Dumplings Recipes and Tips
Chicken and Dumplings
Balls of floating dough
As a kid, growing up in New York and New England I knew dumplings were those balls of floating dough cooked on top of some kind of stewed meat. Yeah, but! Then in chef's school, I learned that there are many types of dumplings from many different cultures. Finally, I moved south and saw the dumpling versions from the Deep South in America. Southern style dumplings are the same dough as the fluffy dumplings but Southern style are rolled out to resemble thick noodles.
Southern Style Chicken and Dumplings
Traditional Dumplings Recipe
Recipe makes 6 dumplings
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Butter
1/2 cup milk
Stir together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
Cut in butter until crumbly.
Stir in milk to make a soft dough.
Drop by spoonfuls into simmering stew.
Cover and simmer 15 minutes without lifting lid.
Vary the recipe
This same recipe will work for Southern style dumplings there is just another step.
Dust the counter HEAVILY with flour,
Place the soft dough on the floured counter and dust the dough with more flour.
Use your hands to pat the dough out flat,
Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough to a quarter inch thick.
Use a pizza cutter (Or well oiled knife) to cut the dough into strips 1 inch by 2 inches
Place the dough strips one at a time into the simmering stew, scatter them so they don't stick together
Variations; this is a very basic and simple recipe but with a little creativity you can make some wonderful varieties.
Add a tablespoon of chopped parsley for parsley dumplings.
Use another favorite herb to change the flavor, sage or marjoram for poultry, basil or oregano for Italian, cilantro if you like, you are only limited by your own imagination.
Replace the butter with a different fat; lard would lend a nutty flavor, bacon fat for bacon lovers, olive oil for those watching their fat intake (Why are you making dumplings to begin with?)
Chicken & Dumplings with Thyme Creme Fraiche
Hot Fudge Dumplings and Sauce
Add more sugar and make these into a dessert!
Poach your dessert dumplings in some stewed fruit that is in season, and season the dumplings according to the fruit. Apple pie spice and brown sugar could go in apple compote dumplings, cinnamon and nutmeg for blueberry dumplings.
Add some grated orange or lemon peel to the dumplings and cook in a peach compote.
So, you are too lazy to make dumplings
Bisquick works well and saves a little work and if you're too lazy even for that you can buy raw biscuit dough in a can.
A World of Dumplings
Anywhere you go you can find a local version of dumplings. Remember Genghis Kahn and his Mongolian Horde of warriors on horseback? Yep, when ol' Genghis was tired of raping and looting he came home to Granny Khan with a nice plate of buuz (Mongolian dumplings) waiting for him. Okay I might be a little loose with my historical facts but at least Native Americans didn't have dumplings, right? No, they were already enjoying grape dumplings and acorn dumplings before we got here.
On the web, we can find plenty of dishes called fried dumplings! Ugh! When you fry a dumpling it is a croquette, dumplings have to be cooked in liquid to be a real dumpling.
Potato soup with Ribbles
The Pennsylvania Dutch make a dumpling called ribbles that are simple to make but still delicious. Try this, Put an egg in a bowl, add a dash of salt and white pepper, and then gradually work some flour into the egg. Keep adding flour a little at a time until you have a very stiff dough. Almost done! Drop this dough by little bits into a simmering soup and you have ribbles. If you want to be creative you can add some herbs or Parmesan cheese. Ribbles are most often added to potato soup.
Maple Syrup Dumplings
Sopa de Arepa
Canadians poach dessert dumplings in simmering maple syrup. If you want to try these just make sure you don't boil the syrup or you may end up making lollipops. French Canadians make Glissants (French Canadian Dumplings), just like our dumplings but simmered in roast beef broth.
In South America and we will find dumplings made with corn. Sopa de Arepa is a chicken soup with cornmeal dumplings but tamales are corn dumplings wrapped in corn leaves and steamed. Some ancient cultures make dumplings with grated tubers such as yuca and malanga with added plantains and flour. In Chile, there make pantrucas, flat, parsley dumplings simmered in soup
British may make their dumplings with suet, maybe flavored with herbs or spiked with cheese. Cotswold dumplings are made adding breadcrumbs and cheese, and they may be rolled in breadcrumbs and fried.
Scots make a dessert dumpling called Clootie which is similar to the well known Christmas Pudding.
Irish would make dumplings with herbs but their dumplings would be delicious cooked in an Irish lamb stew. Doughboys is a British type of dumpling usually made without fat yielding a chewier dumpling. The name Doughboy was in use for dumplings long before the Yanks fought in WWI.
French and German Dumplings
French make a type of dumpling called a quenelle, this is a departure from the wheat dumplings we've seen so far, these are made with a mixture of ground fish, chicken, or meat, combined with breadcrumbs, with a light egg binding and poached in broth. (American chefs have "borrowed" the term to indicate anything shaped like a quenelle).
