Skirting the Issue

Fashion is not my forte, but I do know a gorgeous skirt when I see one. My favorite sort is lacy, delicate, so sheer that it’s borderline risqué. Though short, it covers everything important and never rides up.

Of course, this skirt is best worn by plump vegetable dumplings. All it takes is a simple slurry to elevate average frozen pot stickers into an unforgettable appetizer or entree. Presented with the skirt-side up in restaurants, the paper-thin, impeccably crisp crust sets the stage for a symphony of textures and tastes. A few sharp jabs with any nearby eating utensil will shatter the brittle webbing, separating the dumplings below.

What is a dumpling skirt made of?

Some people insist that only cornstarch will work; others concede that any starch is equivalent. Many use simple all-purpose flour, while yet another contingent blend flour and starch to get the best of both worlds. Truth be told, there’s no wrong answer here. Everything goes, and everything produces equally delicious yet different results. Some create a more open lattice, some form a consistent sheet, some don’t get quite as crunchy, and some don’t brown. Experiment or just use what’s on hand until you find the crispy skirt with all the qualities you’re looking for.

Personally, I like to keep it simple with just one binder, but neither starch nor wheat get my vote. I prefer plain white rice flour for a crispy, fool-proof skirt every time. All you need is water for the liquid, though a touch of vinegar for flavor is a nice addition.

Want to make your own dumplings?

I love dressing up store-bought dumplings using this technique for a special yet easy weekday dinner. If you want to go all out and start from scratch, I have plenty of dumpling recipes to suggest:

Bear in mind that fresh, homemade dumplings won’t need as long to cook as frozen, so adjust the timing as needed.

Compared to most skirts on the market these days, this has a distinct advantage: One size fits all.

Yield: Makes 2 - 3 Servings

Dumpling Skirt

Dumpling Skirt

Dress up any frozen dumplings with a thin, crispy skirt to make an unparalleled starter or snack.

Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 2 Teaspoons Neutral Oil, such as Avocado, Rice Bran, or Grapeseed Oil
  • 10 - 12 Frozen Vegan Dumplings (Do Not Thaw)
  • 1 3/4 Cups Water
  • 3 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons Flour, Starch, or a Combination (All-Purpose Flour, Rice Flour, Corn Starch, Potato Starch, Tapioca Starch, etc.)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt


  1. In a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat, add 1 teaspoon of oil. Once shimmering, arrange 5 - 6 dumplings in a circular pattern in the center. Let cook, undisturbed, for about 3 - 4 minutes, until they begin to lightly brown on the bottom.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the slurry by whisking together the water vinegar, flour and/or starch, and salt until smooth.
  3. Pour half of the slurry into the pan, all around the dumplings. Use a splatter guard or hold the lid as a shield because it will likely sizzle violently when added.
  4. Cover and steam the dumplings for 5 minutes. At this point, the dumplings should be cooked through and most of the water should have evaporated, leaving a thin, lacy layer of slurry beneath them.
  5. Keep uncovered and continue to cook until all the liquid has evaporated, creating a crisp, lightly golden skirt; about 2 minutes longer. You may need to rotate your pan as some areas will brown faster than others, depending on the size of your burner.
  6. Turn off the heat and invert the dumplings onto a plate. Repeat with the remaining ingredients and serve hot.


If using fresh dumplings rather than frozen, only steam them for 1 - 2 minutes in step #4.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 326Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 1266mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 9g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.

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