These flavorful, craveable, EASY-AS-HECK crispy rice dumplings are DEF going to have you making homemade dim sum a whole lot more often! Their contrasting crunchy and fluffy texture, delightful aroma, and visually appealing presentation make for an effortless feast for both the eyes and the taste buds. Did I mention this recipe also gives you a crazy-easy, tangy sweet chili sauce to dip these dumplings in!?! YES. IT. IS. TRUE.
The tender rice pairs perfectly with the crunchy bean sprouts, while the earthy five-spice powder adds a warming depth of flavor. The hint of sweetness from the red jujube dates, and carrots and the kick of spice from the chilies create a harmonious symphony of flave (that’s short for flavor, ok?).
Serve these bad boys up alongside chee cheong fun (steamed rice noodle rolls), pad woon sen, or a steaming bowl full of mie goreng (Indonesian stir-fried noodles). Want to make the dumplings into a more nutritionally complete meal? Serve it with some veggie preparations like my vegan kimchi or Korean cucumber salad, ya silly vegetable-craving goofball!
Stop not making these dumplings already. Grab a frying pan with a lid and LET’S DO THIS!
- 🥰Why you are going to adore the ever-loving heck outta this recipe
- 🙅♀️🌾 If you hate gluten, you will love this hack
- 📖Step-by-step instructions
- 💡Serving Ideas
- 👉Top tips for making these dumplings perfect on your first try
- ✌️Other dishes that go great with these dumps:
- Crispy rice dumplings with red jujube dates and chili dipping sauce
🥰Why you are going to adore the ever-loving heck outta this recipe
👉Economical and Sustainable: This recipe is a great way to breathe fresh life into leftover rice, reducing food waste and making it a budget-friendly option. You can repurpose leftover cooked rice from a previous meal, giving it new life as a filling for these crispy rice dumplings. Got leftover nasi uduk (Indonesian coconut rice with pandan and lemongrass)? This recipe is just the ticket!
👉An easy intro to home dumpling making: Never made a little baby dumpling in the shoe-shaped house you live in ever before? Fear not. Making dumplings with wontons takes most of the hard work out of it and allows you to churn out restaurant-quality dumplings even if you think you are the worst cook in the galaxy. Don’t worry. You are almost definitely not the worst cook in the galaxy. I love you and believe in you.
👉Gluten-free freaks, this recipe is a safe space for you: For those who hate gluten with all their hearts and souls, this recipe can easily be adapted by using rice paper wraps instead of wonton wrappers. Rice paper wraps are naturally gluten-free and can provide a delicious and crispy texture to the dumplings, allowing those with gluten restrictions to enjoy this dish without sacrificing taste or texture. Don’t dismay. Notes are given below about how to make this recipe with rice paper.
👉Customizable with any rice: While I really love these best with glutenous rice, one of the beauties of this recipe is that you can use any kind of rice you like or have on hand. Whether you want to make it a bit more wholesome with brown rice, more visually stunning with purple rice, or more fragrant with jasmine rice, you can easily customize the filling to your preference. This allows for flexibility in flavor and texture and lets you experiment with different rice varieties to suit your taste buds and dietary preferences.
This recipe is unique (in a good way...)!
These crispy rice dumplings with red jujube dates are TOTALLY different from mitarashi dango, a traditional Japanese sweet treat made with rice flour dough skewered and coated in a sweet soy glaze. The addition of red jujube dates in the crispy rice dumplings provides a unique sweetness and medicinal benefits, while the mitarashi dango while yummy, has no real nourishment. Don't get me wrong, those sticky rice dumplings are yummy, but they are just pure starch and sugar. Additionally, these crispy rice dumplings are pan-fried for a crispy texture, while mitarashi dango is typically grilled or boiled, and can be finicky and difficult to make perfectly.
- Wonton skins: Wonton skins are widely available in grocery stores and Asian markets, making them a convenient option for home cooks who want to make homemade dumplings or other dishes. They can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for extended periods of time. I use square wonton skins, but you can also make this recipe with round ones.
- Sriracha: Sriracha is a popular hot sauce that originated in Thailand and is named after the coastal city of Si Racha. Vietnamese immigrants introduced it to the United States in the 1980s and it has since gained a cult following. The sauce is made from chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt, and is known for its distinctive tangy, sweet, and spicy flavor profile. Sriracha has become a staple condiment in many cuisines around the world, and it has even inspired a wide range of sriracha-flavored products, including snacks, condiments, and even cocktails (ewwww…). Huy Fong Foods, the company that produces the most famous sriracha sauce in the United States (the one with the rooster on the bottle and little green top), produces over 20 million bottles of sriracha each year and uses enough peppers each year to fill 60 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
- Red Jujube dates: Sliced red jujube dates add a natural sweetness and subtle fruity flavor to the rice filling. They also have great medicinal properties and have been used in traditional Chinese and Korean cuisine for centuries. I love having some on hand to add to my ginger tea, along with crushed walnuts or pine nuts.
