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A frozen dumplings pack for vegans.
5x Spinach, Tofu and Bok Choy
5x Japanese Six-Mushroom
I love dumplings, they've been a firm favourite of mine since I was young and a must buy if I'm out at an Asian restaurant. Several years ago the supermarkets began stocking frozen dumplings but they didn't taste grand and didn't cook well, so I gave up on them.
I got this to review and couldn't wait to give them a try, and as an added bonus, I was able to use a steamer for them, so I knew my chances of overcooking or drying them out was virtually nonexistent. The box that this comes in is well done with plenty of information but it doesn't feel too overcrowded. On the side of the box there is a handy visual guide to the dumplings, each dumpling is shaped differently, so you'll never need to worry about a vegetarian eating a meat one of someone allergic to prawns eating a prawn one, etc. There is also instructions on how to steam cook them and then pan fry a little as well, plus the usual contact information and full list of ingredients.
In this pack you get five of each of the two varieties plus a small pot of sauce for dipping them in later. We tried the spinach, tofu and bok choi dumpling first. Two out of three of my kids enjoyed this one, they both said that there was a little spiciness to them but not enough to put them off wanting more. My mum and I agreed that they felt like an authentic dumpling, we used to have a friend live with us who made them from scratch, and that it was a good combination of flavours. The six mushroom dumpling, as with the other, only two of my three children liked it, saying that the tonne of mushrooms is what made it so yummy. My mum liked that it was so different in taste and that it had good variety in its contents and tasted very mushroomy. I enjoyed it and found that it wasn't too overpowering in any way.
The little sauce was the only part that none of us liked all that much, we found it too spicy and thus overpowering the other flavours of the dumplings. We all agreed that something with less heat and a but thicker would be what we'd like, though a plus was that by the time the dumplings were ready, the sauce was fully thawed. Now this box works out to be $1.90 per dumpling which is a tad on the expensive side, especially when needing enough for a family of five, but they were nice enough that we will try out the other flavours when we feel like a treat.
Well obviously I have to start with the box. I love that this is cardboard and completely covered with very cool pictures and writing and lots of information. I do think its a pity that inside the box the dumplings and the sauce are packaged in plastic and even my girls queried this. I am assuming the plastic is to prevent freezer burn. But anyway I do love the paper box but given the dumplings are in plastic all the information could be printed on that. So just a disclaimer I am not vegan and as a result these vegan treats were probably my least favourite in the range.
I love that they are easy to cook and I can just cook them from frozen. They are very easy to steam and I then just finished them off in the frying pan to crisp them up a bit. The serving size is slightly to much for me but would be great to share between two with some rice or vegetables. Probably the spinach, tofu and bok choy was my preferred taste over the mushroom which was a surprise as I really love mushrooms. I can't explain why maybe they were chopped up too much so I couldn't taste the individual flavours of each of the six mushroom varieties used. I have decided I don't like the dipping sauce. Not sure why but the taste isn't really my cup of tea. Its quite a thin sauce and might be nicer if thicker and perhaps with less garlic?
Overall if you are vegan then these are probably going to really appeal to you but if you're a meat lover then you might enjoy one of the other boxes more or even the Full House to get a great range of all the flavours.
I love that these are all natural so I know there are no nasties going into my body and this is reflected in the fresh taste. I do think these are expensive for what they are and wouldn't buy them at full price but if that isn't a concern then they are a great buy.
So with me stuck at home on medical leave I got stuck on the cooking roster again. After mentioning my trial of the pork dumplings to my flattie he was keen to help me try the vegetarian ones. I'm not a vegetarian or anything but I thought it would be good to try something different and 2 of my flatmates are vege fans anyway so it was a safe bet that if I didn't go for these they would. Surte enough when I told them what was in the box they demanded a taste. No stress because that meant an easy meal to make because hobbling around the kitchen trying to cook stuff with my leg in a cast isnt easy.
I steamed these up while making a quick strifry with carrots, celery, courgettes, capsicum, noodles and some pineapple (dont knock it, it works) and a swirl of chilli sauce, then tossed the dumpling in to give them a bit of colour before I dished them up. Three of us were eating that night so I tried to give everyone an equal split but I made sure I got two of the mushroom ones because they appealed to me a bit more than the others because I don't dig spinach much.
