Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lemongrass and Cilantro Shumai

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The last time I paired lemongrass and cilantro with tofu in a dish, it created such a beautiful aroma and unique flavor that I wanted to use them all together again, but in a different way. So I blended these ingredients, along with a few other sweet and savory components, to create a filling for shumai. I couldn't find any wonton wrappers that didn't contain egg, so I decided to make them myself. The trick here is to get the dough as thin as possible, which allows the steam to permeate through to the filling, producing a soft and pliable texture throughout. It's a bit of a process to make these, but you can assemble, steam and then freeze them in large batches—they will re-steam again perfectly.

for the wrappers
1 cup pastry flour
1 cup rice flour
1 1/2 tsp Ener-G, whisked with 1/2 cup water
3/4 tsp salt

for the filling
1 cup mirin
2 tsp rice vinegar
2 TB soy sauce or tamari
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2-3 lemongrass hearts, chopped
2 tsp brown or palm sugar
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 block firm tofu, pressed
2 shallots, thinly sliced
3 TB cornstarch
chopped scallions and ponzu sauce, for serving


In a glass pyrex dish, whisk together the first eight filling ingredients. Place the pressed tofu into the marinade, flipping it over to ensure it is well coated. Place in the refrigerator to chill for a few hours or overnight.

To make the wrappers, place the flours, Ener-G/water and salt into a mixer. Blend until the dough is smooth and pulls away easily from the sides of the bowl, adding a bit more water as needed. Remove the dough, roll into a ball and place in another greased bowl and cover with saran wrap. Allow it to rest for about 30 minutes.

Separate the dough into four equal pieces. On a well-floured surface (I kept a small bowl of rice flour nearby), flatten the dough out as thinly as possible, using a rolling pin. Use a biscuit cutter to cut out perfect circle shapes, re-rolling any unused dough. Reroll each piece to maximize the thinness of the dough.

Next, prepare the shumai filling. Using a large skillet, saute the tofu over medium-high heat, until well browned. Place into a food processor. Saute the thinly sliced shallots until well browned and add to the food processor.  Pulse several times until it is chunky but not overly smooth. Add in the cornstarch and pulse a few more times.

Shape the tofu mixture into small 1- to 1 1/2-inch spheres. If it doesn't adhere well, add a bit more cornstarch to the mixture. Place a sphere into the center of one of the pieces of dough. Gently gather the corners up around the sphere, leaving the tofu mixture partially exposed.

Place the finished shumai into a steamer basket lined with parchment paper or cabbage leaves and cover. Place the steamer into a wok or large skillet with several inches of water over high heat. Steam for 15-20 minutes, or until the shumai is soft and slightly transparent.

Serve sprinkled with the green scallions and ponzu sauce.


  1. i swear, erin, your recipes yield the most beautiful food. these look so delicious and inspired.

  2. You *made* your own wrappers??? Erin, why do you not live closer to me so you can be my cooking guru?? <--total serious question :) These look FABULOUS! I'm so impressed with you.

  3. Thanks Cara ... So totally easy! Put on some good music and the wontons make themselves : )

  4. These are gorgeous! I am really, really enjoying your blog. Thank you for sharing with us!

  5. Your shumais look beautiful and tempting! I'm surprised that wantans contain eggs, I always believed they are made from rice flour and water only.

  6. those shumai look beyond gorgeous and love those thin wrappers.. so perfect.. i love love your creations!

  7. This recipe sounds so great (beautiful to look at, too)! My husband and I were just lamenting my lack of options when we go to dim sum. I literally uttered just last night, 'sigh. why can't vegan dim sum become a thing?'. thanks for sharing this.

    1. Vegan dim sum sounds divine ... it should become a thing! : )


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