The Goode Life

Get Your Soy On
October 11, 2008, 10:51 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

One of the biggest challenges I faced when I decided to go whole-hog vegetarian was what I like to call The Tofu Factor.

Everyone assumed that I would go from turkey sandwiches to broken bits of white, tasteless fluff that – while one of the cornerstones of most veggie’s diets – I couldn’t get with. So, I made the cornerstones of my vegetarian diet all carbs, all candy, all the time. [Beware of the vegetarian diet if you’re looking for weight loss: there will be absolutely nothing stopping you from consuming all the baked goods your sweet tooth desires. Meat-free baby!]

If only I’d known then what I know now: tofu, and more specifically soy, is the business.

You want an automatic upgrade to better health? Holla at the soy milk in the dairy case.

No, it won’t make you a hippie, and no, that does not mean people will assume you no longer like chicken and will steal your last, crispy piece [“What?! You drink SOY MILK!]. What it does mean is that you’ll have a lower cholesterol, a lower risk for osteoporosis – I can hear your bones cracking from over here, you know – and less extreme effects of menopause. Just because it’s called a hot flash doesn’t mean it’s sexy.

Asian women have been reaping the benefits of soy for years, but us Westerners with our Tofu Factor fear – self included – can’t seem to get on the healthy train and join them. If you want your good eats with a side of soy-tastic, try this dumpling recipe with friends or at your next in-home date night.

Just don’t tell your Chinese take-out guy I’m the one who robbed him of his thrice-weekly regular.

Sohui Kim’s Pork-and-Chive Dumplings*
2 tbsp. canola oil, plus more for frying dumplings
1 cup diced onion
3 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. minced ginger
1 cup chopped garlic (or Chinese) chives
1 1/2 lbs. ground pork
1 8-oz. package firm tofu
3 tbsp. hoisin sauce
1 16-oz. package dumpling wrappers (look for the Twin Marquis brand, Hong Kong style, available in many Asian food stores)
1 egg, beaten and reserved in a small bowl
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pan, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, ginger, and garlic chives and cook for 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and let cool. In a large bowl, combine pork, tofu, and hoisin sauce with the chive mixture. Test-fry a small portion of the pork mixture and adjust seasoning.

(1) Holding dumpling wrapper flour side down, place a teaspoonful of pork mixture onto the middle of the wrapper.

(2) Dip your index finger into the beaten egg and rub it over half of the outer edge of the dumpling.

(3) Fold dumpling in half, crimping it in the middle and sealing along the egg-moistened edge, taking care not to leave any air pockets. Repeat procedure and pan-fry the dumplings until crisp and brown on both sides. Serve with a combination of soy sauce and rice-wine vinegar to dip. Note: makes about four dozen dumplings; extras will keep in the freezer for two weeks or so.

*Courtesy of New York Magazine Online.


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