Gluten-Free Chinese Dumplings and a Soy Sesame Dipping Sauce

One of my kid's favorite foods are Chinese dumplings. Growing up, my mom would roll out her own dumpling dough using a hand crank pasta machine; we would form an assembly line of cutting the dough into circles using an empty juice can, and then hand wrap all the dumplings. We would make a hundred dumplings at a time. My husband's grandmother also would make homemade dumplings, but she made the dumpling dough the old fashioned way, hand rolling each wrapper. I would sit with her and wrap dumplings just as I did growing up.

Today, Chinese dumplings can easily be found in regular supermarkets and wholesale stores like Costco's. I haven't made homemade dumplings in a really long time since they are so readily available in our local Chinese grocery store.

However, now that one of my kids is allergic to wheat, he no longer can enjoy any of the store-bought dumplings, which are all made with wheat flour. As I searched for a gluten-free dumpling dough recipe, I came across one made with tapioca starch and rice flour. I couldn't wait to try making gluten-free dumplings for my son. The gluten-free dumpling dough is quite fragile as there is no gluten in the dough; however, it cooks up great, with a nice chewy texture. The good news that is gluten-free doesn't mean taste free. These dumpling are absolutely delicious!

Although a bit time consuming, these dumplings can be frozen so I made a larger batch and froze them individually so that I can pull them out whenever our family has dumplings for dinner, and I need a few gluten-free Chinese dumplings for my gluten-allergic son.

Recently, I did find gluten-free Chinese dumplings in our local health food store, which were actually quite delicious. However, they were super expensive, at almost a dollar a dumpling! This gluten free Chinese dumpling recipe will definitely satisfy any craving for Chinese dumplings, at a fraction of the cost of store-bought gluten free dumplings.

For photos illustrating how to wrap these Chinese dumplings, please visit Jeanette's Healthy Living.

Gluten-Free Chinese Dumpling Wrapper Recipe:

Adapted from Hey That Taste's Good. This dough is quite fragile when rolled out. Make sure to flour your cutting board and rolling pin before rolling out the wrappers. If you find the wrapper breaking apart when you roll it out, don't worry - simply gather up the dough and roll it out again. You can also patch up any tears in the dough with a bit of water and a small piece of extra dough or glutinous flour. Don't worry about the appearance of these dumplings. it takes practice to make them look pretty, but they taste delicious nonetheless.

1 cup tapioca starch

1 cup fine rice flour

1 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

2 tablespoons light olive oil

12-14 tablespoons cold water

glutinous or sweet rice flour

Whisk together tapioca starch, rice flour and xanthan gum in a bowl. Add oil and 12 tablespoons of water. Mix well, adding a little bit of water at a time if necessary to form a firm, but not dry, dough. Cover bowl with plastic wrap while preparing dumpling filling.

When ready to make the dumpling wrappers, sprinkle a cutting board or pastry sheet with glutinous rice flour. Form dough into a long log. Cut dough into 24 even pieces.

Flatten each piece into a small round on floured cutting board. Using a rolling pin, roll each round into a 2 1/2"- 3" circle, flipping the dough over, and turning the circle as you roll it out. The dough is fragile, so roll it out carefully, and be sure to keep both sides floured so it doesn't stick to the rolling pin or cutting board. Cover rolled dumpling wrappers with plastic wrap until all the wrappers are made.

Gluten-Free Chinese Dumpling Filling Recipe: 

Most dumpling fillings use proportionally more meat. In this recipe, I have flipped the proportions so there is twice the amount of vegetables typically used in the dumpling filling. Using frozen chopped spinach saves time chopping; however, you can also use fresh Chinese Napa cabbage. For a soy free dumpling filling, either substitute the soy sauce with Coconut Aminos or 1 teaspoon salt.

One 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed

1/2 pound ground chicken or turkey

1 scallion, finely minced

2 teaspoons ginger, finely minced

1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or sherry

1 tablespoon gluten free soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Squeeze out all excess liquid from thawed spinach.

In a bowl, mix together spinach, chicken, scallion, ginger, rice wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Stir well until mixture holds together firmly. Refrigerate while preparing dumpling wrappers.

To Make Chinese Dumplings:

Place a small spoonful (about 2 teaspoons) of dumpling filling in center of dumpling wrapper. Bring wrapper end together over center of filling and pinch. Pinch ends of wrapper together on one end. Carefully pinch wrapper together to enclose filling. Repeat on other side of wrapper. 

To Steam Chinese Dumplings:

Place round piece of parchment paper in Chinese steamer. Lightly oil parchment paper and place dumplings on top of parchment paper, making sure dumplings do not touch each other (otherwise, they will stick together when cooked).

Bring water to a boil in bottom of Chinese steamer. Place steamer pan with dumplings over boiling water, cover, reduce heat to medium-low and steam for 12-15 minutes until cooked through.

Eat immediately, or let cool, and freeze. To freeze, line a plate with plastic wrap. Gently place cooked dumplings on plate. Cover dumplings with plastic wrap and place in freezer. After dumplings are frozen, store them in a container or Ziploc bag, and keep in the freezer.

To reheat, steam until hot.

To Fry Chinese Dumplings:

Place 1 tablespoon oil in a frying pan. Place dumplings in pan and fry until bottom of dumplings are lightly browned. Pour in 3/8 cup water and cover pan. Cook on medium, covered, until water is evaporated, about 6-8 minutes. Watch carefully as oil may sputter. After water is evaporated, continue to cook for a few minutes until bottom of dumplings are golden brown and crunchy.

Frozen steamed dumplings can be fried the same way as fresh dumplings.

Gluten-Free Chinese Dumpling Sauce:

This gluten-free sauce is so versatile. Add some minced scallions or ginger if you wish. For a soy-free dipping sauce, substitute Coconut Aminos for the soy sauce.

1 tablespoon gluten-free soy sauce (* for soy free alternative, try Coconut Aminos)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

Mix all ingredients together and serve with dumplings.


Jeanette from Jeanette's Healthy Living



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