Vegan Chinese Dumplings With Tempeh and Cabbage

August 11, 2020
One benefit of social distancing is having more time to cook! I made vegan Chinese dumplings with fragrant ginger, chewy tempeh and healthy cabbage. Folding a dumpling might seem difficult, but it's much easier than it looks. The real challenge is having to be patient while steaming or frying as the delicious smells waft through the air... Best of all, you can make them in bulk and freeze the rest for future meals. Do cook the dumplings before freezing, as this will set the skin and make them sturdier (read: less prone to tears) after you defrost.
vegan chinese dumplings on a white plate

Vegan Chinese Dumplings With Tempeh and Cabbage

Recipe Type: Appetizers Hearty Entrees
utensils YIELDS Around 50-60 dumplings, depending on wrapper size
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  • 1 packet (50-60) Dumpling skins
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 1/3 cup Leek
  • 2 tbsp Ginger
  • 3 cups Cabbage
  • 1 1/2 cups Tempeh
  • 2 tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
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1. Remove the dumpling wrappers from the fridge. I usually buy them readymade to save time. The wrappers are easier to handle once they reach room temperature.

2. Finely chop the onion, leek, ginger, cabbage, and tempeh, and heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large pan over medium heat. You can use olive oil or any vegetable oil that can handle high temperatures. This might seem like a lot of cabbage but it will shrink once cooked.

3. Stir fry the vegetables for 2-3 minutes in olive oil. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil. The vegetables will cook more later, so you don’t have to fully cook the filling.

4. Important step here: now set aside the vegetables. This should cool to room temperature before you start folding them. If there is excess moisture on these, drain the liquid off. You want this to be as dry as possible since water is the ‘glue’ that holds the dumpling folds in place, and too much water can cause dumplings to disintegrate.

5. Most of the time taken to prepare dumplings is used in folding them. When folding, one common issue (which I’m also guilty of) is overstuffing dumplings. You should add about a teaspoon of filling to the center of the wrapper. Prepare a bowl with water which you’ll use to ‘glue’ the folds together. There are lots of videos on how to fold dumplings, ranging from easy to difficult. The pleats I made are probably as difficult as it gets (not very).

6. Now it’s time to cook the dumplings. You can pick your favorite:

Method 1: Steamed dumplings. Arrange carefully in a bamboo steamer or pot in a double boiler, ensuring that they aren’t too close together as they will stick. Steam for 20 minutes until the dumpling is fully cooked through.

Method 2: Steamed tops with crispy, golden grown bottoms. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan over medium heat. Arrange the dumplings together, ensuring that this is tightly packed. It doesn’t matter if they overlap, so long as the bottom of the dumpling is on the pan. Let the dumplings fry until light brown which will take a couple of minutes—make sure to constantly check to ensure they aren’t burned. Now add 1/4 cup of water and steam until the water is evaporated, which takes about 8 more minutes.

7. Serve with soy sauce, black Chinese vinegar, chili oil, sweet chili sauce, or any other condiment of choice and enjoy!

For any leftovers, you can easily freeze these dumplings. Layer the dumplings on a tray or other flat surface. Freeze at least 6-8 hours or overnight. This ensures that they don’t stick to each other.

Also by Debbie: Vegan Malaysian Tofu with Mushroom Sauce

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Photo: Debbie Tan

Debbie was born in Malaysia and grew up in New Zealand. She loves writing, musicals, and living a plant based life. A digital marketer by day, she is also passionate about visual storytelling. She hopes to show that living a more sustainable and compassionate lifestyle can be simple and fun! Debbie has volunteered for social and environmental causes over the years, and interviewed Dr Jane Goodall on her 2018 world tour. Visit her Instagram @debbietan96 for snaps of delicious food and plants, and YouTube for music.


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