Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tutorial - Zucchini Dumpling

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.

Once all four corners are touching, gently press in the sides, trying to flatten as much possible.

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.


Lauren said...

Wow that techique looks great!I definately have to try that.

The pictures on your blog are very inspirational! I've been reading for awhile but only recently made my own blog, so I've just added you to my blog list. Hope thats ok.

Jacki said...

Hi Lauren! I'm glad you like it! It always feels good to know I've inspired someone because it's so exciting when something inspires me :)

I just checked out your blog too, you have gorgeous dishes. There's some so elegant about pure white dishes and bright food.

Holly M. Wendt said...

That's amazing and you're a genius.

Gorgeous idea and execution.

Par said...

Good idea!
Can do this with carrots too...ehehe

allthingspurple said...

I love how you do this. I am so going to try this !! But probably will take Pearly's Missus idea and do carrot instead.

Jacki said...

mrs. ___2be that's an awesome idea! I hadn't thought of it. You could even alternate between strips of carrot and strips of zucchini and make zigzags!

allthingspurple, if you try it, be sure to post pictures for us :)

Marija said...

Jacki, you are a genius! Thank you for this!

Maggie said...

These look so awesome! I really like the flavors in the filling too.

Nate @ House of Annie said...

Fantastic technique! I wonder how it would look if you alternated yellow and green zukes.

dlyn said...

great idea - I certainly have enough zukes to give it a try!

Christo Gonzales said...

excellent idea I will be trying very soon.....

Sarah R said...

Beyond cool... and so pretty! I'm going to try it with a veggie filling soon! Thanks for a great idea!

skoraq cooks said...

Wow, so simple to do and so original it looks. Thanks very much for such a great inspiration.

Olga said...

that looks so pretty! Reminds me of a coat someone made on Project Runway by weving seatbelts ;)

Anonymous said...

Whoa. Sweet lattice work and very creative idea!

Anonymous said...

You came up with this while watching Iron Chef? Wow, that must be some power of concentration and creativity. This is brilliant. I'm not a big fan on zucchini though so I might try it with very thinly sliced cucumber, or eggplant. Though I doubt it would work.

Coffee and Vanilla said...

Wow, amazing!
I will include both posts in the round-up, they are great :)


Jacki said...

Thank you!!

dancemom77 said...

This is genius! I will definitely have to try this!!! Sounds very yummy and looks great!