Sunday, 26 June 2011

Chinese Broth and Dumplings

Still running down the freezer - including a lovely pack of mixed dumplings I picked up from the Chinese supermarket an unspeakably long time ago. Luckily they steam right back to life, and go very well with a quick vegetable broth that simmers as we go for a walk. With a batch of quickly stir-fried vegetables it makes a light yet nourishing weekday meal. The trick is to have everything ready before you begin to stir-fry the vegetables, and to make sure they do not overcook; they should still have some bite and taste green, never soggy.

For the vegetable stock:

  • 1 carrot, topped, tailed and scrubbed
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 stick of lemongrass
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger
  • a dried chilli
  • a handful of coriander stems

For the stir-fried vegetables:
  • half a head of broccoli
  • two handfuls of sugar-snap peas
  • 2-3 spring onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic

To finish:
  • 8-12 dumplings, steamed according to the packet instructions
  • coriander leaves
  • lemon wedges
  • soy sauce

Put all of the stock ingredients in a saucepan and cover with boiling water; bring to a boil and then simmer for at least an hour. Meanwhile, finely slice the broccoli and cut the sugar-snap peas and spring onions into long strips. Five minutes before the dumplings are done, heat some vegetable oil in a wok and throw in the broccoli, tossing it about for a few minutes. Add the sugar snap peas and spring onions, toss for a further minute, then crush in the garlic and stir-fry for a further two minutes.

Drain the stock into the wok (or into another bowl first, if you dislike enormous clouds of steam), and slosh over a good few tsbp of soy sauce (depending on its strength). Serve the broth and vegetables into bowls and top with the dumplings and coriander leaves. Bring to the table with lemon wedges and soy sauce on the side so that people can lighten and salt the broth to their taste.

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