Sana's vegan dumplings

September 14, 2019

It’s been months since I last took on a real cooking project!
This one does double duty, coming from my
lab cookbook
: it’s Sana‘s vegan dumplings! I
remember this prize-winning recipe fondly from the
annual culinary competition in 2017

Sana’s recipe stretched to two pages, not just because
dumplings take a bit of effort, but because she helpfully included
resources and photos along the way. We took a few notes with us to
KFL to seek out the
right ingredients. We were pretty sure we recognised the shitakes
on sight, but we couldn’t find the bricks of wood ear fungus that
Sana described, so we went with a more generic dried black fungus
instead. It was easy to find good tofu, fresh veges and dumpling
wrappers there.

Sana uses a little
AGV BBQ sauce
in her filling. We love the stuff, although we
haven’t had it in a few years, and our mate Steph helped us track it down
to Vincent’s

Once we’d assembled our ingredients, making the filling was
simple methodical work I could easily complete with a couple of
podcasts for company. I pleated my wrappers using the method we
learned from The
Humble Dumpling
earlier this year; they weren’t perfect but I
was pretty pleased with my work. The quantities multiplied out well
– the 40 wrappers I bought covered us happily for two consecutive
dinners, and used up about half the filling. The remaining filling
is now tucked in the freezer, waiting for our next dumpling

I experienced bigger challenges in the cooking phase. We’ve
had success with
potsticker preparation
before, but I just couldn’t get it right
this time. Two batches stuck stubbornly to our cast-iron pan on
Saturday night; on Sunday I simply boiled them instead (top photo)
with more success.
Even stubborn, messy dumplings are tasty dumplings, and these
have such a great, varied filling. We dipped them into a
soy-vinegar-chilli sauce, and rounded out our meal with
choy sum in vegetarian oyster sauce and garlic

Sana’s vegan dumplings
(a recipe shared by Sana in the Lab Farewell
a handful of dried shitake mushrooms (about 50g)
1 ‘brick’ wood ear fungus (we use ~15-20g dried black
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1 cup vermicelli, rehydrated according to packet directions
and chopped roughly into 1-2cm lengths
1 cup fried tofu, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 stalks spring onion, finely chopped (white and green
dash of soy sauce
dumpling wrappers (this quantity of filling makes about
Place the two kinds of dried mushroom into bowl and pour
boiling water over them; make sure they’re completely submerged
with extra water and bowl space for expansion. Let them soften
overnight if you can; we gave them a couple of hours, and part-way
through I chopped the shitakes into long slices so that the dry
centres were exposed to water. Chop them finely; you’re aiming for
about a cup of each.
Get out a very large bowl and drop in the chopped mushrooms.
Add all of the other ingredients, except for the wrappers (!). Add
salt to taste; I went pretty light because of the BBQ and soy
sauces but Sana recommends slightly over-seasoning because the
wrappers will weaken the overall flavour.
Place a heaped teaspoon of filling in the centre of each
dumpling wrapper, and wrap them into your preferred shape. There
are plenty of tutorials online! I used the method I learned at
Humble Dumpling
. Repeat with as many wrappers as you
If you want to simply boil the dumplings, get a very large pot
of water up to a rolling boil and drop the dumplings in, in
batches. Make sure the batch size allows them all to float to the
surface, a stir them regularly to make sure they don’t stick to
each other. When they’re ready, the dumplings will puff up
slightly. Pull them out with a slotted spoon.
To make pot-stickers, heat a thin layer of vegetable oil in a
frypan over medium-high heat and have a lid that covers the pan at
the ready. When the oil is hot, arrange a layer of well-spaced
dumplings in the oil. Allow them to fry for about 2 minutes, until
they’re golden brown on the bottom. Give them a little shake to
ensure they don’t get stuck. Pour in just enough water to cover the
whole base of the frypan and swiftly cover them with the lid; allow
them around 4 minutes to steam and add a little more water along
the way if you think it’s needed. Remove the lid and cook for a
further 2 minutes; allow the water to evaporate and give ’em a
little shake again to avoid sticking.
Serve the dumplings with a dipping sauce such as soy, black
vinegar and chilli in your preferred proportions.

Source: FS – Healthy – Vegetarian
Sana's vegan dumplings

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