Monday, January 08, 2007

Pot Stickers and Chop Sticks

What a difference a year makes! Last year shmoo wouldn't have touched a spring roll, pot sticker, or pad thai noodle. Now he eats them all with gusto.

I found Ling Ling Vegetable Pot Stickers in the health food freezer section at my local grocery store. They even come with a dipping sauce, which you see here packed in the tiny container alongside.

On the right is a dish of Stir-Fried Soybeans with Garlic and Chile, a recipe from this January's issue of Gourmet magazine (I simply left out the oyster sauce). Above that is some brown rice with a little soy sauce fish, and next to it is a colorful fruit salad made with pineapple, apple, banana, and some of the biggest green grapes I've ever seen.

Verdict: Shmoo ate every bite here with gusto, especially the luscious pot stickers. Certainly the biggest hit of this lunch box was the soy beans, loaded with garlic, ginger, and sesame oil. We all loved the flavor of these edamame, but were confused as well: when you pop the baby soybeans out of their pods and into your mouth, most of that wonderful flavor gets left behind, and the oil and soy sauce makes them messy to eat. Not that shmoo ever minds getting his fingers dirty, but next time I'd like to stir-fry shelled edamame instead for more flavor and less mess.

I even included a kid-sized set of green, sparkly chopsticks with this lunch. Shmoo was excited about showing off his new chopsticking skills. He's been getting pretty agile, although in the end he gave up on the slippery banana and used one stick to stab each piece of fruit and bring it to his mouth. Rudimentary but effective. 5 stars.

42 comments:

Melissa said...

Yum! Those potstickers look good! I love edamame, so I think I'll take your suggestion to use the shelled ones and try something similar.

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

mmmm....this looks good!

And I am loving your new picture!

xantha said...

some people (like me) eat the outer shell of the edamame (not sure if Shmoo would like that). Other people pre-shell the edamame, like you mention. ;)

looks great! you are inspiring me to start making bento! ;)

DDawnC said...

I'll have to look for those veggie potstickers- thanks for the tip. Yummy!

Fresh Ground Knits said...

those potstickers are addictive! Sounds like they hold up well in a lunch box too.

James said...

There are much better potstickers out there. The Ling Ling brand is definitely one of the worst in its class. Look in an Asian grocer's frozen food section. You have an array of vegan selections, some with tofu or mushrooms or kimchee or whatever. The Ling Ling brand is expensive and bland by comparison.

the veggie paparazzo said...

Lovely meal.

I have to say that part of the appeal for me with edamame is popping them out of the shells into my mouth. Eating unshelled edamame would be a lesser experience.

Kaya Casper said...

looks good, i will have to try the edemame recipe!

kastinkerbell said...

For edamame in the shell, I make a little crack in the seam and then stick the whole pod in my mouth and pop the beans out through the crack with my teeth. This way I get the flavoring (either salt or sometimes that ling ling sauce leftover from the potstickers) and still have the fun of popping them out. I've not found an out-of-shell edamame that I enjoy yet.

beXn said...

There's a brand of vegetarian mushroom oyster sauce from Wan Jia Shian, a Taiwanese company, that's totally delicious! I found it at May Wah in New York but any large Chinese market should stock it. PS I'm a huge fan of your blog!

Piegirl said...

You might also like to check out the vegetarian oyster flavored sauce by Lee Kum Kee made from the essence of shiitake mushrooms. It's my favorite brand.

Mahek said...

hi
jennifer
nice to see you lunch box in the new year
pls continue doing so as we really miss the daily dose of your lunch box as its an inspiration to me and i am sure to many others
so looking forward to a regular box
will you?

Timi said...

I was thinking the same thing (i.e. not getting any of the sauce once you pop the edamame out) when I saw the recipe in Gourmet. I think I'll try shelled too.

Ashwinis-creations said...

Hi Jennifer

What are these pot stickers? Are you supposed to preheat or shallow fry them or eat just like that?
We make a sweet version of similar shape - By enclosing a mix of wet diced coconut , jaggery/sugar and cardmom into a dough disks and folding and deep frying them....
a famous dessert called karanji here.

