February 24


I have for quite some time had a craving for steamed prawn dumplings – you know the ones you get at yum cha. I used to love yum cha. We would probably go once a month, so to say we used to love yum cha is an understatement. I was never game to go back once I went gluten free for fear of being glutened.

Is there anything worse? That dreaded feeling that you don’t know whether or not the food is gluten free. Is it just me or does everyone that has a gluten (or any other food related) sensitivity feel? Glenn and the girls never went back to yum cha either, as they didn’t want to go without me.

Last year when Bella had to go gluten free, we started a mission. Our mission was to find a frozen gluten free steam dumpling that we could steam at home. We have spent lots of hours checking lots of supermarkets over the past year. Each time I see the disappointment on Bella’s face when we read the ingredients label and see that dreaded word ‘gluten’. I have to admit it has puzzled me. I always thought steamed dumplings were rice-based.

You can only imagine our excitement when this month’s Australian Gluten-Free Life magazine arrived with a bright red cover featuring steamed crab and corn dumplings. This sent me on an immediate quest to test, taste and create my version of prawn steamed dumplings. I’m so excited over my prawn dumplings that I’ve put back this week’s recipe so I can share my recipe sooner.

Before you get too excited like me and jump straight in and make these dumplings, I do have to warn you, they are time consuming. There is hope though, as I did get quicker as I went. I thought the time they took was well worth it. I don’t want to put you off making them, but just make sure you set aside the morning if your having them for lunch. If you finish quicker than what I did then that’s great…you will have time to do something else (cover and rest them in the fridge til you steam them)….or have an earlier lunch.

You also need to make sure you have some essential supplies to make it easier:

    • Bamboo steamer – I brought a 2 level one from my local supermarket, so I could fit 4 dumplings in each. I found that Bella and Glenn ate them quicker than I could make them when I used only 1 steamer. I suggest to use at least a 2 levels.
    • Dumpling press – I got a plastic dumpling press from my local kitchen shop for $7.99. This made folding an crimping SO MUCH EASIER. It came in a 2 pack with a small and medium press. I used the medium-sized press.
    • Parchment steamer liners – I also brought these from my local kitchen place for $4.95. They came in a packet of 20. It saved me cutting grease proof paper into circles to fit. The difference between these liners and using what you have is that they have holes in them to let the steam through. If you use grease proof paper then I would suggest to fold the circle so you can hole-punch some holes.

Steamed Prawn Dumplings

Prawn Dumplings

Prep time Cook time Total time
3 hours 8 mins 3 hours 8 mins

Author: Tracey Francis of Essential Olie
Serves: 26


  • Dough:
  • 1 cup Brown Rice Flour (or if you prefer White Rice)*
  • 1 cup Tapioca Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Guar Gum**
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
  • 1 cup Water (boiled then cooled enough to work with your hands without burning)
  • Filling:
  • 300g Prawns (I used defrosted frozen prawns)
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1 small knob Ginger
  • 1 Garlic Chive (I used 1 roughly chopped into small pieces)


  1. Dough:
  2. Combine flour, xanthan gum and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Using a mixing spoon, slowly add water mixing after each addition.
  4. Form mixture into a ball and cover with cling film/wrap then leave in the refrigerator for 1 hour
  5. Meanwhile make the filling…
  6. Filling:
  7. Using a food processor – process together prawns, garlic, ginger and garlic chive until it has been roughly minced together (you want to have small chunks of prawns)
  8. Remove from food processor into a bowl and cover with cling film/wrap and leave in the fridge until the dough is ready and your ready to make the dumplings.
  9. Putting it together to make dumplings:
  10. After 1 hour remove dough from the refrigerator and cling film/wrap (you need to re-use the cling film/wrap so try not to throw it out). Also, take the filling out of the refrigerator.
  11. Using a small ice cream scooper or a teaspoon create 26 balls from the dough – make them all and put them back in the mixing bowl til you need them (keep them covered with the cling film/wrap so they don’t dry out.
  12. Using 2 sheets of grease proof paper put 4 balls between the 2 sheets leaving enough room between them so when they are rolled out they are not touching each other.
  13. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to fit the dumpling press. I used the dumpling press as a guide for how big each of the 4 balls needed to be.
  14. When you have all 4 balls rolled out, carefully remove 1 of the dough circles from the grease proof paper and put into the dumpling press – TIP – flip the dough so the bottom is now the top as it’s wetter and will press easier.
  15. Using 2 teaspoons put a heaped teaspoon into the centre of the dough (which is now in the dumpling press).
  16. Fold the dumpling press together and squeeze gently.
  17. Open the dumpling press and turn it upside down to remove the dumpling gently. This is a little tricky so take your time.
  18. I then used kitchen scissors to tidy up the edges (but you don’t have to do this).
  19. Put the dumpling aside on grease proof paper and cover loosely with cling film/wrap so they don’t dry out. If you want to you could lightly spray the cling film/wrap with water to help keep them moist.
  20. Repeat steps 12-19 until you have finished making all of the dumplings.
  21. Steaming:
  22. Boil water in a saucepan that fits the bamboo steamers.
  23. Line each of the bamboo steamer baskets with the parchment steamer liners, or, grease proof paper cut into circles (with holes).
  24. Put 4 dumplings per basket.
  25. Stack the baskets.
  26. Steam for 8 minutes.
  27. Use a tea towel to remove the bamboo steamer from the saucepan – it’s extremely hot!
  28. Use a spatula carefully lift out each dumpling and place onto a serving plate.
  29. Serve and eat immediately with or without sauce.
  30. Repeat steps 23-29 until you have steamed all of the dumplings. Check the water level each time, as you might have to top it up.
  31. If you want to make all of the dumplings and serve all at the same time, then it’s handy to have a fry pan with a lid (or some aluminum foil to cover) or another bamboo steamer with a lid to store them in until your ready to serve.


* I use brown rice flour hence the ‘off white’ colour of the dumplings.
** I used 1½ teaspoons of xanthan gum per 1 cup of gluten free flour
***I have put that it takes 3 hours, as the dough needs 1 hour to rest in the fridge, and it has taken me around 2 hours to assemble the dumplings (the 2nd batch was 1½ hours). You might be quicker than me.

We love dipping our dumplings into a sauce, just like at yum cha. You can either use straight tamari or coconut aminos, or, here is my recipe which combines the sweet, sour, salty and spicy flavours. It’s really yummy with vietnamese rice paper rolls as well.
4S Sauce

4S Sauce

Prep time Total time
3 mins 3 mins

Author: Tracey Francis of Essential Olie


  • 4 Tablespoons Coconut Aminos OR Tamari*
  • 2 Tablespoons Toasted Sesame Seed Oil (I buy a cold pressed one by Carwari)
  • 2 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Coconut Sugar (or a dark or brown sugar)
  • ½ Chilli (chopped, including seeds) – or to taste


  1. Using a clean jar measure all of the ingredients and put straight into the jar along with the chilli.
  2. Secure lid and shake til combined.
  3. Pour into a dipping bowl.
  4. Serve.


*I love using coconut aminos however tamari is a good substitute, and it’s cheaper.

As a closing for this week’s post, our mission has been accomplished. Now the only thing I need to master is to make them quicker.

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