These little parcels are packed with tofu and vegetables, then drenched in an ultra-savory sauce made from a mixture of chile oil, black vinegar, and soy sauce. (One of my favorite brands is Master Brand, or you can make your own.) Wontons are a type of dumpling, typically using a square wrapper. The size is usually smaller than traditional jiaozi and the filling is often meat (like pork) or seafood (like shrimp). With meaty tofu and umami-dense dried mushrooms, these wontons just happen to be vegan, with no shortage of flavor. On Lunar New Year, it's believed that eating dumplings will bring good fortune. But to me, it’s a perfect family activity any time of year, when everyone can sit together, wrap dumplings, and share laughter and joy.
- Prep time 30 minutes
- Cook time 30 minutes
- Serves 2
neutral oil, plus more for the water
dried shiitake mushrooms, softened in hot water and roughly chopped
roughly chopped carrots
roughly chopped cabbage
Salt and white pepper
mushroom or umami seasoning
square wonton wrappers, thawed to room temperature
- Sauce and garnishes
vegetable broth, heated
chile oil with sediment
pinch white pepper
Chopped scallions or cilantro
splash toasted sesame oil
Toasted sesame seeds
- To make the filling, heat a large nonstick skillet and add the oil. Sauté the mushrooms and carrots for 1 minute.
- Add the cabbage and cook for 1 minute or so until just tender. (You can increase the cooking time if you prefer softer cabbage.) Season with some salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer the vegetable mixture to a food processor and add the tofu. Pulse into smaller bits.
- Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in salt, pepper, mushrooms seasoning (if using), and sesame oil to taste. Let it cool completely.
- To assemble the wonton, place a wrapper on your palm or a flat surface. Add a teaspoon of filling in the middle. Bring the edge closest to you to meet the opposite edge, forming a rectangle. Use your fingers to seal, pushing out the air bubbles as much as possible. Now turn around the rectangle upside down, so the sealed edge is facing you, and bring both pointy corners to cross over in the middle, yielding a hat.
- Repeat the above step with the remaining wonton wrappers and filling, until you run out of one or the other.
- To cook the wontons, bring a pot of water to boil. Add a drizzle of neutral oil.
- Carefully drop in the wontons and cook until they float, 1 to 2 minutes. Let the wontons stay afloat for a few more seconds.
- While the wontons are cooking, combine the broth, soy sauce, vinegar, chile oil, and pepper in a large bowl. Adjust to taste.
- Once the wontons are ready, use a strainer to transfer them to the bowl with sauce. Garnish with chopped scallions or cilantro, a swirl of sesame oil, and toasted sesame seeds.