Try these steamed shiitake mushroom dumplings for an insanely umami rich and flavourful bite. All encased in homemade dumpling wrappers.
Dumplings are one of the greatest things to exist.
The versatility of fillings, flavours, accompaniments, it’s one of those creations that you’ll never tire from. It’s something I’ve been making for several years now and I’ve been looking forward to sharing this recipe.
It’s my go-to for a quick dumpling recipe as the filling is so simple, yet so incredibly flavourful.
What are dumplings?
Dumplings are a type of food that exist, and have existed in a variety of forms for many years. Different countries have different interpretations of ‘dumplings’.
This can vary from the Italian ravioli, to Chinese pot sticker and wontons, to Brazilian empanadas, to Nepali momos, to Polish piroshky and so many more. Even within a country there can be regional variations within fillings, methods of cooking, and how they’re served.
For filled dumplings (like these shiitake mushroom dumplings), it’s believed that they have existed for over 1800 years. It is alleged that they were invented during the Han Dynasty in China by a man named Zhang Zhongjian. Apparently the dumplings became so popular that they became a regular creation within his village.
Needless to say, dumplings these days are still incredibly popular. Found in all dim-sum restaurants, be it steamed, pan fried, or deep fried… it will be there somewhere.
This recipe is a filled dumpling that will be steamed. I’ll be sharing the recipe and method for the wrappers themselves if you would like to make your own. I’ll also share the recipe for the filling and the cooking method.
Shiitake mushroom dumplings
As the name suggests, these dumplings will be filled with shiitake mushrooms. The filling is lightly flavoured in order to allow the mushrooms to shine. With each bite of the dumpling you should get the flavour of each element.
The wrapper itself does not have much flavour but instead will have a lovely chewiness. The key to the wrapper is the thickness.
If it’s too thick it will be far too heavy and you’ll lose the delicateness of the dumplings. If it’s too thin you risk the wrapper tearing when trying to fold the dumplings.
Finally these shiitake mushroom dumplings are served with a homemade chilli oil (recipe and guide is in the works) and garnished with toasted black sesame seeds and some spring onions.
With every mouthful you should get the flavour and texture of the mushrooms, along with a hit of chilli, a subtle crunch from the sesame seeds and the lovely onion flavour from the spring onions.
The shiitake mushroom filling
The full recipe can be found at the end of the blogpost
For the dumpling filling you’ll require:
- Fresh shiitake mushrooms – one of the many types of mushrooms that exist. They have a very distinct flavour profile and can often be found fresh or dried. They have a strong earthiness and are rich in umami due to their high glutamate content
- Red chilli – I’ve used a Thai birds eye red chilli – it’s my favourite type of red chilli due to their flavour. It has a fruitiness to it whilst also providing a great level of heat that lingers around the mouth briefly
- Light soy sauce – this will provide our seasoning for the filling
- Spring onions – added in right at the end to prevent wilting and to provide a lift of freshness and additional flavour
The dumpling wrapper
- Plain flour
- Tapioca flour – reduces the gluten content slightly whilst adding an extra ‘chew’ to the final texture. The next best option to use instead will be rice flour or cornflour. Cornflour is sold as corn starch in the US
- Boiling water
For these wrappers we’ll be adding boiling water directly to the flours. This will gelatinise some of the starch in the flour which will allow it to retain more moisture.
During the steaming and pan frying, the dumpling wrappers are surrounded by a lower level of moisture in comparison to boiled dumplings. In these situations I prefer to use a wrapper made with boiling water which will allow it to retain more moisture during cooking.
On the other hand, if I’m planning to make boiled dumplings, I’ll make the wrapper dough with cold water.
The main tip with the wrappers is to use less water than you think you’ll need. The dough may initially appear dry but as it rests the flour will hydrate and the gluten will develop to allow for the perfect wrappers. It must not be sticky.
Traditionally the wrappers are rolled individually by hand with a rolling pin. I use a pasta roller and a cookie cutter which saves a lot of time and allows for even sheets of wrappers. It’s also far quicker.
Alternatively if you’d like to avoid making your own wrappers, your local East Asian specialty supermarket is likely to stock some pre-made wrappers. These can often be found either in the fridge of freezer section.
I’ve always got a few packs of frozen wrappers in my freezer in case of emergency.
Folding the shiitake mushroom dumplings
Various dumpling folds exist, and there are regional variations within this as well. For these dumplings I usually do a symmetric pleat that consist of at least 4-5 folds on either side. Personally I find this to be the easiest and quickest method of folding which also provides a simple but elegant result.
I have videos linked on my Instagram page to guide you through the folding process. However, there are plenty more videos available with a quick search online.
Don’t be disheartened if the folds don’t immediately look perfect. It’s taken me several years of practice to be confident with my dumpling folds, but once you get the hang of it the entire process becomes incredibly therapeutic.
