A vegetarian version of Shumai, water chestnut dumplings

A new year has started and I feel that after the holidays with way too much of the good foods it is time to change the eating habits. Not too much but loosely this is what I had in mind. 1 day/week will be a fish day, 1 day/week or more will be vegetarian or vegan and one day there will be no restrictions at all. I will cut fat where I can without cutting it out and have no sugar in my black tea, I might give up the black tea for green and herbal as I find them easier to drink as they are.

Today was a vegetarian day and I wanted to make dumplings. This was an experiment as I have never done them without meat before but I was pretty sure it would work.  I used tofu as a base as it carries and enhances flavors and it is very healthy, you can read more about the nutritional value here. The mentioning of tofu for dinner sometimes brings out that “really?!” look on M’s face so I tried to make it more interesting. I am not sure if it is correct to call them shumai but the shape is the same even if I need some more practice.


Water chestnut shumai

preparation time 10  minutes 

cooking time 10  minutes 

serves 2


  • 1 pack of goyoza wrappers
  • 175 gr or 6 oz firm silken tofu
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 tin of water chestnuts
  • a piece of leek
  • 1 chilli
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 piece of fresh ginger
  • a good bunch of chives
  • salt
  • 1/2 – 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 3-4 tbsp water

For the dipping sauce

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs vegetable or rapseed oil
  • 1/2 tbsp mirin
  • the juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 piece of fresh ginger
  • cress for garnish

Place the tofu in a blender together with garlic, the egg white and the sesame oil. Blend until smooth and then add the water chestnuts and just pulse, they will provide texture so don’t break them up too much. Chop the spring onion, the leek and the chilli fine and mix with the salt and the tofu mixture in a bowl.




De -frost the goyoza wrappers, you can re freeze the ones you don’t use, and place a teaspoon of filling on each wrapper. Form a ring with your index finger and thumb and place the wrapper in there. Gently shape the shumai and set side until you have done them all.

Heat a wok and add oil, I used rapeseed oil but vegetable oil is also good. When the oil is smoking add the shumai.




Let them fry to get a crispy base and then add 3-4 tbsp water and put the lid on. Let cook for 10 minutes, add a littler more water if necessary and let it cook without the lid the last minutes.

Whilst that is cooking mix the ingredients for the dipping sauce. Gently separate the shumai from each other if they stick together (or don’t insist on cooking them all together like myself) and serve.



They were delicious but a bit soft, I might need to add some corn flour or a stabilizer next time but I will make them again. They were quite filling and  some fruit for dessert completed the meal. It was a great way to be vegetarian.

11 Responses to “A vegetarian version of Shumai, water chestnut dumplings”
  1. adapukka says:

    Looks delicious!

  2. I love dim sum! These look delectable 🙂

  3. ediblethings says:

    Thank you. I have always been a little intimidated by Chinese dumplings, especially how to shape them, but this explanation has just clicked for me. I am going to give these a go for my healthy January, too 🙂

    • petra08 says:

      hi Mel

      I thought so too but this is super easy, I need to work on the presentation but it tastes good 🙂 Let me know how it goes!

      • ediblethings says:

        I will, and due to a chronic custard addiction, I am always looking for something to use up all the leftover egg whites with :), sounds just about perfect all round

        • petra08 says:

          Hi Mel

          ha ha, I love custard!
          Egg whites are also delicious for should, just give them a whisk and then add them to the soup, like the Chinese chicken & sweetcorn soup maybe?

  4. Mel says:

    Hi Petra, I just popped in to tell you that I made these perfect little dumplings tonight for a dim sum dinner I had for my friends. Everyone agreed they are brilliant. So easy and tasty. I was complemented on the flavours and how fresh they were. Thanks for the recipe. I’m also going to try your egg white tip for soup soon.

    • petra08 says:

      hi Mel

      I am so happy they worked out for you 🙂 And that you made, and liked them! Thanks for letting me know, it did make me start the day with a smile! 🙂

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] seaweed (with curly kale), pak choi in garlic, and braised aubergine. I also made these excellent vegetarian shumai that Petra from Food Eat Love posted the other day. They were delicious, and gave me the courage […]

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