Steamed dumplings with beets, black beans and lime

Beet dumplings (these have been toasted, on day 2, so they’re a little browned on top!)

As Oscar Wilde famously said, “When a person remakes beet dumplings after having ruined the first batch by dropping the entire thing on the ground, this illustrates the triumph of hope over experience.” Well, he may not have used those exact words, but the sentiment was there. Can’t you just see him in a beet-red velvet suit? Maybe not on a day as hot as this one!! Anyway, here at The Ordinary, we believe in second chances. If, at first, you ruin your entire dinner and waste a bunch of ingredients, try try again, but this time let somebody else carry the food out to the table. That’s our motto. So David cleverly fixed the broken bamboo steamer, and we decided to spend one of the warmest days of the year standing over a steaming wok. Actually – you don’t need to spend much time over the stove at all, making this. You just leave the steamer on the wok for twenty minutes, and that’s that! Ever since The Dinner of Disaster, I’ve been wanting to try the combination of beets, black beans, tamari, lime and basil. It sounded like such a nice earthy/sweet/tart/salty combination. And it seemed like it might turn out quite pretty, judging from the mess of innards we cleaned off the ground.

Tamari – lime – basil dipping sauce

It turned out very delicious! The dumplings are plump and juicy, pleasingly soft, but with a bit of crunch from the pine nuts. The star of the show, for the boys, was the tamari dipping sauce, which we made with balsamic, brown sugar, lime, basil and hot red pepper flakes. They’ve been eating it on everything – rice, long noodles, green peas. The dumplings were very pretty, too! Dark, rosy, and with a hint of green. If you don’t have a steamer, you can make these in a regular vegetable steamer, of even bake them in the oven. They come out a little crisper that way.

Inside a beet dumpling

Here’s Byron Lee and the Dragonaires with Scorcher.


2 1/2 cups flour
1 t salt
1 t baking powder
1 1/2 t yeast
3 T sugar
1 T white vinegar
3 T olive oil

Combine the yeast, 1 t sugar and 1/2 cup warm water in a small bowl, and leave to get foamy.

In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Make a well in the center and pour in the olive oil, vinegar and yeast mixture. Add enough water to form a workable dough. Knead for about 5 minutes, and set aside in an oiled bowl, covered with a damp cloth, for about 2 hours. Punch down, and leave to rise again for an hour. Divide into 8 pieces, and put them back in the bowl while you prepare the …


2 beets, peeled and coarsely grated
2 T olive oil

1 can black beans – rinsed and drained
1 bunch beet greens (or 2 cups loosely packed raw beet greens, chard, spinach or even lettuce) rinsed and well chopped
1 T olive oil
1 shallot (or a few scallions) minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 t nigella seeds
2 t tamari
zest and juice of half a lime
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil and cilantro, in whatever proportions you like
salt, pepper
dash balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup pine nuts

Combine the beets and olive oil on a baking sheet or toaster oven sheet. Toast of roast at 425 for about half an hour, till the beets are getting brown, caramelized and crispy.

In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic, shallot or scallions, nigella seeds and red pepper flakes. Cook till the garlic starts to brown. Add the chopped greens, with water still clinging to their leaves. Stir and fry for a few minutes. Then add the beans, tamari, lime juice, salt, pepper. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for a few minutes, till the beet greens are nicely wilted, but still bright. Mix in the basil, cilantro, vinegar, pine nuts, and roasted beets. Taste for a balance of salt/pepper/vinegar and sweet.


Roll out a small ball of dough to be about 1/4 inch thick and six inches across. Put a heaping tablespoon of filling in the middle (we’re talking about half a cup!) Pull up the edges of the dough to make a dumpling shape. Seal, and set on a plate. When you have all eight dumplings on a plate, set them aside and let them sit while you heat the water.

Heat the water in a wok – about 1 1/2 inches deep. Meanwhile, line your bamboo steamer with lettuce leaves. Place the dumplings on the steamer. They can touch a little bit, but the less the better.

Put the lid on the steamer. Put the steamer on the steam. Steam for 20 minutes. Take off the steam, and let it sit till it’s cool enough to handle. Move to a plate, and serve with basmati rice and dipping sauce.


2 T tamari
1 T balsamic
1 T raw sugar or brown sugar
1/2 t red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 t ginger
zest and juice of half a lime
lots of freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped into ribbons

Warm the tamari, balsamic and sugar in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the red pepper flakes, lime zest, lime juice and ginger. Add 1/2 cup water. Cook for ten or fifteen minutes, till the sugar is dissolved, and the sauce is reduced and thickened. Add a bit more water. When you’re ready to eat, take the sauce off the heat and stir in the basil. Pour into a bowl and serve alongside the dumplings.


4 thoughts on “Steamed dumplings with beets, black beans and lime

    • Thanks!!
      We’ve had so many beets, too! I love them, but it’s gotten to be a challenge keeping up. If you type “beet” into the search rectangle on the edge of the site, I’ve got a bazillion recipes! Some are really simple, like beet hummus.

  1. Pingback: 50 Fantastic Beet Recipes | PFS

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