Germans and Central Europeans excel at dumplings and they have an enormous variety, far more than those listed here. Here we find Knödel, and KartoffelKloesse, dumpling, made with mashed potatoes as well as spaetzle a type of homemade egg noodle that is easy to make. Serviettenknödel and Semmelknödel are bread based German dumpling while Fränkische Mehlklösse is another flour base dumpling. Maultaschen is another traditional German dumpling made of pasta filled with meat, spinach and herbs. Maultaschen are similar to a large Italian ravioli. The Germans like their dumplings so much that they have a museum devoted to Thuringian dumplings. In Hungary, dumplings are called galuska or nokedli. In Germany, Ashkenazi Judaism have their kreplach; semolina pasta pockets like ravioli are most often stuffed with ground meat, usually liver and onions. Matzah balls have origins here too but they have spread around the world and are far from being exclusively Jewish food.
Homemade Spaetzle Recipe
Eastern Europe, Czechs and Poland
In Eastern Europe the Czechs call dumplings knedlík with a Knedla being a potato dumpling filled with fruit. Common to many Central and Eastern European countries, these are often eaten as a sweet dinner.
Poland boasts one of the most famous dumplings called Pierogi, also spelled perogi, pierogy, perogy, pierógi, pyrohy, pirogi, pyrogie, or pyrogy. While no one seems to be able to agree on how to spell this dish, it is common all over Eastern Europe and has made its way around the world. Pierogi are made with simple pasta type dough stuffed with such items as potatoes, sauerkraut, ground meat, cheese, or fruit. First, they are boiled, then baked or fried usually in butter. A few of the many other names are kalduny in Belarus, pirukad in Estonia, koldūnai in Lithuania, vareniki and pelmeni in Russia and Ukraine. Some places that have many people from Eastern Europe also have a Pierogi festival with multiple varieties being served in a carnival like atmosphere. Uszka, (meaning "little ears" in Polish), are small a version of pierogi, tied into twists.
Russian Dumplings are often similar to pierogi, Pelmeni are small dumplings made with pasta dough filled with seasoned ground meat and shaped like Italian tortellini. Vareniki are a vegetarian version of pelmeni. There is a version that is filled with meat that’s been cooked, then ground into a paste and mixed with sautéed onions. Kalduny is the Belarus version of these dumplings. Khinkali is a dumpling which originated in Georgia
Russian Pelmeni Dumpling Recipe
Ingredients for dough
2 cup flour
1 c milk or water
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tb vegetable oil
Ingredients for filling
8 oz. ground lean beef
8 oz. ground lean pork
1/2 cup onion chopped fine
1 Tb milk
Salt and pepper
Mix the beef and pork add chopped onion, salt, pepper and milk. Set aside.
Mix flour with eggs and milk, salt and oil until a soft dough forms.
Knead on floured surface until dough is elastic.
Take some dough and make a cylinder (1 inch in diameter).
Divide into pieces (1 inch thick).
Flatten each piece into a circle and roll it out very thin – about 1/16th of an inch.
Place about one teaspoon pelmeni filling into the center of the rolled dough.
Fold in half, securing the edges of the pelmeni together.
Make sure the edges are securely joined or they will fall apart when boiled
Wrap the pelmeni around your finger and join again into round dumplings
Pelmeni can be frozen to be cooked lateror cooked immediately.
To cook pelmeni, boil in a large pot of beef broth or salted water.
Carefully drop pelmeni into boiling water one at a time.
Stir gently to keep them from sticking, boil for 20 minutes.
Pelmeni can be served with butter, sour cream, vinegar or ketchup.
Making Potato Gnocchi
Italy has raised dumpling making to high art. Some Italian dumplings rise to sublime standards, tortellini, ravioli and gnocchi, can be incomparable. Long before Chef Boyardee came along to can some dreadful pasta there were Italian grandmothers making tortellini for their families. Even though we see them in many sauces in restaurants, tradition demands that tortellini be poached in a good chicken broth. Filling is usually made with pork and some type of seasoned meat like Prosciutto but anything goes. Originally from the Italian region of Emilia these are available frozen around the world. If you want to try making your own the trick is to get the pasta very thin. A pasta maker helps but you can take a hint from how they make aluminum foil. They don't have machinery that can make foil thin enough so they fold it in half to press it thin. The same thing works with pasta. Gnocchi are soft dumplings made from a number of different foods, semolina, wheat flour, flour and egg, flour, egg, and cheese, potato, breadcrumbs, are all used to make gnocchi.
How to make Tortellini Bolognesi
Kubbeh and Madombi
The Middle East and Africa
The Middle East is home to Kibbeh also kibbe, kubbeh, kebbah, Kbeibat or kubbi dumplings made of, wheat onions and ground red meat, lamb, goat or camel. These are most often either fried or baked but sometimes they are simmered in a soup like dumplings. Shish Barak- Meat Dumpling in Yogurt is another meat dumpling from Lebanon. Mantu is an Afghan Beef Dumpling made much like Pierogi, the link goes to a particularly nice page teaching how to make mantu with photos. Khumsa is a Traditional Assyrian Soup with chickpea dumplings
In Africa we find madombi, yeast raised dumplings from Botswana, Ujeqe Iwe Mpama Steamed Dumplings from South Africa, Souskluitjies, South African cinnamon dumplings. Africa is another place that uses different root vegetables such as yam, taro, plantain and cassava to make their dumplings called Fufu. In Zimbabwe the national dish is Sadza a dumpling made with corn and millet.
We have come a long way yet so far we have only brushed the surface of the tremendous variety of dumplings made by different cultures.
Asia also has a long list of dumplings which we haven't even touched on.