adapted from: The Japanese Kitchen
•250 Recipes in a Traditional Spirit•
by Hiroko Shimbo
- 1 boneless skinless chicken breast (about 7 ounces)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 block firm tofu, (14 ounces)
- 1½ teaspoons usukuchi shoyu (light colored soy sauce), or regular shoyu
- 2 Tablespoons thin scallion disks, white part only
- 1½ teaspoons peeled, finely grated ginger
- ½ beaten egg white
- ½ Tablespoon potato starch, or cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 20 to 25 wonton wrappers, cut into thin strips
- lettuce leaves to line your steamers
- parchment paper circles to line your steamers
- shungiku leaves (edible chrysanthemum), or spinach leaves
- 1 Tablespoon mustard powder dissolved in 1 Tablespoon water
- Pozo dressing or nihaizu dressing
Drain the tofu for 30 minutes: Wrap the tofu in a kitchen towel or double cheesecloth, place on a rack over a tray, then place another tray on top with some weights. I used trays from a toaster oven and a couple of cans of tomatoes.
Chop the chicken fine, (I used a food processor, but ground chicken—or ground turkey breast—would have more texture, as would hand chopping.) Transfer it to a bowl, then add the salt. Mix with your hands until the chicken feels sticky or slimy.
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 eighteen 1½-inch dumplings without touching. Pile the wonton strips on a plate. Oil your palms and form the tofu mixture into 18 balls. Place each ball on the wonton strips and scatter more over so it is completely covered with the wonton “noodles.”
Place the dumplings on the oiled platter, and press each in the center to make a shallow depression. This helps the dumplings to cook evenly.
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 the parchment circles, then 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).