The key to delicious and flavourful vegan dumplings is getting the filling just right and keeping it simple. Oh, and a good dipping sauce on the side is a must! Up your veg intake and make these healthy, juicy and tasty dumplings, you're going to love them.
Love dumplings? Here is one of the OG Pan Fried Dumplings (potstickers) with the classic pork and cabbage filling. For a much quicker alternative, give these no fancy folding required Easy Pork Wontons a go!
This recipe will show you 2 ways of cooking these vegetarian dumplings for added variety in taste and texture.
Keeping the dumpling ingredients simple means hopefully you can get all of these from your local major supermarket!
- Dumpling wrappers are now available at most Coles and Woolworths (major supermarkets in Australia)! However, you can always find them at every Asian grocer. If you want to make these dumplings completely from scratch, make your own dumpling wrappers! This step by step post have you covered. Also, I find homemade dumpling wrappers tend to be easier to wrap with. A bit more on this below.
- Shiitake mushrooms the umami powerhouse that makes everything super flavourful. Like my pimped up Chinese broccoli (gai lan) recipe with oyster sauce. These mushrooms can be bought in dried or fresh forms. Dried shiitake mushrooms are way more fragrant and is preferred here. You just have to soak them in hot water for about 20 minutes before dicing. Can also be found at any Asian grocer or Coles and Woolies.
- Sesame oil gives a really fragrant touch to the dumplings. A little goes a long way so just a few drops will do!
- Tofu aside from being a good protein filler, they're also excellent at absorbing flavours. Otherwise rather plain on their own, when combined with well-balanced ingredients and seasonings, tofu can taste amazing. Use the normal or standard textured tofu (not firm) as it'll keep the dumpling filling juicy! If you're not a fan of tofu, I hope this recipe will change your mind!
Step by step instructions
You're here because you're after DELICIOUS vegan dumplings and that's exactly what I'll share. Bear in mind, this also means there is an extra step involved compared to the usual meat dumplings. Skipping this step will mean flat-tasting dumplings and nobody wants that.
You've got to cook the filling first to pack as much flavour in as possible.
How to make vegan dumpling filling
To start, and very very importantly, cook the shiitake mushrooms on medium-low heat first and get it lovely golden. This is when the magic happens for shiitake mushrooms. The flavour becomes insanely good!
Then, add in onions and garlic, continue to stir fry on medium-low heat until soft. Add grated carrots, cook on high heat to lightly caramelise it before doing the same with spinach.
That's right, cooking the vegetables and adding them one type at a time helps each caramelise and develop depth of flavour.
This cooking process will take about 10 minutes. Without waiting for the filling to cool, combine with fresh tofu and seasoning. Mix until well combined and tofu around the same size as the rest of the vegetables.
How this is where things get a little technical.
Rather than trying to describe how to wrap the dumplings, scroll to the bottom (just above the recipe card) and watch the video I made for this recipe!
A couple of things to note:
- If using store-bought dumpling wrappers. I mentioned above that I find homemade dumpling wrappers easier to wrap with. This is because they're more malleable, meaning a little more stretchy. Store-bought ones are not so much and you've got to dab the top half of the dough (see below image #7) with a little water so that they stick and seal. In the video above I used homemade dumpling wrappers and thus did not have to dab the dough with water.
- Vegan dumpling filling is a bit loose. Unlike meat-filled dumplings, the ingredients don't stick together as well and thus be mindful of that when wrapping the dumplings. This means not overfilling and leaving plenty of room for wrapping and sealing. A bit like wrapping a spinach and ricotta ravioli.
2 cooking methods
You can either boil these dumplings or pan-fry them and thus turn them into pot-stickers.
- Boiling dumplings is definitely the quickest method, taking about 3 minutes in boiling time. However, to successfully boil dumplings, they have to have been wrapped really well ie. completely sealed. Otherwise, water can get in and you'll end up with very watery dumplings and fillings going into the boiling water. Or falling apart!
- Pan-frying is way more forgiving, however, do take a little longer. Nonetheless, it's definitely way more flavoursome! The beauty of making potstickers is that they're crispy at the bottom which means extra flavour. Also, if any dumplings weren't completely sealed, no need to worry as there will be no excess water getting in anyway.
For a dumpling beginner, the pan-frying method is the way to go.
Making the chilli oil dipping sauce
Literally takes 1 minute to make. All you've got to do is combine soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, minced garlic and Chinese chilli oil. Mix for a few seconds until the sugar has dessolved and done!
In these pictures, I used a store-bought chilli oil from my local supermarket, in the Asian aisle. Otherwise, any Asian grocer will have it (with many different brands to choose from!) or better yet, make your own chilli oil! If you're a sriracha lover, use that to make your dipping sauce instead!
Look at that crispy bottom! Vegan potstickers are so good.
Tips for making vegan dumplings perfect every time
- Make sure to completely seal the dumplings to avoid them from falling apart! Particularly important if using the boiling method.
- Do not overfill the dumplings, allow plenty of space to seal. About 1 teaspoon is a good rule of thumb.
