• Silverbeet and spinach dumplings (Sharyn Cairns)Source: Sharyn Cairns

Got a crowd coming over? These vegan dumplings are the ideal entertaining food. 






Skill level

Average: 4.1 (15 votes)

"The tradition of yum cha that began in the tea houses of Guangzhou in the 17th century centered on many small delicious tastes, often in the form of dumplings. The yum cha tradition is now a draw card across the Chinatowns of the world, top chefs being able to name their price for their expertise in creating many different shapes and fillings, dough and techniques. This magnificent dumpling celebrates all the bounty of the earth, using silverbeet and spinach, (not traditional vegetables in the Chinese world), and adding complexity with chopped water chestnuts and re-hydrated black fungus. Creating and rolling the dough takes some practice... watching chef Chris Yan and his master dumpling chef Benny Wong roll these was like seeing magic happen." Maeve O'Meara, Food Safari Earth 


  • 125 g potato starch, plus extra for kneading
  • 250 g wheat starch
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 170 ml warm water
  • 800 ml boiling water
  • chilli sauce, to serve


  • handful dried black fungus
  • 140 g silverbeet (leaves only), washed
  • 140 g spinach, washed
  • 150 g lotus root, fresh or frozen, finely chopped
  • 40 g water chestnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 small knob ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 20 g salt
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil 

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Resting time:  25 minutes
Soaking time: 3 hours

For the filling, soak dried black fungus in cold water for at least 3 hours.

Blanch the silverbeet and spinach leaves in a large saucepan of boiling water for 30 seconds, then drain and refresh in cold water. Squeeze out the excess water, then finely chop the leaves and place in a bowl. Drain the black fungus and add to the spinach with the remaining filling ingredients and combine well. Set aside while you make the dumpling wrappers.

In a large bowl, combine both the starches, salt and vegetable oil. Add the warm water and mix well, then add the boiling water and combine with a wooden spoon until a dough comes together. Shape into a ball and rest for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with a little extra potato starch and lightly knead again. Brush with vegetable oil and rest for a further 10 minutes.

Cut the dough in half, then roll out into a long cylinder and cut into 10 g pieces.  Using a Chinese dumpling rolling pin or a wooden dowel rod, roll each piece into a 7-8 cm round. Place 20 g in the centre of each wrapper, then bring up the sides to seal, leaving the top open. Place in a large bamboo steamer basket lined with greaseproof paper. Cover and steam for 4 minutes. Serve with chilli sauce.


Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Emma Warren. Creative concept by Belinda So.

Brand-new series Food Safari Earth airs Thursdays at 8pm on SBS then on SBS On Demand. For recipes and more visit the program site right here.