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Crystal Vegetarian Dumplings

Crystal Vegetarian Dumplings, or Chiu Chow Dumplings, are packets of jewel-like fillings in a translucent dumpling wrapper. The wrapper is the same as we use for Har Gow Shrimp Dumplings, which are among my family’s favorite dim sum, along with these Vegetarian Crystal Dumplings.

low angle shot of crystal vegetarian dumplings on a blue plate with a steamer basket of dumplings and a bowl of chili crisp dipping sauce on the side.

Crystal Dumplings or Chiu Chow Dumplings are plump vegetable dumplings in translucent wrappers. They have a delectable filling of diced tofu, shiitake mushrooms, water chestnuts, and scallions. The filling is flavored with rice wine, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and other seasonings.

Why we love these Chinese Vegetable Dumplings or Chiu Chow Dumplings

  • This vegetarian dumpling recipe is easy to make and sure to please all the vegans at your table.
  • They’re a delicious vegetarian dim sum dumpling that the whole family loves.
  • Did I say vegetarian dumplings? They’re actually vegan!
  • They use the same dumpling wrappers as our Har Gow recipe, so we can easily make two types of dumplings with one batch of dough.
  • This delicate vegetable dumpling is super flavorful, but also light.
Overhead shot of the ingredients needed to make crystal dumplings.

Ingredients You Need

For the complete list of ingredients with quantities and detailed prep and cooking instructions, please see the recipe card that appears at the end of this post.

The ingredients list for these Chiu Chow Dumplings is pretty simple, including just a few items that you probably need to go to an Asian market or shop online for. Here’s what you need:

  • Dumpling Flour: Dumpling flour is a mixture of wheat starch and tapioca starch. I buy the Dumpling Flour at my local Asian supermarket. If you can’t find it, you can easily make your own by mixing 1 cup wheat starch with ½ cup tapioca starch.
  • Shiaoxing wine: Shiaoxing wine is a Chinese rice wine. You can buy it in Asian supermarkets or online. You can also substitute sake, dry sherry, or dry white wine.
  • Hoisin Sauce: Hoisin sauce is a fermented soybean paste with vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, chile peppers, and sugar or other sweeteners. 
  • It is a dark, thick condiment with savory-sweet flavor with lots of umami. It gives sauces and marinades both color and depth of flavor. You can use it in lots of other Chinese dishes like Kung Pao Chicken, Hoisin Glazed Spareribs, Sweet and Sour Tofu, and lots more.
  • Soy sauce: I use regular soy sauce here, but you can substitute lower-sodium soy sauce if you like.
  • Sugar: Just regular granulated sugar.
  • White pepper: White pepper adds a distinctive heat that is different from black pepper. If you don’t have white pepper, black pepper is a fine substitute.
  • Cooking oil: You can use any neutral-flavored cooking oil you like.
  • Tofu: Choose extra-firm or firm tofu.
  • Produce: Garlic, fresh shiitake mushrooms, green onions.
  • Water chestnuts: These add a nice crunch to your dumpling filling. You can buy these in a can in Asian markets. Be sure to rinse them well before adding them.
  • Cornstarch: The cornstarch thickens the filling, soaking up the water that is released when the tofu and vegetables are pan fried.
overhead shot of chiu chow dumplings or crystal dumplings on a blue and white plate with chile crisp.

How to Make This Vegetable Dumplings Recipe

For the complete list of ingredients with quantities and detailed prep and cooking instructions, please see the recipe card that appears at the end of this post.

These dumplings are relatively easy to make–even making your own wrapper dough. Here’s how:

  1. Make the filling by quickly sauteing the ingredients. Let the filling cool while you make the dumpling wrappers.
  2. To make the dumpling wrapper dough, combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add boiling water and mix/knead using your hands until the water is fully incorporated. Add oil and mix it in using your hands.
  3. Move the dough to an unfloored board and knead it until it is a smooth ball. This will take 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Divide the ball into 4 pieces and cover 3 of them. Working with one piece at a time, form the dough into a log about 8 inches long. Cut the log in half, then cut the two pieces in half, and then the four pieces in half again so that you end up with 8 pieces.
  5. Use your fingertips to flatten a piece of dough into a disk about 1 ½ inches across and about ¼-inch thick.
  6. Take a sturdy, quart-sized resealable plastic bag and cut it down the sides so that you have two flaps. Oil the insides of the plastic very lightly (I like to spritz a bit of oil on it and then wipe with a paper towel to create a very light film.)
  7. If using a tortilla press, place the dough disk in between the two flaps of plastic and then press it with the tortilla press.
  8. If you are not using a tortilla press, you can still use the plastic bag trick only press down with your cleaver, plate, skillet or whatever you are using to flatten your wrappers. The wrapper should be very thin when you are done.
  9. Spoon filling into the center of each wrapper.
  10. Using your fingertips, pleat one side of the wrapper to create a crescent shape around the filling. Fold the other side up to meet the pleated side and seal by pressing the edges together with your fingers. Make sure the wrapper is completely sealed.
  11. Transfer the dumplings to a steamer and arrange them in a single layer. Put the steamer over simmering water, cover, and steam for about 5 minutes. Use a perforated parchment paper liner to prevent them from sticking.
  12. Serve immediately.
Chopsticks holding a crystal dumpling.

