A ubiquitous food all around the world, the delicious dumpling comes in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. Generally, dumplings are some type of grain or starch-based dough that is filled with meat and/or vegetables and then fried in oil, steamed, or boiled. There will always be some disagreement between cultures about what makes a proper dumpling, but with such a variety of flavors and styles, this is a comfort food that shouldn’t be missed, no matter which type you choose. Here are some of the tastiest types of dumplings.
Filling and Dough
Before we get to specific dumpling types, we’ll talk about the components of the dumpling: filling and dough. Fillings range from country to country, but here are the most popular types of filling:
- A gelatinous broth is inserted into the dough and becomes liquid after steaming, making the liquid-filled dumpling a real treat.
- Meat and/or veggies. Nothing is off-limits and the combinations for savory dumplings are endless!
- Sweet filling. Some types of desert dumplings might use nuts, custard, fruit, or cream cheese.
- No filling. Technically, the Italian gnocchi and German spaetzle are dumplings, though they are eaten similarly to pasta.
As for dough, there are almost just as many varieties as filling. Here are the most common types of dough used for dumplings.
- Whether made from grain like buckwheat or the starch of tapioca, using flour to create a dough is the most common way to make dumpling dough.
- To make a thicker, heartier dough, many cultures opt to mix in starchy vegetables – sweet potato, squash, and plantain are all popular choices.
- Fat and Dairy. For a softer, robust dough, add cream, cheese, butter, or eggs.
It’s generally agreed that the modern dumpling was first invented in China, so we’ll take a look at some of the most delectable dumplings Asia has to offer. Here are the best.
- The classic Chinese dumpling, steam-cooked, and served with a vinegar and soy dipping sauce. Also called shui jiao when boiled and guo tie when fried. Minced pork with scallion is the most common filling.
- Har gow. A dumpling from the south of china, har gow features shrimp inside a delicate steamed tapioca skin.
- Xiao long bao. Perhaps the most well-known and best-loved of all the dumplings in China, this Shanghainese soup dumpling is stuffed with pork and a rich flavorful broth and steamed.
- Japan’s answer to the dumpling, it is most often filled with pork and cabbage and fried.
- Korea wouldn’t miss out on the dumpling craze. Mandu is a versatile parcel that is often stuffed with tofu, vegetables, or kimchi and can be steamed, boiled, or fried.
- Central Asia’s favorite dumpling is filled with minced lamb, parsley, and chopped onions before it is steamed and topped with tzatziki or tomato sauce.
- This sweet dumpling hails from India and is made from delicate rice flour and stuffed with sweetened coconut.
As one of the most versatile and easy-to-enjoy foods all over the world, it’s no wonder why dumplings are as popular as they are. Feeling adventurous? Try them all!
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