Ropa Vieja Dumplings as served at Salao in Caguas, Puerto Rico, as seen on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Season 35.
Recipe courtesy of Salao Tapas & Bar

Ropa Vieja Dumplings

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 9 hr 15 min (includes freezing time)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 1 serving


Ropa Vieja:

Tamarind Hoisin Sauce:



  1. In a large pot over medium heat, add the flank steak, bell peppers and onion. Add the beef stock and cilantro. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cover. Simmer, checking the liquid level once an hour and adding more beef stock if necessary, until the ropa vieja (steak) can be easily shredded upon picking up with tongs, 6 to 8 hours. Remove the ropa vieja and set aside to cool down, then shred.
  2. For the tamarind hoisin sauce: In a medium pan over medium heat, add the hoisin sauce, tamarind syrup and soy sauce. Cook, stirring, to allow the ingredients to emulsify, 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  3. For the dumplings: Grab a dumpling wrapper and brush egg wash over the edges only. Ball up a small amount of ropa vieja and place it in the middle of the dumpling wrapper. Crimp the two outer edges of the dumpling wrapper over the ropa vieja. Bring the top and bottom to the center over the ropa vieja and crimp with the other. (This should look like a small purse.) Fold the right edge to the backside and crimp. Fold the left side to the front and crimp. (The outcome looks like a mini money bag.) Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling. Place the dumplings in the freezer for 2 hours.
  4. Fill a medium pot three-quarters of the way with water and set over medium heat. Bring the water to a boil. Add 5 dumplings from the freezer and for the first minute, stir to prevent them from sticking to the bottom. Cook until the wrappers become translucent, then remove.
  5. Heat the sesame oil in a small nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat. Turn off the heat and let sit for 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to drain the excess water from the dumplings as much as possible. Carefully transfer the dumplings to the pan (be careful; the water from the dumplings may make the oil splatter). Turn the heat to medium-high and cook, moving the dumplings continuously. This can be done by pushing the pan forward and back or by using tongs to flip the dumplings. Once the dumplings are seared on all sides, remove from the pan.
  6. In pasta bowl, add 1/4 cup of the tamarind hoisin sauce. Place the dumplings in the middle and garnish with the crushed pork rinds and sesame seeds. Save the remaining dumplings and sauce for another use.