How Ming Tsai Makes Dumplings Gluten-Free

Whether it be rice or tofu, many ingredients typically associated with Asian cuisine are naturally gluten-free. Dumpling wrappers however, are not one of them. While you probably won't be able to order gluten-free dumplings at your favorite Chinese restaurant, the good news is there's a way to make them at home. According to Ming Tsai, who shared his technique with Food & Wine, all it requires is a simple substitute that you may already have in your refrigerator: cabbage leaves.

Normally when sealing dumplings, all you need to do is press the edges of the dough together. Cabbage leaves, as you can imagine, don't stick to themselves. Tsai therefore explains that you'll have to blanch the cabbage then tie it together with chives before cooking.

Substituting dough for cabbage may sound iffy, but Tsai's trick is tried-and-true. He came up with it while cooking for his son, who suffers from several food allergies, and also ran a successful Asian fusion gluten-free restaurant for 19 years.

You can also use rice flour or cornstarch to make dumplings gluten-free

As Ming Tsai shared in a TikTok video, substituting rice flour or cornstarch for all purpose flour can easily make a dish gluten-free. In the video, Tsai makes chicken fingers by coating them in rice flour, but apparently the same technique works just as well for dumplings.

According to TikTok creator @theasiangf, you do this by preparing your dumpling filling as normal, forming it into a dumpling shape, and coating it in gluten-free flour the same way Tsai does with his chicken tenders. After steaming the flour-coated filling for about five to seven minutes, a thin skin forms on the outside. Though there's no dough or wrapper involved, the resulting taste and texture is a lot more similar to that of a traditional dumpling. As @theasiangirlfriend explains in the video, gluten-free dough typically creates a gummy texture, making her modification and Tsai's cabbage version much more effective alternatives.