Dumplings are something that is enjoyed across the globe in our modern world, but they first gained popularity in China. Because of their diverse history, dumplings come in a variety of styles. Each style features a different taste, texture, and appearance. Certain styles are traditionally paired with different meals and learning more than one dumpling style is essential if you’d like to incorporate them into your cooking.
4 Styles of Dumplings
This crescent-shaped dumpling is the most common Chinese dumpling. An opaque wheat dough wrapper is used to hold the pork, scallions, and cabbage. There is a traditional dipping sauce of soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil that compliment the flavors in the dumpling filling without overwhelming it.
2. Har Gao
This dumpling is either oval or crescent-shaped with a wrapper made from wheat and tapioca starch. Har Gao dumplings are filled with pork fat, shrimp, and bamboo shoots before being steamed. These dumplings hold a smooth and stretchy consistency, with 7-10 pleated folds along the exterior. As the dumplings are steamed the pork fat becomes liquid creating a very juice filling.
3. Bao Zi
Unlike the last two dumplings we mentioned, Bao Zi dumplings don’t have a thin translucent wrapper. Instead, thick wheat dough creates a bun-like appearance. The filling in Bao Zi dumplings can vary from barbecued pork to red bean paste, to sweet yellow custard and much more! You can make your own unique flavor using tofu, chicken, pork, pineapple, mushroom, and more.
Wontons are a traditional Japanese style of dumpling that can be served steamed, fried, or boiled. The dough used is reminiscent of Italian ravioli, only thinner. The dough is cut into small squares before the filling is placed in the center of each square. Ground pork or shrimp are the most common fillings used in wontons, but other varieties can be found depending on your location. The dough is crimped or folded along the top to hold the filling in as the dumpling is cooked. Unlike many other dumplings, there is not a right or wrong way to close the top of wontons. Wontons filled with ground beef are usually fried.
Learning to make each of these four dumpling styles is challenging at first, but achievable for almost anyone. The quickest way to learn and to ensure you’re following traditional dumpling making methods is to attend one of our dumpling classes. In our dumpling classes, you’ll review each of these dumpling styles along with different fillings you can use inside them! Be sure to contact The Dumpling School today for more information.