Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings

Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings

It’s 2 am and I just ate the last piece of molasses cake leftover from the New Years Eve gathering we hosted a few days ago. I never saw anyone eat a slice, but the next morning I found the bundt half gone on it’s stand, covered by a dish towel. I like that people can expect a treat when they’re at the house. I’m often asked why I cook and my answer has evolved and simplified over time: to love, to nourish. It’s a small thing, on my list of big things, of ways to say I love you.

In any case, there is a vent beneath the counter that warms a patch of tile on the kitchen floor and I stood on it, camped out in my bare feet, eating, listening to the creaks of the house and sorting through a stack of mail beside me. I turn over what appears to be a credit card offer and start scribbling a shopping list. Cauliflower. Horseradish. Greens. Coffee beans (!). Chemex filters (!!!!!).  Toothpaste. Chocolate chips. Goat’s Gouda. Dates.

I love January and it’s everyday-ness. I’m glad for a regular pulse again. The holidays are great but it’s the stillness that I crave at the end of it all. We took our little evergreen out to the curb promptly when we returned from California and I filled the house with white ranunculus and put my Dad’s Neil Young album, Harvest, on our new record player to fill the house with something… normal.

Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings

New Years resolutions have never been my bag. Not on the 1st, at least. I want to cover my ears, close my eyes, and shout la la la la la la la la la la la when “goals for 2014” comes up in social conversations because here’s the deal: A new year starts whenever I say it starts. You guys know me, I’ll preach intentionality ’til I’m blue in the face, but, erase the numbers on the calendar and the year restarts fifty times, even one hundred times in 365 days, if we want it to. I like the idea of resolving and revising my life, intentions, goals, and boundaries throughout the entirety of the year.  My blueprints look nothing like they did a month ago, and I’d wager they’ll look different next month. Without grandeur or pomp or circumstance, there are always occasions that beg a breaking down and rebuilding the foundation. Fate and free will do their dance, and we are presented with, or choose, change.

That’s the beauty of this human life we get to live here on planet earth. We get to revise. We get to shift lanes. We can stop what we’re doing at any point of the day, month, year and say hey, you know, I think I’m going to to try doing things differently from here out. We are constantly being called to look in and look out at they way we treat people, how we  spend our time, how we think about ourselves, and the respect we show our bodies and our planet. Instead of cramming in all that self-reflection and goal setting for the sparkling brevity of a ball-drop, I’d ask you to consider celebrating a new year, a new you, whenever you can. And those days are worth celebrating. The Thursday in March where you wake up, put your feet on the floor, and say to yourself: today will be different, today I will… (fill in the blank)…  that’s gold right there. There will be no confetti or champagne. But it will be perfect, and you did it all on your own.

Happy New Year, today, and every day.

Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings

Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings

It’s cold out! If you live in a winter-y climate, skip the juice fast and feed your Qi with warming, nourishing foods. My acupuncturist, Anna, says it’s an order.  For the wonton sheets… I could only get my hands on the itty-bitty variety, which, if you have fingers that aren’t on the dainty side like me, folding can be a bit of a challenge (albeit a worthy one). If you can find wrappers that are bigger, i.e. 3x3in,  I’d suggest doubling the filling for this recipe.


  •  25 wonton wrappers
  • 4 bulbs bok choy
  • 1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 inch nub ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup minced chives
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp tamari or Braggs liquid aminos
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • + extra bok choy to line the steam basket


Orange Teriyaki Sauce

  • 1/2 cup tamari
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp water
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings

Get the sauce out of the way: Combine ingredients (except for cornstarch and orange zest) in a saucepan on medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in cornstarch and zest last then remove from heat.

For the dumpling filling: chop boy choy, shiitakes, chives and carrots into very small pieces. Using a microplane grater, shave garlic, ginger, and orange zest into the vegetables and mix together. Warm sesame oil over medium heat in a pot or sauté pan. Add vegetable mixture and the tamari and stir to soften for no more than 5 minutes. The veggies should be vibrant and al dente.

Assemble the dumplings by placing one sheet on a flat surface. With a bowl of water near your dominant hand, dip a finger or two in the water and wet the perimeter of the dumpling so when you fold it all up it will stick together.  Place 1 heaping tablespoon of cooked filling in the center and fold together by adjoining the two opposite corners with a pinch and then repeating with the remaining corners, sealing the edges together as you go like a present. If your wonton wrappers are circular, you can see detailed instructions on how to assemble here. Repeat until all filling has been used.

Prepare your steaming mechanism (pot with steamer lined with bok choy or lettuce, ghetto white girl style like moi… or by using a real-deal bamboo steamer as seen here). When there is sufficient steam generated, place as many dumplings as you can fit without touching one another. Cook for 5-8 minutes.

Serve warm and dip as desired.

Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings Happyolks | Shiitake Bok Choy Dumplings

  1. Maria @ The Good Life

    Wow, this looks pretty amazing and your way of explaining the recipe makes me comfortable enough to give a try at making dumplings.


  2. Jess

    Love the words, recipes and photos. Thank you!


  3. Kathryn

    Such a beauty of a post Kelsey – both your wise words and Shaun’s stunning images. I love the idea of being able to start over whenever we want too. I find that the big and important changes come on those random thursdays in March when they need to happen and not just because we’ve flipped over into a new year.


  4. Allie

    I love this post, and am looking forward to trying the dumplings. I’ve never heard of tamari, will be good to try something new!


  5. Lana Pribic

    I’m about the eat a quick big salad for dinner and reading this post has made it seem… well, mundane and cold. These are PERFECT for this weather and this January stillness. I like that you can take the time, now that the holidays have ended, to enjoy the process of making a dish like dumplings. Can’t wait to try this recipe out… I can taste it already.

    Shift lanes everyday, sister.


  6. Margarita

    Kelsey, you nailed it! Thanks for reminding me that it is ok to start over every day.

    And this recipe… Definitely a must try. I have a fondness for folding fillings into wrappers and I can’t wait to try this.


  7. sara forte

    You are a beautiful story teller. I love food as an avenue of giving too and can imagine the joy when you know your cake was eaten if even out of your sight :) Cheers to a year ahead of new beginnings, whenever they do begin. Appreciate your attitude about new years. Keeps the whole thing lighter and we could all use more of that.


  8. Maryea

    Well said. Even though I am cut more from the let’s-write-down-our goals-for-the-new-year-on-December-31st cloth, I enjoyed reading your thoughts. We all need the confirmation, that yes, it is okay to change lanes mid trip. Nothing wrong with that.
    The recipe! I can’t think of a better way to say “I love you” to my family than to make it. Fabulous.


  9. molly yeh

    these are gorgeous, your words are gorgeous, i love this all! i love that you’ve just made light of a month that i typically view as one big fat monday. i like that your normalness is so special and i would like to do that too. happy new year!!


  10. beth

    i’ve always been a fan of your words (and recipes), but this entry made we wish we could be friends. i echo a lot of your sentiments in my day-to-day life, but always feel like you pull the thoughts right out my head and have such a perfect way of putting them on the page. bravo. and thank you.


  11. Sini | my blue&white kitchen

    “There will be no confetti or champagne. But it will be perfect, and you did it all on your own.” You nailed it again, Kelsey. Such an important post for all of us to read and remember throughout the year.

    I’ve never made dumplings before but have been eager to make some for quite a while now. This recipe sounds delicious and absolutely worth a try.


  12. Amy

    I am 100% behind all of this—the having food around the house to show people you love them, the bok choy dumplings, the outlook on the new year and resolutions, the craving of the calm after the storm, and most importantly, neil young’s harvest.

    happy new year kelsey x


  13. Kathy@Playing with my Food

    Dumplings are one of my favorite things on earth and these are no exception. I’m definitely going to give them a try.
    Love your blog.


  14. Miriam

    What a great recipe! Thanks for sharing. One question: can I freeze the dumplings? If so, better to freeze them raw or cooked? Thanks.


  15. Jacqui

    I’ve always had the same feelings about resolutions, goals, self reflection. And about feeding a body warm things vs. juices when it’s cold outside ; ) These little dumplings are so cute and the flavors sound delicious!


  16. Amie

    Beautiful post with beautiful photos to inspire.

    Thanks for sharing,



  17. katrina @ warm vanilla sugar

    This sounds sooo lovely!!


  18. Coco in the Kitchen

    Look at these pretty li’l dumplings.
    This is healthy food I’d actually look forward to eating!


  19. @700words

    Absolutely beautiful post, and beautiful writing, I always feel like I’ve had a wonderful few moments reflection whenever I visit your blog. Thank you.


  20. Lucie

    I love your blog. I fing it out over and over again with every new post. I remember the first time I got here – I spent here whole evening reading all the previous posts (I don’t read the blog posts usually – I often just look at the pictures and move on) and devouring every single word and picture. And I remeber precisely the feeling I had at the moment (some kind of “Eureka!” feeling). From then I like it more and more. It’s the way how you write and how your pictures looks, the light, the colours… You’re speaking right to me. It must sound maybe too much personal and probably a little (a lot!) weird but that’s how it is. I’ve found my favourite blog.

    (And the dumpling looks delicious, of course :)


  21. Aeron

    These are beautiful! Like stars in the sky, they shine and invite. Delicious!
    Your words are wise and wonderful, and inspire me to take hold of my dreams…now, on 11th January – a whole 10 days out from the official New Year. It feels decadent and very, very right.
    Gentle peace, vibrant joy, and forever hope for 2014 – and beyond…


  22. JessC

    Thank you Thank you! Happy New Year (everday) to you too!


