Sunday, February 14, 2010

Mushroom Soup with Potstickers

You've probably noticed that One Hot Stove has a new look. On Friday, I was in a mood to do some long-overdue renovation in this space, so I cleared out the clutter and painted the walls in pure white for the cleanest look possible. Now I think the look of the blog better reflects the way I want my life to be- uncluttered and simple. The biggest change is that I now have pages (like the recipe index, contact form, an About page) as tabs at the top of the blog. Thank you, blogger, for this great new feature.

Let me address a couple of housekeeping things:

(a) The search box at the top of the side-bar is the best way to locate a particular recipe that you are searching for. Alternatively, use the Recipes page (the recipe collection is still being updated) at the top of the blog.

(b) Some people report having trouble using the contact form; others seem to have no problem because I get mails through the contact form all the time. I tested it a few times and it seems to work OK now, but if you have trouble, let me know.

I looked at a bunch of contact forms and chose this kontactr one because (a) it sends mails directly to my inbox where I can respond to them quickly, which is not a functionality available with using, for instance, google docs to create the form, and (b) it was simple to set up unlike some other sites which required uploading files to the server etc. If you know of a better contact form, I would love to know about it. And I tried to remove the captcha requirement from the present form since that's the source of the problems, but it cannot be removed.

(c) Comments: I know many people leave a comment using the "anonymous" option because they don't have blogs or websites and so don't want to use the "Name/URL" option. In fact, the URL part is optional, so you can use that option and just leave the URL field blank. In the name field, you can write your full name, first name, initials, nickname, Internet pseudonym- whatever you prefer. It was brought to my attention that some people don't know that the URL field is optional so that's what I wanted to point out.

If the blog looks wonky in your browser, and if you have comments or suggestions about the way it looks, please let me know. I'm constantly looking for ways to make this space as functional, pleasing and user-friendly as possible.

* * *
Now to the most important issue on hand- food! Today's recipe is another simple soup. What can I say- we have soup weather, although it is not quite as soupy here as some parts of the North-East US. This soup came together in minutes from whatever I had on hand in the fridge and freezer, and we enjoyed it so much that I decided it was blog-worthy.

Life always needs back-up plans and I certainly keep a few back-up foods in the pantry and freezer, including a bag of frozen vegetable potstickers/dumplings (gyoza) from Trader Joe's. Potstickers are Chinese dumplings, cute little dough purses filled with vegetables or other fillings. More about potstickers here and here. In my freezer, the bag of potstickers patiently sits there for months on end, to be pulled out one evening for a dinner rescue mission.

This could not be simpler- vegetables are simmered in stock, seasoned with a chili black bean sauce, and the soup is finished off by cooking potstickers right in the soup.

This chili bean sauce (this brand is the one I happen to use) is the spiciest thing in my kitchen, which is saying something because I have things like habanero peppers and Kolhapuri chutney in my kitchen as well. But the chili bean sauce has a fiery and rich taste that adds incredible flavor to many of my Chinese-inspired dishes. Use only a small dab of it or you will have a coughing fit with every bite. This brand does contain MSG, but I personally don't have a problem with using MSG every once in a while, especially in such small amounts.

Mushroom Potsticker Soup


1. In a soup pot, add
3-4 cups vegetable stock/mushroom stock 
4-5 cups chopped mixed vegetables

I used sliced baby bella mushrooms, green onions (white parts; save green parts for garnish), a handful of frozen corn and carrots cut in small dice. Other vegetables would also work well, such as broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, spinach.

2. Bring to a boil and simmer until the vegetables are barely tender.

3. Season the soup with chili bean sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar to taste. Keep tasting and adjusting the seasonings, perhaps adding a tiny bit of sugar to balance out the flavors.

4. Add 6-8 frozen vegetable potstickers and let the soup come to a boil. Simmer for 2-3 minutes or until the potstickers are cooked through.

5. Garnish with green onions (green parts), cilantro and a splash of toasted sesame oil. Serve right away.

This soup was light, filling and flavorful all at the same time. You could add cubes of tofu to the soup to add extra protein. As long as you make sure to use vegan dumplings, this soup is suitable for vegans.

* * * 
A funny thing happened- I was reading Bong Mom's To The Market post (it is a wonderful read about Indian food markets) and remembered a post I wrote 4 years ago about a vegetable market in Kolhapur. I went back to read my post and what do you think I found hidden in the last picture on that page? Some Manila tamarind, which I was asking you all about here a few days ago. It was right under my nose the whole time and I had no clue!

Enjoy your Sunday; Happy Valentine's Day and I hope you get some of the sweet sweet love that's in the air.

25 comments:

  1. Nupur, the new blog look is great! Very fresh. And your soup looks perfect for today. Next time I'm at the store I'll have to check the frozen potstickers to see if they're vegan. Have a great day!

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  2. Lisa- Hi! Yes, we have some snow going on today, I'm craving soup already.
    I checked the gyoza package when I read your comment, and the ingredients mentioned are all vegan! Yay! However, I glanced at the cholesterol amount, checking to see that it said 0, and is says "less than 5 mg", now why should there be any cholesterol at all?? But it does seem from the ingredient list that these are vegan.

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  3. Like the new fresh clean look :)

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  4. Yup those potstickers come in handy for one pot soups all the time. Love this one too.

