Why You Should Steam Frozen Dumplings On Top Of Vegetables

You're craving the rich, savory flavors of xiao long bao (or soup dumplings), and fortunately, you have a frozen pack ready to steam in your freezer. Unfortunately, however, there's a hitch — you've run out of parchment paper to line your bamboo steamers. You might be wondering if you can skip lining the steamers altogether. The answer is no. If you don't line your bamboo steamers, the bottom of your dumplings will stick to the steamer. Then, the dumplings will break apart when you try to take them out with your chopsticks.

Don't fret just yet because you can still steam your frozen dumplings in a bamboo steamer with this nifty trick: Use leafy vegetables as a natural, eco-friendly steamer liner instead of parchment paper. This method will prevent the dumplings from sticking to the bamboo steamer during steaming and will even add a veggie twist to your meal.

This fantastic food hack can work with various leafy greens, such as cabbage, gai lan leaves, or bok choy leaves, which are readily available and perfect for this purpose. Alternatively, try resting each dumpling on top of a carrot slice. The veggies get cooked and tender simultaneously while steaming the dumplings. Thus, with each bite of dumpling, you also get a veggie accompaniment and a fiber boost.

How to steam frozen dumplings on top of vegetables

To start steaming frozen dumplings, like soup dumplings, on top of vegetables, first arrange a layer of your leafy greens, such as cabbage or bok choy leaves, at the bottom of a bamboo steamer. Alternatively, like a cute orange perch, you can create a bed of thinly sliced carrots, preferably one slice for each dumpling. These vegetables should be spread evenly to cover the steamer's surface, providing a natural, non-stick layer. Next, place your frozen xiao long bao or soup dumplings atop this vegetable layer, ensuring they have enough space between them for even cooking.

For those who would love more vegetables, adding an even layer of veggies on the bamboo steamer would work. Vegetables are porous, so the steam will still cook your dumplings. Now, as the steam works its magic, the dumplings will cook to perfection, while the vegetables underneath soften and absorb some of the flavors from the dumplings. The dumpling skins also absorb some of the flavors of the steamed veggies. This method yields delectably steamed dumplings nestled atop tender veggies in just minutes. And if you're curious, this technique isn't limited to dumplings; it works wonderfully for other foods, like steaming a whole fish over leafy greens in a bamboo steamer.

Adopting this approach offers dual benefits: Reducing waste by eliminating the need for disposable liners and elevating your dumpling meals with additional vegetables.