Eat the rainbow! You guys asked for more Asian-inspired recipes and I can't think of anything more oriental than dumplings!
These dumplings are naturally colored and filled with black beans, tofu, spinach, shiitakes, and flavored with sesame oil, soy sauce, and sriracha. They look fancy but are super easy to make!
It starts with onions, garlic, and ginger that are sautéed until golden brown. Then comes the base of the filling which consists of black beans, diced tofu, shiitakes, and spinach. The addition of spinach makes the filling juicy and prevents the dumplings from being too dry. To add more flavor I used a combination of soy sauce, sriracha, and some Chinese 5-spice which adds a nice hint of anise.
To simplify this recipe, the same filling is used for each dumpling. If you want, you can make different fillings for each color but it's going to take you a long time. Stay tuned for more vegan dumpling filling recipes!
Coloring the wrappers is optional but it looks damn cool! Plus it's easy to make and all natural. I simply used vegetable juices in replacement of water to color them. For example, the yellow one is colored with carrot juice. For more details, please check the notes at the end of the recipe. If you use water, wrappers will be white/yellow obviously. The black one was meant to be gray but I ended up using too much charcoal! It's fixed in the recipe.
I tried to make vegan gluten-free wonton wrappers, but the results were not satisfying enough. Dumplings should have a very thin, soft pasta dough and unfortunately, you can't roll gluten-free dough as thinly without breaking it. Here is a useful tip though: you want your wrappers to be thinner on the edges, this way the top won't be too thick or hard to chew once cooked.
I'm giving the ingredients to make 2 dumpling wrappers, this way you can make a few different colors without ending up with too many dumplings. If you don't plan on making different colors, then just triple or quadruple the dumpling wrappers ingredients.
You can cook dumplings two ways: steaming or pan frying. I went with pan frying because I found it easier and it makes the dumplings crispy on the bottom.
Serve the dumplings on a bed of salad with raw vegetables, and dip them into the salty-sweet sesame garlic sauce!
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
Black Bean Tofu Rainbow Dumplings
Basic Dumpling Wrappers (Makes 4)
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 and ½ tablespoon water or replace with vegetable juice for color, see notes
Filling (Enough for around 15 dumplings)
- 2 tablespoon sesame oil toasted
- 1 onion diced
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon ginger grated
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms rehydrated and finely diced
- 2 cups spinach chopped
- 1 cup cooked black beans or adzuki beans
- 4 ounces firm tofu finely diced, or scrambled
- 1 and ½ tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon sriracha
- ¼ teaspoon 5-Spice optional
Sesame Dipping Sauce
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon white rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoon water
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- Put the flour in a small bowl, slowly pour in the water (or vegetable juice) and knead until mixture forms a soft dough. If the dough seems too dry, add 1 teaspoon water at a time. You don't want the dough to be sticky though. Knead for 2 minutes and wrap the ball in plastic wrap. Let rest for 25-30 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the filling.
- Heat the sesame oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic and ginger and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and chopped spinach and cook for another 5-7 minutes, until the spinach becomes soft. Stir in the black beans, diced tofu, soy sauce, maple syrup, turmeric, sriracha and 5-spice if using. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring regularly. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed, adding more soy sauce for saltiness, sriracha for spiciness and/or 5-spice for more flavor.
- Remove from heat, transfer to a large bowl and let cool 15 minutes.
- Divide the dumplings dough into 2 balls. Roll out each ball into a round as thin as you can (about 1 mm thick). I rolled out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper to make sure it doesn't stick, you can also dust with cornstarch. IMPORTANT: the dough needs to be rolled out very thin, I insist on this because otherwise, the dumplings will take longer to cook and might be doughy.
- Lightly press the edges of the round with your fingers to make it thinner than the center.
- Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of a wrapper. Wet your finger and run some water (not too much) around the edges of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper to form a purse-like shape, alternatively, you can shape it into a half moon if you prefer. Make sure to press with your fingers to seal the dumpling. Set aside and cover with a damp kitchen towel while you prepare the rest
- Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the dumplings 20-30 seconds, or until the bottom is golden brown. Lower the heat to medium heat and add ½ cup water. Cover immediately with a lid and let "steam" until the dumplings are tender and no water remains, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and serve immediately with the sesame dipping sauce.
Sesame Dipping Sauce
- Add all the ingredients to a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed, if you find the sauce too salty add more water, if you prefer a sweeter sauce add more maple syrup.
For the yellow dough: replace the water with carrot juice.
For the purple/red dough: replace the water with beetroot juice.
For the dark grey dough: add ¼ tsp activated charcoal.
For the orange dough: add 2 tsp tomato paste.
For the light purple dough: replace the water with purple cabbage juice.
For a light green dough: replace the water with spinach juice. To make vegetable juices: you can use a juicer, or a blender and then strain the pulp. It should work with store-bought juices, just make sure they are unsweetened. Dough coloring inspired by Seasoned Advice and purse-shape adapted from Nosh On It.
Carlos At Spoonabilities
Thomas, The rainbow dumplings look so yummy and stunning in this picture. Love the depth of the colors and what a bright idea to use natural juices to color the dumplings wrappers.
Thank you Carlos!
Natalie | Feasting on Fruit
Wow!! These are so gorgeous, you nailed it on all the different colors and all natural too. Plus amazing shots as always 🙂
Thanks Natalie! 🙂
Hi Thomas, I tried out this recipe today and I loved it. However, mine turned out a bit too chewy. I think I didn't roll out the dough as thin as I could have. What diameter did you make them?
Thanks for your feedback Debby! So glad to hear you liked it 🙂 I saw yours on Instagram, they looked great!
Yes, the dough needs to be rolled out very thin, I think mine were about 3.5 inches (9cm) wide. If it's too thick the dumplings will be doughy and take a long time to cook, I will edit the recipe and explain a bit more.
sue | theviewfromgreatisland
I'm mesmerized by these gorgeous dumplings ~ sharing!
These are possibly the best looking dumplings ever. <3 I love the shapes and the vibrant colour.
It is amazing. It must be very delicious. I will try to make it.
I am not sure about finding activated charcoal. Would cooking water from black beans work? Or where can I find activated charcoal? Vitamin store?
So easy and delicious
I am going to make these for my 254th consecutive monthly dinner party on Wednesday and am wondering a couple of things:
Have you ever tried rolling the dough super thin with a pasta maker?
What do you think about using fermented black beans instead, which I bought at a chinese market?
Will let you know how they come out and tag you (only if they look fabulous!)
I didn't have a pasta maker at the time of this recipe, so I haven't tried it yet, but I think it would work really well.
Fermented black beans are different and very salty, so I would not recommend using it.
I made the filling, and since I was cooking dumplings for 25, I didn't end up making the dough. But I will say, the fermented black beans were AMAZING. Thanks for the great recipe. Everyone loved them!
Glad you liked the recipe Barbara 😉