Also we stir fry tender pea pods in a similar manner, and eat it by puting the whole pod in mouth and then pulling it out, thus chewing only the nuts. You get to taste the outer salt and spices then........
Only thing I fear is about possible worms inside, which you can not forsee.......

Cheers
Ashwini

Teresa said...

Howdy!

I've been an avid reader for a long time now and I thought I'd share one of my easiest and tastiest, no-bake sweet treat recipies with you!

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

2 organic avocados
1/2 cup maple syrup (local and organic, please!)
1/2 cup cocoa (fair trade and organic, please!)

throw it all in a food processor, chill, and enjoy!

It's thick, luscious, and decadent.
That should make enough for 3 or 4 desserts if you wanted to split it into cute cups or something.

Keep it up, can't wait for my copy of the book! (payday is soon.)

-Teresa
Halifax, NS.

Jennifershmoo said...

>>What are these pot stickers?

Potstickers are a Northern Chinese style dumpling. The filling (these contained cabbage, veggies, and tofu) is sealed into a dumpling wrapper. They are first steamed, then fried on one side in a shallow frying pan.

Roxy said...

Hi Jen-
I really never thought of putting potstickers in the lunchbox! Great idea.
I have one question: What is a "soy sauce fish"?

Teresa: I love the sound of the chocolate mousse recipe! I will definitely be trying that one!

Jennifershmoo said...

>>What is a "soy sauce fish"?

It's a little plastic soy sauce container, shaped like a fish. You squeeze all the air out and suck up soy sauce to fill it. You can find them and other shapes at bento shops like bentotv.com.

carole said...

mmmmm.. .will you pack my lunch? Caught the wave here from cooking with anne's blog. We're ovo lacto in my house, but I'll be visiting often. Any suggestions on opening up the kiddos tastebuds??

The Reluctant Vegan said...

I thought there were egg whites in Ling Ling's potstickers. I'll have to look again next time I'm at the store.

Kalyn said...

Congratulations on the Food Blog Award!

Nicole said...

congratulations on the Food Blog Award!

angela said...

I love the pot stickers - I made sweet potato egg rolls - inspired by VLB & schmoo - delicious! Also had sushi out - ying & YAM - yum

Alice said...

Wow, I just came across your site from the Food blog awards and man oh man, I wish I had a mom like you growing up!! I am going through the archives and I'm really amazed at how creative you get and how enthusiastic Shmoo is about veggies. I know my parents were never able to get me to eat mine! I am seriously inspired to try veganism just because of how incredible everything you've made looks - though it's a bit hard on a college meal plan!
Anyway, I'm thoroughly enjoying your site - Congrats on the food blog win! :)

d. chedwick bryant said...

This was an extremely helpful post. Thank You!

Catherine said...

Congrats on the food blog award!

Dr Bamboo Charcoal said...

good choice.... continue to work more about the benefit of vegalism........

Kathy Wathy said...

actually, about the pot-stickers, i've heard the way to cook them is to panfry them on one side first (i'm assuming they aren't frozen solid at that point of time), then pour in a little water and cover, letting them steam, and then removing the lid and letting the water boil away so that you get a tender and cooked inside, and a crusty (maybe a little bit sticky) panfried bottom :)

Fairly Odd Tofu Mom said...

We do potstickers the way kathy suggested above. I was just going to mention that method but she beat me to it...

I've been doing potstickers and lumpia (like eggrolls) in my Sprouts' lunches for years. (Ironically the only "vegetable" food I could get them to eat for lunch, way back when...). We use extra take-out packets of soysauce since they have to take all disposable items now that they're in high-school(I know, what a waste, and so much more challenging!!)

Anyway, I sure am enjoying your blog, and even more-so since a friend surprised me with your cookbook for Christmas. (Thanks Anthony!)

I was just raving about your "cheese" sauce over at Veggieboards.com and sent a bunch of people this way.

Happy New Year!!

vegipunk said...

I need to enlist you to do my dumplings! I made some the other day and they fell to pieces...and where do you find vegan wrappers?

vegipunk said...

okay, read blog, then comment: they're pre-made! Oops :)
Still looks so yummy!

funwithyourfood said...

