One Saturday I woke up with a burning desire to make brunch. The only thing in the Vegan Brunch cookbook that appealed to me was the pierogis... but I had no potatoes. No problem: I would just make the mushroom sauerkraut filling. Looked in the fridge. No sauerkraut! But...
Long story short, I used this homemade kimchi of mine (which is really part sauerkraut anyway). I also used the premade wonton wrappers that had been languishing in the fridge for about a month (after verifying with smitten kitchen that this was okay).
As it became clear to me that the palate of this meal was strangely somewhere between Poland and Japan, I tried to think of other flavors that would work: fennel seed, sesame, and garlic would work as bridges, but we had to be careful to keep ginger and caraway from fighting (the kimchi-tempeh ruben experience was highly instructive here).
The results were glorious (though a bit more on the Asian side than the Eastern European). To go with the dumplings, I spiced up some applesauce with ginger and sesame seeds. I also made some gingery kale and some tempeh bacon that was heavy on fennel and savory flavors. Sprinkle everything with some scallions and sriracha, and it actually came together delightfully!
Mushroom-Kimchi Pierogis with Ginger-Sesame Applesauce, Smoky Fennel Tempeh Bacon, and Gingery Kale
1/4 c butter (earth balance)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 serrano chili, minced
3 c chopped mushrooms
1.5 c drained and chopped kimchi or sauerkraut
25 wonton wrappers
Instructions1. In a large frying pan, heat 'butter.' Saute garlic and chili for a minute or two, then add mushrooms and pinch salt and cook 5-6 more minutes, until mushrooms are soft and juicy. Add kimchi and cook for another minute or so, then turn off heat.
2. Transfer filling to a bowl and refrigerate. Get a big pot of salted water boiling.
3. When filling is down to about room temperature, you're ready to continue. On a smooth, dry surface, lay out 6 wonton wrappers at a time. Cut them into circles with a glass.
4. Place just less than a tablespoon of filling on each wrapper, then close it up like a half-moon, using water to seal the edges. Seal them well!! Or else!
5. Place 6 dumplings in pot at a time and boil until they are floaty (about 4 minutes). Remove with slotted spoon and have them stand by while you do the same with other dumplings.
5b. If you're feeling adventurous, try pan-frying the dumplings instead of (or after) boiling.
6. Garnish with scallions, sriracha, and ginger-sesame applesauce (see above).
Makes 18-24 dumplings.
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 block tempeh, cut into strips like bacon
1 c 'beef' broth
tiny splash liquid smoke
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp fennel seed
Instructions1. In a large frying pan, cook garlic and tempeh in oil for a few minutes on each side (until golden brown).
2. Combine other ingredients separately; then, when tempeh is browned, pour the liquid over the tempeh and simmer until it's evaporated. Serve hot. Serves about 2.
For the greens:
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic, minced
1/2 in ginger, peeled and minced
1 bag kale
InstructionsSaute onion, then add garlic and ginger. Then add kale and cook til tender, adding water and tamari as needed. Turn off heat and finish with sesame oil drizzle and/or sesame seeds. Serves 2-3.