- Chinese five spice powder: Chinese five-spice has a long history that dates back thousands of years. It is believed to have originated in China during the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD), making it one of the oldest spice blends in Chinese culinary history.
In Chinese culture, the number five is associated with the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, and water), the five flavors (sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami), and the five directions (north, south, east, west, and center). Hence, Chinese five-spice is believed to represent the harmonious balance of these elements and flavors, making it a symbol of auspiciousness and good fortune.
How to make your own Chinese five-spice blend
If you can't find Chinese five-spice powder locally and don’t want to wait to order it online, you can make it by following this method:
Ingredients: (to yield about ¼ cup)
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon ground star anise
- Toast the fennel seeds and Sichuan peppercorns in a dry pan over low heat for a few minutes until fragrant.
- Let the toasted spices cool, then grind them into a fine powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
- In a small bowl, combine the ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground star anise, ground fennel seeds, and ground Sichuan peppercorns.
- Mix well to combine, and store the homemade Chinese five-spice powder in an airtight container for future use.
See the recipe card at the bottom of this page for the complete list of ingredients and their quantities for making the Crispy Rice Dumplings and their yummy dipping sauce.
🙅♀️🌾 If you hate gluten, you will love this hack
- Prepare the dumpling filling: Cook the rice filling. The filling is already gluten-free as long as you use tamari, and not a soy sauce made with wheat such as shoyu, or most generic soy sauces. Ensure your filling is cooked and seasoned to your liking before proceeding to the next step.
- Soften the rice paper wrappers: Fill a shallow plate or pie dish with warm water. Dip one rice paper wrapper at a time into the warm water for about six seconds until it becomes pliable and softens. Avoid soaking the rice paper wrapper for too long, as it can become sticky and difficult to work with. Place the softened rice paper wrapper on a clean, damp kitchen towel or a silicone baking mat.
- Add the dumpling filling: Place a small amount of cooled dumpling filling in the center of the softened rice paper wrapper. Be careful not to overfill, as it can make it difficult to seal the dumpling.
- Fold and seal the dumpling: Gently roll the rice paper wrapper tightly around the filling like you would wrap a burrito. As you roll the dumpling up, pull the wrapper so that it stretches a little for a tight seal.
- Pan fry the dumplings: Heat a pan over medium heat and add just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Carefully place the dumplings in the pan, seam down, leaving some space between each dumpling to prevent them from sticking together. Pan-fry the dumplings for 2-3 minutes on each side until they are golden brown and crispy.
- Serve and enjoy: Once the dumplings are cooked, transfer them to a serving plate and serve them hot with the chili sauce in this recipe, or your favorite dipping sauce. Gluten-free rice paper wrapper dumplings can be served as a delicious and crispy appetizer or main course.
Note: Rice paper wrappers can be delicate, so handle them gently to prevent tearing. If the rice paper wrappers dry out and become brittle, you can dip them in warm water again to soften before using them. Adjust the cooking time and heat as needed to achieve the desired level of crispiness for your dumplings.
Enjoy these dumplings that are free of all that gluten that makes you so mad. Mad at the world! Just kidding. I am pretty sure you aren’t mad. I hope.
This recipe is so easy to tweak in fun, inspiring directions. The sky is kinda the limit here. Here are a few fun options to try out:
- Korean rice dumplings: For a super-delicious Korean version of this recipe, use my kimchi fried rice using short grain sticky rice as the fillings for these dumplings. THen dip them in sweet Korean bbq sauce. Trust me. This is a gosh-darn flav-o-party.
- Thai rice dumplings: Add chopped peanuts, two teaspoons of lime juice, Thai basil, and fresh mint leaves to the filling as it is cooling.
- Chives and mushies: Add some thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms, chopped re-hydrated wood ear mushrooms, and thinly sliced chives to the filling for a bigger pop of umami vibes.
You wanna see how crispy little treasures get made? I am going to show you how it should look every step of the way. Or you can follow along with the easy-to-print recipe card towards the bottom of this page.
Rehydrate jujube dates with warm water.
Heat sesame oil in a wok or large frying pan and sauté the tofu for 7-8 minutes until golden brown.
Add carrots, scallions, bean sprouts, soaked dates, cooked rice, tamari, sriracha, Chinese 5-spice powder, coconut sugar, and sesame seeds.
Stir-fry until well combined. Allow filling to cool.Rehydrate jujube dates with warm water.
Lay out wonton skins. Place a spoonful of cooled filling in the center of each skin. Wet the edges with your fingertips or a pastry brush.
