Long before everyone started buzzing about tapas bars, the Chinese had perfected the art of small plates. Going for dim sum (“heart’s delight”) is a weekend event—possibly the original Sunday brunch—in any city with a thriving Chinese community. In tea houses and dim sum restaurants, diners can choose among the sweet and savory tiny bites piled onto carts and sample dumplings right from the steamers as they’re wheeled by. Jasmine tea is served in endless pots, and you can graze on as many little treats as you please. There are usually only a handful of vegetarian offerings at dim sum eateries; most are filled with meat and seafood. These recipes allow you to make vegetarian dim sum. All but one of the recipes can be assembled beforehand and refrigerated or frozen until cooking time. In fact, most of them can go directly from freezer to steamer by just adding a couple of minutes to the cooking time. So you can throw a few delicious dumplings into a steamer as a stir-fry sizzles on the stove—and take a weeknight meal from ordinary to extraordinary. Or you can throw a Chinese New Year cocktail party (this year, it’s on February 7) and serve them all. You’ll wow your guests—and still have time for one more egg roll and maybe another cup of tea.
GINGER-SHIITAKE POT STICKERS & RED CRYSTAL SAUCE
This is a very dramatic dish—with the hissing steam and crackling oil, you can almost imagine you’re in Canton.
PER POT STICKER: 56 CAL; 2G PROT; 2G TOTAL FAT (0G SAT. FAT); 8G CARB; 4MG CHOL; 150MG SOD; 1G FIBER; 3G SUGARS
EGGPLANT SHU MAI DUMPLINGS & CHILI SAUCE
Shu Mai are the easiest dumplings to make. If you can’t find round gyoza wrappers, use a biscuit cutter to trim won ton or egg roll skins into circles.
PER DUMPLING: 36 CAL; 1G PROT; 1G TOTAL FAT (0G SAT. FAT); 6G CARB; 1MG CHOL; 135MG SOD; 1G FIBER; 1G SUGARS
GARLICKY GREENS DUMPLINGS & SESAME SAUCE
These dumplings are sure to be a hit, and they’re substantial enough to serve as a light meal. If you can’t find hot sesame oil, use regular sesame oil, and add 1/4 tsp. of crushed red pepper.
PER DUMPLING: 62 CAL; 2G PROT; 1.5G TOTAL FAT (0G SAT. FAT); 10G CARB; 5MG CHOL; 115MG SOD; 1G FIBER; 2G SUGARS
BAKED MINI EGG ROLLS & HOT MUSTARD SAUCE
We all love crunchy, fried egg rolls but wish they were a little lower in fat. This version produces a crisp bitesized roll using just a bit of oil. For maximum crunch, assemble these just before you plan to cook them.
PER EGG ROLL: 46 CAL; 2G PROT; 1G TOTAL FAT (0G SAT. FAT); 6G CARB; 5MG CHOL; 80MG SOD; 1G FIBER; 1G SUGARS
APRICOT-GINGER WON TONS & LEMON-HONEY SAUCE
This crisp, fruity dessert won ton is a delicious surprise. Serve it with warm caramel sauce for a decadent twist. For cinnamon sugar, blend 1 Tbs. sugar with 1 tsp. cinnamon, or look for vanilla sugar at gourmet stores. You’ll need a candy or deep-fry thermometer.
PER WONTON: 82 CAL; 1G PROT; 2.5G TOTAL FAT (0.5G SAT. FAT); 14G CARB; 3MG CHOL; 50MG SOD; 1G FIBER; 6G SUGARS