It’s that time of year again, people! Spot Prawns are back in season and they are more sweet, succulent and juicy than I remembered! This year, I’m making these delicious Spot Prawn Dumplings to celebrate the season–and you should too!
What are Spot Prawns?
Spot prawn season typically begins in early May and lasts for about six to eight weeks. This year with COVID-19, the season has been slightly delayed, but we still have enough time to enjoy these succulent coastal prawns!
Spot prawns are slightly sweet to the taste, are orange in colour, and have little white spots on their bodies, mainly around their heads and tails. They are harvested just off the coast of BC during the fishing season using baited traps. The cold, nutrient rich waters of the BC coast make these prawns incredibly juicy and meaty. They have the texture of both a lobster tail and a shrimp combined. Sounds amazing right?!
Who Doesn’t Love Spot Prawns…and Dumplings?
While spot prawns taste amazing on their own, they’re even better in my recipe for Spot Prawn Dumplings!
Spot prawns are finely chopped and added into a delicious Asian-inspired filling. I added in some water chestnuts into the filling since they do not impart much flavour, rather they add some delicious crunchy texture to the dumpling. Water chestnuts are also really popular in Chinese shrimp dumplings as well, which was my inspiration for this recipe!
Since the spot prawns have so much flavour, I didn’t want to add too many competing flavours to the filling. Just a bit of chopped scallion and cilantro with a sprinkle of sesame oil, soy sauce, and white pepper totally did the trick!
Also, as you can see, I’m a bit obsessed with chili oil! I always add it to my dumplings, including these Spot Prawn Dumplings to get a sweet and spicy combo going. However, if you are not a big chili fan, you can easily dip these in some soy sauce or in a mixture of soy sauce and Chinese black vinegar…that also tastes amazing as well!
Craving this Recipe Outside of Spot Prawn Season?
If you happen to find this recipe outside of spot prawn season or if you simply can’t get your hands on them, you can easily substitute the spot prawns for tiger shrimp. Tiger shrimp are widely accessible and are relatively inexpensive compared to spot prawns or other varieties of shrimp. However, since tiger shrimp are less sweet than spot prawns, add about 1 teaspoon of granulated white sugar to the filling so that you get a bit of sweetness in there!
Also, if you’re able to access spot prawns, stock up on them and make a big batch of these dumplings! You can make the filling and wrap the dumplings, then freeze them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Once they’re frozen solid, add them to a freezer storage bag and you will have Spot Prawn Dumplings all year long! You can cook them from frozen and add them into any dish that you like!
Recipe: Spot Prawn Dumplings
Spot Prawns are back in season so why not treat yourself to some Spot Prawn Dumplings?! These succulent dumplings are sweet and a bit spicy with the addition of chili oil. If you do not have access to spot prawns, you can also substitute them with tiger shrimp as well!
Servings: 24 pieces
Prep Time: 50 minutes | Cook Time: 5 minutes | Total Time: 55 minutes
- 1 pound spot prawn tails, shells removed
- 2 scallions, finely chopped (1 for the dumplings, 1 for garnish)
- 1/3 cup water chestnuts, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 package round dumpling wrappers
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 cup water
- Chili oil for garnish, optional
Add the chopped scallions, water chestnuts, and cilantro to a mixing bowl along with the soy sauce, sesame oil and white pepper. Mix to combine and set aside.
Use a sharp knife to dice the spot prawns into 1/2 cm-sized pieces. Place 1/3 of the cut spot prawns into the mixing bowl and continue chopping the rest of the spot prawn pieces until it turns into a fine paste. Add the paste to the mixing bowl and mix all the ingredients to combine. Set aside.
Next, mix the cornstarch and 1/2 cup of water in a small bowl to combine. This cornstarch slurry will be used to seal the dumplings when wrapping them.
To wrap the dumplings, take a dumpling wrapper and set it down on a cutting board. Dip your index finger into the cornstarch slurry and spread it along the outside boarder of the dumpling wrapper.
Place 1 teaspoon of the spot prawn filling into the centre of the dumpling wrapper. Pick up the dumpling wrapper and filling and fold it in half, making sure that the edges of the dumpling wrapper are lined up but are not touching. Pleat the dumpling by starting on the left side, folding the top part of the dumpling wrapper over itself using your right thumb and index finger, and sealing it by pinching it with your left thumb and index finger.
Continue to work across the dumpling wrapper edge creating pleats as you go. If this is too complex, just simply fold the dumpling wrapper over itself and pressing the edges together to seal it– just try to remove as much air from the inside as possible. Once you have your first dumpling done, set it aside on a plate and continue the process for the rest of the dumplings.
To cook the dumplings, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add 10-12 dumplings to the pot, reduce the heat to medium, and stir to make sure that they do not stick together or to the bottom of the pot. Cook the dumplings for 4-5 minutes. You will know they are done when the filling turns more orange in colour and is firm to the touch. The dumpling wrapper will be soft as well.
Remove the dumplings from the pot and place on a serving plate. Drizzle with chili oil, or soy sauce, or a combination of both. Garnish with some extra chopped scallions and serve immediately!
Pro Tip: You can make these dumplings and freeze them before cooking them. Simply line them up so that they are not touching on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen solid, place them in a freezer storage bag and use them whenever you want! Cooking the dumplings from frozen will take only 5-6 minutes.