  23. Shari @ Simply Shari's Gluten Free

    Wow! These look beautiful and sound amazing! Can’t wait to try a gluten free version. Thanks!


  24. Steph

    My sister absolutely loves dumplings, but hasn’t found a shop that sells good ones as of yet… I think I’m going to have to use this recipe and make her some! They look fabulous :)


  25. Nidhi

    Hey its a great recipe.. Very interesting!! I just don’t like garlic much, so is it okay if I don use it?? Will it taste good without that too?? However I have ordered other things from Just guide me about garlic so that I can make the changes in my order before its delivered.. Waiting for your valuable reply, thanks..


  26. julie

    Happy New Year – what beautiful evocative photos. Would you be able to share the recipe for your Molasses Cake – that sounds like something my husband would love.


  27. Sonja

    These dumplings are beautiful, Kelsey, as are Shaun’s photos. I love the way you describe even “normal” life – makes it sound magical. Cheers to reinvention all the way through 2014 and beyond. xo


  28. Catherine

    Beautiful recipe!!! Thanks! I plan on preparing it on saturday… Can you tell me if I can prepare the dumplings way before cooking them? Like preparing them in the morning, put them in the fridge and cook them in the evening when my friends have arrived for dinner??? We’ll be 7 people for dinner, and I’d like to spend some time out of the kitchen during the evening!! thanks for your help!


  29. Jennifer

    I couldn’t find your link to how to assemble these dumplings with round wrappers – looks like you might not have created the hyperlink. Would you mind posting the page you were referring to? My thanks, and can’t wait to try this recipe!


  30. ashleigh

    Kelsey – I turned off my music to read this post about two sentences in. Today I start back to school for another semester of my second shot at college. Your thoughts ring so true for me today and each time I read them. Thank you for putting your words out into the world; you are changing it in more ways than you know. Best, Ashleigh


  31. Caroline

    “You guys know me, I’ll preach intentionality ’til I’m blue in the face, but, erase the numbers on the calendar and the year restarts fifty times, even one hundred times in 365 days, if we want it to.” >> Amen to this. And… << That is why we were soul sisters from the start. Hope you're doing well, friend. Let's have a serendipitous encounter sometime this year, shall we?


  32. Anoushka

    This looks truly delicious :) Will have to try !
    Thanks you sharing. Love your blog!


  33. Ann

    Kelsey, I couldn’t quite reach you through your contact link which doesn’t seem to be working but I was wondering if you could possibly recommend some books to read. I know you’ve listed your favorite cookbooks before but I was thinking more along the lines of the books and poems you’ve quoted. I’m dying for more reads in that direction but wasn’t quite sure where to start! If you could point me in a direction, I would be deeply indebted. Thank you!


  34. Heather

    Kelsey, this is just beautiful.


  35. Jennifer

    I LOVE bok choy! This looks delicious. And who doesn’t love dumplings?! Recipe looks wonderful – will definitely try these at home. Thanks for sharing!


  36. Gillian

    Adorable. Need in my life.


  37. Diana

    The SHIRT. What is it in all its purple gorgeousness? All beautiful post, of course.


  38. Personal Cook Kayla

    Hello Kelsey,
    The dumplings are so meticulously made and the sauce sounds delicious! I will have to try this recipe sometime, thank you for sharing.


  39. Adam

    Those dumpling look perfect! I wish I could get mine to look that good, I will have to try these out sometime. Thanks for sharing!


  40. Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic

    How lovely. Happy New Year!


  41. Kate

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while and this is the first recipe I’ve tried.


    Took a while, but still easy enough. Totally worth it. Yumyumyum


  42. Sarah

    Hi, I recently found your blog through 101 cookbooks. Your photographs are beautiful as is the food you make! Im determined to find a vegan (and GF if my boyfriend is lucky) wonton wrapper so I can try these wontons.


  43. Micaela

    I just want to let you know-you are an incredible writer. I am fancinated and inspired every time I read your writing. Also, I feel those last two sentences are understatements. Thank you for the beauty you exude. I’M rooting for you.


  44. Pang

    Hi, I just found you through, and I am hooked.
    I love your writing, your recipe, and most importantly, your pics. This recipe is perfect for me & my family; I am going to try it for sure.


  45. Allison (Spontaneous Tomato)

    Your writing and your photos are rivaling each other in their beauty.

    I’ve also been making dumplings now that it’s winter/new-year’s-season (though none pretty enough to share on my blog yet).

    I love what you wrote about restarting the year 50 or 100 times, rethinking and revising what’s important, and starting fresh as many times as we want. That is going to be an essential sentiment for me this year as I get closer to finishing my dissertation—every day is a new day, no matter how little I got done the day before! :)


  46. Lisa Cohen

    I just made these for lunch and they were so good. Thank you! Happy new year. 😀


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    Great photos, entertaining and easy to follow. My daughter loves dumplings so we will have to try this.


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