- Unless you're making meat-filled dumplings, always cook the vegetables before wrapping vegan dumplings. This will provide a tone of and depth of flavour!
- Chop/grate vegetables finely so they integrate well together and have a consistent texture.
- Pan-fry the dumplings is a safe and flavour packed method. Especially for beginners.
- If boiling dumplings, make sure that the water is boiling vigorously before adding dumplings into the pot. Otherwise, the dumplings will sink to the bottom of the pot and stick. No matter what you use to get the dumplings unstuck (spatula, chopsticks, spoon) the dumplings will break. 🙁
Good to know (FAQs)
These sure are! Packed with lots of colourful veggies such as carrots and spinach. It is also filled with tofu which is packed with protein.
Absolutely! You can make the filling in advance and keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days before wrapping. Otherwise, wrap the dumplings in bulk (you can easily double the portions using the toggle in the recipe card under 'servings') and freeze them.
Serve with a side of vegetables such as a dim sum (yum cha) favourite Chinese broccoli (gai lan). For a more filling pairing, try my Chicken Noodle Stir Fry (swap chicken with firm tofu for a vegetarian alternative) or this flavour-packed Chinese Sausage Fried Rice!
How to freeze dumplings
To freeze wrapped vegan dumplings, first, lay dumplings out in a single layer on a large, lightly floured tray(s) and place them in the freezer. Make sure the dumplings are not touching each other otherwise they will stick.
Once the dumplings are frozen, they will come right off the tray easily. Now the dumplings can be packed in airtight containers (stacked on top of each other, they wont stick anymore) and stored in the freezer for up to 6 months for vegetarian dumplings otherwise, 3 months for meat-filled dumplings.
Frozen dumplings do not need to be thawed before cooking. Simply follow the cooking instructions in the recipe card below but add 2 extra minutes to the cooking time.
Look at these savoury, with a hint of sweetness from the vegetables and super flavourful vegetarian potstickers! Mouthwatering good. Definitely give these a go, it'll be well worth the effort!
Made this recipe? Let me know your thoughts or questions by dropping a note in the comments section below! I'd love to hear from you 🙂
Happy cooking and eating! - Gen
Vegan dumplings (with dipping sauce)
- 1 pack dumpling wrapper 30 sheets, or make your own (note 1)
Vegan dumpling filling
- 1½ cup frozen spinach ~250g/9oz
- 1 cup tofu ~250g/9oz
- 1 carrot grated
- 2 dried shiitake mushrooms
- ½ onion finely diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ½ tablespoon soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoon oil neutral tasting, such as canola or sunflower
- salt and pepper
Chili oil dipping sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon Chinese crispy chilli oil see (note 2) for store-bought
If pan-frying (for pot-stickers)
- 1 tablespoon oil neutral-tasting, such as canola or sunflower
Making the vegan dumpling filling
- Soak shiitake mushrooms in hot water for 20 minutes, covered.
- Meanwhile, cut and grate the rest of the filling ingredients.
- Once shiitake mushrooms have softened and almost doubled in size, gently squeeze out excess liquids (note 3). Cut off and discard the stems and finely dice.
- Cook shiitake mushrooms on medium-low heat in a pan with 1 tablespoon of oil until golden and fragrant. About 2 minutes.
- Add onions and garlic, stir fry for 2 minutes then add carrots. Turn the heat up to high and stir fry for 2 minutes.
- Push ingredients to the rims of the pan, add remaining oil into the middle of the pan then spinach. Continue to cook on high, stir-frying for 4 minutes or until excess liquids have evaporated and you can start to hear the pan sizzle.
- Combine cooked vegetables into a large bowl with fresh tofu, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Mix well until tofu is about the same size as the rest of the vegetables. Taste filling and adjust for salt and pepper to taste.
- Watch my video in the post on how to wrap dumplings.
- To wrap a dumpling, place 1 dumpling sheet onto the palm of one hand and with the other, spoon 1 teaspoon of filling in the centre of the sheet then pinch and seal the top and bottom. Fold a small portion of top dumpling skin slightly towards the centre, pinch and seal to the bottom sheet. Repeat until both sides of the dumpling are pleated and sealed.
- If using store-bought dumpling wrappers, lightly dab the rims of the wrapper with a little water so that it sticks well.
Cooking method A: boiling
- Bring a large pot of water up to boil, add half of the dumplings in and boil for about 3 minutes or until dumplings are all floating on the top. (note 4)
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer dumplings onto a serving plate. Repeat for the other half of the dumplings.
Cooking method B: pan-frying
- Add oil into a non-stick pan with a lid on medium-high heat. Neatly place dumplings into the pan without overlapping. Pour ½ cup of water into the pan and immediately close the lid. Cook for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the lid and allow the liquids to evaporate. Dumplings are done when the bottoms are golden crispy.
- Depending on the size of your pan, most likely will have to do this twice to cook all 30 dumplings.
To make the chili oil dipping sauce
- Combine all ingredients and mix with a small spoon until the sugar has dissolved.
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