[BENTO: WHOLE WHEAT JIAOZI] – ROASTED CAULI, THREE DIFF FLAVORS

You’re looking at a bento with whole-wheat jioazi made from scratch, and in three separate cauliflower-base varieties: (1) hot curry roasted cauli, (2) gochujang roasted cauli, and (3) miso roasted cauli. The filler for all three, however, is the same: a ton of garlic and ginger, carrots, napa cabbage, shiitake, chives, and egg, blended in a food processor and cooked on the stove to release the aromatics. I could not be more stoked, or full…

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I did the “purse” fold, not because I possess Beethoven-like dexterity but because it’s my fav, so please pardon the sloppiness! Detailed photos of how these beasties were concocted after the jump…

Today I made three kinds of jiaozi, all with a roasted cauliflower base. And, they’re freaking CLEAN! The wrappers are half whole wheat flour/half all-purpose, and hardly any oil to speak of was used.

I’d been wanting to do this for a long time, just spend a day in the kitchen making jiaozi EXACTLY how I want it, aka heavy on the garlic and ginger, tons of veggies repped in one dumpling, and laden with interesting or offbeat flavors. I have also been feeling a little nostalgic for my time in Beijing; when I lived in Chaoyang, there was a place across from my work with a four page dumpling menu. So, basically I had to do this…I’m not going to get this kind of time off again for a very long time.

Most produce used here–including the garlic, cauli, carrots, napa cabbage, and ginger–was purchased from the Templeton Farmer’s Market. I’ve been seeing a lot of the same farming families at the market since I was a little girl, and it feels good to keep things local. It also keeps things exciting in the kitchen. For example, I had no idea these were going to be cauliflower dumplings; my goal was just to pick something in season and roll from there.

LET’S GET STARTED. I cut a head of cauliflower into three pieces and roasted each portion in a different marinade:

(1) Gochujang. Gochijang, shoyu, and a dash of mirin.

(2) Curry. Curry powder, shoyu, a dash of sesame oil.

(3) Miso. Miso from TJ’s (not as janky as expected, awesomely enough…), shoyu, a little mirin.

First, I massaged the cauliflower with the marinade prior to soaking, which I think made a big impact in the end. Each cauli third soaked in its respective marinade bath for around an hour.

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Wrapper: I dealt with the wrapper dough next. It was composed of 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup all-purpose flower, 1/2 cup boiling water and 4 tbsp cold water. But seriously was there ever a bigger pain in the ass than dumpling wrappers?! I combined the ingredients, kneaded for around 5 mins, let it set for 30 mins under a damp cloth. I ended up diverting from these rations WILDLY when it came time to roll out the dough, aka a TON more water to get the dough to stretch…

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Filler: Next, the filler. It all went in a food processor. 5-7 cloves garlic, a cut of fresh ginger half the size of my thumb, two carrots, a whole thing of TJ’s chives, 6-7 shiitake mushrooms. Then, I warmed the blended filler on the stove to release the aromatics. Made this a slow and steady process. Added 2 eggs after. I tried out the hulking seven cup Cuisinart food processor, a Christmas present I didn’t end up transporting to DC. This thing is a BEAST. It deserves its own name, much like a badass sword. How do you say “intimidatingly efficient” in Japanese?!

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After the roasted cauli came out of the oven, I chopped it up and put it in with a little of the remaining marinade. Then, I divided the filler into three portions and mixed those in with each bowl of cauli and marinade. It’s worth it to work the contents of each bowl with your hands.

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Next, roll and cut the wrappers. Prepare to feel like you hate everything, not to mention a new, deep spiritual connection to the cooks of yesteryear that literally made everything by scratch.

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Then, time to pack the buns and steam them up fresh over some napa cabbage leaves! I like to make a dipping sauce out of chili oil and hot pepper flakes, but today I added a dash of shoyu.

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Packed some extras up to for the parents to thank then for, you know, raising me and taking me in during the bar.

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Processed with VSCOcamBOOM, DUMPLINGS. They were definitely worth the time and effort. I have some leftover filler, so tomorrow I’ve resolved to buck up and make more wrappers.

I’d love to try this again with some different flavors! We’ll just have to see what’s at the farmer’s market this Saturday, I suppose? Let me know if you have any cool flavor profile ideas!

 

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