Irrespective of how neat your folds are, the dumplings will still taste divine, and that’s what really matters.
But now, on to the main bit!
Making the dumpling wrappers
1) Mix the flours together
2) Add boiling water to the flour and begin to incorporate with a fork
3) Once the mixture has become cool enough to handle, start to mix further by hand
4) Transfer the dough to a clean surface and knead for ~5 minutes. It will seem like a dry dough but this is exactly what we want at this stage
5) After kneading, the dough will be smooth and slightly dry, it shouldn’t be sticky at all
6) Cover the dough and allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes
7) After resting, coat the dough in cornflour or rice flour
8) Briefly roll the dough into somewhat of a rectangle, this will help when passing it through the pasta roller
9) Pass the dough through a pasta roller as per the instructions on your machine. Make sure to start on the largest size first and slowly work your way down. I use an Atlas and for my machine I find setting 4 to be the ideal thickness for dumpling wrappers
10) Cut your wrappers out with a 2.5″ cookie cutter. Scrap dough can be kneaded back together and re-rolled
Making the shiitake mushroom filling
1) Pulse shiitake mushrooms in a food processor until coarsely ground into chunks like 2). Try not to puree these otherwise you’ll lose all texture
3+4) Finely mince the garlic and chilli (alternatively grate with a microplane)
5) Sauté the mushroom in oil on high heat until it begins to caramelise and brown, like 6)
7) Add the minced garlic and chilli and sauté for a further minute
8) Then add the soy sauce and continue to mix until it has all evaporated
9) Finally turn the heat off and add in the finely sliced spring onions. Mix to combine and allow to cool
Folding the dumplings
1) Place a heaped tsp of filling into the centre of each wrapper
2) Fold in to your desired shape, I prefer to do a symmetrical fold with at least 4-5 folds on either side
3) Place the dumplings into a steamer of choice and steam on a high heat for 10 minutes. If using a bamboo steamer like myself, just ensure that the steamer is placed above a pan of water at a rolling boil.
Question and answers
Can I use any other type of mushroom?
You can use any mushroom you prefer. I love the flavour and texture of shiitake and I think it works brilliantly here. But you can substitute the same weight of your favourite mushroom.
Where can I find pre-made dumpling wrappers?
You’ll find them in your local specialty east Asian supermarket, either in the fridge or freezer section.
What can I use instead of tapioca flour?
You can substitute it with rice flour, or even corn flour.
What if I don’t have a bamboo steamer?
You can use any other steamer set up that you have. Alternatively you can pan fry the dumplings until the base turns golden, then add sufficient water to the pan to cover the base, and pop a lid on and allow them to part fry and part steam.
What can I serve these with?
Your favourite dumpling sauce, or chilli oil, or chilli sauce. I’ve written a chilli oil guide that will help you out if you’re looking to make your own.
Shiitake Mushroom Dumplings
- Rolling Pin
- Pasta roller
- 2.5″ cookie cutter
For the filling:
- 250 g shiitake mushrooms
- 1 birds eye red chilli minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- Handful of spring onion greens finely sliced
For the wrappers:
- 125 g plain flour
- 25 g tapioca flour
- 80 g boiling water
- Corn flour or rice flour for dusting
For the wrappers:
- Mix together the plain flour and tapioca flour
- Add boiling water and mix with a fork to incorporate
- As soon as the dough cools enough to touch, start kneading by hand for around 5-7 minutes or until smooth. It will still look like a dry dough but it will hydrate as it rests
- Roll into a ball and cover. Allow to rest for a minimum of 20 mins
- Then lightly dust the dough with corn flour or rice flour and roll out to elongate
- Pass the dough through a pasta roller starting from the largest size onwards. I go up to setting 4 on my Atlas
- Use a cookie cutter to cut out even pieces
- Dough scraps can be re-kneaded, allow them to rest for 10 minutes then pass back through the pasta roller
For the mushroom filling:
- Blitz the mushrooms through a food processor until coarsely chopped, alternatively chop with a knife
- Sauté the mushrooms in the sesame oil on a high heat until they begin to caramelise and brown
- Then add the minced garlic and chilli and sauté for a further minute
- Add the soy sauce and continue to mix until it has incorporated
- Turn the heat off and add the finely sliced spring onions
- Allow to cool completely before filling the wrappers
Folding the wrappers:
- Placed a heaped tsp of filling in the centre of the wrapper, keep the other wrappers covered under a lightly damp kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out
- Pinch the middle of each end of the wrapper together and create 4-5 symmetrical pleats on either side
- Place in a steamer and steam over boiling water for 10 minutes
If you enjoyed these, try my sweetcorn dumplings too! Just tap the image below to take you to the recipe.