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Crystal Skin Dumplings

Crystal Skin Dumplings are traditionally made with prawns and have a clear transparent appearance that allows you to see the filling through the wrapper. We have used a filling of tofu and spinach that works very well as a vegetarian alternative, and shows clearly through the ‘crystal skin’. The dough is a little tricky to handle, but with practice become easier to work with.

Crystal Skin Dumplings

Makes approx 20

Dietary: Vegan | Prep time: 1 hour | Cook Time:10 minutes



  • 200g wheat starch
  • 75g cornflour
  • 450ml boiling water
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil


  • 100g firm tofu
  • 50g fresh spinach, wilted, squeezed dry and chopped finely
  • 25g water chestnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chives, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing Chinese rice wine
  • ½ tsp toasted sesame oil
  • Salt to taste


  1. To make the filling, crumble the tofu into a mixing bowl.
  2. Mix in the spinach, water chestnuts, minced spring onions, garlic and ginger. Add the Shaoxing Chinese rice wine, sesame oil and a large pinch of salt, and mix together thoroughly to combine. Taste and add more salt and sesame oil if necessary.
  3. To make the dough, weigh the wheat starch and cornstarch in a mixing bowl. Slowly add in the boiling water and then the oil, while stirring rapidly. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes, until it turns into a smooth dough ball.
  4. Divide into 2 pieces and roll each into a long cylinder, and divide each into 10 equal pieces. Cover the dough pieces with a damp paper towel to prevent drying out.
  5. Take one piece of dough and roll it into a 6cm diameter circle. Add a spoonful of filling and carefully lift one half and pleat the edge before folding up the other half to meet the pleated edge, pressing to seal the dumpling. Otherwise, a simple way to shape the dumplings is just by folding in half to form a crescent, and press the edges neatly to seal.
  6. Continue assembling until all the dumplings are made.
  7. Line your steamer with a piece of parchment that fits neatly inside. Perforate several holes in the parchment to allow the steam through.
  8. Place your Dumplings inside the steamer, spacing apart slightly.
  9. Heat a pan half filled with water (the right size that your steamer can sit upon) and allow to come to the boil.
  10. Once your pan of water is boiling enough to begin steaming, place the steamer on top and cook the dumplings for 6 to 10 minutes using high heat, until the dough has turned from opaque to translucent, and serve hot with chilli oil or a soy based dipping sauce.

Mouthwatering photos by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.

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