Kabocha squash can be found at Asian grocery stores and may be labeled as pumpkin. Cookbook author Andrea Nguyen roasts kabocha squash by cutting it into 4 to 6 pieces, scraping out the seeds, rubbing the flesh with canola oil and soy sauce and roasting, cut-side down, at 425 degrees until easily pierced with a fork or knife. To freeze dumplings, spread them out on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornstarch; be careful that none are touching each other. Freeze 10 minutes or until firm. Place in a large zip-top freezer bag with 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Adapted from cookbook author Andrea Nguyen, who writes at Viet World Kitchen and Asian Dumpling Tips.
3 medium dried shiitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium-large shallot, chopped, about 1/2 cup
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup diced parsnip
1/2 cup diced celery
About 1/4 teaspoon salt
Six ounces roasted kabocha squash, diced and/or chopped, about 2 cups
About 48 wonton, dumpling, or pot sticker skins
Unseasoned rice vinegar or Chinkiang vinegar
PLACE dried mushrooms in a bowl. Cover with boiling water; use small plate to submerge under water. Let sit until reconstituted; you may have to drain and replenish boiling water. Trim and chop. Set aside. (Alternatively, you can soak in water overnight.)
HEAT oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot and fry, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes until fragrant and turning a golden brown. Add ginger and garlic; cook until aromatic. Then add parsnip, celery and mushrooms. Sprinkle on salt, cook for several minutes, until part way cooked. Taste a piece to test. If needed, splash in water or any leftover mushroom-soaking liquid to coax the cooking. When done, drizzle on some sesame oil, stir to combine, then remove from the heat.
ADD squash, mix, then taste. Season with extra salt as needed for a savory-sweet flavor. Set aside for about 30 minutes for flavors to develop before using. Makes about 2 cups that will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
PLACE about 2 teaspoons in center of each wonton wrapper. Moisten edges of skin with water. Fold in half; press edges together with fingertips to seal. Place finished dumplings on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet that’s been lightly dusted with cornstarch. Repeat with wonton skins and filling until done. Cover with a damp towel to prevent drying.
COOK dumplings: either poach them in a pot of boiling water and remove when they look gauzy and puffy, or steam until the skins are translucent, or pan-fry in a skillet with a little water. Serve warm with soy sauce, vinegar and chile oil.
Yield: 48 dumplings.
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