Chengdu Mushroom Dumplings
1 lb fresh shiitake mushrooms
cleaned; caps halved; stems removed and minced
5 each large shallots
2 each medium carrots
peeled and cut into 1/2” rounds
6 each celery stalks
cut into 1/2” pieces
7/24 cup rice bran oil
3 Tbsp minced garlic
3 Tbsp minced ginger
1 bunch scallions
finely chopped
1/2 cup Shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)
3 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp granulated sugar
Kosher salt
to taste
1/2 bunch cilantro
stems and leaves minced
1 Tbsp cornstarch
50 each square thin wonton wrappers
4 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp black vinegar (or Chinkiang vinegar)
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp toasted and ground Sichuan peppercorn
to taste
4 each garlic cloves
finely minced
1 each scallion
finely chopped
chili oil
to taste
2 tbsp granulated sugar
For the Filling
Using a food processor, pulse the halved mushroom caps until they are about 1/8” in size. You may need to work in batches. Set aside with the minced stems. Next, pulse the shallots, carrot, and celery until about the same size as the mushrooms. Scrape the sides to help chop the vegetables evenly. Keep separate from mushrooms.
In a large saute pan or wide pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat until barely smoking. Add the mushrooms and saute until golden brown with a teaspoon of salt, at least 6 - 7 minutes. Stir often and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits that stick to the pan. Reduce heat to medium and add the garlic, ginger, and scallions, and saute for 2-3 minutes. (Add additional oil if the mixture is too dry.) Then add the remaining chopped vegetables and a teaspoon of salt. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender but not mushy. Add the Shaoxing rice wine, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sugar. Cook for another minute, or until mostly absorbed. Turn off heat and mix in remaining ingredients. Adjust seasoning to taste. Spread filling onto a tray and refrigerate to cool.
For the Dumplings
Place a little less than a tablespoon of filling in the center of the wrapper. Fold in half to make a sealed rectangle. (Use a little water if too much cornstarch is preventing the edges from sealing.) Then pull the two bottom corners down around the front and pinch together using a dab of water. This style of dumpling looks more like Italian tortellini than common potstickers. Keep the dumplings and wrappers covered while assembling to prevent drying out.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Carefully drop in the dumplings, then gently stir to prevent sticking. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 3 minutes, or until the dumpling wrappers are cooked through. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to gently remove - let excess water drain and place directly onto a warm platter (toss in a teaspoon of sesame oil to keep from sticking). Cover and keep warm if working in batches. Reheat cold dumplings by returning to boiling water for 30 seconds.
For the Dipping Sauce
Whisk all ingredients together until sugar dissolves and let sit for 15 minutes. Adjust ingredients to taste.
To Serve
Spoon sauce over cooked dumplings and serve hot.