Over the years I’ve compiled a mental list of foods (pad thai, almond milk, yogurt) that for me, are simply not worth making at home. No matter how many other bloggers swear how easy they are to make and how amazing the homemade results are, in my kitchen it’s just not happening. Maybe the results are mediocre, maybe the time and effort just aren’t worth it to me, or maybe I just can’t deal with another soggy pouch of almond pulp in my kitchen.
And then, there are recipes that completely win me over. Goodbye, frozen Trader Joe’s potstickers with the weird aftertaste. Hello, homemade dumplings.
Homemade dumplings/potstickers are a little bit time consuming, but for me, totally worth the effort. After one batch, I’m obsessed with all the new combinations I can make. Swiss chard and mushrooms! Carrot, ground pork and cilantro! Spinach and cheese!
Dumplings, I’ve found, are the perfect vegetable delivery vehicle for kids. But really, who doesn’t like a dumpling? Serve them at your next party as finger food, make a big batch for dinner and freeze half for later, pack homemade dumplings in lunches or as a snack to take to the park.
Makes 48 or more dumplings
This recipe proves that just about anything goes when it comes to dumpling filling. If you like pierogies, then you’ll love this starchy dumpling stuffed with an Egyptian inspired blend of rice, lentils, cinnamon, nutmeg and a little bit of Swiss chard.
3/4 cup green lentils
3/4 cup basmati rice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bunch Swiss chard, leaves finely chopped and stems discarded (or saved for another meal)
1 package circular or square-shaped dumpling, wonton, or gyoza wrappers. Any size is fine but slightly larger ones (4.5-inch) are easier to fold
Sunflower oil for frying
Rinse the lentils and rice separately.
Place the lentils in pot with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked but still slightly firm. Drain and set aside.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Just before the butter starts to brown, add the rice, 1 1/2 cups water, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to very low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the lid and place a thin towel over the pan. Put the lid back on over the towel and let the pan sit for 5 minutes, then fluff the rice with a fork.
While the lentils and rice are cooking, saute the Swiss chard in a drizzle of oil until the leaves are fully wilted but still bright green, 5 minutes. Lightly salt.
Combine the lentils, rice and Swiss chard. Add salt to taste.
Lightly flour a work surface (I use sweet rice flour, but regular flour would work fine). Set out your dumpling wrappers, a small bowl of water and a large sheet pan dusted with flour or covered with parchment paper.
Grab a dumpling wrapper, dip your finger in the bowl of water and wet the perimeter. Place a small teaspoon of filling in the middle. Fold the wrapper over and pinch it shut along the edges. Fold in the two corners (if using a square wrapper) and pinch them shut. If any part of the wrapper doesn’t stay shut, brush it with a little water and pinch it shut again. After a while, you’ll find your rhythm.
At this point you can freeze the dumplings or cook them. (Freeze on the sheet pan then transfer to a freezer bag. Later, cook them by placing the frozen dumplings directly into a hot pan with oil, like below)
Heat a thin layer of sunflower oil over medium-high heat in a wide nonstick pan with a lid. When the oil is hot, cook a batch of dumplings for about 2 minutes until the bottom is brown and crispy.
Pour 1/4 cup water in the pan and quickly put on the lid. Turn the heat to medium-low and steam the dumplings for 3 to 5 minutes until most of the water is gone and the wrappers look translucent. Remove the lid, return the heat to medium-high and saute for a minute or two, shaking the pan a bit as the dumplings crisp up.
Serve kosheri dumplings hot or at room temperature with sour cream.