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crystal dumplings

crystal dumplings

Unlike my other gluten-free dumpling wrapper recipe, these translucent gems are typically steamed. It's the same wrapper that is used for Ha Gao (shrimp dumplings) though my filling is not mock-shrimp. The wrappers should ideally be prepared and dumplings assembled right away. Once they're all wrapped, you can freeze them to enjoy at a later date.



4.5 oz (125g) extra firm tofu, crumbled

1 small carrot, finely chopped

1-2 tablespoons sunflower / grapeseed oil

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon xiao shing wine or sherry (optional)

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Handful of fresh pea shoot microgreens


1/2 cup potato starch

1/4 cup tapioca starch, plus more for dusting

1/4 cup rice flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (180ml) of BOILING hot water

2 teaspoons sunflower seed/grapeseed oil


Carrot or radish rounds to line the basket


Make the filling:

  • Crumble the tofu and finely chop all the carrot – a food processor, or mini herb chopper is handy here, but chopping it all with a knife works too!

  • Heat a skillet on high heat and coat the pan with oil. Add all the carrot, tofu and grated ginger and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until the carrot has softened and the water from the tofu has evaporated.  Add the cornstarch, salt, xiao shing wine, and white pepper, mixing evenly. 

  • Transfer to a large plate to let this mixture cool before wrapping.

Make the wrappers: The important part about making crystal dumpling skin wrappers is to make sure the water is boiling hot. I can't stress this enough, but it makes all the difference! Rather than using a stainless steel mixing bowl, I actually mixed mine in a cast iron pot that I warmed up for a minute, so that it retains the heat better.

  • In a small saucepan, bring a cup of water to a vigorous rolling boil (you only need 3/4 cup of this for the dough, but I'm allowing for evaporation.)

  • Place all the starches in a heavy-bottomed cast iron pot. Add the water whilst stirring continuously until a large ball of lumpy dough forms. Cover the pot and let this rest for 2-3 minutes. Add the oil and knead the dough in the pot, either by punching it with a rolling pin or pestle, or with your hands – if it's cool enough to touch. Knead for 8-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic, like Silly Putty, but not as stretchy.

  • On a clean work surface that's lightly floured with tapioca starch, divide the dough into 16-18 equal pieces. Keep these in the covered pot while you're assembling the dumplings.

Assemble the dumplings one at a time:

  • Use a rolling pin to roll each ball out to 4" in diameter x 1/16-inch rounds (it doesn't matter if they're not perfect circles – but try to go thin as possible without tearing the wrapper when assembling. 

  • Place the wrapper in the palm of your hand. Lay a few microgreen leaves on the wrapper, then scoop one heaped teaspoonful of the filling ontop of the leaves, in the center of the dough round. Take care not to overfill them, or they’ll be difficult to close. 

  • Fold the wrapper in half—into a semi-circle—and firmly pinch the edges together to seal/ Although it isn't necessary, you can then pinch pleats / folds (See Dumpling folds here). Place the assembled dumpling on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and continue until you run out of wrappers or filling.

TO STEAM: Place the dumplings in a single layer on a steamer basket lined with a thinly sliced carrot or radish round underneath each one. Pour ¼ cup or 1-inch (3 cm) of water into a wide pot or wok. Place the basket into the pot, ensuring that the water does not touch the dumplings. Cover the basket and bring the water to a boil. Turn the heat down to a medium-low heat and let steam for 8-10 minutes.

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