When Tony and I were dating, we used to eat pretty frequently at a nearby restaurant, Eos. It’s got a lovely Asian-influenced menu, with plenty of fish and vegetarian choices for us. We used to order broadly off the menu until we realized that we really love the shitake mushroom dumplings the best, and so pretty much just made our meal of salads (they do a really nice Thai herb chopped salad) and dumplings.
Fast forward a couple years, to when Ben was a baby, and he and I took off to Virginia to hang out with my sister and her family. Tony, left to his own devices for a week, made a project of trying to recreate the dumplings. He ate at Eos, and then made a dumpling attempt at home, and then ate there again another night before refining the recipe some more. The recipe he developed will never quite be as rich and buttery as what they serve at Eos, because that would take a pound more butter than we can put in one dish (this is one of the reasons we eat in restaurants, isn’t it? Because they will use all the butter and cream that we can’t bring ourselves to), but it’s still pretty delicious, and we don’t make it nearly often enough. But with family gathered for Christmas, and kids willing to pitch in to fill dumplings, we made a huge batch.
The recipe scales up or down easily depending on how much you want to make.
12-16 oz. fresh shitake mushrooms
1 bunch baby bok choy
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 small knob of fresh ginger (about a tablespoon, grated)
olive or vegetable oil
a dash of soy sauce
a dash of rice vinegar
Very finely dice the vegetables, shallots, and garlic, and saute with the ginger over medium-high heat with a good slug of oil. When the mixture is nicely browned, and the mushrooms have given off most of their juice, add a dash of soy sauce and a dash of rice vinegar. You can pause at this point and refrigerate the filling until you are ready to fill the dumplings.
Use whatever dumpling wrappers you can find at your grocery – we usually use the round gyoza wrappers rather than the square wonton wrappers, though it shouldn’t matter too much; we haven’t ever attempted making the wrappers ourselves.
Put about a teaspoon of filling in the center of each wrapper. Moisten the edges with water and press shut, then crimp the edges a bit with your fingers. Keep the dumplings moist until you steam them by putting them on a plate or tray under a dish towel wrung out with cool water.
Steam the dumplings 3-4 minutes, until the wrappers go translucent, and then serve with the sauce.
For the sauce
2-3 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons butter
Bring the stock to a boil and cook until reduced to one cup. Add the soy sauce and sherry a tablespoon at a time, to taste. Stir in the butter until the sauce is smooth and velvety. Keep warm until ready to serve.