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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

February 12-13, 2010: Disaster dumplings

On Saturday night Steph and D gathered a large crowd of potluckers together to mark Chinese New Year (blog posts thus far from Vicki and Steph, twice!). This was the first potluck we'd had since Kristy had her Coeliac diagnosis, so the general theme was Chinesey and gluten-free. Aha, I thought - I'll make vegan, gluten-free dumplings. What could be more delicious?

My research quickly turned up the fact that pre-made dumpling wrappers are all wheaty, so I resorted to making my own dumpling skins. The recipe comes via Jill at 'Hey that tastes good' and is pretty simple: just combine a bunch of non-wheat floury things together with a bit of oil and water and you've got your dough. A bit of rolling and some circle slicing and you're ready to steam yourselves some gluten-free dumplings.

Which require some sort of filling. In my focus on the dumpling skins, I hadn't given much thought to what we'd put inside them. Cindy found this recipe, which required a bit of veganising - I almost used TVP instead of pork mince but at the last minute realised it wasn't gluten-free and went with tofu instead. And then I just poured the soy sauce in. Soy sauce, for the uninitiated, is made with wheat. Wheat is chock full of gluten. I am an idiot. By this late stage there was no time to start the filling again (we still ended up half an hour late), so my 'gluten-free' dumplings ended up being inedible to their intended audience. Very disappointing.

The dumplings themselves turned out okay. The skins were pretty dry and unappetising after they'd been steamed, but a quick spin in the frying pan at Steph's place improved them immensely. I was too disconsolate to really enjoy them, but Cindy reported reasonably high approval levels from the non-coeliacs at the potluck. Note that the recipe below is designed to make heaps of dumplings - it could easily be halved.

Gluten-free dumpling skins (from here)

1.5 cups tapioca starch
1.5 cups fine rice flour
2.5 teaspoons xantham gum
3 tablespoons olive oil
~ 1 cup of water

Mix together the three dry ingredients and then add the oil and water, mixing until things get doughy. Roll the mixture into a ball and cover. We refrigerated at this stage, but you can just leave it to rest for half an hour or so.

'Gluten-free' dumpling fillings (from here)

1.5 cups shredded dry tofu
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce (for God's sake use tamari!)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 teaspoon white pepper
5 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 an onion, chopped finely
1-2 cups shredded cabbage
6 tablespoons shredded bamboo shoots
3 teaspoons minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Fry the onions, garlic and ginger in the sesame oil for about five minutes, until they're nice and soft.

Add the tofu and cabbage and stir-fry for another 10 minutes or so.

Stir-through the tamari and sherry, along with the bamboo shoots, salt and pepper and cook for five more minutes.

Leave to cool for half an hour or so until you're ready to get dumpling folding.

Assembling the dumplings

Flour up your counter (rice flour! Don't mess it up now!) and roll out small chunks of your dough (see above). Cut out circles the width of a Goulbourn Valley peaches container lid.

Put a teaspoon or so of filling in the middle of each circle (don't overfill, it's tempting but foolish) and gently fold them closed, wetting and pinching the edges to keep things together.

Repeat until you run out of dumpling skin or patience.

Steam the dumplings in a bamboo steamer for ~ 15 minutes and then lightly fry on one side in sesame oil before serving. If you've got this far without trying to poison one of your friends: well done, you've made delicious gluten-free dumplings. Otherwise: spend half an hour having a complete sook before buying some consolation mock-meat for said friend which, it turns out, probably isn't gluten free either. Then cry.


  1. I thought they were great and had a few - making your own wrappers were really impressive

    I knew you weren't happy but I didn't realise you had a soy sauce disaster - I buy only tamari (which is gf) these days just in case I use it in a dish for my sister and niece - funny how suddenly knowing someone who is gf can suddenly alter your habits.

  2. i have, on multiple occasions, offered a certain gf friend beer or pasta or brought something non-gf to her because i am stupid. but i'm vegan, so i understand that it takes awhile for people to get used to the idea. quite ironic that after years of friends forgetting that i'm vegan and offering me cheese and meat that i'm doing a similar thing to someone else!

  3. These were delicious though & I was so impressed that you made your own wrappers! I was thinking about doing this but thought it seemed too hard.

  4. Aww that is so annoying about the soy sauce! I guess you won't forget that next time.

    A perfectly timed post - a mate suggested a dumpling night this weekend and I was a little concerned given I am wheat free. I'll definitely be trying those GF wrappers - and a good tip on frying them as well to make them more delicious!



  5. These were super tasty, though! I was very impressed with your dumpling-making abilities!

  6. Foutain soy sauce is gluten free if you don't want to use tamari :)

  7. At least now know what made me sick though. It was kind of worse knowing that I had been super careful and was still sick without knowing what caused it. So silly that the 'pandan' chicken doesn't have the correct ingriedents online.

  8. I'm glad those of you I didn't try to poison enjoyed them - they turned out a lot better than I thought they were going to about halfway through the afternoon. (And full credit to Cindy for that - she ended up doing a lot of the dumpling folding while I had a little breakdown.)

    Kristy - I can't apologise enough for cocking up on so many levels. At least you can be reassured that I'll be ridiculously paranoid and careful from now on. I still can't believe that I gave you something with soy sauce in it to replace the thing with soy sauce in it. Idiot.

    Emily - I hope you have a more successful time of it than I do. Just pause and think before you add anything. It shouldn't be as hard as I make it sound above.

    K - thanks for the tip. We'll need to stock up on Tamari as well as Fountain soy sauce to lower the risks in future.

    Louise - hopefully all I've done here is sped up my learning process. I'm pretty sure I'll be more thoughtful in the future.

  9. Woh, gf dumpling wrappers! I didn't think it could be done! Now I want to try them :)

  10. Mandee - as you can see, the wrappers were the least of our troubles. You should definitely give them a go!

  11. wow. while you berate yourself over the wheatiness, i'm so impressed at the level that you went to (dumplings! omg! from SCRATCH!). pat on the back, sir!
    i'm sure that there will be many opportunities for you to redeem whatever errors you think you've made, but truly - kudos to you.

  12. I can't tell you how much I LOVE fried dumpling wrappers. I'll quite happily forego the filling!

    It's a shame they couldn't be enjoyed by all, but it sounds as though they were well received all the same.

    Big points for the effort you went to, as well.