Pan-fried vegetarian dumplings / potstickers (素煎饺)

Delectable on the palate and pleasing on the eyes, pan-fried vegetarian dumplings are filled with vegetables and resemble vegetables. A perfect treat for festive gatherings.

Delectable on the palate and pleasing on the eyes, pan-fried vegetarian dumplings are filled with vegetables and resemble vegetables.

As Chinese New Year (Spring Festival, 春节) approaches, we are entering the dumpling feast season. According to Northern Chinese tradition, dumplings (Jiaozi, 饺子) are served on New Year’s eve, New Year’s Day and the fifth day of the New Year. Today I’m sharing a recipe of pan-fried vegetarian dumplings / potstickers (素煎饺). Super tasty and resembling Pak Choi, these cute dumplings are truly delightful both on your palate and on your eyes.

Use spinach to dye the dough

I love food with vibrant colours but I’m not a fan of artificial food colouring. It’s unnatural and (in most cases) unnecessary. Spinach is an ideal ingredient to dye dough for making dumpling wrappers or noodles. It provides a beautiful green colour yet doesn’t change the taste or texture of the dough. Use a food processor to puree briefly blanched spinach then extract the juice through a sieve. Use the same amount of spinach juice to make dough as you normally do with water (Note: Don’t discard the left over spinach puree, add it to the filling instead).

Make two-colour wrappers

To achieve the Pak Choi (Bok Choy) look of these vegetarian dumplings, you will need to prepare two pieces of dough (white & green). This is how I combine them:

  • Roll the white dough into two ropes.
  • Flatten the green dough into two rectangle pieces (same length as the ropes).
  • Wrap each white rope with a green piece. Seal all around to form a thicker rope.
  • Cut the combined dough into small sections then flatten each piece into a wrapper with a rolling pin.

Here you are! White in the middle and green all round the side,  a two colour wrapper is done!

How to avoid wet filling

Nice dumplings should have moist filling. However, it’s very difficult to assemble dumplings if the filling is too wet. This is a common issue when preparing vegetable filling as the cutting process and the addition of salt will draw extra liquid out of the vegetables. I have a few tips to help you minimize this problem.

  • Vegetables like Pak Choi (Bok choy) or Chinese cabbage have a high content of water. After mincing, remember to squeeze out any excess water. Do the same to the rehydrated shiitake mushroom.
  • Mung bean vermicelli noodles make a great addition to vegetarian dumpling filling. Not only does it provide a springy texture, it’s also a great agent for soaking up liquid.

  • Don’t add salt to the filling until you’ve rolled some wrappers and are ready to assemble.
  • If the filling does get too wet, tilt the bowl that holds the filling to allow the liquid flow to one corner. Use a spoon to squeeze the filling before placing onto the wrapper.
  • Do not leave assembled dumplings to sit for too long. If you are not cooking them straightaway, freeze them immediately for later use. Otherwise the excessive moisture from the filling would make the wrappers wet and therefore easy to tear.

Follow simple steps to fry

It’s super easy to pan fry dumplings. Preferably, choose a frying pan that has a thick base and delivers heat evenly. Coat the pan with a little oil and brown the bottom of the dumplings. Pour in water then cover with a lid to keep the steam in. It’s done when the water evaporates completely. Voila! Enjoy immediately for best taste.

My vegetarian dumplings are very tasty on their own, but if you wish, serve them with a dipping sauce. Be creative! Mix and match any seasoning you like (Chinese chilli oil, black rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, spring onion, fresh chilli, coriander, etc.).

Pan-fried vegetarian dumplings / potstickers (素煎饺)
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Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: Make about 40 dumplings

Pan-fried vegetarian dumplings / potstickers (素煎饺)

Delectable on the palate and pleasing on the eyes, pan-fried vegetarian dumplings are filled with vegetables and resemble vegetables. A perfect treat for festive gatherings.

Ingredients

    For the dough
  • 150g / 5oz spinach
  • 300g / 2 cups plain flour (all purpose), plus extra for dusting
  • 1 pinch salt
  • For the filling
  • 200g Pak Choi (Bok choy) or Chinese cabbage
  • 60g carrot
  • 5 dried Shiitake mushroom, pre-soaked (see note 1)
  • 30g dried mung bean vermicelli noodles, pre-soaked
  • 1 stalk spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 pinch ground Sichuan pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • You also need:
  • Cooking oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Prepare the spinach juice: Briefly blanch spinach then transfer to a food processor to puree. Use a fine sieve to extract approximately 75 ml / 5 tablespoons of spinach juice (add a little water if necessary). Set the puree aside.
  2. Make two different dough: Divide the flour into two equal portions. Add about 75 ml / 5 tablespoons of water to one portion of flour then knead to a white dough. Add the spinach juice to the other portion of flour to form a green dough. Leave to rest for 30 minutes then knead again until smooth (see note 2).
  3. Mix the filling: Mince Pak Choi (Bok choy), carrot, Shiitake mushroom and mung bean vermicelli noodles (chop with a knife or use a food processor). Squeeze out the excess water from the vegetables with your hands. Stir in the spinach puree and egg. Place spring onion, ginger and ground Sichuan pepper on top of the mixture. Heat up oil and pour over them. Finally, add salt (see note 3).
  4. Roll the wrappers: Roll the white dough into two ropes. Flatten the green dough into two rectangle pieces (same length as the ropes) then wrap the white dough all round and seal well. Cut into about 40 equal sections. Press each piece into a small disc with the palm of your hand. Then use a rolling pin to flatten it into a thin disc. Dust with flour if the dough sticks (Please refer to the images in the post).
  5. Shape the dumplings: Place a spoonful of filling in the middle of a wrapper. Fold the wrapper, then seal it. You may do it any way you like. Make sure there is no leakage if you plan to boil (instead of frying) the dumplings.
  6. Fry the dumplings: Coat a frying pan with oil and heat up over a high heat. Place in the dumplings. When the bottom part becomes golden brown, pour in water (enough to cover 1/3 of the dumplings) then cover with a lid. Uncover when the water evaporates completely. Serve warm with a dipping sauce of your choice.

Notes

1. How to rehydrate shiitake mushrooms: soak them in cold water for at least 8 to 12 hours (depends on the size) until very soft. Trim and discard the stem before using.

2. The ideal flour water ratio may vary slightly depending on the brand of the flour and how you measure it (Measuring flour with cups is less accurate). To make wrapper rolling easier, the dough shouldn’t be too soft.

3. Do not add salt to the filling until the moment you are about to assemble the dumpling. This is because salt will draw extra liquid from the vegetables and you don’t want the filling to be too wet.

4. Make in advance: freeze dumplings right after they are assembled. Firstly you need to lay them on a tray (dust with flour or line with parchment paper) to freeze. Then put them in an air-tight bag when totally frozen. Follow the same cooking procedure (do not defrost).

https://redhousespice.com/pan-fried-vegetarian-dumplings/

A Chinese slang says: Nothing is more comfortable than lying down and nothing is tastier than dumplings (舒服不如倒着, 好吃不如饺子). Wish you all a relaxing and yummy day!

An enthusiastic cook with a Chinese palate and a global mindset.

8 thoughts

  1. Wei, These are simply beautiful. I like how you’re using spinach to give them this lovely green color. It’s always such a pleasure to visit your blog. Keep up the good work!

  2. This looks amazing! The color is so striking. I’d been pursuing potsticker recipes on Pinterest to give it a try and your stuck out. Great instructions.

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