Chickpea & spinach dumplings (with a black sesame seed crust)

chickpea & spinach dumplings

These aren’t the kind of dumplings you float in a stew! Rather, this is how I imagine the dumplings that Kung Fu Panda fights over. They have a light crust, studded with black sesame seeds, black mustard seeds and black pepper. (I love this combination just because they’re so pretty in the pan together!) And a simple filling of spinach, chickpeas, cilantro and a bit of cheese. They’re fun to make and fun to eat! I have to admit that I completely messed up this crust at first, but, proving that crust is forgiving, I added a few ingredients, gave myself a day to get over the frustration, and it worked perfectly.

Here’s Ken Parker singing Sugar Dumpling.


1 1/2 cups white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
6 T butter, softened
4 T olive oil
1 teaspoon each black sesame seeds and black mustard seeds, about 1/2 t. ground black peppercorns
pinch salt

about 3 cups spinach, cleaned and roughly chopped
2 cups chickpeas (I use canned, so drained and rinsed)
1 clove garlic
olive oil
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. tamarind concentrate. (or a dash of lemon juice, or leave it out altogether, and leave out the sugar, too. It will still taste good!)
1/2 t. tamari
1 shallot
1 clove garlic
1 small jalapeno, or other mildly hot pepper
1 chunk of fresh ginger about 1 centimeter cubed
3 T cilantro, or however much you like
1 cup sharp cheddar (I like the flavor, and it binds the filling, but it will be fine without this, as well)

1. Toast the sesame seeds, mustard seeds and pepper in a small saucepan until the mustard seeds begin to pop, and everything starts to smell very aromatic.

2. Mix the flours, the salt, and the pepper and seeds in a large bowl. Add the butter and oil, and rub between your fingers until everything is thoroughly mixed. It might seem a bit sandy at this time, and that’s okay. Add warm water, about 1/2 cup (but start with less) to make a workable dough. Put it onto the counter and knead it until it’s smooth, just a few minutes, adding a little flour if it gets too sticky. Refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.

3. Make the filling. Dice the shallot, garlic, jalapeno, and ginger together so that they’re very very very fine. You can even use a processor if you feel so inclined. Warm the olive oil, and then add the shallot/garlic/hot pepper/ginger mixture, and cook for a few minutes, stirring, until it starts to smell good and turn brown a bit. Add the sugar and tamarind, and tamari. Add the spinach and cook until it wilts and the pan starts to dry up. Turn it into a bowl and mix with the chickpeas and cheese, and season with salt and pepper.

4. Take a golf-ball-sized piece of dough and roll it into a rough circle. Perfection is not necessary!

5. Place a heaping spoonful of filling in the center. (Maybe 1/3 cup – you want to leave a few inches around the sides)

6. Roll up the edges on all sides to form a little round envelope.

7. Turn it upside down and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. This should make about 6 dumplings. Cook in a preheated 425 oven for about 1/2 hour, but check after 20 minutes. You want them to be golden brown on top. Eat! They’re also good dipped in a sauce of your choice. I’m still pretty stuck on a tamarind chutney, but tamari/balsamic/brown sugar(or molasses) and cayenne is tasty with it, too!

If you have left-over dough, roll it out to about 1/8 inch, and put it on a lightly buttered baking sheet. Cut through diagonally with a knife or pizza cutter, and then bake with the dumplings until slightly brown to make delicious crackers.

black pepper, black mustard seed, black sesame seed crackers


3 thoughts on “Chickpea & spinach dumplings (with a black sesame seed crust)

  1. These look really great ! ! !

    I think I can make these also ! ! !

    We have something very similar called Takoyaki these are like dumplings stuffed with chopped octopus, green onions and ginger and I can make those OK so I think this will be OK also.

    They look really tasty ! ! !

    • Wow! I’ve just been watching takoyaki-making videos on youTube. Completely fascinating. I’m going to have to figure out how to make a version of that!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s