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Please Make These Viral TikTok Dumplings
Okonomi Kitchen's rice paper dumplings are easy, clever, and extremely delicious.
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This was supposed to be a “bye” week over here, now that rainbow dumpling-palooza has come to a close, but I haven’t been able to stop making this new recipe and simply felt the need to share it.
I very much dragged my heels on joining TikTok. But then finally my FOMO took over my laughable attempt at “resisting the attention economy,” and in August, I dove on in. Two main dumpling trends immediately emerged (in addition to plenty of other interesting stuff that will surface here some day in the future):
People on TikTok are obsessed with the frozen, microwaveable chicken soup dumplings from Trader Joe’s. (I suspect they’re produced by Bibigo—and for a quick and savory snack, they’re quite tasty if not very soupy; for something that scratches a true soup dumpling craving, I urge you to order a bag of savory chicken XLBs from Xiao Chi Jie.)
A whole lot of people are making “rice paper dumplings,” the brainchild of Lisa Kitahara of Okonomi Kitchen, whose original ASMR-heavy video posted in late July has, at last count, hit 10.6 million views.
Lisa Kitahara is a food blogger/content creator based in Toronto who specializes in vegan fare, often reinterpretations of the Chinese and Japanese cuisine of her background. The recipes look extremely good— my “must try” list includes the vegan spicy “tomato tuna” as well as this clever mock crisp-skinned fish created with tofu and nori sheets—and yes, she’s already done a vegan variation of Emily Mariko’s TikTok salmon. (See? I’m fully IN IT now. I made the salmon for lunch yesterday.)
In the accompanying blog post for the rice paper dumplings, Lisa writes that the recipe idea came to her after she tried to pan-fry a leftover fresh summer roll and it fully broke apart. So she iterated by double-wrapping a tofu filling in soaked rice paper wrappers and then pan-frying that, and realized that she hit on something great.
I’ve made these dumplings three times so far, and the result is so, so satisfying. The outer rice paper layer crisps up well in the skillet, but the tender inner layer remains delightfully chewy. Also, the process of folding them into fat, squishy rectangular parcels is very enjoyable.
The filling is super modular and ideal for using up veggies you have handy, a la Food Waste Feast—my strongest dumpling batches used a tofu-veggie filling akin to Lisa’s. I attempted a shrimp version with sautéed leeks, but need to tweak it a bit before it’s good. I’ve also seen plenty of TikTokers use raw ground meat in their filling but have secretly wondered if it cooks all the way through quickly enough.
At any rate! Check out the recipe, make the recipe, and leave me a comment if you do so we can trade notes.