Ever since going vegetarian, one of the things I've missed most are dumplings--steaming hot, perfectly formed soup dumplings; thick pan-fried pork dumplings; my mom's ginger-spicy, umami-packed ground turkey dumplings. In this version, all the flavors from my family's favorite potstickers are captured, but the meat is swapped out for a smooth-textured tofu and kale combination. We always served these with big piles of steaming rice with soy sauce on the side, but these are so flavorful, I don't usually need extra soy sauce. —Erika
kale, snugly packed
toasted sesame oil + more for cooking
dumpling or wonton wrappers, defrosted if necessary (at least 40 wrappers)
If time permits, press tofu before beginning for 30 minutes up to overnight. Otherwise, use a paper towel and wring as much water out of the tofu as you can by squeezing it without completely destroying it. Set aside to drain.
Rinse and dry kale, then chop roughly.
Add the onion, ginger and garlic to a food processor and blend until the mixture verges on forming a rough paste. Add the kale and pulse until incorporated with no large chunks remaining. Add the tofu and pulse until roughly incorporated. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until desired consistency, using a spatula to scrape down the sides and incorporate everything evenly.
Fill a small bowl with water. In each dumpling wrapper, place about ½ tablespoon of filling. Use your finger to dab water around half of the wrapper’s edge and fold over to form a half moon; pinch the edges to seal.
Once all the dumplings are prepared, heat a bit of sesame oil in a pan over medium heat. Once hot (but not smoking), add a single layer of dumplings (they should start to sizzle when they hit the pan) and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until a golden crust starts to develop on the bottom. Flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes, so a crust forms on the other side (the dumplings will still look mostly uncooked aside from the middle). Add a few tablespoons a few tablespoons of water, cover the pan loosely and let everything steam for a minute. When you remove the lid, the dumplings should look glossy and slightly translucent around the edges. If they're really sticking to the pan, add a little more water to help scoop them out and serve hot!
These can be assembled ahead of time, frozen on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and then stowed in freezer bags until ready to cook. Extra cooking time will be needed if cooking directly from the freezer.