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Common recipes for potsticker/wonton-style (thin wrapper) dumplings use egg as a binder for the filling, to make it easier to work with and to displace air. For comparison, if you make a filling with no binder, it will be hard to place without getting bits of it in the way of sealing the dumpling, and there tends to be too much air inside causing oil ingestion if fried, bad heat transfer if steamed, and bloating/water ingestion if boiled.

Legume flours, flaxseed and other binders good in baking have the issue that they need some cooking time to set - typically longer than you can cook a dumpling. Starch-thickened sauces would be a possibility but the result will be likely too much on the gloopy side.

What non-animal ingredient works well to fill this gap without weighing the filling down too much?

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    Could you take some of the filling, and put it through a blender with a bit of liquid to make it sauce-like, and then mix it with the rest? It would help to reduce the amount of air trapped in the filling. I'd recommend refried beans as another possibility, but that'd throw off the flavor. – Joe Jan 16 '17 at 13:23
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You can use any type of starch-paste. For example, flour paste (mix water with flour to form a thin-paste-like consistency) works good and is traditional in many parts of the world. similary, arrowroot paste, rice flour paste also works good.

Another option---boiled rice, the more glutenous the better (basmati, jasmine, any japanese rice). Boil them in extra water than directed, and then smash them with finger----excellent glue paste.

  • Starch pastes (and most of all flour) all share the problem I already mentioned: They taste terrible raw, and could easily get in the way of anything else in the filling getting cooked, and dumplings don't cook very long ... – rackandboneman Jan 18 '17 at 10:02
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    Ahh, Sorry I misunderstood, I thought you were looking for a binder to stick the sheet-ends together. – Ron Jan 19 '17 at 11:35
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I think you could use arrowroot powder for this. It thickens things nicely. here is an article with some examples. http://www.feastie.com/recipes-diet/vegan/ingredients/arrowroot-powder-9621.

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Glucomannan is a possibility. I'm only just learning to use it but I think I remember it thickens by stirring.

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