Vegetarian dumplings were once a strict equation to me: finely shredded cabbage, minced five-spice tofu, chopped scallions, and maybe some shiitake mushrooms, or clear strands of bean starch noodles. This simple formula I had been raised to identify as the proper filling for a meat-free (and admittedly inferior) version of the favorite comfort food. It wasn’t until more recent years that I realized this colorless, choppy mixture didn’t need to be just so… or just so inferior.
Hold the fries with these: who needs them when you have a crisp on the bottom, chewy on the top homemade noodle encapsulating a juicy nugget of better-than-Grade-A beef, with melted shreds of sharp cheddar and caramelized onions inside? That’s a happy meal for me alone. Alright, and some soy sauce (or ketchup? I can’t decide!) doesn’t hurt for dipping.