This is a fun Japanese recipe for tofu dumplings. Ms. Shimbo says that her students named them Tofu Daisies because they resemble the flower! They are very pretty, not at all fussy to make, and very tasty.
serves 4 as an appetizer
or 2 as a main course
- 1 small boneless skinless chicken breast (about 5 ounces)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 block firm tofu, (about 11 ounces)
The amounts I actually used were 7 ounces chicken and 14 ounces firm tofu
- 1 1/2 teaspoons usukuchi shoyu (light colored soy sauce), or regular shoyu
- 2 Tablespoons thin scallion disks, white part only
- 1 1/2 teaspoons peeled, finely grated ginger
- 1/2 beaten egg white
- 1/2 Tablespoon potato starch, or cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 20 to 25 wonton wrappers, cut into thin strips
- lettuce leaves to line your steamers
- 12 shungiku leaves (edible chrysanthemum), or spinach leaves
I used arugula leaves and wish I’d used more—this recipe is listed in the “Hot Appetizers” section of the book, so I think that is the reason for the small amount of greens
- 2 Tablespoons hot mustard paste
• Chop the chicken fine, transfer it to a bowl, and add the salt. Mix with your hands until the chicken feels sticky. Squeeze the tofu in a clean tightly woven cotton cloth to remove as much liquid as you can. Add the tofu to the chicken and mix thoroughly. Add one at a time and mix with your hands: shoyu, green onions, ginger, egg white, potato starch, and sesame oil. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
• Oil a platter large enough to hold a dozen 1 1/2-inch dumplings without touching. Pile the wonton strips on a plate. Oil your palms and form the tofu mixture into 12 balls. Place each ball on the wonton strips and scatter more over so it is completely covered.
Ms. Shimbo says that you can make the recipe to this point earlier in the day to cook later, but in my experience, the noodles absorb liquid from the dumplings and melt into sticky dough. I’d advise not to add the wonton strips more than an hour in advance.
• Prepare your steamer by bringing a quantity of water to a boil with high steam production. Line the steamer baskets with lettuce leaves—the dumplings should not touch each other as they cook or they will stick together. Steam in batches if necessary. If you are using a metal steamer, line the lid with a cloth to keep the condensation off the dumplings. Cover and steam for 15 minutes.
If you aren’t going to serve the dumplings immediately, keep them warm by covering with some of the hot lettuce leaves.
• Place dumplings on a bed of chrysanthemum leaves and garnish with a drop of mustard paste in the center of each dumpling. Serve nihaizu dressing (add 1 teaspoon sesame oil) as a dip (appetizers), or pour over the greens (main course).
- 1/4 cup komezu (rice vinegar)
- 2 Tablespoons shoyu (soy sauce)
- (add a teaspoon of sesame oil for these dumplings)
• In a small saucepan, combine the ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
NOTE: We’ve eaten these dumplings as part of a meal, but if I were making these as appetizers, I’d make them smaller so they could be eaten in one bite. They would need a bit more of the wonton strips, and would cook in less time.
Other Japanese Noodle Recipes from Tess