Korean Lentils to Melt Your Heart: Recipe #237

I just finished the Plum Village online retreat “Love is the way.” One key insight I received was that whatever we are chasing after is already inside us. What does this have to do with Korean lentils?

Well, we already have what we are looking for, we just need to remove the idea that we don’t have it. Love is effortless if we remove the idea that we are separated and alone. You are not alone, you are not separate from everyone else, we’re all in this together.

In this spirit of love and interconnection, I’d like to share this scrumptious healing recipe for sweet, tangy Korean lentils that was inspired by Sam. They will absolutely melt your heart.

Thanks to you all for being part of our delicious, mindful, planet-saving family!

Ingredients ($2.50 to serve 3-4)

1 1/2 cups water – free
1/4 cup soy sauce – $0.40
2 tbsp brown sugar – $0.06
1 tbsp garlic powder – $0.70
1 tsp ground ginger – $0.28
1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil – $0.15
1 tbsp canola oil – $0.05
1 small onion, chopped – $0.50
3/4 cup red lentils – $0.51
Cooked rice and corn to serve

Directions for Korean Lentils

1. In a medium bowl, mix the water, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic powder, ginger, and toasted sesame oil.

In a medium pot, heat the canola oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until the onion softens and starts to brown. Next, add the lentils and stir to coat the lentils in the onion loveliness. Then add in the sauce that you mixed together in your bowl. Stir to combine the sauce with the lentils and onions.

2. Cover the pot and cook at a low boil for about 10 minutes. After this time, the lentils will be soft and the sauce will be mostly gone. While the lentils are cooking, make rice as you normally would (I use 2 parts water, 1 part dry rice, then cover and bring to a boil then turn off the heat to let it absorb).

Serve the sumptuous Korean lentils hot in a bowl with the rice and some creamed corn (recipe coming next) or any other vegetable you like. Enjoy this bowl of love and know that you already have everything you need. ❤️

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 1 = <4 servings
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 16/18

If any of you lovely readers tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Vegan Potstickers/Gyoza/Mandu Dumplings: Recipe #214

Many cultures have a filled dumpling kind of food: samosas, empanadas, pierogies, ravioli, mochi, blueberry buns… Maybe we’re on a quest to try them all! In Japan and Korea these marvels are savory and can be filled with veggies like cabbage and mushrooms. They’re fun to cook, steamed on one side and fried on the other side, then dipped in a sesame soy based sauce. All the kids went back for seconds of these vegan potstickers. Hope you enjoy! Thanks to Bianca for inspiration.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($11 for about 12 gyoza)

Gyoza dough:
2 1/2 cups flour – $0.40
1/2 tsp salt – $0.03
2/3 cup hot water – free
Cornstarch to dust

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil – $0.40
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped – $0.15
1 tsp ginger – $0.28
1 leek, chopped – $1.49
1 package enoki mushrooms – $2.49
1 head savoy cabbage, chopped – $2.49
1 orange pepper, chopped – $1.69
2 tbsp soy sauce – $0.20
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar – $0.27
Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp canola oil for cooking – $0.04
1/4 cup water – free

3 tbsp soy sauce – $0.30
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar – $0.27
1 tbsp maple syrup – $0.24
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil – $0.04

Garnish (optional): tofu, sesame seeds, green onion

Directions for Vegan Potstickers

1. Make the dough: In a medium bowl, mix the flour and salt, then pour in the hot water while stirring until it comes together into a ball of dough. Knead with your hands for 5 minutes, then wrap it in cling wrap and refrigerate for 1/2 hour to 1 hour.

After that, roll it out on a board dusted with cornstarch to a round shape as thin as you can make it. Use a round cookie cutter about 3″ wide to cut out circles that will be used to wrap the dumplings.

2. Make the filling: In a large pan, heat the 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil over medium high heat, then add in the garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the garlic starts to turn golden, then add in the ginger and leeks and cook for 3-5 more minutes to soften the leeks.

Add in the mushrooms, cabbage, and pepper, followed by the 2 tbsp soy sauce and 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar. Cook for 5-7 more minutes until the cabbage is wilted and the liquid is mostly gone. Set aside to cool for the filling stage.

3. Assemble and cook the gyoza: Use your fingers to stretch a wrapper out a little bit more, then add a full teaspoon of filling to the center of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over the filling like a taco shell, working from one end and pinching the two sides along the edge in a diagonal overlapping pattern (see pictures below), or any pattern you like.

Heat up the canola oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the dumplings and cook for about 3 minutes until they get nice and golden on the bottom, then pour in the 1/4 cup water and cover the pot with a lid. Steam for about 8 minutes until the water has evaporated, then remove the potstickers carefully from the pot with a flapjack (they will be a lovely shade of brown after being nicely stuck to the pan).

Stir the sauce ingredients together, and serve with the gyoza/vegan potstickers, the leftover filling, tofu, and any garnishes you like. Enjoy hot from the pan!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings: 2 = 4-6 servings
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If any of you amazing home chefs tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!