Is food sexy? Should food be sexy? If cooking for someone is love and love is sex does that mean that cooking for someone is seduction? Here is what prince has to say about it:
(you should listen to the song while you read this post, but I didn’t want to force you to)
We need to talk about things
Tell me what cha do, tell me what cha eat
I might cook for you
See it really don’t matter ’cause it’s all about me and you
Ain’t no one else around
I’m even with the blindfold, gagged and bound
I don’t mind
See this ain’t about sex
It’s all about love being in charge of this life
And the next
Why all the cosmic talk?
I just want you smarter than I’ll ever be
When we take that walk
Come here baby, yeah
You sexy motherfucker
These are the questions that were circling my mind last night as I made the sexiest food I could think of. Susan over at Fat Free Vegan is having a Vegetable Love contest. The idea was to make a sexy dish for Valentine’s day and just the idea of it sent my head spinning. My first thought was asparagus and then quickly followed by mangoes. I thought about Oysters, I remember Dan Fielding was always seducing his conquests with oysters on Night Court but obviously they fall into the not vegan category. I knew I wanted to make some sort of dumpling as well so that the meal would be squishy and bursting with flavor but it also had to be spicy so I decided to stuff my dumplings with some sort of mango Thai fry. I thought about making a seitan sausage but I quickly decided that would be too much work and it would overpower the filling. I didn’t want to use tofu because that is such an easy way out! Then, inspiration hit me in such a way that if I were a cartoon a light bulb would have burst over my head: Oyster Mushrooms! It occurred to me to wrap the dumpling like a giant tortellini around an asparagus and finish them off on a bed of coconut rice. I went to the store thinking about how I was going to create something that could truly be called food porn.
Making the meal was certainly a labor of love but once I tasted it and Dan said, “I can’t believe you came up with this whole dish” I knew it was all worth it. This was one of the best meals I have ever made.
Asparagus Mango Dumplings with Coconut Basil Rice
For the Dumpling Wrappers:
2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup of boiling water
Add the water to a bowl with the flour and mix together with a wooden spoon. If it is too sticky you can add more flour a tablespoon at a time. If it is too dry you can add more water a tablespoon at a time. Knead for 10 minutes until a hole poked in the dough fills back in. Let it rest in a covered bowl for 30 minutes.
For the Filling:
*save your onion, garlic, scallion, and cilantro scraps for the steaming water
1 red onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon of curry powder
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon of ginger, chopped
2 red chili peppers, chopped
1/2 lbs of oyster mushrooms, separated into smaller pieces
1/2 cup of mango pineapple juice (or one or the other)
1 mango, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
Heat a bit of oil or broth in a large skillet or wok on high heat. Once hot, add the onion and sauté for about three minutes. Add the spices wait a minute, stir, and then add garlic, chilies, and ginger. Stir for another minute then add the mushrooms and stir fry for another 3 minutes. Deglaze the bottom of the pan with the juice and add the mango. Sauté for another minute or two then add the scallions and cilantro and remove from the heat.
For the Rice
1 teaspoon of coconut butter
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 scallion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup of basil, reserve some for plating and chop the rest
1 cup of rice
2 cups of water
1 teaspoon of Vegeta or broth powder
Melt the coconut butter over medium heat making sure that it doesn’t burn. Add the garlic and scallion and sauté for about three minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, the rice, and the basil and cook another minute. Finally, add the water and the broth powder, mix well, reduce heat to low, cover and steam rice for about 30 minutes.
6 asparagus, end removed
red cabbage leaves to line the steamer
2 limes, quartered
Fill your steamer pot with water, the leftover trimmings, and the limes. Line your steamer tray with red cabbage leaves. I have a bamboo steamer that has two layers, you could use a steamer insert though and just do three at a time putting them upright and then keeping them warm in the oven. Roll out your dough into a rope and tear of fist sized portion. Roll the dough into a ball and then press it together between to parchment sheet. Roll it into a thin flat disc, about 7 inches in diameter. Scoop two tablespoons of filling into the middle of the disc and then seal into a half moon shape. Place the asparagus with the bottom in the middle of the dumpling and fold the two corners over it and seal the edges with water if necessary. Repeat until you have 6 for two people. I made extra dumplings with the leftover filling for later and just folded them into half moons without the asparagus. Bring the steamer water to a boil and place the dumpling in the tray. Alternate the trays after about 5 minutes of cooking. Remove the dumpling with tongs and if the rice isn’t ready put them in a warmed oven until you are ready. For plating I put the steamed red cabbage leaves and some basil leaves on the bottom of the bowl, I molded the rice into a smaller bowl and inverted it in the center of the dish. I topped arranged the dumplings on top, and sprinkled some sesame seeds and a mix of soy sauce, lime, and siracha. Enjoy!