Fold in the sides over the filling and roll up tightly to create a neat, enclosed roll on all sides.
Heat oil in pan. Place dumplings with space between them. Add two tablespoons of water and cover. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the bottoms are golden brown and crispy. Flip and cook on the other side with the pan covered. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel-lined plate.
Prepare the Chili Sauce: Whisk together sriracha, tomato paste, lime juice, Bird's eye chili (if using), and coconut sugar in a bowl.
Serve the Dumplings: Place crispy dumplings on a serving plate. Drizzle with chili sauce or serve on the side. Garnish with scallions, sesame seeds, and cilantro leaves.
I always crave a crispy item to include with my dim sum meals, so this could be the perfect partner in crime for sayur lodeh, or mee rebus. You might also love them as an appetizer to serve before your favorite stir-fry, or my seitan bulgogi with a side of my super juicy flavorful kimchi!
👉Top tips for making these dumplings perfect on your first try
- Ensure the dumpling filling is cooled to room temperature before assembling the dumplings to prevent the wonton skins from becoming too moist and difficult to handle.
- When assembling the dumplings, make sure to wet the edges of the wonton skins with water to create a tight seal and prevent the filling from spilling out during cooking.
- When frying the dumplings, use medium heat and enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan to ensure they cook evenly and become crispy.
- Drain excess oil from the fried dumplings by placing them on a paper towel-lined plate to keep them crispy and not overly greasy.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), five-spice powder is believed to have some medicinal benefits. Each of the spices used in the blend is associated with certain properties that are thought to have health benefits in Chinese Medicine.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon is believed to have warming properties and is often used in TCM to support digestion, improve circulation, and strengthen the body's energy.
Cloves: Cloves are thought to have warming and stimulating properties, and are often used in TCM to promote digestion, relieve pain and discomfort, and improve circulation.
Fennel Seeds: Fennel seeds are believed to have cooling properties and are often used in TCM to soothe digestive issues, promote healthy metabolism, and support the liver and spleen.
Star Anise: Star anise is thought to have warming properties and is often used in TCM to support digestion, promote healthy respiratory function, and relieve coughs and colds.
Sichuan Peppercorns: Sichuan peppercorns are believed to have warming properties and are often used in TCM to promote healthy digestion, improve circulation, and relieve pain and inflammation.
Zongzi is a traditional Cantonese dish that is typically associated with the annual Dragon Boat Festival, also known as Duanwu Festival, which falls on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month in the Chinese calendar (usually in June).
Zongzi are made by wrapping glutinous rice, often flavored with soy sauce, along with various fillings such as pork, beef, chicken, salted egg yolks, mushrooms, and other ingredients, in bamboo leaves. The dumplings are then tightly wrapped and boiled or steamed until the rice becomes soft and sticky, and the flavors of the filling are infused into the rice. The resulting dumplings are typically pyramid-shaped or triangular in form, with a fragrant aroma and a unique taste.
The wonton wrapped rice dumplings in this recipe are vegan and way simpler for the average home cook and are fast-as-all-get-out to make.
Red jujube dates, also known as Chinese dates or jujube fruits, are different from regular dates in several ways:
Botanical origin: Red jujube dates come from the jujube tree (Ziziphus jujuba), which is native to China and other parts of Asia. On the other hand, regular dates come from the date palm tree (Phoenix dactylifera), native to the Middle East and North Africa.
👉Appearance: Red jujube dates are small, round fruits with a thin, wrinkled skin that turns from green to red or dark brown when mature. Regular dates are usually larger and have a softer, wrinkled skin that ranges in color from light brown to dark brown or black when ripe.
👉Flavor and texture: Red jujube dates have a naturally sweet and slightly tangy flavor with a chewy texture. Regular dates are also sweet, but their flavor profile may vary depending on the variety, with some being caramel-like and others having a more honey-like taste. Regular dates are usually soft and moist, while red jujube dates are firmer and chewier.
👉Nutritional profile: While both red jujube dates and regular dates are nutrient-rich, they differ slightly in their nutritional content. Red jujube dates are known for their high vitamin C content, while regular dates are rich in dietary fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. However, both types of dates are considered a good source of natural sugars, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals, making them a healthy and nutritious addition to a balanced diet.
🥶Storing Pan-Fried Dumplings:
Allow the pan-fried dumplings to cool to room temperature.
Place the dumplings in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag, ensuring they are in a single layer and not touching each other.
Store the dumplings in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.
🔥Reheating the Dumplings:
Heat a pan over medium heat and add a small amount of oil.
Place the chilled pan-fried dumplings in the pan, flat side down, and cover the pan with a lid.
Cook for 2-3 minutes until the bottom of the dumplings is crispy.
Add a small amount of water (about 1-2 tablespoons) to the pan and quickly cover with the lid to create steam.
