Saturday, November 21, 2009

'Chicken Soup' for Vegetarians...and a Ukulele Festival

Yesterday I went to the ASB Ukulele Festival 2009. Great day, my son was playing with the Kiwilele, and hopefully they broke the Guinness world record for the most Ukulele players playing all together at one time (about 1200...).

It was a sunny and warm day, but I woke up with a terrible cold, I could not breathe nor smell or taste anything. I rarely get a cold like this, and it is quite funny to notice how some people come up to me and say that I have a cold because I am a vegetarian (??).

Of course suggestions follow.

Some non vegetarians would say that this is time for chicken soup, but for a vegetarian the idea of drinking the water where a carcass has been simmering is enough for making you feel even sicker.

A vegetable stock is good enough for me, but I needed something more, comfort food... and protein. So, since I had bought some Chinese dumpling wrappers, I decided to make some tofu dumplings to go with the soup. Before leaving home to go to the Ukulele Festival I cut one block of organic tofu into small pieces, put it in a bowl and added three tbsp of Japanese soy sauce and one of black toasted sesame seeds. I left the tofu to marinate for half a day. Upon my return I added 1 tbsp of sesame oil, half a grated carrot and an handful of parsley leaves (I didn't chop the parsley, once cooked the dumpling parcels becomes quite transparent and it is lovely to see the different colours of the whole leaves and carrots strips running through). At this stage you can also add some chinese mushrooms, but I didn't have any.

I filled the round dumpling pastries with a little tofu, making sure to push all the air out when closing them. I used a little water to seal the dumplings.

This dose makes about 50 dumpling, feeding 5-6 people, or even more if it is just a first course.

These dumpling can be steamed and eaten by themselves with a little tamari or chili sauce on the side, but I like them in soup. I just used some vegetable stock from Rapunzel, and when I had my simmering bowl under my nose I added plenty of freshly grated ginger. Not only I could finally taste something, it was really comforting, healing and the perfect dinner for a bad cold.

Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©


  1. That looks so nice. I went to a self-healing for women, some kind a one-day retreat and we had great vegetarian lunch. I have been a vegetarian myself for many years until I came to New Zealand and became pregnant, for I was lack of iron then I had to eat meat. I personally love tofu and tempeh (Indonesian fermented soycake), which I sometimes make it myself in Summer. I hope you're well now with the help of vegetarian soup :)

  2. Yes I am much better, thank you Arfi. Mostly I had forgotten what it is like not to be able to smell or taste anything... it would be very strange for me to live without these senses.

  3. I never liked chicken, or chicken soup! These dumplings look great.

  4. YUM! love dumplings - my Taiwanese friend taught me to make them. And I've always wondered what a good vegetarian alternative would be for chicken soup (which I am fond of). This sounds great. I also like the rice congee option, though I don't know if that is truly vego safe.

  5. A proposito di zenzero... ieri la mia insegnate di yoga mi ha offerto un tè nero in segno di pace (mi aveva distrutta!)... ho bevuto il primo sorso e sono quasi svenuta: conteneva fra gli altri peperoncino, zenzero, semi di finocchio e boh, mah... devo dire però che l'ho trovato corroborante... tipo un vin brulè!
    (viva lo zenzero!)
    I tuoi ravioli sono proprio belli: li fai spesso? Io li ho fatti una sola volta... una faticaccia stendere le palline di pasta e chiuderle bene... ma che buoni!

  6. Claud, questi li faccio spesso semplicemente perche' compro i tondini di pasta gia' fatti nel negozio cinese :-)!

    Ma ogni tanto mi faccio anche i tortelloni e tortellini (vegtetariani) e li' si' che ci vuole tempo!!!!!!!!

  7. beh, non vale!! Io non li ho mai trovati!!

  8. Ciao Alessandra, that looks amazing... I'm sure you have soon recovered after this wonderful dish!

  9. Thank you Yari, yes! how did your trip in NZ go?

  10. That Rapunzel link is dead. And I also found the same one here.

  11. Thank you Amateur, I have updated the link. I'll check that link.

  12. Nope, that recipe is totally different (and certainly not vegetarian!) :-).



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