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SIMPLE VEGAN DUMPLINGS

Last updated on September 11, 2021

Hi Sad Fam! This is a simple version of a wildly popular dish found in many Asian cultures. Please read the notes listed at the bottom of the article. For more traditional recipes I recommend using Google. 

IMPORTANT: see notes for ingredient info and post peptalk

DUMPLINGS

  • 1 block of extra firm tofu
  • 1 package of square Nasoya vegan wonton wrappers
  • 6-7 Crimini mushrooms
  • ½ of a Sweet onion
  • 3 Tbsp of soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp garlic 
  • 2 Tbsp ginger
  • 2 Tsp salt
  • 2 Tsp pepper
  • ½ shredded cabbage (substituted for mixed greens)
  • 1 stalk celery (used because I had it in the fridge and it was going to go bad, but note that this is not typically found in traditional dumpling recipes)
  • ⅓ cup of chopped carrots (not featured because I forgot them at the store. Turned out fireeee without em, but you should still probably include them in your own recipe)
  • 1 Green onion (optional for decoration / dipping sauce)
  • 2 tbsp of Butter or cooking oil

DIPPING SAUCE

  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce (Preference is Kikkoman low sodium but they were out at the grocery store so American off brand had to do)
  • 1 tbsp of neutral oil
  • 2 tbsp of brown sugar or 1 tbsp maple syrup 
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper 
  • 1 tbsp of chili flakes
  • 2 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1-2 stalks of chopped green onion
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • Splash of water

TIME

  • Prep – 30 minute
  • Cook – 2 minutes per batch
  • Total – 40 minutes
  • Makes roughly 25 dumplings, sometimes more sometimes less. Depends on how much you put in a wrapper, if you added extra ingredients, or if you mess up a few times along the way.
  • Disclaimer: prep time is skewed because I’m either making a giant mess or I’m yelling at the dogs to leave me alone while I’m in the kitchen

ITEMS NEEDED

  • Large Pot and/or pan
  • Cutting board
  • Chopping knife
  • Large bowl
  • 2 Small bowls
  • Spoon
  • Water
  • Tastebuds
  • Preferred: Dumpling steamer 

PREPARATION

1. Tofu

LIFE HACK: Using a reusable towel instead of a paper towel reduces waste
  • The key to good dumplings is to make sure your filling is not too wet. It can have flavor and be damp, but if it has any excess liquids, the dumpling will fall out of the wrapper and you’ll have sad food.

  • This means you MUST press all of the water out of your tofu brick BEFORE you mix it in with your veggies.

  • As seen here, I wrap it in a towel and use a heavy object to apply constant pressure to remove the water. The towel will absorb it and in about 20 minutes the brick will be ready

  • Safety note: Leave tofu within eyesight. If the weight is not evenly distributed, the object will topple over and if you don’t catch it, it will cause a catastrophe. One time I used a stack of books and when they fell over, it knocked over a ceramic pot full of flour onto the floor and it was a cleaning nightmare I hope to never relive. 

2.  Dipping Sauce

  • In a pan combine the following:
    • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp of neutral oil
    • 2 tbsp of brown sugar or 1 tbsp maple syrup 
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 2 tsp black pepper 
    • 1 tbsp of chili flakes
    • 2 tsp chopped ginger
    • 1-2 stalks of chopped green onion
    • 2 tsp chopped garlic
    • Splash of water
  • Stir and bring to a simmer then remove from heat
  • Place in fridge until dumplings are ready

3. Veggies

  • Take mushrooms, sweet onion, greens, celery and carrots and chop them into fine pieces using a large knife. 

  • I use pre-chopped ginger and garlic cause it’s a pain in the ass to do at home, but if you want to use fresh ingredients, you can chop them up at this time. 
  • Use a towel and pat away any excess liquids from the veggies

4. Filling 

  • Once your tofu is condensed into a flat brick and all the water is gone, remove from towel and place in a large bowl. 

  • Using a spoon or your hands, begin breaking apart tofu and toss in veggies until it is evenly mixed together as seen in the photo

  • Using a towel, pat away any excess water after mixing

  • Afterwards add 3 Tbsp of soy sauce, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 3 tbsp garlic, 2 tbsp ginger, 2 tsp salt and 2 tsp pepper

  • TASTE TEST if the filling doesn’t taste good now, it won’t taste good later. Adjust salt, sugar, and pepper to your liking. I prefer mine to have a slight sweetness to it. Only add spices, DO NOT add more soy sauce or it will be too liquidy! 

