Dumpling Month Part 3 – Spicy Eggplant Dumplings

Vegan

IMG_1560
Brace yourselves for the most amazing dumplings so far! (Possibly the best dumplings…I’ve ever eaten!) Seriously. I made these, I ate one, I died. They are so. yummy. I made thirty that first day, I very nearly ate thirty in that same day.

The filling is just spicy eggplant fried until soft. There’s a dumpling place near my uni that has eggplant dumplings as one of the vegetarian options, and they’re so awesome. I have a theory that eggplant is kind of a magical vegetable. How does it become so good when you cook it? Have you ever tried to eat raw eggplant? It’s disgusting. But cooked eggplant is like a whole different universe.

IMG_1566
Apologies for the horrendous photos today! I’ve been trying to not get so hung up on photos recently because that’s the major blocking point for so many of my posts. I always feel like if the photos aren’t up to scratch I can’t post it at all, but that’s silly right?! RIGHT?! (You’re all looking at your screen and these horrendous pictures thinking no Lilli…just no…)

Regardless what they look like, these are definitely the favourite dumplings so far. They are also basically the easiest, with hardly any ingredients. You can buy pre-made dumpling wrappers, or you can make your own. Pick your own adventure. Just make sure your eggplant is 100% cooked before you fill the dumplings because it won’t cook anymore when you’re steaming them. Enjoy!!!

One Year Ago: Lavender and Lemon Tarts (gluten free)
IMG_1574
Eggplant Dumplings:
Makes 30
Filling inspired from this recipe
1 large eggplant, cut into 1 inch wide strips and salted liberally
2 tbsp chilli oil (or 2 tbsp vegetable oil mixed with 1 tsp fresh chopped chilli
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 shallots, finely sliced
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
1 tbsp black vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp raw sugar

1 quantity dumpling dough or bought wrappers
IMG_1566

After salting the eggplant slices, wash the salt off and pat dry. Slice the eggplant into 1 cm strips and then 1cm squares.

Heat the oil and chilli in a wok and fry the garlic, onion and shallots until soft and slightly brown. Add the eggplant, soy and vinegar and fry until the eggplant becomes soft. Add the sugar and season well with pepper (no more salt) to desired taste. Set aside and let cool completely.

Take a small dessert spoon of filling and place on a dumpling wrapper. Slightly wet the edges with your finger and fold the wrapper towards you, pressing down the edges to seal in the eggplant. Either bring the edges together and join to make a round shape, or leave as pillows. Can be frozen and steamed for fifteen minutes, or cooked straight away until wrappers are soft. Serve with vinegar and chilli oil.
IMG_1577_2

Chilli and Basil Mushrooms on Avocado Toast

Vegan and Gluten Free

Image

 I LOVE MUSHROOMS. 

I love them. I don’t know about any other vegetarians out there, but the only thing I kind of miss from eating meat is eating chewy food. Vegetables can be crunchy and tempeh and tofu can be crumbly, but there isn’t much chewy food in a vegetarian diet. (Unless you count chewy worms and jelly snakes, which I do…) So whenever I feel like all I’ve been eating is soft and mushy food and get scared my teeth are about to fall out,  I crave mushrooms. 

Last week the farmers market had the best mushrooms! We bought four boxes of them! I ate mushrooms in four different meals in a row. By the last one I will admit I was feeling a little over-mushroomed. We made mushroom stir fry, baked mushrooms, mushroom pasta sauce, and my favourite way; chilli basil mushrooms on toast. 

Image

 The number one crime when making mushrooms on toast is to only use one type of mushrooms. ESPECIALLY if you just use button mushrooms. Button mushrooms are great, but they aren’t very flavoursome by themselves. They need the help of their little mushroom friends enoki and oyster. I went to Bill’s Cafe with some friends recently and got the mushrooms on toast, and I think there must have been four different types used! It was incredible. This recipe is partially inspired by that breakfast because it was amazing!

The number two crime is overcrowding the pan. Don’t do that. Mushrooms release juices when they cook and your pan will fill with liquid and they will broil. You will be sad. They will be sad. Make sure there’s lots of room for them to get brown and crispy and soak up all the flavours you add. (Thank you Julia Child!)

Image

I’m so excited to keep posting savoury recipes on this blog. This recipe is so easy, even if I haven’t quite mastered the ‘how to take a photo of a hot pan without burning yourself’ skill yet.  But I’m hopeful for the future. I used sour dough bread as the base of choice but the recipe is really about the mushrooms, so you can use gluten free bread or serve it over pasta or rice if you want. 

For the chilli jam I used a homemade jar made by a friend, so you could either make your own or buy a good quality one from a deli or market. I wouldn’t recommend a commercial brand just because they’re so much sweeter and less spicy than homemade, but if that’s all you have I’m sure it will taste fine. If you don’t like spice, you can also leave it out. 

You can put a poached egg on top too if you eat eggs. That’s what my sister did this morning, after I finally let her have the plate when I was finished photographing it. And it did look pretty good! Enjoy!

One Year Ago: Wholemeal Brown Sugar Strawberry Cake

Image

 Chilli and Basil Mushrooms on Avocado Toast:

For 2 people – 

30 ml (1.5 tbsp) olive oil 

2 small cloves of garlic, chopped 

2 big handfuls chopped field mushrooms

1 handful oyster mushrooms

2 handfuls mixed other mushrooms like enoki, button, flat etc

2 tsp chilli jam

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 handful torn basil leaves, split in half

2-4 pieces of bread (gluten free fine)

1/2 an avocado

Optional: poached egg, grilled tomato, lemon juice to serve

salt and pepper, to serve

Image

 Fry the garlic in the oil in a large pan on a gentle heat until soft. Increase the heat to medium and add in the mushrooms, chilli, and vinegar and sauté. Fry the mushrooms so that they become crispy and brown. Taste to check the seasoning. Grill your toast and spread with avocado. Squeeze on some lemon juice if you want and spoon over the mushrooms. Top with salt and pepper and extras, if you want. Serve hot!

Image