Image fro midtownlunch.com
On NYU’s Campus, there were a ton of places around Washington Square Park to eat. Café Spice for Indian, CafeTasia or Spice for cheap Thai, and a million of burger spots and diners for students on budgets. Most of the random spots were nasty, or super greasy, or just a tad too expensive for my non-existent budget. There was always “The Eatery”, a spot right across from the school that served overpriced stale sandwiches. We called it “The Cheatery”.
And then Rickshaw Dumplings opened on 8th street. Rickshaw was the brainchild of two NYU Stern Grads, who collaborated with chef Anita Lo to create fresh dumplings with somewhat natural ingredients and interesting sauces. They were affordable and tasty, and great for grabbing a quick lunch while running back to Finance (not that I was in a rush to get back to finance, but still…) Because of the founders, the restaurant was tied in to the school, with students doing strategy projects on the brand. I don’t remember how the presentations went, but I do remember them passing out warm chocolate soup dumplings in class. And that strategy worked: I went back time after time.
At Rickshaw, you can get your dumplings in a salad, plain or in a soup bowl. Check out these flavors:
- Classic Pork: Duroc all-natural pork with cabbage, ginger, scallion & soy sesame dip
- Chicken & Thai Basil: Bell & Evans chicken with lemongrass, glass noodle, carrot & spicy peanut dip
- Szechuan Chicken: Bell & Evans chicken with Szechuan chili, white soy bean & chili soy dip
- Peking Duck: Local Hudson Valley duck with cabbage, scallion 5-spice & hoisin dip
- Vegetarian Edamame: Organic edamame with lemon in a whole wheat wrapper & lemon sansho dip
- Shrimp: Sweet jicama and scallion & creamy wasabi dip
- Km Chi Beef: Angus beef and homemade Kim Chi & mimi dip
The 8th street location has since closed, but they have added a food truck that roams around Manhattan serving dumpling goodness.
Don’t live in NYC? Or don’t feel like going downtown and dealing with the NYU kids? Make your own. I was so excited when Apartment Therapy interviewed Kenny Lao, one of the founders, and got his recipe for their classic dumplings. I use ground turkey instead. Either way they are delicious…
Images from apartment therapy.com
Adapted from Kenny Lao
From Apartment Therapy (http://www.thekitchn.com/
makes about 80 dumplings, depending on wrappers used
1/2 head of Napa cabbage
1 tablespoon salt
1 pound fresh ground turkey or other ground meat
1 bunch scallion, chopped
1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
2 eggs, beaten
2 packets round dumpling wrappers (most brands have 30-45 wrappers per package)
vegetable oil for frying
For the dipping sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sriracha or other hot chili sauce
Cut the cabbage crosswise into thin strips. Toss in a large bowl with salt in a bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. Take handfuls and wring out the moisture. Dump out any remaining water in the bowl. Combine the cabbage with the turkey, scallion, cilantro, soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, pepper and eggs. Mix well with a large spoon or, preferably, your clean hands.
Set yourself up in a spacious work area with the dumpling wrappers, a little bowl of water and a large cutting board or cookie sheet. Grab a helper or two. Lay out a dozen or so dumpling wrappers. Place about 1 tablespoon filling in the center of each wrapper. Dip your fingertip in the water and trace the outside edge of the wrapper with water. Fold the wrapper over to make a half circle and make a pleat at the top of the curve. Pinch in the sides then lift up the edges to meet the center, creating a pouch. Pinch the top together and bend out the sides slightly to curve.
Heat a skillet over high until very hot. Add 1 tablespoon oil (a little less if using a non-stick pan) and coat the sides. Place enough dumplings in a single layer to line the pan, then stand back and carefully pour in a 1/2 cup of water (enough to immerse the dumplings by 1/2-inch.) Cover and cook until the water is absorbed.
Holding the pan with a hot pad, place a large plate or platter as a cover on the pan and invert. Scrape the dumpling out with a spatula (careful of non-stick surfaces.)
Repeat with the remaining dumplings.
To make the dipping sauce, combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
Serve dumplings hot with the dipping sauce.
Note: These freeze amazingly well. All you have to do is defrost and cook on the stovetop. I suggest freezing them in packs of 4 or whatever serving size, because they stick together. Otherwise you’ll end up with a clump of dumpling mess.
Image from eatmedaily.com
Check out Rickshaw at:
61 W 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010
(btw 5th & 6th Ave)
459 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10017
(@ 45th Street)
Rickshaw Times Square
Broadway Plaza, New York, NY 10036
(btwn 42nd & 43rd)
Find us on twitter: @rickshawtruck
Book the truck: 212.796.6090 x4102