Like every other veg*n in Melbourne (it seems), I've got Shandong Mama on the brain right now. Zucchini in dumplings? Genius. I had to have a go. And then I was browsing The Kitchn and came across a korean BBQ marinade so - tofu and dumplings. Why not.
First step - prep your marinade as per recipe here. I didn't really mess with this too much - I did tweak it to be sweeter, though. Taste it as you go. In goes a block of medium tofu, sliced into maybe 6-8 pieces. I did this about lunchtime and let it sit.
Lone piece of 'fu poking out.
Here is my dumpling mix: 2 medium zucchinis grated, 2-3 spring onions sliced. I got a generous amount of garlic and ginger frying gently in the saucepan, added sesame oil, a little sweet chilli, a little drizzle of garlic soy and a quick sprinkle salt/pepper. This paste was fried until fragrant, then taken off the heat and the zucchini/spring onion quickly stirred in so it got a tiny bit of heat but didn't go gross and mushy. Fridged until I wanted to use it, then quickly pressed in a sieve to get rid of some of the juices.
Dumpling dough! 2 cups flour, 3/4 cup (approx - add more if you need to) water boiled and let sit for a minute so it's not scorching. Get the flour in your food processor, add the water in a steady stream and stop when you're seeing it come together in a ball around the blade. About 30 seconds of kneading, no flour, then pop the warm ball in a zip-lock bag to steam itself. I left mine about an hour because I had the time, but I reckon you could do it in less.
This dough is super easy to work with. It rolls out well and doesn't tear easily and doesn't need flouring. Here's my setup: cheap plastic dumpling press, dough, teaspoon of filling. (Doesn't that look better than that mush you get in store-bought ones!) I wouldn't actually bother using the press again - it creates a pretty dumpling, but doesn't give you an airtight seal so pretty much makes useless pot-stickers. I find it actually easier and quicker to use my hands - but if you're so inclined, picking up some of these could be worth it for you. I experimented with thinner and thicker skins, and found the thicker ones to be easier to work with and not doughy or ovewhelming once cooked.
Here's what I ended up with - notice the ugly ones to the left. This made about ~14 medium sized ones (think gyoza style). I think making smaller sized you'd get about two dozen.
I prepped them pot-sticker style - fry, steam, fry. In retrospect I think these would suit steaming better - next time.
I also managed to not get any more pics of the tofu because I was watching it like a hawk (I rarely use soft tofu - often I find it too - slimy? so I tend to be very careful when I do). But this marinade is yummy - the magic is that it chars in the frypan, so using softer tofu means you get a crispy caramelised outside and a very soft interior. Downside, of course, is that the slices fall apart and don't look pretty in the slightest. (Observe below.). We enjoyed the tofu the day after too - keeping it in the liquid just made it tastier. I reckon this stuff would be the bomb in a crusty roll with salad. Perfect for the disgusting summer weather we'll have in a month or two. I plan to try it on veggies too - pan-fried broccolini soaked in this sounds glorious. And I'll have another play with the dumplings too - keen to see how they freeze. Next time I'll add chives. And maybe some palm sugar for a little sweetness, or some grated carrot and a couple of mushrooms.. or some black vinegar. And not fry them. So, make a totally different thing. At least this was inspiration, right?