Vegan Tofu Wontons in Chile Oil

July  8, 2021
13 Ratings
Photo by WoonHeng Chia
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

These little parcels are packed with tofu and vegetables, then drenched in an ultra-savory sauce made from a mixture of chile oil, black vinegar, and soy sauce. (One of my favorite brands is Master Brand, or you can make your own.) Wontons are a type of dumpling, typically using a square wrapper. The size is usually smaller than traditional jiaozi and the filling is often meat (like pork) or seafood (like shrimp). With meaty tofu and umami-dense dried mushrooms, these wontons just happen to be vegan, with no shortage of flavor. On Lunar New Year, it's believed that eating dumplings will bring good fortune. But to me, it’s a perfect family activity any time of year, when everyone can sit together, wrap dumplings, and share laughter and joy.
WoonHeng Chia

What You'll Need
  • Wontons
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil, plus more for the water
  • 2 dried shiitake mushrooms, softened in hot water and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped carrots
  • 2 cups roughly chopped cabbage
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 3 ounces firm tofu
  • 1/4 teaspoon mushroom or umami seasoning
  • Sesame oil
  • 30 square wonton wrappers, thawed to room temperature
  • Sauce and garnishes
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth, heated
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons black vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chile oil with sediment
  • 1 pinch white pepper
  • Chopped scallions or cilantro
  • 1 splash toasted sesame oil
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  1. To make the filling, heat a large nonstick skillet and add the oil. Sauté the mushrooms and carrots for 1 minute.
  2. Add the cabbage and cook for 1 minute or so until just tender. (You can increase the cooking time if you prefer softer cabbage.) Season with some salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a food processor and add the tofu. Pulse into smaller bits.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in salt, pepper, mushrooms seasoning (if using), and sesame oil to taste. Let it cool completely.
  5. To assemble the wonton, place a wrapper on your palm or a flat surface. Add a teaspoon of filling in the middle. Bring the edge closest to you to meet the opposite edge, forming a rectangle. Use your fingers to seal, pushing out the air bubbles as much as possible. Now turn around the rectangle upside down, so the sealed edge is facing you, and bring both pointy corners to cross over in the middle, yielding a hat.
  6. Repeat the above step with the remaining wonton wrappers and filling, until you run out of one or the other.
  7. To cook the wontons, bring a pot of water to boil. Add a drizzle of neutral oil.
  8. Carefully drop in the wontons and cook until they float, 1 to 2 minutes. Let the wontons stay afloat for a few more seconds.
  9. While the wontons are cooking, combine the broth, soy sauce, vinegar, chile oil, and pepper in a large bowl. Adjust to taste.
  10. Once the wontons are ready, use a strainer to transfer them to the bowl with sauce. Garnish with chopped scallions or cilantro, a swirl of sesame oil, and toasted sesame seeds.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • zelda_q
  • Eva
  • Kaito Kikuchi
    Kaito Kikuchi
  • Sarah Yaffa
    Sarah Yaffa
  • WoonHeng Chia
    WoonHeng Chia

13 Reviews

zelda_q September 21, 2021
This is a great recipe! Easy to follow and delicious. I wanted to include pictures, but I do not see a way of inserting them here. I am going to try with my favorite mock meat (Beyond Sausage original). For this first time, I added a little more salt, some garlic powder, and extra umami seasoning (from Trader Joe's) and it was delicious. Thank you!
Eva July 8, 2021
These were delicious! I improvised on the recipe a bit: I used a bit more cabbage and a bit more tofu to make up for having no carrots; noting that some reviewers had found the filling bland, I added a dash of light soy sauce and some oyster sauce (NOT vegan), added some scallion whites, and didn’t skimp on the sesame oil. The nice thing about this filling, unlike a meaty or eggy one, is you can taste it “raw” and adjust the seasoning.

My partner and I shared a dish of these wontons and a dish of the wonton noodles and greens that Woonheng has on her blog. We’re already salivating over the leftovers (unboiled wontons in the freezer, sauces in the fridge).
brushjl May 1, 2021
Sorry to agree with kaito. I also missed the pork, they were a bit bland and, for me, a lot of work. I guess this was a healthy alternative.
txchick57 May 1, 2021
I'm sure the pig didn't miss his life. Do n' eat them.
Nique April 25, 2021
These were delicious, fun and easy! It was my first time making dumplings of any kind. I didn't have cabbage so used celery/spinach/ginger. My daughter and I made them 'together' on Facetime, 2000 km apart. We both enjoyed the process and the results so much. Thanks for the recipe!
txchick57 March 27, 2021
MYfavorite F52 contributor!1 Another winner.
WoonHeng C. March 31, 2021
Thanks so much! :-) Hope you like this recipe too. Have a beautiful day. Best, WoonHeng
JLGM March 26, 2021
I've been waiting for a reason to make a new batch of chili oil... usually I end up waiting until warmer weather when I make 凉皮 every week. Excited to try this dish and work it into my springtime rotation!
WoonHeng C. March 31, 2021
Yay, I love liang pi and really enjoy it when the weather is warmer. Hope you like this dish. Have a great day. Best, WoonHeng
Kaito K. March 25, 2021
I love wontons and really wanted to like these (and the photos look amazing!), but I was pretty disappointed by the lack of umami in the wontons and found them quite bland. I might revisit it with ground pork instead of tofu.
WoonHeng C. March 25, 2021
Hello Kaito, thanks so much for your feedback. I added the mushrooms seasoning which is to give the wontons the umami flavor that I liked. Hope you get to try some soon. Have a beautiful day. Sincerely, Woon Heng
Sarah Y. March 25, 2021
This recipe seriously boosted my "cook" ego. The wontons were a huge hit - everyone loved. I've never made wontons before, however, this recipe was simple enough to knock out of the park. I added Chinese chives to the filling, which added a great flavor. Will absolutely be making again soon.
WoonHeng C. March 25, 2021
That's so awesome, Sarah. Thanks so much and really happy that you liked the recipe. I'm very happy you'll make them again soon. Thanks bunches, Woon Heng