Vegan siu mai dumplings

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This vegan recipe for steamed dumplings is really versatile and can be adapted to make the most of in seasonal ingredients. Perfect as part of an Asian feast, these tofu dumplings are sure to impress.

First published in 2015

Chinese dumplings are fun and easy to make. Whilst you can easily buy frozen ready made dumplings, it is rather nice knowing what is in them, and being able to adjust with seasonal ingredients is always a plus. When you are planning a dumpling party, you’ll want several varieties.

We’ve previously made gochujang spiced butternut and mushroom dumplings, but wanted to try making siu mai (shumai) style dumplings. These are easy to make as they are left open so you do not need to be a master of neat folding. Most often, siu mai are filled with meat or seafood fillings. We wanted a vegan version. The thing about these open dumplings is they need a more solid filling, so we’ve added cornflour to thicken the mixture. If you are not vegan you could use an egg white instead. Essentially you want the mixture to set a little as it cooks.

For these open dumplings you will need to use square wrappers (wonton wrappers will work well) rather than the circular dumpling/gyoza wrappers. They are readily available from Chinese food shops.

The dumplings are best steamed fresh, but the uncooked dumplings can be frozen once wrapped, then steamed directly from frozen in the same way – just increase the cooking time accordingly.





Dipping sauce


Heat the teaspoon of sesame oil in a wok or large frying pan and add the chopped white part of the spring onion. Stir to warm through then add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute
Tip the mushrooms into the pan and cook until softened. Add the carrot and cabbage and stir for a couple of minutes before mixing in the mashed tofu
Add the mirin and soy sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add extra sauce and seasoning according to your preference
Mix the cornflour with a teaspoon of water to make a thick paste then stir this into the pan with the filling. Remove from the heat and allow to cool
While the mixture cools, make the dipping sauce. Slice the reserved green part of the spring onion and combine with the soy sauce and chili flakes. Set aside
Dampen a tea towel or cloth to cover the wrappers and stop them drying out as you work with them. Working one at a time, use a pastry brush to dampen the edges of each wrapper with water
Place a teaspoon of filling on to the wrapper and bring the wrapper up gently to fold around the filling, leaving it loosely open on top. Keep the dumplings on a piece of floured greaseproof paper until ready to cook
Line a steamer basket with greaseproof paper or savoy cabbage leaves and add the dumplings. Place over a simmering pan of water and steam for 15 minutes until softened and cooked through
Serve hot with the dipping sauce alongside

Nazima is a freelance food writer.

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