Monday, January 28, 2008

CSA week nine - Thai collard-wrapped steamed dumplings

This is a variation on the recipe posted by Sam Fujisaka to the chowhound message board thread I linked to last week. His recipe called for kale, but I think the broad flat collard leaves are much better suited to wrapping than the curly and often piecemeal kale leaves. I was happy both at how easy it was to prepare and how tasty the results were. The collards added a pleasant flavor and texture to what would otherwise have just been a (pretty good) meatball.

2 large green onions
1/2 jalapeño (or a similar amount of some other hot pepper)
1 garlic clove
1 inch chunk of ginger, and
2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro

2 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 Tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons hot chili oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and
2 Tablespoons roughly chopped cremini mushroom

or if you prefer a Chinese version
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon rice wine or hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons chui chow chili oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoons roughly chopped shiitake mushroom
2 Tablespoons roughly chopped water chestnuts

mix all of that with
1/2 lb ground meat (I used turkey which I keep around because it's neutral flavor makes it useful in many applications and it's often on sale)

depending on the meat you used and the fineness of the grind, you may want to add an egg to bind it all together. My turkey turned into a paste pretty quickly so I didn't.

If you've got the time, chill the meat mixture to make it easier to handle.

Lay out collard leaves light-side up. Slice out the stem as closely as possible. I saved my stems, along with my kale stems from last week in hopes of coming up with a use for them.

Preheat a steamer.

Scoop a large lump of the meat mixture on the large end of the collard leaf. You'll want to adjust the size of the lump to the size of the leaf, but go a little larger than you think you ought to. Remember that you're steaming the collards too and you don't want the meat cooked through before the leaves become tender.

Tweak in the leaf so that the far end overlaps to cover the empty space where the stem was, and roll up the meat mixture. After the first turn, tuck in the leaf to create a cylinder and fold in the edges tightly. Roll up the rest of the leaf and trim off the untidy bit at the end.

Place the rolls into your steamer and cook for around ten minutes depending on their size.

Thai dipping sauce
mix well
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1 scallion, chopped
1/2 jalapeño (or a similar amount of some other hot pepper)
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and
1/2 teaspoon hot chili oil

Thai chili sauce is good for dipping too.

If you made the Chinese version you might try a traditional dumpling dipping sauce.
1 T soy sauce
1 T rice wine vinegar
1/2 T mirin or sugar
dash sesame oil

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