Lentils have been a a part of my life for as long as I have been cooking.
I remember when I was 12 or 13-years-old I would spend an inordinate amount of time tediously chopping celery, carrots and onion for a veggie red lentil soup that my mom had shown me how to make. I loved the idea of preparing a hearty soup from scratch…I just found it so darn hard to chop those vegetables. But, I kept making that lentil soup and eventually chopping vegetables became easier.
Lentils are versatile staple to have in your kitchen. It is a great idea to have a few varieties on hand. I almost always have red lentils, which can be orange coloured and are a split variety (not whole like French green lentils).
I like adding lentils to everyday foods just to kick the nutritional value up a notch. Lentils are a low glycemic food that can positively influence blood sugar levels in a person up to four hours after a meal!
One day I was making pork dumplings and I had some cooked split red lentils kicking around in my fridge. I decided to throw the lentils into the dumpling mix. I haven’t made pork dumplings without adding lentils (or another pulse) since! I hope you enjoy them as much as my family does.
I am taking part in a lentil recipe challenge over at Canadian Lentils. There’s so many ways to incorporate lentils into every day meals. This challenge is about sharing just how easy it can be!
(Makes approx. 60 dumplings – enough for a party or once cooked, they freeze well).
1 c. finely sliced green onions
1/3 c. finely chopped cilantro
1 T. plus 1 tsp. finely chopped, fresh ginger
5 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 lb. ground pork
1 c. cooked, red split lentils (*see note)
1 egg white
1 pkg of wonton wrappers (minimum 60 wrappers)
1 egg white
oil for cooking
1. Mix first 9 ingredients thoroughly. Use a food processor, if you have one, I use my hands and really ‘bond’ with the ingredients.
2. Lay out 16-20 wonton wrappers and spoon 1 round tsp. of filling onto each wrapper. Holding a filled wonton wrapper in palm of your hand, dip your finger into the egg white and then run along two edges of the wonton wrapper, generously. Fold the wonton wrapper in half with the two egg white edges coming together with the two dry edges. Pinch the joined edges to seal.
3. Place dumpling on a baking sheet, tapping the dumpling down to create a flat bottom. Keep dumplings covered with a damp cloth so they don’t dry out.
4. Repeat process until all of the filling is used up.
5. Heat 1 T. oil in pan. Once pan is hot, place dumplings in the pan, but preferably not touching, as they may stick to each other.
6. Let dumplings cook, uncovered, for about 5 minutes until flat bottoms are browned.
7. Add 1/3 c. of water to pan and cover, cooking for 5 minutes. Remove lid and cook for a few more minutes. Remove dumplings and keep warm. Repeat the process for the remaining dumplings until all are cooked.
Enjoy as an appetizer naked or with a dipping sauce like plum sauce mixed with a bit of sriracha.
* To be efficient, I usually cook at least 1 c. dried lentils at a time, which makes just over 2 c. cooked. I add cook red lentils to pasta sauce, to soups, to baking, really you can add them to anything!