Everyone was quick to tuck in and get a mouthful and I gotta tell ya the mushroom ones were pretty amazing eh. I can't admit to tasting 6 different mushrooms, I am not what you might call a cultured diner really, but I got a couple of different flavours and textures that was all equally tasty. The spinach, tofu and bok choy dumpling was nice but not really my thing because I couldn't get past thinking about the spinach. My mum always made me eat the stuff as a kid and I never got the taste for it as I got older either. I don't even know what bok choy is but one of the flatties told me it was another leafy green so yeah it got lumped in with spinach in my head. don't get me wrong if I had nothing else to eat I would eat these but almost anything else on the plate would be my first choice.
They went well with the stirfry bulking them up into a decent feed for one. Better yet if you were the lucky one and got the extra dumpling. No amount of asking or chore trading would get that last mushroom dumpling onto my plate so I gave up and just had some more stirfry to finish my meal off. A good lesson from trying the first box the day before.
The box had five of each dumpling and I a pot of the dipping sauce. I had some left over in the fridge from the pork ones so I had that and let these two share the fresh pot. Its frozen solid when you get it so I dumped it into a small shallow bowl and microwaved it for a minute to melt and warm it. Worked a treat and gave everyone more than enough to dip in. Got to admit though it was pretty runny. I like dipping sauces to stick to the food and can handle a strong flavour but if thats not your thing then being so thin could work out better for you eh.
I don't think I would buy this box again though, because I would only eat half of it and give the rest to these two. If they went thirds in buying the next box though that would be ok by me.
Having already tried and enjoyed two other flavours in this range I thought I'd do something a little different with this packet and decided to make a simple dumpling soup. The vegan treats pack contains two flavours: 'spinach, tofu and bok choy' and also 'six mushroom'. The dumplings cooked up very quickly making for a super easy Sunday lunch. I used chicken stock, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic and ginger in the soup recipe itself which complemented the dumplings nicely.
The dumplings themselves are visually easy to tell apart, the spinach, bok choy and tofu ones being green and the mushroom ones being long and rectangular. What I really liked about these is that unlike the other flavours I had tried, I could really taste the difference between them, the six mushroom was stuffed full with a fabulous flavour (I had to defend mine from my partner) and the spinach, tofu and bok choy had a more vegetable flavour. The tofu would likely fool plenty of carnivores though with an almost meaty texture that was very pleasant (tofu can go either way if not prepared well!).
As with the other flavours, the only downside is the cost. My partner and I split a pack between us but really for a filling lunch we could have each eaten a full pack and the cost of that is quite pricey at $19.99 per pack. You are paying for quality and a handmade product though and I think that was reflected in the quality of these dumplings. If they were on special, this is the flavour I'd be more likely to purchase!
It is always good to find new products that are made for vegans and/or vegetarians. Even though I am not vegan myself, several of my friends are so it is useful to have a range of products in the freezer that can be offered to them when they visit. And we eat a lot of vegetarian food in my house, not because we are vegetarian, but because that type of food is often really tasty!
We found, on opening the pack, that there were two varieties included - mushroom and spinach. The mushroom dumplings contained a mixture of six different types of Japanese mushroom while the spinach dumplings contained bok choy and tofu as well as the spinach itself. The two varieties came in different shapes, so it was easy to tell which was which - and the spinach dumplings were bright green so there was no mistaking them!
Having already tried two different meat varieties from House of Dumplings, I was really interested to try the meatless version. I am open to new tastes, so was ready for something different, but these were quite new to me and very tasty too! Three of us were sharing the packet so I took two of each variety and my friends tried the remaining six.
One of my friends did not like the spinach flavour; he found it too spicy and did not really like the appearance as it did not look like a dumpling to him! However, he was outvoted. His wife and I both liked the flavour; we tried it plain and then dunked in the sauce that was included in the package and agreed it was a good substitute for a traditional meat dumpling.
All three of us loved the mushroom dumplings. When you bit into one, you could see that it was absolutely packed full of mushroom pieces. They thought their children would like them as well, and plan to buy another packet at some stage to try them out on the kids. Again, we tried them both with and without the dipping sauce. I had prepared all the dumplings by steaming and then lightly pan frying, but we thought that they might be better served straight from the steamer rather than having the browning afterwards. So next time I will leave the frying pan out of the equation with this variety.
These dumplings are suitable for everyone, whether vegan/vegetarian or not, which means they are really versatile. I plan to purchase a couple of boxes to keep in. They come in neat, stackable cardboard containers which take up the minimum of space on a freezer shelf and have a long "best before" date. There is an inner sealed package which ensures that the contents do not dry out. This is important because dumplings tend to stick together if they are thawed before cooking (something I have learned from bitter experience!) so this provides an extra layer of insulation. It is clear that a lot of thought and care has gone into the packaging to ensure that it matches the quality of the contents. Can't wait to try them again!
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