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Food: ‘Dumpling surprise’ for a healthy take-along meal

Have lunch, will travel

Try a delicious dumpling surprise for your next take-along lunch. PHOTO BY TOM CASTRIGNO.

By Tom Castrigno

Often, people ask me for ideas about a healthy lunch that travels well. It has to be easy to make ahead, too. They’re looking for a change of pace from a sandwich or soup in a thermos. My wife, Kathy, often takes two meals with her when she goes to work. Seeing patients from midday into the evening at her practice, Frisco Acupuncture, leaves virtually no time to go out, and little time to stop and eat. The food she takes needs to be good at room temperature and easy to eat on the run if necessary.

One of her favorites that I make every other week or so is what we call “dumpling surprise.” In a restaurant, dumplings are typically served on a bed of thinly sliced cabbage. This is a great start. I also add shredded fresh ginger, and minced jalapeno. These two ingredients give a warning, savory element. Sometimes I’ll mix in some grated carrot (using a box grater) or sliced red bell pepper to add color. To finish the dish I sprinkle toasted sesame seeds, minced green onion or fresh cilantro over the top.

Rice vinegar and Mirin sauce are the 'secret' ingredients for a tasty side dressing.

The real secret to success with this dish is the dressing. I aim for a sweet and sour combination to enhance the cabbage and complement the ginger. I have found a simple way to do this is with mirin, a sweet Japanese cooking wine, and rice vinegar in equal parts or to taste. A drizzle of toasted sesame oil on the dumplings also adds a nice touch. All of these are available at City Market. Continue reading

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