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Street food

Vegan eggplant dumplings

Prep time 15 minutes | Cook time 1 hour 30 minutes
serves 32 dumplings

Photography by Tracey Creed
Assisted by Leah Schunk
Recipe by Tracey Creed and Amandine Paniagua
Words by Tracey Creed

Published June 30 2024


Eggplant dumplings
32 wonton wrappers
3 medium eggplants
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 tsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tamari
2 tsp sesame oil
wakame, to taste (optional)
pinch of sea salt
Dipping sauce
14 cup tamari
1 tbsp rice vinegar
12 tsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
14 tsp toasted sesame oil (optional)
chile crisp to taste


Peel and remove the stems from your eggplants, then cube. Martha Stewart shows you how here.

Place a large pan over medium-high, add the oil and let it take the heat. Add the eggplant along with the garlic, ginger, tamari, sesame oil and wakame if using and cook until it has turned black and has reduced in volume. It will take about 45 minutes, or an hour if you have the heat low. Stirring occasionally so your mixture does not stick. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Set up your dumpling assembly line with a bowl of filling, wrappers, and a small bowl of water. Using a teaspoon, scoop a mound of filling and place it in the centre of one wrapper. To fold, use your fingertip to dampen the edges with water. Bring together the sides over the filling to enclose it in a half-moon. Pinch the centre together, then press the edges together to seal, pleating decoratively if you’d like. Repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers.

You can cook as many or as few dumplings at a time as you’d like. Choose your pan size accordingly: A 20 cm or 8-inch skillet will fit 8 to 10. When ready to cook, cast-iron pan with a thin, even layer of oil.

Set the pan over medium heat and warm the oil for 2 minutes. Adding one dumpling at a time but working quickly, add as many dumplings as will comfortably fit in a single layer in the pan (don’t crowd them, or they won’t cook evenly).

Let cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, gently flip the dumplings. Carefully pour about ½ cup water into the pan (it will bubble up and steam!). Cover and cook until the water is mostly absorbed, about 4 minutes. Repeat to cook the remaining dumplings, brushing the pan with 2 teaspoons of canola oil (or your preferred neutral oil like rice) before each new batch.

Make your own dipping sauce with any combination of soy sauce, chile crisp, rice vinegar and sesame oil, and enjoy while hot! You do not need to be exact as per the recipe.

These dumplings are best eaten in the moment but will keep in the fridge for a day.

For what was not a long time at all, I lived with a beautiful, beautiful person, Leah, who one night suggested we make eggplant dumplings for her friends we were hosting. She said they were insane and that we would need four large eggplants, rice paper wrappers and some chilli oil and that was dinner. I was warned that the eggplants would take some time, so I started preparing the eggplants around six for dinner at half-eight. I asked for the directions, this was the recipe, and then I took notes.

"You just chop the eggplants up nice and small and Sautee them with a bit of oil until they turn to mush. I usually add water every couple mins as well so it doesn't stick, then cook it down. This takes a couple of hours for me! I add honey, Ginger, soy sauce, salt, and pepper. I reckon it'd be good with miso but I've never actually done that, haha. I just add those things to taste, so they always come out a little different but always delicious 😋"

A little different but always delicious. I like that. You have some freedom with your ingredients and method. The dumplings were delicious and have been made twice since then for house dinners, which I find this particular recipe is ideal for. The next time I make these, I will use one less eggplant and add 6 or so shiitake. I think this would be extra and would also add some Vitamin D and Zinc—both of which are great for supporting skin health. Health in general.

I really got into cooking and cooking for others whilst I was living at Prime Road after Amandine had moved out (which was temporary). We would alternate between houses, so we were having these house dinners, small weekly celebrations every week. Our friend Loic would come, and it was just something we did. We made time for it. I lived with varying numbers, five to six other housemates, and we all cooked for one another with a rotating roster. Our last Tuesday dinner was at Coco's Cantina, the night before my boyfriend and I flew to Naarm, Melbourne, Australia.

Dumplings for sharing

And now, living for the first time with an entire place to ourselves, we no longer have those dinners, and I miss them. I have shared a few meals with a dear friend and ex-housemate, so those meals felt familiar. But at the same time, I also let go of the Dansk Mobler dining table that had seated us all those years. With downsizing, we no longer had space for two dining tables, and I had to choose between wood and marble. I don't think I could have parted with the physical object that represented these meals before leaving because leaving was hard—not the country, my friends.

So now life looks quite different. In retrospect, I am grateful that I had this experience. Sure, there were some nights when you did not want to host when you wanted it to be someone else's night because your energy was spent. There were nights I did not feel I could hold a conversation adequately. What I am also realising now is how vital these meals were to share—to share more of ourselves, our food, the meals and their recipes. Many of which are published here.

The reason for sharing is connection, and now that the platform I have for this is no longer dinner but the Internet, this has been challenging because I am not great at sharing online, and I did not have to because the people I wanted to share my life with I lived with or saw weekly, and these people remained very present. For me, to see my screen time had declined on any given week was a positive, and now it signals something else.

A year ago, critic Magdalene J. Taylor published an opinion essay for The New York Times on the lack of sex in modern culture, and she recently followed up with this piece on Substack featuring research on the decline of hanging out and correlations to the iPhone release in addition to other things exploring the loneliness epidemic and its causes. At the same time, cinema tickets are now upward of $22, and your dollar does not have the same buying power in restaurants it did in the 2000s, so perhaps some of that screen time is FaceTime, gaming online, it's another means of connection that does not carry the same financial investment. If online is what you have, schedule a Google Meet. But if you can, invite a friend over for dinner.

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