These vegan Chinese-style dumplings are a fantastically beautiful and delightful comfort food.
Enjoyable as a starter or appetizer to a larger meal or simply as a small side dish.
They are versatile in that a dumpling can be filled with almost anything to hand, something you planned to make specifically or simply as a way to use up the vegetables that are left in your fridge. All the ingredients and preparation techniques work perfectly to create a hearty one dish meal.
Chinese dumplings are also a perfect finger food, a small bite that can be enjoyed even as an addition to a party platter, something a bit more interesting than the average sausage roll.
There are many shapes to a dumpling but the one we are going to look at here is the Jiaozi style, which is perhaps the most popular style of Chinese dumpling and we are going to cook it pan fried, a style commonly referred to as “pot stickers”. Chinese dumplings are eaten all through the year but especially around Chinese new year and are a way to bring good luck and wealth. Traditionally this is because the shape of the Jiaozi style looks like ancient Chinese ingots, basically what we modern folk would call a money box.
Why not give this recipe a try? Fried dumplings are perhaps the easiest to make, especially when compared to boiled dumplings and they can add a splash of beautiful colour to your dish and all you need is a little work. If you follow me though I will walk you through the steps to make it super easy.
How to make Vegan Chinese-Style Dumplings (Jiaozi)
First thing we need to do is to chop up our veggies.
For this recipe I’ve used:
– carrots julienne cut
– pak choi finely chopped
– shiitake mushrooms* roughly cubed
I’ve also used some marinated tofu for both texture, protein and as a flavour booster.
For an extra spiced kick, I’ve marinated overnight one block of previously frozen tofu (a block of around 200 grams), carefully pressed and wrung dry in 2 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tbsp of chili oil, 1/2 tbsp of five spice seasoning, 1/2 tbsp agave syrup, 2 cloves of grated garlic and 1 tsp of chili flakes.
Alternatively you can use your favourite store bought marinated tofu, another meat alternative or just leave it out.
*I’ve used dried shiitake previously soaked for 2 hours in hot water; alternatively you can use fresh shiitake or any other mushroom you like. I personally like their meaty texture as well as their intense flavour. However, you don’t need to use mushrooms if you don’t like them. As mentioned previously, you can use any vegetable you like for these dumplings.
Next step: sauté the tofu and the veggies.
In a hot pan pour a dash of vegetable oil and sauté roughly chopped marinated tofu until crispy. Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan add some vegetable oil (or sesame oil, if you’d like some extra flavour), add grated garlic, ginger (both fresh or powdered), and some chili (optional). Next add the julienne cut carrots, and sauté for a couple of minutes.
Add the finely chopped pak choi, then the chopped mushrooms. Cook on high heat for 3-5 minutes, then add the previously cooked tofu.
Season with soy sauce and salt (if needed), then set aside and allow to cool completely.
Now what we have to do is to fill our dumplings.
This time I’ve used store bought rolled dumpling sheets; however if you have spare time making dumplings from scratch is dead easy, it only requires a little bit of more effort from your side.
If you’re interested, here’s the recipe I normally use to make dumplings that yields around 20 discs:
Homemade Dumpling Dough
120 g All Purpose Flour
60 g Water
1. Add flour into a large bowl.
2. Carefully add the water into and combine until it comes together into a ball.
3. Dust both hands with flour and start kneading the dough first in the bowl, then transfer on a table and work until it becomes smooth (for about 10-15 minutes).
4. Cover bowl with the damp dish towel and rest for at least 30 minutes.
5. Dust the working surface and your hands with extra flour and roll the dough into a 2 mm thick sheet.
6. With a glass or a cookie cutter, cut 20 10-cm diameter discs. Alternatively you can cut the dough into 20 pieces, shape each piece into a ball and roll each ball into a 10 cm diameter discs.
Once or vegetable and tofu filling is at room temperature, we can start filling and shaping our vegan Chinese-style dumplings.
Place around 1 tablespoon of dumpling filling it in the center of the disc. Hold the dumpling with one hand and with the index of the other hand carefully wet the edges of half the dumpling (this will help stick together the dumpling once folded), then start sealing the edges with the other hand. Just be careful not to you press hardly the filling to edges of the dumpling as it will affect the seal. After folding the dumpling in half, press again the edges to seal properly.
Repeat for all the dumplings.
Heat a kiss of vegetable oil in a pan on medium heat, then add the dumplings. Fry for a bunch of minutes (2-3) until the bottom of the dumplings is slightly crispy. Add around 100 ml of water, cover with a lid and steam for 10 minutes.
Transfer the dumplings to a serving dish, top with some finely sliced spring onions, fresh chili, coriander leaves and sesame seeds, and serve with a simple soy and sesame sauce by combining 2 tbsp of soy sauce with 1/2 tbsp of sesame oil a pinch of sesame seed, and some spring onions, coriander and chili to taste.
Feel free to substitute the sesame oil with some chili oil if you are a fan of spicy food.
Enjoy these vegan Chinese-style Jiaozi straight away as a starter or a main.
Vegan Chinese-Style Dumplings (Jiaozi) Recipe
20 Dumpling Discs (for homemade recipe see above)
250 g Pak Choi
150 g Shiitake Mushrooms
100 g Marinated Tofu (for the recipe I’ve used see above)
1 Garlic Clove
1/2 tbsp Ginger (fresh or dry)
1 tsp Coriander Powder
1/2 tsp Chili (optional)
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 tbsp Soy Sauce
Soy and Sesame dipping sauce (see above for recipe)
1. Prepare the veggies: julienne the carrots, finely chop the pak choi and roughly cube the shiitake mushrooms.
2. Finely slice marinated tofu and sauté in a pan with a dash of vegetable oil until crispy (3-4 minutes). Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside.
3. In the same pan add some vegetable oil (or sesame oil, if you’d like some extra flavour), add grated garlic, ginger (both fresh or powdered), the coriander powder and some chili (optional).
4. Add the carrots and sauté for a couple of minutes.
5. Combine the chopped pak choi, cook for a couple of minutes, then add the chopped mushrooms.
6. Cook on high heat for 3-5 minutes, then add the previously cooked tofu.
7. Season with soy sauce and salt (if needed), then set aside and allow to cool completely.
8. Stuff the dumplings. Place around 1 tablespoon of the dumpling filling it in the center of the disc. Hold the dumpling with one hand and with the index of the other hand carefully wet the edges of half the dumpling, then start sealing the edges with the other hand. Repeat for all the dumplings.
9. Heat some vegetable oil in a pan on medium heat, then add the dumplings. Fry for 2-3 minutes or until the bottom of the dumplings is slightly coloured and crispy. Add around 100 ml of water, cover with a lid and steam for 10 minutes.
10. Transfer the dumplings to a serving dish, top with some finely sliced spring onions, fresh chili, coriander leaves and sesame seeds, and serve with a simple soy and sesame sauce.
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