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  5. I love the new look...neat and fresh! The soups with dumplings and loads of veggies looks super yumm...more like a one pot meal....one question though, do you get these dumpling in all stores like walmart? Coz we don't have trader's Joe :(

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  6. This looks yummy. However, I have not heard of potstickers before. What are they? Where do I find them? Thanks for teaching me something new!

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  7. i always have pot stickers in my freezer.. love ur light new look and the soup, stay warm!

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  8. I keep potstickers in my freezer, too. Sometimes they're homemade, sometimes store bought. But with potstickers and some homemade broth, and a bit of green onion, I can always get a quick and easy soup on the table. I love the new blog design!

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  9. Even the header has something new! You are quite the pro now!

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  10. yeah, what are vegetable potstickers ??

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  11. Amruta- Thanks!

    indosungod- Yes, one pot soups can save the day.

    Preeti Kashyap- I don't know about the availability in Walmart; I don't shop there. A good source for frozen potstickers/dumplings is Asian grocery stores, so if you have any of those in your town, that would be a good place to check.

    Jennifer- Potstickers are Chinese dumplings. Dough (made of flour) is rolled into a round and filled with a vegetable mixture (or some other filling), the edges are sealed to make a cute dumpling and those can be pan-fried or steamed or boiled. You can find them in Asian grocery stores, or make them yourself, and they are available in some other American stores too, like Trader Joe's if you live near one. I've updated the post with a link to an informative article about potstickers.

    Mallugirl- I hope you are staying warm too!

    Lydia- Oh, that's what I should do, make a batch of potstickers myself for the freezer!

    Anita- A pro? I wish :)

    Lady Hope- Potstickers are Chinese dumplings. I've updated the post with more information about these.

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  12. Black on white is my favourite colour combo in real life (or white on black - but that's no good for reading on computer screens)... which begs the question why my blog is so damn pink! :D I love your new "clean" site, Nupur!

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  13. love those potstickers - and the new look with the tabs is fabulous-
    yogurt post made an interesting read - we just stir in a spoon as you said - the humidity and the live cultures do their job for us, without much sweat - but preparing dahi in cold weather is another thing altogether - hope both V and you are doing great.
    Love
    N

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  14. Nupur, love the new look of your blog! I have been meaning to add Google blog pages to my blog too, got to get to it soon. Wow, mushroom potsticker soup is so unique, I have had potstickers many times but never in such a soup form.. looks delicious!

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  15. I love the new clean look on your blog! It will take me some time to get adjusted to this new look though :-). I am so used to the yellow background, that when I came here today I was like oh oh, what happened?
    Thanks for making so many changes for you readers to quickly get to so many amazing recipes!

    Meghana

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  16. Exactly !!!! Elementary dear Watson. I noticed the same thing in that pic :-) when I first saw it last week.

    BTW I linked that beautiful post but refrained from copying those wonderful pics since I saw they were not yours

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  17. What a great idea! I love the simplicity of this recipe!

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  18. Love the new look.....and your potsticker soup looks yum, I love potstickers and usually have some homemade ones in the freezer, but I've never used them in a soup.....this is a great idea, Thanks....

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  19. Love the spring cleaning of your blog :-)As for the soup, we are great fans of such soups which make for a wholesome meal; in fact, we just had big bowlfuls of vegetable and noodle soup for lunch. Yours looks so tempting.

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  20. Shyam- Actually, that's the precise reason I changed the color scheme, because black on white is the least strain on my eyes. The blogs that have white text on black/dark backgrounds just make my eyes water as I read them. But I like the happy pink of your blog :)
    I haven't seen an update on your blog for 3 weeks or so- hope all is well!

    Nandita- I know, in winter it gets a little tricky with the yogurt! But I am learning to tame the lactobacilli slowly :)
    We're doing very well, thank you, and I hope you two and the baby are well settled into the new home.

    Cynthia- Thank you :)

    PJ- I was so thrilled to be able to make pages instead of hiding them awkwardly in the archives! Potstickers just make the soup hearty and filling, a good quick meal.

    Meghana- Thank you! I am taken aback when I see my own blog too, I still have to get used to the new look.
    I'm still working on the recipes page, trying to find some way to organize hundreds of recipes into a user-friendly form!

    Bong Mom- Elementary is right! Just goes to show that I have so much to learn even with things that seem familiar. Thanks so much for linking the post! Yes, the pics were taken by a dear friend and not by me. Sometimes it takes a tourist to notice things that I take for granted.

    Radhika- Thank you!

    Neeta- I should take a cue from you and make a big batch for my freezer instead of buying them.

    Sunita- Mmm, noodle soup sounds like a delicious lunch!

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  21. Really? blogger has all this? I will have to write you and find out more....thanks for letting us know. and love the new look!

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  22. Nupur, I love the new look! I noticed the new feature in blogger with the pages, but have been hesitant to try it. I think I might give it a try!

    And the potsticker soup looks so delicious. Which reminds me that I'm very hungry and it's time for dinner! ; )

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  23. I love the new look and newly added features. Potsticker soup is nice.

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  24. wow I am so impressed with your new look - it was a surprise but a pleasant one and you have inspired me to look at the new pages function - maybe I can clean up my act too - and the potstickers in soup appeals to me - though I have never found potstickers to buy - maybe I need to check our asian shops more

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