NEW YORK (PIX11) — As folks gear up for the Lunar New Year on Sunday, there are plenty of things to look forward to, like delicious traditional dishes.

Maggie Zhu, New-York based blogger, writer, and recipe developer, joined New York Living Friday morning to talk about the Lunar New Year and share some easy dishes to try.

Watch the video player for more.

Vegan Dumplings

The dumpling filling has a well-balanced texture with veggies, tofu, and rice vermicelli and is seasoned with plenty of aromatics, soy sauce, and just a dash of curry powder to enhance its richness.

Yield 50 dumplings Prep: 40 minutes Cook: 20 minutes

• 1/4 cup (9 g) dried shiitake mushrooms (7 to 8 small mushrooms)
• 2 cups (480 ml) hot water, or as much as needed to cover mushrooms
• 2 tablespoons dried wood ear mushrooms (or 1/2 cup, or 75 g minced bamboo shoots)
• 1/2 package (1 1/2 ounces, or 45 g) of dried rice vermicelli
• 5 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon minced ginger
• 1 cup (110 g) finely chopped carrots (about 4 medium carrots)
• 2 cups (140 g) shredded cabbage
• 3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
• 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
• 1 teaspoon curry powder
• ½ block (8 ounces, or 227 g) firm tofu, crumbled by hand
• 1 teaspoon maple syrup (or sugar)
• 1/2 cup (30 g) finely chopped scallions
• 50 frozen dumpling wrappers, thawed
• Dumpling dipping sauce or Chinkiang vinegar, for serving

  1. In separate medium bowls, cover the shiitake mushrooms and wood ear mushrooms with at least 1 cup (240 ml) of hot water each. Let the mushrooms soak until completely soft, 30 minutes or so.
  2. Strain and gently rinse the mushrooms with water. Remove and discard the tough stems of the shiitake mushrooms and mince the caps; this should yield about 1/4 cup loosely packed minced shiitake. Remove and discard the tough ends of the wood ear mushrooms, if any, and mince the mushrooms if they are big, or thinly slice them if small; this should yield about ½ cup of loosely packed minced wood ear mushrooms.
  3. Cook the dried rice vermicelli according to the package instructions. Strain and measure 1 cup (176 g) of cooked vermicelli. Coarsely chop the noodles into 1/2-inch (1 cm) pieces.
  4. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil over medium heat until hot. Add the garlic and ginger, stirring a few times to release the fragrance. Add the shiitake mushrooms, wood ear mushrooms, and carrots and cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add the cabbage, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and curry powder. Cook and stir for another 2 minutes, until the cabbage turns tender and all the liquid has evaporated. Transfer the contents to a large plate to cool.
  5. Heat another 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil in the same pan. Add the tofu and cook for 1 minute, breaking it up into smaller chunks with a spatula. Add the vermicelli, the remaining 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, and the maple syrup. Cook and stir until all the liquid has evaporated, 2 minutes or so. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and let cool for a few minutes.
  6. Once the tofu and cabbage mixtures have cooled to room temperature, add the cabbage mixture to the bowl with the tofu, add the scallions, and stir to mix well.
  7. Prepare your workstation by placing the dumpling wrappers on a plate, the bowl of dumpling filling (with a spoon), a small bowl of water, and a large plate or tray to hold the folded dumplings.
  8. Place a dumpling wrapper on the palm of one hand and, using the other hand, spoon about 1 tablespoon of dumpling filling into the center of the wrapper. Dip your finger into the bowl of water and use it to wet the edges of the wrapper, then fold the edges of the wrapper over the filling and seal them together. Press the edges again to seal well. You can use any method you are comfortable with to fold the dumplings.
  9. To cook the dumplings, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the dumplings in batches in a single layer. Cook until the bottoms turn golden. Add 2 tablespoons water, cover, and cook until the dumplings are cooked through 2 to 3 minutes. Immediately transfer the dumplings to a large plate. Repeat with the remaining dumplings.
  10. Serve the dumplings immediately with dumpling dipping sauce or a simple drizzle of Chinkiang vinegar.

NOTE
You can freeze raw or cooked dumplings. Place them on a baking tray and seal them in with plastic wrap. Once they are completely frozen (after about a day), transfer them to a resealable plastic bag to save freezer space. They can be frozen for up to 1 month. To cook frozen dumplings, cook them like fresh dumplings, but when covered in the pan, cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer and with a bit more water, about 1/4 cup (60 ml), to make sure there is enough steam to heat through. To heat up frozen cooked dumplings, you can either microwave them (the dumpling won’t be crispy in this case), or you can heat them up in a slightly oiled nonstick pan.

OLD BEIJING FRIED SAUCE NOODLES

YIELD 4 servings PREP 20 minutes COOK 20 minutes

  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) Black Bean Sauce (page 32)
  • 5 tablespoons peanut oil, divided 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 8 ounces (227 g) white button mushrooms (about 12 mushrooms), cut into quarters
  • 1/2 block (4 ounces, or 113 g) tempeh, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
  • 1 small onion (or 1/2 medium onion), diced
  • 1/2 pound (227 g) Handmade Noodles (page 130) or fresh wheat noodles or 6 ounces (170 g) dried wheat noodles
  • 1 cucumber, julienned, for topping (optional)
  • 4 radishes, julienned, for topping (optional)
  • 1 cup (90 g) bean sprouts, blanched, for topping (optional)
  • 1/4 cup (10 g) chopped cilantro, for garnishing
  1. Place the black bean sauce in a medium bowl. Slowly blend in 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) of water, stirring constantly, until the water is fully incorporated.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the ginger and stir a few times to release the fragrance. Add the mushrooms and cook and stir for 1 minute. Add the tempeh and cook and stir until the mushrooms and tempeh are browned. Pour in the wine and cook and stir until there is no liquid left in the pan. Transfer to a large plate. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of peanut oil and the black bean sauce mixed
  3. With water to the pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens and becomes very fragrant, 5 minutes or so. If the sauce starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water.
  4. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until cooked but still crisp,
    2 minutes or so. Add the cooked mushrooms and tempeh back into the pan and cook and stir for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and transfer everything
    to a large bowl.
  5. Boil the noodles (follow the package instructions if not using handmade noodles). Strain in a colander and briefly rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Place the noodles in individual serving bowls.
  6. Top the noodles with the sauce, add toppings of choice and garnish with cilantro. Mix everything together and add more sauce if needed. Serve hot.