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Taro-Shiitake Dumplings
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Taro-Shiitake Dumplings
Remix mashed potatoes with tender taro root for a fresh twist on the classic dish. Taro, a tropical tuber in season through fall and winter, is delicious when whipped on its own or when mixed with other vegetables. Earthy shiitake mushrooms combine with carrots, green beans, and ginger for a unique comfort food creation. The savory flavor of the dumplings is enhanced with seaweed-based konbu stock, which is one of the most commonly used stocks in temple cuisine and is easy to prepare. Ready-made vegan stock (also known as vegan dashi) can also be found in Asian supermarkets and natural food stores. For more vegan ways to make the most of the summer-autumn transition, check out our 2013 End of Summer Bucket List on VegNews.com.
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Serves 4
What You Need:
For the konbu stock:
1 piece dried konbu, 4 inches in length
1-2⁄3 cups water

For the dumplings:
4 dried shiitake mushrooms
8 taro roots, about 1-3⁄4 ounces each, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch rounds
1 teaspoon salt
2-1⁄2 cups prepared konbu stock
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 ounce carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 ⁄3 ounce green beans, finely chopped
2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 4 tablespoons water
Grated ginger for garnish
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What You Do:
1. For the konbu stock, wipe the dried konbu with a damp cloth. Do not remove white powder on konbu surface. In a saucepan, add konbu and water and soak for 2 to 3 hours. Place saucepan over medium heat. Just before water boils, remove konbu piece. Use remaining konbu-flavored water as stock.

2. For the dumplings, soak shiitake in water for about 30 minutes to reconstitute. Remove stalks, then chop caps very finely. Rub taro pieces with salt, then rinse.

3. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine konbu stock, sugar, and soy sauce. When sugar has dissolved, add taro and cook for about 20 minutes until soft. Remove taro pieces. Add shiitake, carrot, and green beans to stock and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Drain thoroughly, and reserve stock.

4. With a masher in a medium bowl, mash taro while still hot. Divide into 8 portions and place each on top of a small sheet of plastic wrap. Place a spoonful of vegetable mixture on top of each portion. Lift corners of plastic wrap and close over top of each, forming a ball. Vegetable mixture should be partly inside ball and partly visible at top of each ball. Remove plastic wrap and arrange balls on a serving plate.

5. In a saucepan over low heat, combine 1 cup of reserved stock with dissolved cornstarch mixture and stir until thick. Pour thickened sauce over taro balls and garnish with grated ginger.

Chef's Tip: When peeled, taro becomes quite sticky, so make sure to rub salt on the outside before cooking.
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