5. Wrappers

  • On a dry surface, set out 25 wrappers 

  • If you want to make your own wrappers, please see Google. Do be warned: it’s very time consuming

  • Place a bowl of water near you that is easily accessible. Room temp is fine

  • Place 1 wrapper in one hand 

  • Dip your finger in water and outline the edges of the wrapper before placing the filling. If you forget, it’s okay! Just make sure you do this before closing otherwise the wrapper won’t seal and your filling will fall out

  • Using a spoon, take a dollop of your filling and place it in the middle of the wrapper. This should be roughly 1 tbsp in size. If you put too much, the wrapper will split in half and you’ll have sad food.

  • If your filling looks too wet, spoon the amount you need to add to one dumpling and press it against the side of the bowl to squish out any extra liquid. Repeat until you’re finished.

  • Line up a one corner diagonally so you make a triangle shape with your dumpling. 

  • Press the edges together with your fingers so they are completely closed and there are no gaps.

  • Then take the two corners that are farthest from each other and round them over to connect them together. 

  • Use a little bit of water to press the corners together so it doesn’t unhook

  • There should be a small space in between so it kinda looks like you dumpling is giving you an air hug 

  • If that is too difficult or you put too much filling, it’s okay! Don’t bother connecting the corners, just leave as happy lil triangles.

  • Place off to the side on a dry surface and repeat like 24 more times or until filling is gone

6. Cooking

The best part!

  • Since this is a very basic version of a wildly popular Asian entree, you can cook them using a few different methods


  • You can steam them like Jiaozi which are Chinese potstickers or like Japanese Gyoza which are most commonly pan fried on the bottom but can also be found boiled. I feature both in this article


—————-STEAMING—————-

  • Bring a pot of water to heavy simmer

  • I use a veggie steamer for this article, however I recommend purchasing a dumpling steamer as the wrapper can sometimes get caught in the holes of the veggie steamer. Otherwise you can just toss them into boiling water. Your flavor will be watered down, but that’s what dipping sauce is for! 

  • The water must come up high enough to be near the bottom rim of the steamer in water and prevent it from scorching. But it must also be low enough so that the bubbling water does not soak the bottom of the food

  • Place your dumplings in the basket but do not let them touch. Otherwise they will stick together and they will fall apart. Leave enough room for them to soften and spread out like cookie dough

  • Cover pot with lid and steam for 1-2 minutes

  • Keep an eye out, don’t leave them in too long or they will fall apart

  • Remove from pot, drizzle dipping sauce on top, and place on plate to enjoy!

—————-PAN FRY—————–

  • On med/low heat, melt 2 tbs of butter in a pan or coat the pan in a flavorless oil such as vegetable or canola

  • Once butter is simmered or oil is hot, arrange 6-12 dumplings in pan

  • Cover with lid

  • Fry on one side for about 2-3 minutes. Dumplings should be a crispy golden brown

  • Add about 1/3 cup of water and cover with lid

  • Allow for dumplings to steam for another 2-3 minutes until the water is mostly evaporated

  • Remove from pan and place on plate to enjoy!

  • Secondary approach is to fry on both sides for an extra added crunch!

NOTES

  • Again, I want to highlight that this is a simple recipe. That means that this is a generalized Asian recipe not a specific country or region’s and it does not call for any non-readily available ingredients. More authentic dumpling recipes can include items such as sesame oil, miso, rice vinegar, Shaoxing wine, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, hoisin sauce, Chinese five-spice, sesame seeds, etc… depending on the culture of which it is derived from. Unless you are cooking Asian food often, these ingredients tend to take up space in people’s fridges and are often forgotten about until they go bad.

  • I would rather give you a recipe with easy ingredients than make you purchase additional items and create more waste. If you would like to include these ingredients, there are many recipes on the internet. Personally, I would highly recommend supporting an Asian owned business or buying them from a local restaurant. Not only would it be more cost effective to get takeout instead of buying unnecessary products, but as they say, it’s best to leave it to the professionals. 

  • For listed ingredients: the tofu and wrappers are what my grocery store offers. If you find a different brand or shape of wrapper, it’s okay! All of my recipes are to the preferences of the individual. I put these up here as a guide, but if something tastes better to you try it out and see if it works! If you have an allergy and need a substitute, please reach out and ask questions and I’m happy to see what I can offer. This particular recipe is awesome because it allows for a lot of creativity. Try new things, or try try again.

  • Last, please be kind to yourself if you don’t get this on the first try. It’s simple, but just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it can’t be frustrating. I tried to include as much info as I can in here but ultimately, it just comes with time. Most common error is not sealing the dumplings completely and making your fillings too liquidy. As an Asian American, I’ve filled dumplings more times than I can count, so if it doesn’t come out perfect just keep trying. 

  • Also! The filling recipe can be eaten raw! So if you fuck up or quit, you still have a tasty salad! If the wrappers end up breaking apart, throw em in a pan to fry and you now have fancy dumpling stirfry! win.

Thank you for reading!

Follow On Instagram | @allthingssadgirl
Author | Chelsea Matsumonji @thechelseam

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