Wednesday 23 March 2011

Steamed Vegetarian Dumplings

Inspired by my recent visit to the Shanghai Noodle House in Little Chinatown, I bought geegaw wrappers in the supermarket to make dumplings. I wanted those wrappers. Even though there was only one packet left and it had a rip in it, I was compelled to buy it.

The rip in the packet of wrappers meant I needed to use it quickly. All I needed was some cabbage. I set to making dumplings as soon as I bought a wombak cabbage and my new oven was functioning (even though the renovations are not yet finished - but there is some hope it wont be long).

I love how varied dumplings can be. In the UK they are little balls of dough simmered in a hearty stew, in Italy they are stylish chunks gnocchi or ravioli in pasta sauce, in Jewish culture, they are matzo balls in chicken broth, in Austria they are baked and stuffed and can be sweet concoctions, in Poland they are little parcels of pierogi with lots of creamy sauce, in India they are spicy koftas in gravy. There is even a potato dumpling museum in Germany - I want to go there!

No matter what they are, dumplings are always comforting. I don't make them enough. But I do love finding recipes to inspire me. I have recently been checking out recipes on Where's the Beef and Leading the Good Life which helped me mould the contents of my vegetable crisper into dumplings.

I steamed them, partly because it is easy and forgiving. I sat with Sylvia while the dumplings steamed. It was her bedtime but she was unsettled and needed lots of attention. As we sat, the timer rang and it took me some time to get out to turn off the hotplate but the dumplings were fine. That was the second batch. I steamed the first batch, hoping Sylvia might enjoy one or two. She liked nibbling at the edges of the wrappers but one she got to the filling she spat it out. It was a little spicy for me but E found it just right.

I wasn't quite sure how to serve them. By the time I had made them I served them plain. I figured they had enough veg and seasoning but, really, I was too tired. In an ideal world I might have made a dipping sauce and even some salad to serve with them. Maybe next time.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Eat Drink Blog Conference - notes and reflections
This time three years ago: BBD #08 Hot Cross Buns

Steamed Vegetarian Dumplings
with inspiration from Where's the Beef* and Leading the Good Life
makes 30 dumplings (serves 2 without side dishes)
  • 30 geegaw wrappers*
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
  • kernels of half a cob of corn
  • 4 large leaves of wombak cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cauliflower, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 5 button mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • 110g firm tofu, either marinated or plain, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 2 tsp dry sherry
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp chilli paste
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
*For gluten free wrappers, you can follow Michael's recipe at the above link. Thanks Cindy for the reminder of this recipe. And use a GF soy sauce such as tamari.

Heat oil in frypan and place in vegetables as you chop them in the order listed. Once all vegetables are in the pan, fry until vegetables are soft. Add tofu and seasonings and stir until all liquid is absorbed.

Before stuffing dumplings, prepare your work space. Have a large flat surface to place prepared dumplings, a tea towel to cover the prepared dumplings, a small bowl or mug of water, and a pile of wrappers.

To assemble: Peel a wrapper off, place it in the palm of your hand and place one or two teaspoonfuls in the middle. Dip a finger in the water and dampen half of the edges. Fold over and seal well.

Heat water in the bottom of a steamer. Line steamer with baking paper and arrange dumplings on it. Place lid on and steam dumplings for 15 minutes. If you are caught up when the timer rings and you can't get to it, so long as you have put a generous amount of water in the bottom of the steamer, it will be fine. When they are done, I lifted the dumplings on the paper, gently pulled each off the paper (because mine were a little crowed) and arranged them nicely.

On the stereo:
Dunkle Walder: Strydewolf


  1. I love dumplings just for the reason you said - you can stuff them with anything! This stuffing you've chosen sounds absolutely wonderful...I feel inspired to pick up some wrappers next time I'm at the store!

  2. How yummy! I completely agree with you about adoring dumplings.

    Thanks so much for the gluten-free link. There always needs to be a gluten-free option at our house!

  3. They look fantastic Johanna-well done on your dumplings! :D

  4. wow - the look so professional! I will have to try out the gF variety!

  5. Yum, these look great and quite easy to make. I have really been getting into dumplings lately since upgrading to vegan status :)

  6. I am a dumpling lover! It was the first thing I ever blogged about :D You can even buy a sneaky dumpling press these days, super cheap and you just squeeze it together and it pleats them for you! Yours sound tasty :D

  7. Your dumplings look great and the filling sounds very tasty. The only time I have made dumplings I was tired by the end too. From memory I churned out 60!

    As vegiebug says, the dumpling presses are a handy tool which can be also used for making filled pasta, this is what I used when I made agnolotti recently. For a set of 3 sizes, I paid about $4-5 from Minh Phat supermarket in Richmond.

  8. Nice work! I can completely understand serving them plain - preparing the filling and fiddling with the wrappers is tiring enough, let alone tending to a kid along the way!

    It's been ages since we made dumplings at home and we really must do it again.

  9. I am a huge dumpling fiend and usually do batches of about 75 to 100 at a time, then freeze for later use. I've recently found a fantastic time-saving dumpling gadget: it is a little "clamp", like a circle with a hinge in the middle. You lay the wrapper over the circle, put your filling in the middle and then clamp it shut, and it seals the dumpling perfectly AND gives it a lovely crimped edge. They cost about $4.50 for a pack of 3 different sizes. Not many Asian groceries stock them, but I got mine in Footscray. A revelation!

  10. These are fabulous Johanna! I've always wanted to make dumplings and haven't gotten round to it. Love that these are healthy too.

  11. Mmmm, yummy! I've recently made steamed dumpling myself and liked them a lot! I totally agree that they're perfect comfort food! :)

  12. Healthy steamed dumplings, what more could you want!
    In an ideal world my cooking is quite often different, plain sounds fine to me.
    (and I love the idea of a potato dumpling museum.)

  13. Thanks Joanne - I need to experiment a bit more to try different stuffings - because you are right - the possibilities are endless

    Thanks Ellen - the gf option seems to be needed in many households these days

    Thanks Lorraine - glad they look fine to someone who knows their dumplings

    Thanks Lisa - good luck with the GF version - am sure it is worth the effort of making your own wrappers

    Thanks Karla - no wonder, this is easy yummy vegan fare

    Thanks Vegiebug - interesting you make unseasoned dumplings with dipping sauce - must try that - and will look out for gadget as would love pleated dumplings

    Thanks Mel - will have to check out the supermarket in min phat at vic market one lunchtime - the press sounds like a great energy saver

    Thanks Cindy - yes dumplings don't feature in my kitchen as often I would like - hope you make some soon though - they are sooooo good

    thanks Nicki - I actually made 30 thinking they would do us for a few nights but ended up eating them all - must try the clamp/press so I can make something else to go with them - i quite fancy them in soup

    Thanks Cakelaw - highly recommend trying making dumplings - they are so delish

    Thanks Kath - yes they are great comfort food - esp as they don't take that long to cook once they are together (or in the freezer)

    Thanks City Hippy Farmgirl - plain is just fine with me too though I want loads of salads and soups to go with it in my ideal world - and my sous chef to prepare it :-)

  14. Hi Johanna,

    Wow I've been looking for a recipe for these, perfect inspiration, we'll make them soon. We LOVE your blog and your kitchen looks great! We've linked to you on Yogi Kitchen.

  15. Yumm I love dumplings! Your filling sounds delicious. I like dipping (more like drowning) mine in dark vinegar mmm.


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