I got the inspiration for this dumpling from the Iron Chef 2000th dish special. The amazing Hiroyuki Sakai made adorable zucchini dumplings as a part of a larger dish, and ever since I saw them I've been wanting to give my own version it a try.
It turned out pretty and yummy (which is always my goal!) so I wanted to share how I made it.
A friendly warning though: This is pretty time consuming and detailed. I definitely don't recommend trying to put one of these together in the morning before work. I suggest making it the night before and doing the final steaming in the morning.
You will need- 1 Green zucchini
- 2 Tbsp filling (I used a mixture of rice and bison soboro. The recipe for the soboro is below)
- A big, sharp knife
- Plastic wrap
- A 6" piece of string/twine
- A vegetable steamer
First, cut a slice of zucchini about 3" long and 3/8" thick.
Slice the zucchini in strips as thin as you can. They should be opaque, but flexible. You will need 14 strips.
Cover your workspace with a piece of plastic wrap about 1 foot square. You will be cooking the zucchini in this plastic, so make sure you use a high end brand that won't leach toxins into food (I use Glad).
Select the 7 thinnest zucchini strips and place them horizontally to form a square as shown in the picture. By keeping the peel on the same side of each strip, the end result will have a subtle zigzag pattern.
The next step is to weave in the remaining 7 strips.
First slide in the first vertical strip from the left, alternating between putting it over and under the horizontal strips.
To place the next vertical strip, gently fold back every other horizontal strip and place the vertical strip on top of the remaining strips as shown. Fold the horizontal strips back to their original position and gently push the second vertical strip so that it is flush with the first.
Repeat with the remaining vertical strips until you have a woven square. The last vertical strip might look a bit messy because of differences in the lengths of the horizontal strips, but don't worry, it will look fine in the end.
Roll filling into a ball and place in the middle of the square.
Gently wrap the sides of the square around the filling. Start by picking up opposite corners of the plastic wrap and pulling them together, then do the same with the remaining two corners. The four corners of the zucchini should just barely touch at the top of the filling. If they don't quite touch, try removing some filling. If they overlap, add a little more filling.
Tightly twist the plastic wrap to seal the package and secure with string as shown.
Place in steamer for 7 minutes.
Remove from steamer and allow to cool enough so that you can remove the plastic wrap without burning yourself. To remove the wrap, cut off the knot and gently pull back the plastic wrap. If you pull too hard, it may displace parts of the zucchini.
Here's a picture of the underside of the dumpling after it's been cooked.
Flip it over and here is the top of this gorgeous dumpling!
The bento lunch that I used this in can be seen here.
Here is the recipe for the bison that I mixed with rice for the filling.
Recipe: Bison Soboro
- 1/2 lb ground bison (May substitute beef or pork)
- 2 Tbsp sake
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp mirin
- 1/2 tsp grated ginger
Place ground bison in a frying pan on medium heat and separate into small pieces. When pan is hot, add remaining ingredients. Cook until the bison is fully browned and most of the liquid has evaporated. Drain off any remaining liquid.
Can be used as a filling for dumplings or onigiri, or as a topping for a donburi.