Tips for Success

  • You can substitute dried shiitake mushrooms for the fresh ones. Soak the dried ones in warm water for 30 minutes to reconstitute them and then drain them.
  • You can substitute Chinese chives for the scallions or green onion.
  • You can substitute a combination of wheat starch and tapioca flour for the dumpling flour. Use 1 cup of wheat starch and 1/2 cup of tapioca flour.
  • Use a perforated parchment paper liner in the steamer to keep the dumplings from sticking.
  • You can freeze extra vegetable dumplings if you like. Freeze the uncooked dumplings on a baking sheet. Once they are frozen, transfer them to a resealable plastic bag. You can steam the dumplings from frozen according to the recipe instructions, but adding an extra minute or so to the cooking time.
low-angle shot of a blue plate with crystal vegetarian dumplings.

How to Serve These Crystal Vegetarian Dumplings

These delicious vegan dumplings, or Chiu Chow Dumplings, are nice and light. I like to serve them with a simple dipping sauce made of soy sauce, sesame oil, and chile crisp.

These vegetarian dumplings a perfect starter to a Chinese meal. They’re also perfect as part of a dim sum spread. I love to serve them with an assortment including Har Gow, Char Siu Bao, Chicken Potstickers, gyoza, and pork-and-shrimp-filled Fried Wontons. Vietnamese Salad Rolls are another light and delicious vegetarian appetizer.

You can serve them before a meal of Wonton Soup, Singapore Noodles, Kung Pao Chicken, Crispy Chilli Beef, or Char Siu Fried Rice.

Yield: Makes about 32 dumplings

Crystal Vegetarian Dumplings

overhead shot of vegetarian crystal dumplings in a steamer basket.

Crystal Vegetarian Dumplings, or Chiu Chow Dumplings, are packets of jewel-like fillings in a translucent dumpling wrapper. The wrapper is the same as we use for Har Gow Shrimp Dumplings, which are among my family’s favorite dim sum, along with these Vegetarian Crystal Dumplings.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

For the dumpling filling

  • 1 tablespoon Shiaoxing wine
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 4 ounces extra-firm tofu, crumbled
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup chopped fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • ½ cup finely diced water chestnuts (from a can is fine)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch whisked with 1 teaspoon cold water
  • 2 scallions, white parts finely chopped (discard the green parts)

For the dumpling wrappers

  • 1 ½ cups dumpling flour (or 1 cup wheat starch mixed with ½ cup tapioca starch)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oil

Instructions

  1. To make the filling, in a small bowl, mix together the wine, hoisin sauce, 1 tablespoon of water, soy sauce, sugar, and white pepper.
  2. Heat the tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the tofu and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tofu begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, mushrooms, and water chestnuts and saute until the mushrooms are soft and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes more.
  3. Stir together the cornstarch slurry and then add it to the skillet. Cook, stirring, for a minute or so, until the sauce thickens. Stir in the green onions and then remove the pan from the heat.
  4. Let the filling cool while you make the dumpling wrappers.
  5. To make the dumpling wrapper dough, combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add boiling water and mix/knead using your hands until the water is fully incorporated. Add oil and mix it in using your hands.
  6. Move the dough to an unfloored board and knead it until it is a smooth ball. This will take 1 to 2 minutes.
  7. Divide the ball into 4 pieces and cover 3 of them. Working with one piece at a time, form the dough into a log about 8 inches long. Cut the log in half, then cut the two pieces in half, and then the four pieces in half again so that you end up with 8 pieces.
  8. Use your fingertips to flatten a piece of dough into a disk about 1 ½ inches across and about ¼-inch thick.
  9. Take a sturdy, quart-sized resealable plastic bag and cut it down the sides so that you have two flaps. Oil the insides of the plastic very lightly (I like to spritz a bit of oil on it and then wipe with a paper towel to create a very light film.)
  10. If using a tortilla press, place the dough disk in between the two flaps of plastic and then press it with the tortilla press. Carefully remove the flattened round of dough and repeat with the remaining 7 pieces. (ultimately you will do this with all 32 pieces. I like to form and fill 8 dumplings at a time).
  11. If you are not using a tortilla press, you can still use the plastic bag trick only press down with your cleaver, plate, skillet or whatever you are using to flatten your wrappers. The wrapper should be very thin when you are done.
  12. Spoon filling into the center of each wrapper.
  13. Using your fingertips, pleat one side of the wrapper to create a crescent shape around the filling. Fold the other side up to meet the pleated side and seal by pressing together with your fingers. Make sure the wrapper is completely sealed.
  14. Cook the dumplings in a steamer over simmering water. Make sure to use enough water so that it doesn't all evaporate and don't put too many dumplings in the steamer—use multiple steamers or cook in batches. Cover the steamer and cook for about 5 minutes.
  15. Serve immediately.

Notes

  1. You can substitute dried shiitake mushrooms for fresh ones. Soak the dried ones in warm water for 30 minutes to reconstitute them and then drain them.
  2. You can substitute Chinese chives for scallions or green onions.
  3. You can substitute a combination of wheat starch and tapioca flour for the dumpling flour. Use 1 cup of wheat starch and 1/2 cup of tapioca flour.
  4. Use a perforated parchment paper liner in the steamer to keep the dumplings from sticking.
  5. You can freeze extra vegetable dumplings if you like. Freeze the uncooked dumplings on a baking sheet. Once they are frozen, transfer them to a resealable plastic bag. You can steam the dumplings from frozen according to the recipe instructions, but add an extra minute or so to the cooking time.

Nutrition Information

Yield

32

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 36Total Fat 1gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 0mgSodium 95mgCarbohydrates 5gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 1g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

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By on November 15th, 2022

ABOUT ROBIN DONOVAN

Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 50 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners5 Ingredient Cooking for TwoSushi at HomeThe Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and others. → More about Robin

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