Sunday, April 01, 2007
This vegetable based soup comes together quickly and is a great way to stretch your supply of jiaozi. Jiaozi are Chinese dumplings, usually stuffed with meat and some kind of vegetable. Korean mandu would be great eaten this way too. Jiaozi are fantastic things to have in the freezer, whether you make them or buy them. I love jiaozi eaten traditionally, boiled and dipped in black vinegar and sesame or chili oil, but they feel more familiar this way.
The correct stage to add the greens to the soup depends on what vegetable you are using. I added the you cai shown after the potatoes were cooked. For something more delicate like spinach or watercress, wait until the jiaozi are cooked before adding the green so that it just wilts without getting slimy or losing its colour. On the other hand, if you have something sturdier like cabbage or kale add it earler, just after the onions, and decrease the amount by a third or so.
Chop a tablespoon of garlic (or less, or none) and two tablespoons of onion and sweat in a saucepan with some oil and salt until tender but not browned. Add three cups of water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, peel and cube one large potato and add to the boiling water. After potato is cooked, taste broth for salt. (You want it salty enough to flavour the jiaozi, and the potatoes will have absorbed some while cooking.) Add two cups chopped leafy greens, bring soup to a boil, then add six to eight fresh or frozen jiaozi and simmer until dumplings are cooked through. Serves 2.