Shitake Dumplings in a Dashi Mushroom Broth
- Prep Time 0:45
- Cook Time 0:25
- Estimated Cost $19.00
- 71 Comments
Yesterday, my awesome friend Alex arranged for me to go to modern Asian cuisine restaurant Namu to cook with his friend Chef Dennis Lee. This extraordinary San Francisco gem of a restaurant has been getting a ton of amazing press, and so I was excited to get behind the bar and into the kitchen where the magic happens.
Dennis rolled up to the restaurant at our appointed time on his bike and quickly swapped his sneakers for kitchen clogs and pulled on a beanie to cover his hair. We decided what we’d be cooking and then got to work pulling out the ingredients and equipment (well, he got to work at it—I mostly watched him in awe and snapped photos).
As we cooked, Dennis explained that at Namu, one of the main things they try to do is to isolate the flavor Umami, a basic taste, characterized as “savoriness.” Umami is the dominant flavor in meats, mushrooms, dashi and bonito. The dish we cooked is simply layers upon layers of the Shitake flavor—and hence Umami.
24 hours later, I still can’t get the flavor of this amazing dumpling dish out of my mind. If you haven’t checked out Namu yet, you must go. Tell them Gabi sent you.
Notes: Dennis gave me a great idea for home cooks that I want to share with you: puree equal parts of ginger and garlic and keep in an airtight container for easy use when making soups, sauces, noodles, etc. It’ll keep for up to a week.
Also, when you buy your mushrooms, feel free to buy the #2 type of Shitake. They’re less pretty but they’re cheaper and work just as well.
- 1 5"x5" piece dashi kombu $1.50 for 6
- 1 large handful bonito flakes $5 for 4 oz.
- 1/2 lb fresh (preferably organic) Shitake mushrooms, 3/4 thinly sliced, 1/4 roughly chopped $2
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, divided $1 for a stick
- olive oil Pantry
- 1/8 cup English peas, shelled (or frozen peas) $1.50
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced $0.50
- 1/2 cup soy sauce Pantry
- 1/2 cup mirin (Japanese cooking wine) $3 for 10 oz.
- 2 cloves garlic, minced finely Pantry
- 1 small piece ginger, minced finely $0.50
- 8 small square won ton skins $1.50 for 30
- 1 egg $1.50 for 6
- 2 scallions, sliced $1 for a bunch
- salt and pepper Pantry
Recipe Serves 2-3
- To make the stock, place the dashi kombu and the bonito flakes in a soup pot with 2 quarts of water. Bring to a simmer and then turn off heat. Allow mixture to sit for 10 minutes. Strain and add soy sauce and mirin. Set aside.
- To make the filling, heat 2 tbsp of the butter in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 of the garlic and ginger and cook for about 30 seconds, making sure the garlic doesn't brown. Add the thinly sliced mushrooms and allow to cook for about a minute.
- Use an 1/8 cup ladle or measuring cup to add the dashi broth 1/8 cup at a time. Turn the heat up to high as you do this to encourage the mixture to reduce. Add 6 ladles of broth slowly, allowing the mixture to cook and reduce in between broth additions. Use a spoon or scraper to scrape the browning that occurs on the edges and stir it into the mixture. Spread filling onto a sheet pan or clean plate to allow it to cool.
- To make the broth, heat 2 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Saute shallots, remaining garlic and ginger for 30 seconds, avoiding browning. Add mushrooms and peas. Add 5 1/8 cup ladles of the dashi stock and simmer lightly, just until the vegetables cook, about 1 minute. Turn off heat.
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
- While water boils, make the egg wash by beating the egg and about 1 tbsp water with a fork until nearly white.
- Set won ton wrappers on a clean, dry surface. Use a pastry brush to coat the borders of each won ton wrapper with the egg wash.
- Use a teaspoon to place a small amount of filling in the center of each wrapper ("Don't be overzealous with the filling!" says Chef Dennis Lee).
- Gently pinch the corners together to form a point and tightly seal the edges to lock in the filling. Make sure to press the air out of the middle of the dumplings as excess air will cause them to fall apart during cooking.
- Cook the dumplings in the boiling water until they float and appear nearly translucent, 5-6 minutes.
- While the dumplings cook, turn the heat to medium-low on the broth-vegetable mixture up, just to reheat. Once dumplings have cooked, fish out using a slotted spoon or strainer and add to broth. Cook for 1-2 minutes to incorporate flavors.
- Serve in bowls, garnished with scallions.