Both Marco and I can just live on dumplings, for the rest of our lives. Seriously. I've been wanting to make these famous crispy rice paper dumplings for ages. And once I did, I was like, why haven't I tried this sooner?!
The unique thing about this recipe is, instead of using the typical dumpling dough, we're going to use rice papers. You know the ones that you use to make fresh or fried Vietnamese spring rolls? Yes, those!
It's way faster and yes, you'll get super crispy dumpling skins!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Shiitake - I use 6 dried shiitake that I re-hydrate by soaking them in hot water for a few hours. Shiitake has that umami flavour that just makes whatever dumpling fillings, taste so delicious.
SUBSTITUTIONS: Use fresh ones instead, though the flavour is not going to be that strong. Or use other type of mushrooms, just keep in mind to cook them throughly until they release all their liquid, to prevent our filling from getting too wet or soggy.
Veggie - I use carrot because again, it's one of the common veggie in dumplings. Also, because carrots barely release any liquid when you cook them.
NOTE: If you want to swap veggies (shiitake and carrot) for something else, always remember to use ones that don't release too much liquid.
Chicken - I use leftover cooked chicken, it's easier. You can use whatever you have on hands. If using raw protein sources, just make sure to fully cook them with the filling ingredients.
Soy sauce - Adds the umami flavour! I highly recommend you use less salt soy sauce as you can use more for flavour, without having to worry about your dish being too salty. If you're using the common all-purpose soy sauce, use half amount and go from there.
Sesame oil - Toasted one, please. It gives this lovely smokey delicious touch to the filling. If you're into Asian cooking, I'd really recommend to have a good bottle in your kitchen. It's great in stir-fry, dipping sauces and also in marinades.
How To Fold Rice Paper Dumplings
- Soak 1 rice paper for 5 seconds in room temperature water, then place on a damp kitchen towel. Wait for a few more seconds until it becomes very pliable. Put 1 heap tablespoon of filling on the centre.
- Fold the lower side to the centre.
- Fold the right side part to the centre.
- Then fold the top side to the centre.
- Finally fold the left side to the centre. Set it aside.
- Soak another rice paper and place on the kitchen towel. Now place the folded dumpling, seam side down, on the centre.
- Continue folding like earlier.
- Dumpling is ready. Keep it inside another damp kitchen towel, on a tray. Continue with the rest and then cook them.
Utensil To Use
Cast iron pan - Whenever I want a good sear or to cook food to get that golden brown crispy result, I love to use my cast iron pan. It never fail to deliver and this recipe is perfect for it. You can, of course, use a non stick pan also.
How To Make The Dumplings
- Make filling - Saute the veggies until the carrot (the sturdiest one) is soft. Add in the rest of the ingredients, mix well and then cool completely before using.
- Fold - Assemble and fold the dumplings. Always keep them in a damp kitchen towel to prevent them from getting dry.
- Cook - Heat some oil in a cast iron pan (non stick works also) and shallow-fry them in batches until they're crispy and golden brown.
- Serve - Serve hot with some of my 5-minute chili garlic oil, super delicious!
Tips To Make These Dumplings
- Make sure to prepare 2 kitchen towels (to fold the rice papers on and to keep the folded ones in). When rice papers get dry, they'll break apart.
- Use 5 seconds rule for soaking the rice papers, don't soak them longer than that. Else they'll be too soft to handle later.
- Keep the folded dumplings apart from each other, during cooking time and after they're cooked. No touching, else they'll going to stick to each other, and you don't want that.
- Place cooked dumplings on a rack, while you continue cooking the rest. Never place them on top of a kitchen paper, they will stick to it.
How To Serve & Store
Serve - them hot with some chili garlic oil. The best combo ever. My 5-minute chili garlic oil is so easy and delicious.
Store - Keep in an air-tight container, in the fridge for 2-3 days. Re-heat for a few minutes in a pan or my favourite way is using air-fryer (340ºF or 170ºC), to bring the crispy skins back. I don't recommend to store them (uncooked or cooked) at room temperature to avoid food spoil. They're not freezer-friendly, unfortunately.
Can I Just Use 1 Rice Paper?
I don't recommend that because I've tried it, and the dumplings got broken when I was cooking them. Plus, the skins were not crispy at all. Use 2 rice papers. No broken dumplings and you get super crispy skins.
Cold Or Hot Water To Soak The Rice Paper?
Always room temperature water. Don't use warm or hot water to soak nor to dampen the kitchen towels.
Why My Dumplings Are Soggy?
Most probably for 2 reasons. 1) Perhaps you changed the ingredients for the filling and ended up with super wet filling. See the "Ingredients and Substitutions" above for ideas. You'd want the filling not to have so much liquid, to avoid the sogginess problem. 2) You only used 1 rice paper per dumpling. Use two, alright?
Can I Freeze Them?
Nope, unfortunately. Rice paper or rice noodles are not freezer-friendly, at all. They'll break apart, it's a nightmare. Trust me, I've made the mistake. Haha!
How In Advance Can I Make These?
You can make the fillings a few days ahead. But I do recommend assembling and cooking right when you want to serve them.
I Have Balance, What Do I Do?
Keep them in an air-tight container, in the fridge for 2-3 days. Re-heat them in a pan or personally for me, I like to use the air-fryer. I use 340ºF (170ºC) for a few minutes to bring the crispy skins back.
Watch How To Make Them
Crispy Rice Paper Dumplings
- 1 thumb-sized ginger , minced
- 4 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 cup hydrated chopped dried shiitake (100 g), or around 6 dried ones
- 1 medium-sized carrot (100 g), julienned
- 1 cup diced leftover cooked chicken (150 g)
- 1 cup chopped spring onion (50 g)
- 1 tablespoon less salt soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 20 rice paper sheets of 9 inch (23 cm)
- Heat some oil in a wok/pan and saute ginger and garlic until they become golden brown. Then add in shiitake, carrot and pinch of salt. Continue cooking for a few minutes until the carrot has softened.
- Now add in the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and just continue cooking briefly. Cool the filling completely before using.
- Prepare 2 damp kitchen towels. Place one on a tray (where we'll keep our folded dumplings in) and the other one on a working surface. Have a big bowl filled with water. Don't use warm or hot water for the towels and to fill the bowl.
- Soak 1 rice paper in water for 5 seconds, and then place it on the damp kitchen towel on a working surface. Wait for a few seconds (or as needed) until the rice paper has softened and is very pliable.
- Place around 1 heap tablespoon of filling on the center. Fold the sides in, forming a parcel. Set aside.
- Take another rice paper, soak in water, place on damp kitchen towel, wait until it's pliable. Place the folded parcel, seam side down. Repeat the folding process. Place on damp kitchen towel, on a tray and cover it. Repeat until you finish the filling.
- Heat some oil in a cast iron pan (or non-stick pan). Place some dumplings inside and cook for a few minutes until the bottoms are crispy. Flip and continue cooking until you get the tops crispy also.
- Place on a rack while you continue cooking the rest. Serve immediately with some chili garlic oil. Enjoy!
- Use damp kitchen towel to assemble the dumplings on, this will prevent the rice papers from sticking to any working surface.
- Place and cover the folded dumplings with damp kitchen towel to prevent them from sticking.
- Double wrap the dumplings, else they'll break when you cook them.
- Re-heat in a pan or even better, use air-fryer, to bring back the crispy skins.