Steam the dumplings for an additional 2-3 minutes until the filling is heated through and the dumplings are fully cooked.
Remove the lid and continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes to crisp up the bottom of the dumplings.
Serve and enjoy!
🥟Storing Filled, Uncooked Wonton-Wrapped Dumplings:
Prepare the wonton-wrapped dumplings as per your desired recipe.
Place the uncooked dumplings on a parchment-lined baking sheet or a tray, making sure they are not touching each other to prevent sticking.
Place the baking sheet or tray in the freezer for about 1 hour or until the dumplings are firm.
Once the dumplings are firm, transfer them to a resealable plastic bag or an airtight container and store them in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Note: Dumplings should be frozen in a single layer to prevent them from sticking together.
❄️Cooking Frozen Wonton-Wrapped Dumplings:
Heat a pan over medium heat and add oil.
Place the frozen dumplings in the pan, flat side down, and cook for 2-3 minutes until the bottom is crispy.
Add ¼ cup of water to the pan and quickly cover with a lid to create steam.
Steam the dumplings for an additional 4-6 minutes until the filling is cooked through.
Remove the lid and cook for another 1-2 minutes to crisp up the bottom of the dumplings.
🤷♀️But wait… what about the gluten-free rice paper version of these dumplings?
Rice paper-wrapped dumplings are typically best consumed immediately after they are made, as they can become soft and sticky when stored for extended periods of time. The moisture in the filling can cause the rice paper to become sticky, resulting in the dumplings sticking together and losing their texture.
However, if you still need to store rice paper-wrapped dumplings, you can follow these steps:
Allow the rice paper-wrapped dumplings to cool to room temperature.
Place the dumplings in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag, with parchment paper or plastic wrap separating each layer to prevent them from sticking together.
Store the dumplings in the refrigerator for up to one day at most.
It's important to note that rice paper-wrapped dumplings are delicate and can become soggy when stored, so they are best enjoyed fresh. If you need to make them ahead of time, it's recommended to store the filling and the rice paper separately, and then assemble and cook the dumplings just before serving for the best results.
✌️Other dishes that go great with these dumps:
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Crispy rice dumplings with red jujube dates and chili dipping sauce
- ⅓ cup sliced dried red jujube dates
- ⅓ cup warm water
- 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- ½ of a 14 oz. Block of tofu diced in 1 cm. cubes
- 1 medium size carrot julienne cut, or shredded
- 2 thinly sliced scallions
- 1 ½ cups bean sprouts
- 1 ¼ cups cooked rice white or brown rice
- 2 teaspoons tamari
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- ¾ teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- 30 square wonton skins
- 2 tablespoons canola oil or vegetable oil for cooking
Prepare the Dumpling Filling
- Place the jujube dates in a cup and pour the warm water over them to rehydrate the dates.
- Heat the toasted sesame oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium heat.
- Add diced tofu and cook for 7-8 minutes, flipping the pieces about every minute until lightly golden brown on all sides.
- Add julienne-cut or shredded carrots, thinly sliced scallions, and bean sprouts. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until softened.
- Add the soaked dates and their soaking liquid, the cooked rice, tamari, sriracha, Chinese 5-spice powder, coconut sugar, and toasted sesame seeds to the pan. Stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes until the ingredients are well combined.
- Allow the dumpling filling to cool to room temperature before proceeding to the next step.
Assemble the Dumplings
- Lay out the wonton skins on a clean work surface. If making the gluten free version, see my notes below.
- Place a small spoonful of the cooled dumpling filling in the center of each wonton skin.
- Wet the edges of the wonton skin with cold water using your fingertips or a pastry brush.
- Fold in the bottom side of the wonton over the filling, tuck the sides in, then tightly roll it up from bottom to top, sealing the edges with water to create a tight and neat roll, similarly shaped to a spring roll, or a tiny, adorable baby burrito.
Cook the Dumplings
- Heat two tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Place the dumplings in the pan, leaving some space between them.
- Add two tablespoons of water to the pan, and immediately cover the pan.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes until the bottoms are golden brown and crispy.
- Carefully flip the dumplings and cook for another 2-3 minutes with the lid on until the other side is also crispy and golden brown.
- Remove the dumplings from the pan and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.
Prepare the Chili Sauce
- In a small bowl, whisk together sriracha, tomato paste, lime juice, thinly sliced Bird's eye chili (if using), coconut sugar, and sesame oil until well combined.
- Serve the Dumplings
- Place the crispy rice dumplings on a serving plate.
- Drizzle the chili sauce over the dumplings or serve it on the side as a dipping sauce.
- Garnish with thinly sliced green onion, toasted sesame seeds, and fresh cilantro leaves for added flavor and presentation.