Vegan 'Pork' and Cabbage Dumplings
If you go to the store looking for vegan or vegetable dumplings, chances are you realize that despite not having meat as a filler, it still costs a lot. Dumplings take a while to make, especially if you are making a lot, so really, the reason I make them is that 1) it's a huge cost saver and 2) I get to put whatever I want in them.
I find that a lot of vegetarian dumplings at the stores aren't meaty enough for me. Maybe as a former meat-eater, I miss that kind of stuff. I get annoyed when the filling is just a gooey pile of mashed vegetables. That's why I filled these "pork" and cabbage dumplings with textured vegetable protein and shitake mushrooms, which adds that meaty flavor and texture back in.
A friend of mine, who is taking a science of cooking class, said to me that there isn't really a molecule for the flavor of meat. It's actually a combination of flavors that can be re-created, which is why I add flavors like mushrooms and miso to things I want to taste a bit more like meat.
Anyways, don't think I skimped on the veggies. I made sure to fill it with scallions, cabbage and carrots. I think it's still worth mentioning that although many of my recipes are recreations of food that might not contain a ton of vegetables, the reason to eat vegan or vegetarian is for me, a health choice and eating more vegetables should be at the top of everyone's list.
Tip: Remember to chop up your herbs and cabbage finely. It will be a pain to fill the dumplings if you have huge chunks of vegetables poking through.
Also, it is hard to seal an over-filled dumpling, so don't get too greedy, or else it might burst on you. Start sealing the dumpling by folding up the wrapper and pinching the middle first. Then seal the left side and then the right.