Are you craving a big serving of soft and steamy dumplings? We have the perfect recipe for you: vegan shumai dumplings with a juicy eggplant filling. They're packed with healthy veggies and delicious Chinese ingredients. Let us show you how to do them!
We started from the classic Cantonese siumaai recipe (AKA shumai or siomai) but swapped pork and shrimps with sautéed eggplants. Aubergines are fleshy and tasty—perfect for replacing meat. Then, we kept all the other classing ingredients like mushrooms, spring onions, ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil; we only added bamboo shoots for extra flavour and texture. And instead of the traditional red fish eggs (fish roe), we used carrots. Clever, right?
The traditional filling also includes Chinese rice wine, called Shaoxing rice wine. You should be able to find it at your local Asian food store or in the Asian food section of your supermarket. But, if you can't get a hold of it, swap it with rice vinegar or mirin, which should be more accessible.
As for the siomai wrapping, the best choice is to use store-bought gyoza wrappers. They consist of a simple dough of water and flour, and they come fresh or frozen, already cut out into rounds. Using ready-made gyoza wrappers will save you time, but you can also follow our instructions on how to make dumpling dough from scratch if you can't find them. Some recipe variations, especially in Philippines and Indonesia, use wonton pastry to line dumplings, but it's not vegan as it contains eggs, so it's a no-go for our plant-based recipe.
Preparing shumai is very simple as all you have to do is cook the filling, shape the dumplings, and steam them in a bamboo basket. We'll show you how to do everything with step-by-step pictures, so you'll get the same beautiful dumplings you see at Chinese restaurants.
Once ready, enjoy these aubergine siumaai piping hot and dip them in your favourite dumpling sauce. They're small in size but big in flavour, perfect served along with other small dim sum nibbles and a cup of tea. Sounds yummy? Whip out your chopsticks and let's dive into the recipe!
- Gyoza Wrappers
- Sesame Oil
- Shiitake Mushrooms
- Bamboo Shoots
- Fresh Ginger Root
- Spring Onions Stalks
- Rice Vinegar (or Shaoxing rice wine)
- Soy Sauce
Let's start by preparing the filling.
Heat the sesame oil in a skillet and add in finely chopped shiitake mushrooms, aubergines, bamboo shoots, and ginger root.
Sizzle all for 10 minutes until the liquids have reduced.
Next, tip in chopped spring onions, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and mix well.
Remove the pan from the heat and let the filling cool down slightly.
Now, let's shape the shumai.
We used store-bought, 10cm (4 inches) wide, gyoza wrappers.
If you can't find them, you can also make them from scratch following our Tibetan dumplings recipe.
For each dumpling, grab one wrapper and wet the edges with cold water (1); this will help seal the dumpling.
Then, shape your hand like an "O", connecting your thumb with your index finger. Place the wrapper on your hand and add two tablespoons of filling in the centre (2).
Now, fold the wrapper edges, pinching them with your other hand, as shown in the picture (3).
This step might be a bit tricky at first, but the more you practice, the better you'll get at it.
Don't seal the dumpling, but leave the centre open so that you can see the filling.
Then, place it on a sheet of baking paper and cover it with a damp cloth so it won't get dry.
Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you have used all the wrappers and filling.
Before steaming the siomai, blitz the carrot in a blender until it's finely ground or grate it finely. Then, top each shumai with a pinch of grated carrots (to replace the classic fish roe).
Set up your bamboo basket onto a pot partly filled with boiling water, making sure the bottom of the steaming basket doesn't get wet.
Line the basket with a sheet of baking paper, steaming paper, or a cabbage leaf.
Arrange the dumplings inside, leaving some space in between, and close the lid.
Steam the shaomai for 10 minutes until they are soft and glossy.
Serve your vegan dumplings warm with a dipping sauce of vinegar, chilli flakes, and soy sauce.
You can swap bamboo shoots with water chestnuts or omit them altogether if you can't find them