegetable stock mixed with 1 Tbsp. corn starch

2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

1 medium to large yam (about 1lb/454 grams), peeled and cut 1-inch cubes

1 (350 gram) tub firm tofu, drained well and cut into 1-inch cubes

- salt to taste

1 cup frozen peas

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, mint or sliced green onion

Heat the oil in medium pot set over medium, to medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger and curry paste and cook 1 minute. Pour in the coconut milk and stock/cornstarch mixture. Bring to a simmer. Stir in the lime juice, yam and tofu, return to a simmer, and simmer until yams are just tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Mix in the salt, peas and cilantro, mint or green onion, heat through a minute or so, and serve.

Note: The curry paste I used in this recipe was Patak’s brand. It is sold at most supermarkets in the Asian foods aisle.