Dim Sum Recipe #10: Shrimp & Asparagus Pouch Dumplings

The fun of making dumplings always involves a bit of crafty handwork, especially when it comes to those store-bought wrappers. It’s amazing how many ways you can fold a simple square or round of dough…kind of like food origami, which is perfect for people like me who love to play with their food!

One of my favorite dumpling shapes has to be this elegant and easy-to-make pouch shape. You basically wrap these up like you would wrap up a gift. Imagine a square cloth napkin laid out in front of you with a coconut in the middle, where the napkin is the wrapper and the coconut is the dumpling filling.

Secure the inner edges of the pouch together by simply dabbing some water all around the center lump (coconut) of filling. After gathering the edges together, a deliberate pinch from all sides of the wrapper in towards the center just above the filling will seal off the pouch. The dumplings will stand sealed on their own, which makes the asparagus “tie” purely optional and ornamental.

It’s more common to find strips of chives used to tie off pouch dumplings, but here I’ve used ribbons of asparagus. I figure since it’s part of my filling, I might as well make good use of it in decorating my dumplings too…one less thing to buy at the market, which is always a good thing! Using a vegetable peeler, I make very thin strips of asparagus ribbons that are about 3″ long, and then wrap them around the pinched part of each pouch to make a finished looking dumpling.

Here, I’ve made a light and healthy shrimp and asparagus filling based on my Ha Gao Recipe, but you can fill these pouch dumplings with any kind filling you want. In a pinch, I’ve even stuffed these store-bought dumpling wrappers with lean turkey breakfast sausage with sliced green onions mixed in for a quick and satisfying meal.

Depending on how you like the taste of raw asparagus, you can also wrap these pouches with the asparagus ribbons after steaming if you prefer a greener looking pouch tie. Keep in mind that when using the vegetable peeler, thinner asparagus “ribbons” will be the easiest to use as ties.

A quick dousing of bold soy sauce and hot chili oil make a delicious finish for these dumplings, especially since the shrimp and asparagus filling is mild in flavor. I like to pair these Shrimp & Asparagus Pouches with some Chinese Jasmine Green Tea (one of my favorites!) as the tea is light and fragrant, just like these pretty little dumplings are.

Dim Sum Recipe # 10:  Shrimp & Asparagus Pouch Dumplings

Makes 20 dumplings. 

Ingredients:

{Filling}

6 oz. peeled, deveined shrimp, chopped into 1/4″ pieces

1 tsp soy sauce

1 1/2 tsp sherry

1/2 tsp sesame oil

2 Tbsp non-hydrogenated vegetable oil spread (I used Natural Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks) or butter @ room temperature

1 tsp white sugar

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp white pepper

1 1/2 tsp cornstarch

3 large cloves garlic, crushed

15 green asparagus stalks, white tough base removed, chopped into 1/4″ pieces

{Wrappers}

20 dumpling wrappers, square-shaped

{Finishes}

5 extra stalks of asparagus, for making asparagus ribbons

soy sauce

chili oil

Equipment:

small bowl of water

bamboo steamer

wok with slightly larger diameter than steamer OR a stockpot with exactly the same diameter as the steamer

work surface

1 tsp measure

parchment paper, cut in circle to size of bamboo steamer and perforated with 1″ cuts throughout

vegetable peeler

Directions:

1.)  Mix all the filling ingredients together.

2.)  On a work surface, lay out a dumpling wrapper. Spoon a rounded tsp of the filling into the center of the wrapper, then lightly dab the area around the filling with water. Gather the outer edges of the wrapper together and pinch the dumpling in the area just above where the filling sits, then set the dumpling aside. Repeat this process with all 20 dumplings.

3.)  Use a vegetable peeler to peel out very thin ribbons of asparagus. Cut each ribbon into 3″ pieces. You want the ribbon to be soft and pliable, able to be wrapped around the pinched area on the dumplings. If the asparagus ribbons are too stiff, soak them in a small bowl of hot water for a few minutes until they are malleable and limp, blot them with a paper towel, then try to use them again. Wrap the ribbons around each dumpling to create a pouch-like look, then place them in a bamboo steamer lined with parchment.

4.)  Fill a large wok or stockpot half full with water and bring to a full boil. Place bamboo steamer on top of wok or pot, then steam for 8-10 minutes while water is on full boil the entire time. Eat the pouch dumplings fresh, with plenty of soy sauce and chili oil.

34 thoughts on “Dim Sum Recipe #10: Shrimp & Asparagus Pouch Dumplings

    • Yes, these are inspired by some some shrimp & asparagus dumplings that I had at a restaurant in LA last year…using a more Western ingredient in and Eastern recipe is always fun! 🙂

  1. They look so pretty.
    What kind of dumpling wrappers do you use? I can get so confused about the different kinds.
    The dumpling wrappers that I sometimes buy are very small & round, not large enough to fill like this. All the larger skins seems to be for spring rolls.
    I know you can make dumplings skins yourself, but have not tried that yet…

    • Hey again! So, these are square wonton wrappers. They are the same size as the round ones, with a bit of extra space at the corners. Many times they are also a bit thinner than the round kind, and are found in similar packages. I actually got these at a local Vons here in California…so, if all else fails, you might find them at an American grocery store. 🙂

  2. i’ve never met a dumpling i didn’t like! i have a package of square wonton wrappers in my freezer right now and i’ve been kinda stressing out about what to do with them and how to shape them. i’ve always purchased round wrappers. these pouches look so fancy but so easy to make.

    • Ditto about the dumpling bit! 🙂 I always purchase round wrappers too, but that day my hubby was doing the market run for me and could only find square ones, which is led me to making these pouches. I think this might be the most stress free way to wrap a dumpling. If it’s just for me to eat, I don’t even bother with the tie.

  3. So so beautiful! I have a weakness for handheld foods and have always wanted to make “parcels” when I see them. Wonderful recipe here that’s inspiring me to actually try!

    • Thank you so much Sue! These dumplings are actually very easy to make…just a matter of gathering the edges together! And if you don’t want to bother with the asparagus ribbons, chives used as ties will also work out great! 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. Your finished pictures are gorgeous. Could you also put in the how to pictures? I am visual and written instructions for how to wrap things are too hard for me. Can you do a video or picture on how you got a square wrapper to shape into the final pouches? How much filling to wrapper to get that shape? Thanks.

    • Sorry for the very late reply Terry! Thanks so much for stopping by! I actually don’t have any process photos for this post. However, I’ll try to do a similar post soon and then will forward the new post onto you. I’ll respond to this message again when I do. Oh, and I put a rounded tsp of filling into each wrapper. 🙂

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