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What are Dumplings?

What are dumplings made of? This is a question with more than one answer… because it all depends on the cuisine!

Depending on where you are in the world, the word ‘dumpling’ may mean one of several different things. But whilst the ingredients and the way in which they’re used may be different, everyone agrees that dumplings are a great part of every cuisine!

British and American Dumplings

In both the US and the UK, dumplings are usually balls of dough that are dropped into the liquid of a sweet or savoury dish and boiled.

American dumplings are made of a mixture of flour, baking powder and fat, whereas dumplings in the UK tend to be made from self rising flour mixed with suet (shredded animal fat). 

Mince and Dumplings Photo

When they are added to a dish with a thin stock, the starch from the dumplings helps thicken the sauce. Popular examples are chicken and dumplings, or beef stew and dumplings.

Fruit dumplings are made by enclosing fruit in pastry and baking it. These Apple Dumplings, for example, make a wonderful and comforting dessert.

Asian Dumplings

The term ‘Asian dumplings’ generally refers to meat, vegetables or other savory ingredients wrapped in either wonton, gyoza or dumpling wrappers, then steamed, boiled or seared in a pan (these are often referred to as ‘potstickers’).

Asian dumplings are fun and easy to make at home. The wrappers are widely available in grocery stores and Asian markets, and you can fill them with anything your family enjoys!

Apple Dumplings Picture

African Dumplings

Popular across West and Central Africa are fufu – dumplings made using yams. The yams are pounded, formed into a dough, then usually added to the simmering liquid of a stew to boil. Sometimes the dough is wrapped around a meat, like lamb or beef.

In South Africa, dumplings – known as idombolo – tend to be made with a mixture of yeast and flour and are steamed.

Gluten Free Chicken and Dumplings Picture

Italian Dumplings

These are known as gnocchi and usually made from either potatoes or ricotta cheese, mixed with eggs, flour and seasoning. They are small in size and cooked by boiling in water for several minutes. They simply rise to the top when they’re done! 

Polish Dumplings

Known as ‘pierogi’, these are made by wrapping unleavened dough around a filling. Pierogies can be sweet or savory and are either boiled or fried.

German Dumplings

German potato dumplings known as Kartoffelknödel are a classic accompaniment to braised and roasted meats. They are made by combining cooked potato with flour, breadcrumbs and eggs, then forming the dough into balls and boiling it.

Wonton Soup Pic

Don’t miss…

This delicious recipe for Mince and Dumplings. A British comfort food, it consists of minced beef and vegetables topped with soft, pillowy dumplings – all cooked in one pot.