This looks like my kind of lunch. You found vegan potstickers? Thanks for letting us know!!

Teddy

Harmonia said...

I'm so glad to be back bloggin'
http://harmonia.bloggoing.com

I miss the VLB!

:)

I just had Vegan Potstickers for dinner tonight! Health Is Wealth Brand!

Made a Hearty Sprouted Lentil Soup and it's on my blog incase you have time to swing by

rachel said...

Dang! That lunch looks so good I want it :)

Mara said...

Potstickers/gyoza are also super, super easy to make. The dough is just bread & water if I remember correctly - then you can fill it with anything you wish!

Rebecita said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
chickadee said...

I've been reading your blog for a while and I am totally in love with it. I've never posted until now, and just wanted to let you know that there is a great recipe for Edamame Dumplings that can be found in the April 2006 issue of Cooking Light magazine. We're ovo-lacto so eggs in wonton wrappers are okay for us. I don't know if vegan wonton wrappers are easy to find? Anyhow, just thought I'd pass along a source for some good homemade dumplings!

mel c said...

Since there seems to be such an interest in potstickers, I thought I'd share me recipe. They're super easy to make and you can stuff them with just about anything you like!

I've done a lot of searching for vegan potsticker and wonton skins, and while most products contain egg whites, "gyoza" style skins tend to be vegan, and there is one brand of potsticker skins that I have found at the local Asian market to be vegan as well. Gyoza wrappers tend to be a little thinner than Chinese-style potstickers, but they work just fine! Packages vary in quantity, so I always struggle to get the appropriate amount of filling, but leftovers can always be stir fried with some vegetables for a quick meal.

2/3 package extra firm tofu
1/2 c. finely chopped cabbage
1/3 c. chopped cilantro
1/3 c. chopped green onion
5-7 shitake mushrooms, chopped fine
2 tbs. soy sauce
2 tbs. grated, fresh ginger
1 tbs. vegetable oil (optional, but it adds a little taste at a fraction of what's in all that pork fat of traditional potstickers!)
salt, black pepper to taste
1 package potsticker skins

Crumble tofu in a colander and set over the sink to drain for 30 minutes. Mix together all of the filling ingredients in a large bowl. One of the perks of this being vegan is that you can taste the raw filling to make sure it's seasoned properly. Prepare a small bowl of water and open the package of skins. Set one skin on your work surface and place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the center. With one finger, take a dip from the water bowl and dampen half of the outer edge of the wrapper to create a glue. Fold the opposite edge to meet the damp edge, then carefully press down around the filling to release as much air as possible. Seal the edges firmly by pressing with your fingers, then create a couple crimps for that "potsticker look."

These can be cooked by the "fry then steam" method above, or deep fried for extra crispiness, or even boiled in broth for a won ton style soup. They will also keep for months in the freezer. Freeze them for an hour or two first on a cookie sheet, then place in baggies or other containers. This way they won't freeze into one single mass and tear your pretty skins when you try to cook them again. They can be cooked the same ways, straight from the freezer.

VLyandra said...

mel c beat me to posting a potsticker (actually gyoza, in my case) recipe. ^^ Gyoza are what we call potstickers in Japan. I find them to be a little more delicate than Chinese potstickers, but even more delicious. XD

Also, if Shmoo has trouble with slippery foods and chopsticks, you might want to get him a set of chopsticks with ridges at the tips, or tips that are rough to make picking things up easier. In Japan, we use these (especially wooden) chopsticks for slippery foods like noodles. They do have kid-size/lunchbox-size plastic chopsticks with ridges. I had a couple sets with anime characters on them when I was a kid...

Smitty said...

Use your mouth to get the edamame out of the shell (rather than picking them out with your hand). That's how you get the taste of the sauce. Then you discard the shell.

mishamoo said...

WARNING about eating edamame right out of the shell--I found a rather large worm with its head buried deep into an edamame bean. If I had not opened the pod with my hands, I would have popped it into my mouth! Gross!!!! (It also would have made my lunch non-vegan.)

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