For New Years Eve, Will and I went to my parents and cooked dinner. His contribution was a traditional New Years dumpling called money bags. Here’s what he has to say about it:
I just got this cookbook for Christmas, and decided to adapt this recipe (which usually is made with pork) for dinner, in honor of the New Year. I omitted the shrimp, replaced the pork with wheat gluten, and added some extra oil and seasoning to replace the salt and fat that would otherwise be in the filling. The recipe called for 3 cups of sweet-potato starch, which I think must be a typo.
New Year Money Bags (Jin Yuan Bao)?
Adapted from Cooking From China’s Fujian Province by Jacqueline M. Newman.
8 dried Chinese style shittake mushrooms, soaked stems down, stems removed.
8 oz wheat gluten or other meat substitute (I used ‘mian chang’ — wheat gluten intestine, and mine was made with some soy as well).
4 scallions, green and white parts
4 cloves garlic, or 2 cloves of garlic and 2 stalks fresh garlic if available
4 slices fresh ginger, peeled
1/2 C fresh cilantro, with some stems, washed and dried
salted mustard stem or other salted Chinese vegetable
4 tsp regular soy sauce
4 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp vegetable oil
4 tsp Fujian / Fukien rice wine (probably can substitute Shaoxing if not available)
pinch or two of salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
pinch vegetarian bouillon or seasoning (optional)
3 Tbsp sweet-potato flour (note: this is not the same as potato flour / potato starch, though you could probably sub potato starch or cornstarch)
1 package square wonton wrappers (eggless if you’re trying to make vegan)
1 egg, beaten, ener-g egg replacer or corn / potato starch mixed with water vegetable oil, for frying.
Wring out the wheat gluten and shittakes so that they’ll soak up as much of the liquids as possible.
Finely mince the mushrooms, wheat gluten, scallions, garlic / fresh garlic stalks, ginger, and cilantro. Chop the salted vegetable a little more coarsely. Mix together.
Mix the wet ingredients along with the salt, white pepper, and vegetarian boullion or seasoning.
Add the sweet-potato flour and wet ingredients to the mushroom / wheat gluten mixture, and combine. Let set for a little for the liquid ingredients to get absorbed.
The recipe’s directions for folding the pouches are pretty unhelpful. I mostly just followed my father-in-law, but this is one of those times where a picture is worth 1000 words. Basically like a normal wonton, but you try not to leave much space in the middle, and you push the points down and square off the ends to try and form roughly an “ingot” shape. Use the egg or water / starch slurry to seal.
Deep-fry in vegetable oil until golden and crispy, and let drain on a rack. Serve with any kind of dipping sauce (we had a simple sauce with lemon, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and sugar, but I bet a thick sweet / sour type sauce or Chinese mustard would be good too).