Thursday, August 30, 2012

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Gluten Free Asian Dumplings

mushroom dumplings  Mark on 1st
Original photo on the left photographed by Chris Court, Styling: Steve Pearce.  My version is on the right.

This is my 5th time participating in the Donna Hay Challenge hosted by JungleFrog Cooking.  I've been enjoying these challenges not only because of the delish recipe but also for helping me be more creative with food styling and my prop collection has also grown because of these challenges.  However I decided to challenge myself in a new way this month.  I was determined to do this Mushroom Dumpling challenge using only props I already owned.  This is the first challenge I didn't buy any props for.  I was really tempted to go out and buy some more colorful soup spoons but I held back. Since I didn't buy any props, the photo doesn't looks as much like the original as my other photos did but I like the result anyway.

I've been eating gluten free for a while now and gluten free wonton wrappers are not easy to find and am not sure they even exist.  I suppose I could have tried rice paper for the wontons but I decided to challenge myself by making my own.  I wasn't about to experiment making up my own recipe so I found a recipe on Penniless Parenting's blog.  It was the only recipe I could find that didn't include some brand named flour blend.  I wanted to make my own flour blend since I have a fridge full of Bob's Red Mill gluten free flours that I would rather use instead.  The only substitution I made was guar gum for xanthan gum.  I also used a lot more water than what was called for in the recipe.  I must have used at least 1/2 cup of water.  The dough rolled out nicely but was a little challenging to fold into dumplings. It kept wanting to rip but I managed to get them made.  It appears that is the price you pay for making them gluten free. The dough is more delicate and you can't roll it out as thinly as a gluten dough.  I was pretty happy with the way they turned out in the end though. They didn't explode in the water or anything and they tasted great.

Now for the filling. I also made a few substitutions since I am not a fan of fresh mushrooms. I don't mind mushroom seasoning/powders and I even used dried mushrooms for the broth.  I'm just anti fresh mushrooms and I can't really explain why. So, in place of mushrooms, I cooked up some shredded cabbage, chopped cooked chicken breast and chopped green onion along with the other filling ingredients.  If you are gluten free make sure you check the labels of the soy sauce and oyster sauce. Most have wheat in them and there don't appear to be very many options for gluten free.  If you can't find them locally you can always order them online.  You can even get them from Amazon: Wan Ja Shan Organic Tamari Soy Sauce Gluten-FreeWok Mei All Natural Oyster Sauce. The hardest ingredient for me to find was the micro greens.  PCC and Whole Foods were my first stops and neither of them carried it anymore.  I finally ended up finding it at Trader Joe's.  The ones I got were a Trader Joe's brand mix of broccoli, purple kohlrabi, cabbage, kale, mizuna, red mustard, tatsoi, amaranth and celery  I never even heard of mizuna and tatsoi.  I thought radish was the most common but it wasn't even in the mix.  I had a bunch left over and have been eating the rest of it in my salads.

I didn't spend a lot of time on the actual photo because I didn't want the soup to get too cold.  The background of the original photo is a weathered piece of metal.  I just happen to have a metal table in my laundry room so used that.  Unfortunately I think my flash was a little too bright so it's hard to even tell the background is metal in the photo and the surface is very reflective so you can see a bit of reflection on the plate.  I used my external flash on camera and aimed it to the wall on the right.

Gluten Free Wonton Wrappers
(Adapted from Penniless Parenting)
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup brown rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch
2 tsp guar gum
1 large egg
1/2 cup water (approximately)
sea salt
potato starch for dusting

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl until well blended.  Stir in egg with a fork until distributed.  Add small amounts of water and mix with a fork or pastry blender if you have one until dough forms a ball when pressed together.  Dough shouldn't stick to your fingers. If too much water is added, add small amounts of brown rice flour until dough is correct consistency.  Set dough aside while you make the filling and broth.

Roll dough on a potato starch floured surface, adding additional flour if dough starts sticking to rolling pin until relatively thin. cut dough into squares using a pizza cutter.  

Gluten Free Dumpling Filling
(Adapted from Donna Hay Magazine Issue 62)
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp grated galangal
1 red chile pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 of a head of cabbage, thinly sliced
chicken breast, cooked and chopped
1 Tbsp gluten free soy sauce
1 Tbsp Chinese black vinegar
2 Tbsp gluten free oyster sauce
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Heat oil in non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add galangal, chile pepper, garlic, onions, cabbage and chicken and cook for 2 minutes.  Add soy, vinegar and oyster sauce and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Set aside to cool completely.

Roll out dough as described above while filling cools.  add a small portion of filling to each square.  lightly wet two adjacent sides of the wrapper and fold in half to form a triangle and press the sides to seal.  Cover and set aside while you make the broth below.

Gluten Free Mushroom Broth
(Adapted from Donna Hay Magazine Issue 62)
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1 tsp sliced ginger
3 cloves garlic, crushed
50g dried shiitake mushrooms
micro greens
thinly sliced red chili
chili oil
Place stock, water, ginger, garlic and mushrooms in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes.  Strain the broth and return to the saucepan.  Increase heat to medium, add the dumplings and cook for 3-4 minutes or until wontons are transparent.  Top with micro greens and chili and serve with chili oil.

Dumpling Making Dumpling Filling
Micro Greens Author: Paula Thomas


  1. Paula, this is wonderful. I love your take on the styling, AND you made it gluten free! I've never had much success with gluten free wontons, but will have to try your version!

  2. Wow! Well you get an A for the effort of making them glutenfree to begin with. Love your bowl and plate and I think it makes a lot of sense to try and replicate the photo using whatever you have. I can always use the excuse when buying props, that I need it for work but yes it's sometimes rather expensive! Love your photo and love the styling and so glad you joined !