These mushroom dumplings are packed with a flavorful umami-rich mixed wild mushroom filling and then steamed to perfection (or steamed and seared for vegan potstickers) for a satisfying meat-free appetizer, snack, or main! Plus, they're freezer-friendly too!
If you haven't made a batch of homemade dumpling wrappers already, then you can do so now or use store-bought wrappers.
Step 1: Prepare the mushroom filling
Finely chop the cabbage, mushrooms, ginger, and garlic.To save time, you can, alternatively, process the ingredients separately in a food processor until it's broken down into a chunky crumb. The mushrooms are okay in slightly larger pieces as they will cook down a lot, too.
Cook the mushrooms in a dry pan (no oil) over medium heat. As they cook, they'll release their water content. After they've released the majority of their liquid, add in the remaining ingredients (including the oil) and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally.Taste the mushroom mixture and adjust the flavor if needed; more salt or soy. Then remove the mixture from the heat to allow it to cool for a few minutes.
Step 2: Fill and shape the dumplings
To assemble the mushroom dumplings, fill each dumpling wrapper with around 1 tablespoon of the mushroom filling in the center. Then it's time to shape the dumplings.There are several ways that you can seal and shape the dumplings. I attempted a two-pleated design.
To do this, press the center of the dumplings to seal and then create folds in the top layer of the dumpling to connect it to the bottom layer until fully sealed. You can direct them all one way or do 3 from the left and 3 from the right for a 2-directional pleat. There are several ways you can fold your dumplings, though, the easiest being the “half-moon” which requires you to just close and seal the dumpling without the need for extra pleats. Another nice 'beginner' dumpling shape would be the 'purse'/money bag dumplings. After spooning the filling directly into the center of the dumpling wrapper, then bring all the edges up and pinch it to seal. Optionally use chives/cilantro stems or something similar to tie around and hold the wrapper in place, like a little money bag.
If you're using store-bought or pre-frozen/starch-dusted wrappers, then use a little water to help you seal the dumplings properly.
Step 3: Cook the vegetarian dumplings
To Steam The Dumplings
There are several ways you can steam your dumplings, regardless of whether you have a bamboo steamer basket. In fact, I've included methods below for using a bamboo basket or colander. You can also use a tiered steaming pan.First, line the bamboo basket or colander with either 'liners,' a couple of cheesecloth layers, or some leftover napa (or regular) cabbage leaves. You could also use parchment paper - if doing so, I like to perforate it a few times to allow more steam to enter the basket.Chef's tip: If you salt the napa cabbage leaves and leave them to one side for a few minutes, it will tenderize the leaves. You can then squeeze out the excess water, and they'll fit much better within the steamer basket.
Place a few dumplings in the basket/colander, making sure that they don't touch; otherwise, they'll fuse. If you're using a steamer basket, fill both the basket's levels and place the lid on top.For the steamer basket: Add about 2-inches of water to a large skillet or pan and bring to a boil. Place the basket in the water- the water should be touching the steamer but not enough to reach the food.I find it best to use a pan that's not too much larger than the steamer. so it's snug around it to avoid too much of the steam escaping. Alternatively, you could use a smaller pot that the steamer sits snugly on top (so no steam escapes).For the colander: Fill a pan that's wide enough to accommodate your colander and fill it with a couple of inches of water - not enough to touch the bottom of the colander- and bring to a boil. Once boiling, place the colander within the pan and top with a lid.With both methods, reduce the heat to a simmer over medium-low heat and allow the dumplings to steam for 6-8 minutes. Make sure not to remove the lids at any point or you'll let all of the steam escape. The dough should be slightly opaque and cooked through when done.
When ready, remove the dumplings from the basket/colander quickly to avoid them over-steaming.
For Pan-fried Vegan Potstickers
After filling and shaping the mushroom dumplings, it's time for frying and steaming potstickers.(Optional) For a sesame-crusted potsticker: Brush the bottom of each vegan potsticker with some water and coat them with raw sesame seeds.
Using a large skillet, add a tablespoon of sesame oil to the pan and allow it to heat up. Then add enough dumplings to fill the skillet without touching. Fry over medium heat for around 2 minutes until the bottom of the potstickers has browned and become slightly crispy.
Then carefully (it will likely splatter), add 1/2 cup (120ml) of water to the pan and cover with a tight-fitting lid, reducing the temperature to medium-low.
Allow the mushroom dumplings to steam for 7-9 minutes until the liquid is almost all evaporated, then remove the lid. Increase the heat slightly and cook for just 1-2 minutes further for the remainder of the liquid to cook off and the bottom of the vegan potstickers to crisp up once more.
Serve immediately with this gyoza dipping sauce or your sauce of choice.
How To Make Ahead and Store
Make ahead: these mushroom dumplings are super freezer-friendly. You can prepare these up until the point just before cooking and then freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet until solid before transferring to an airtight freezer-safe bag or container for up to 1 month.Store: freshly cooked vegan potstickers are best eaten immediately. However, leftovers will store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.Reheat: You can steam these dumplings from frozen - add an extra 3-4 minutes to the steaming time - this includes using the potsticker cooking method. To reheat dumplings from the fridge, you can re-steam, oven bake, or microwave them until warmed through.
When making potstickers: When you add the water to the pan, it can splatter, so be careful - standing back is recommended.
For quick prep: You can use a food processor to chop ingredients quickly. However, it can impact mushroom texture somewhat to feel free to experiment and see which you prefer.
If you're new to steaming dumplings, you can check their doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of a dumpling. Leave it there for a few seconds, then remove it and press it against your bottom lip - it should be very hot.
As well as steaming and frying dumplings, you can also boil them. However, incorrectly pleated dumplings may fall apart when boiled - potstickers/gyoza are far more forgiving on newbie dumpling makers!
If you have a tiered steaming pan: These pans usually come in three layers, a tall pot at the bottom and two steaming layers above. To use this method, line the layers, add a few inches of water to the bottom pan and bring it to a boil, add the dumplings (not touching) to both upper steamer pans, then pop on the lid and allow them to steam.