These vegetable dumplings are filled with a tasty and colorful mix of veggies. They have a great texture too and are perfect with a simple dipping sauce or, my favorite, chili oil. So good, you definitely won't miss the meat!
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I go through phases when I get really into making dumplings. Kind of similar to phases when I make homemade pasta more often, I suppose. There's something about using the same basic idea and making them taste so different.
These little parcels are a perfect case in point. The majority of Chinese dumplings use pork as the base, but you will find a few that are a little different (like cumin lamb dumplings).
Veggie versions are becoming more popular in Chinese restaurants to have a vegetarian option. And with the right combination, they can be as good, if not better, than some meat versions.
The combination here is certainly not lacking in flavor. You have shitake mushrooms which add a certain meatiness, carrot that add a slight sweetness and cabbage for added texture.
Chinese chives are longer than your typical common chives, and have a bit stronger flavor as well. They are available in nearly any Asian supermarket and I definitely recommend getting some as they add a lovely fresh flavor. If you are a meat-eater, you can also use some in pork and chive dumplings.
How to make these dumplings
The process to make these is much like other dumplings, though you do need to cook the filling a little first. This is to soften the vegetables as steaming (or other cooking) alone won't quite be enough. Also, the quick cook helps to bring out their natural sweetness.
You can fold them however you prefer - there are a few different styles. I've kept these in a similar style to my pork and cabbage dumplings with pleats from the middle out. I find they both look fairly neat and they sit pretty well if you are steaming or frying.
Make sure you add enough filling to be relatively well-filled, but also not splitting open. You may not need to with homemade wrappers, but with bought always wet the edge before folding to help them stick.
You can cook these pretty much any way you choose to cook dumplings ie steaming, boiling or frying. Personally I like these steamed then served with a little drizzle of chili oil and a little cilantro for a fresh finish. It's a really delicious combination.
Can you freeze vegetable dumplings?
Yes, you can. You can prepare the dumplings then freeze them before cooking. Simply lay them on a baking sheet then once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag or container. They'll keep for around 3 months or more.
Then when you are ready to eat them, just cook them from frozen and give them a minute or two more to cook. I'd suggest if you freeze them boiling or steaming works better.
These vegetable dumplings are a delicious mix of flavors that's well balanced and with a great texture. Yes, they take a little time to make, but you soon get in the swing of folding and it's definitely worth the effort!
Try these other tasty small bites:
- Chinese scallion pancakes (cong you bing)
- Persian stuffed grape leaves (dolmeh barge mo)
- Cauliflower pakora
- Plus get more Chinese recipes and appetizer recipes in the archives.
Vegetable dumplings (jiaozi)
- 1 cup carrot coarsely grated
- 1 cup shredded cabbage
- 1 cup shitake mushrooms finely chopped
- 6 tablespoon Chinese chives
- ½ tablespoon canola oil or other neutral oil eg vegetable, avocado
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger minced/grated
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
- 1 pinch sugar
- 20 dumpling wrappers approx
- Peel and coarsely grate the carrot. Shred the cabbage then chop the shredded pieces smaller so they are relatively short. Trim the tough stems from the mushrooms then cut them into a small dice. Trim the ends from the chives then finely chop (I'd typically discard very leafy ends and stem tips).
- Warm the neutral oil in a medium skillet/frying pan and add the shitake mushrooms. Cook, stirring now and then, until they have started to soften, around 3-5 minutes.
- Add the carrot and cabbage to the skillet and cook a couple minutes more until the vegetables are softening but still holding their shape, another couple minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat.
- Off the heat, add the chopped chives, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine and pinch of sugar. Mix everything together so that it is well combined.
- Working with a few at a time, put a spoonful of the vegetable mixture in the middle but slightly to one side of a dumpling wrapper so there is a gap around the edge but it otherwise fills fairly well. Dampen the edge of the wrapper then fold it in half to join in the middle around the filling. Using your thumbs and forefingers, pinch/fold on one side a few times to make pleats along the dumpling edge as you seal the edge from the middle to the tip. Then repeat on the other side (video may help with seeing how to fold). As you are folding, try to make sure you don't trap too much air inside the dumpling. Also, make sure the edge is well sealed.
- If you want to steam them (as I suggest probably best), place a few dumplings in a bamboo steamer (if you like, lined with paper or a cabbage leaf to help prevent sticking), fairly close but with gaps between them. Cover and place over a pot or wok with boiling water. Steam the dumplings for around 3-4 minutes until going translucent.
- Serve with a dipping sauce of your choice or drizzled eg with chili oil (as I did here).
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