Chosen Eats: Mei Mei Restaurant’s Pierogi Dumplings

With Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year, the next week offers lots of opportunities for good eating. There’s a strong chance you’ve already got your chocolate-laden menu lined up for Saturday, so Mei Li from Mei Mei Restaurant (and the food truck Mei Mei Street Kitchen) was kind enough to contribute a recipe for your “Year of the Sheep” celebration.

These vegetarian, root vegetable-filled pierogi dumplings highlight the Mei Mei philosophy; their food truck and restaurant menus are packed with seasonal dishes that meld cultures. When we talked, Mei professed a longtime love of Jewish cuisine and named matzah ball soup as one of her favorite dishes of all time.

She and her crew will be bringing their cross-culture ideology to New Center NOW’s popular Beyond Bubbie’s Kitchen event on March 1, where they’ll serve these pierogi dumplings alongside dozens of other chefs’ modern takes on Jewish dishes. If you’d like to see what Craigie on Main’s Tony Maws does with kasha varnishkas or try State Park’s Tyler Sundet’s take on Manischewitz “caviar,” you’ve got to check it out.

This is Mei Mei Restaurant and Street Kitchen’s second year participating in the event. Last year they served one of their food truck’s newest menu items, a vibrant, flavor-packed thai curry borscht. “It’s a great mix of chefs and people, and we had so much fun that we’re excited to do it again,” Mei said.

Even if you can’t make it to Beyond Bubbie’s Kitchen, Mei’s inventive pierogies might just inspire some creative culinary fusion in your own home.

Mei Mei Restaurant’s Pierogi Dumplings

Makes about 50 dumplings

I used medium-starch Yukon Gold potatoes in this recipe. Serve these dumplings with Sriracha-spiked sour cream (recipe below) or your favorite dipping sauce. You can steam, boil or fry these dumplings. I fried them using the following method: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add dumplings in one layer, cook until brown on one side, then flip and cook until brown on second side, adding oil as needed. Repeat with remaining dumplings. Drain on paper towel-lined plate.

2 pounds potatoes, washed
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, diced
¼ cup thinly sliced cabbage or broccoli
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and pepper
1 package round dumpling or wonton wrappers

Sriracha-Spiked Sour Cream

½ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce
1 tablespoon chopped scallions

1. Peel half of potatoes, then cut into 1-inch pieces. (Keeping some of the potato skins provides nice textural contrast to the filling.) Place potato pieces into large pot filled with cold water and bring to boil. Cook until potatoes are very soft and mashable. Drain and transfer to large bowl. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and cabbage or broccoli and cook until soft. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, another 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Add remaining 6 tablespoons butter, cheddar cheese and onion-cabbage mixture to potatoes. Mash gently with potato masher or fork until ingredients are combined and potatoes are mostly smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let mixture cool for 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, prepare dipping sauce (if using): In small bowl, stir together sour cream, Sriracha and scallions until combined. Set aside.

5. Spoon one spoonful filling into center of dumpling or wonton wrapper. Fold and steam, boil or fry according to preference. Serve with Sriracha-spiked sour cream or your favorite dipping sauce.

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