When my family makes dumplings, I have the task of making sure all of the dumpling filling and wrappers are used up. Fortunately, this recipe for vegetarian dumplings makes the perfect amount of filling for one recipe of homemade dumpling dough or one package of store bought dumpling wrappers.
You end up with 50 vegetables dumplings. Generally, a meal consists of about 15 dumplings, so this recipe makes a meal for 3 people or an appetizer for a large group.
That being said, it's not a big deal if you have leftover wrappers or filling. If you do end up with some leftover wrappers, you can cook mini homemade tortillas. If you end up with leftover filling, you can pan fry the filling and eat it.
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil for cooking
- 1 recipe of dumpling dough
- 1 package (14 ounces) of firm tofu, finely diced
- 3-4 medium carrots, shredded
- ½ of a small head of cabbage, finely diced
- 1 egg
- 2 scallions, chopped
- ¼ cup of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
- Add the tofu, carrots, cabbage, scallions, soy sauce, sesame oil, and egg to a large bowl.
- Mix well to combine.
- To form the dumplings, place 1 scant tablespoon of the tofu mixture in the center of wrapper.
- Shape as desired, pinching together the dough to seal.
- Repeat until you have used up all of the dumpling dough and filling.
- Heat up the vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat.
- When the oil is hot, place the dumplings in the pan in a circle. You should be able to fit about 20.
- Pan fry until the bottoms are lightly brown. Carefully add 2 tablespoons of water to the pan.
- Reduce the heat to medium low, and cover the pan with a lid.
- Cook until the vegetarian dumplings are tender, about 4-5 minutes.
- Optionally, remove the lid and cook for an additional minute to crisp up the bottom.
- Serve vegetarian dumplings immediately with dipping sauce of your choice.
- Vegetable oil: Used to pan fry the dumplings. To cook the vegetarian dumplings without any excess oil, you can boil or steam the dumplings. You can also pan fry cooked dumplings for a crispy bottom.
- Dumpling dough: Homemade dumpling dough makes the best vegetarian dumplings, but takes longer to prep. Substituting one package of store bought dumpling wrappers would be more convenient.
To make 50 dumplings, you want 3-4 packed cups of filling about half protein, half vegetable. I had 2 cups of tofu, 1 cup of carrots, and 1 cup of cabbage.
- Tofu: Adds substance to the filling. Other vegetarian options include seitan or five spice tofu. Substituting 1 pound of ground meat (2 cups) works.
- Vegetables: You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand. I've made dumplings with spaghetti squash, tomatoes, onion, and celery.
- Egg: Helps bind together the filling. Omit for a looser, vegetarian filling. Substitute 1 tablespoon of cornstarch for a vegan binding option.
- Herbs: Add up to 6 scallions. You can add up to 1 bunch of cilantro or chives, but this increases the volume of filling.
- Soy sauce: Adds savory depth. Can substitute oyster sauce or 2 teaspoons of table salt.
- Sesame oil: Add a toasty sesame flavor. Can be omitted.
- Additional flavoring: Add up to 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Add up to 1 clove of garlic, minced. Add up to 1 tablespoon of minced ginger (about 1/2 inch). Add up to 2 tablespoons of cooking wine. Add a pinch of sugar.
Make sure to taste test the filling. It should be a bit saltier than you would like to eat plain. If you have raw meat in the filling, then you can microwave a small ball of filling for about 30 seconds before testing.
Step by Step Photos
If you're making dumpling wrappers from scratch, start by making the homemade dumpling dough. This takes about 30 minutes. Divide the dough into about 50 equal pieces, and roll each piece into a circle 3-4 inches in diameter.
If you're using store bought wrappers, make sure that they are completely thawed or else you won't be able to separate the dumpling wrappers from each other. In general, when you make vegetarian dumplings, you should cover exposed dough with a damp paper towel so it doesn't dry out.
After you have the wrappers all set, you can make the filling for vegetarian dumplings. I used 6 carrots because the carrots were small and some parts were rotten, and I used 7 leaves of cabbage.
Dice the tofu, cabbage, and scallions into small pieces. Make sure to discard the water from the tofu container. Often, vegetarian dumpling recipes call for drying out the tofu and cabbage, but I find this is too much work.
You can chop the carrots with a knife, a grater, or a blender/food processor. Since my hall's knives are fairly dull, I chose to use a blender. Chop the carrots into roughly 1 inch pieces, and pulse until shredded, but not pulverized.
Add the tofu, carrots, cabbage, scallions, soy sauce, sesame oil, and egg to a large bowl.
Mix well to combine.
To form the dumplings, roll out a piece of dumpling dough into a circle 3-4 inches in diameter, and lightly cover the rest of the dough with a damp towel. You should also cover the shaped dumplings with a damp towel to prevent the tops from drying out.
Place 1 scant tablespoon of the tofu mixture in the center of wrapper. Shape as desired, pinching together the dough to seal. If using store bought dumpling wrapper, you will have to lightly brush water on the edges so the dough sticks together. For homemade dumpling dough, you do not need the additional water.
The simplest method of folding dumplings is to fold the wrapper in half to make a half circle. Unfortunately, half circle dumplings do not stand up nicely. If you want the folded vegetarian dumplings to stand up, then you can pleat the edges. The design looks complicated, but you'll get the hang of it with practice.
Since we did not press the water out of the tofu and cabbage, after a while, you will find a pool of liquid in your vegetarian dumpling filling. If this happens, pour out the liquid, gently squeeze water out of the filling, and transfer it to a dry bowl.
Repeat this process of folding dumpling until you have used up all of the dumpling dough and vegetarian dumpling filling. For me, it takes 5 minutes to roll out the wrappers for 12 dumplings and about 10 minutes to fold 12 dumplings.
The goal is to use up all of the dough and all of the filling. When you get to the last quarter of the dough, which makes approximately 12 dumplings, you can portion out the filling. I split the remaining filling into quarters and then split each quarter into 3 pieces.
The recipe makes 50 dumplings. You can freeze the dumplings for later. To freeze vegetarian dumplings, line them on a flat surface, and stick the entire thing in the freezer.
After about an hour, remove the frozen vegetarian dumplings and transfer them to a bag. If you put the fresh dumplings directly into a bag, the vegetarian dumplings will all stick together and be impossible to cook.
You can cook vegetarian dumplings by pan frying, boiling, or steaming. I like to pan fry dumplings because it is the quickest method, and it requires the least equipment. You also get nice crispy bottom.
To pan fry dumplings, heat up 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, place the dumplings in the pan in a circle. You should be able to fit about 20.
Pan fry until the bottoms are lightly brown. Carefully add 2 tablespoons of water to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium low, and cover the pan with a lid. Cook until the vegetarian dumplings are tender, about 4-5 minutes. Optionally, remove the lid and cook for an additional minute to crisp up the bottom.
Serve vegetarian dumplings immediately with dipping sauce of your choice. I made a simple dipping sauce of soy sauce, vinegar, and red pepper flakes. The chopped scallions are simply for decoration.
Pan fried dumplings are best served immediately while the bottom is still crisp. Leftover cooked dumplings can be reheated in the microwave or lightly fried on the stove top.