Many people usually associate dumplings with China. They wouldn’t be wrong, because they are a staple food that can be found all around Asia. There are different kinds or varieties of dumplings.
Dumplings can be found in other places like North America, Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America. They might not be called dumplings in these places, but their contents and the way they are prepared are too similar to not be called dumplings.
The term dumplings refer to the process of wrapping any sweet, spicy, delicious delicacy in flour wrappings. These small but delicious beauties are popular around the world, and people are experimenting and trying out different kinds of fillings and flavors. Dumplings are very easy to make and they can be anything you want or need them to taste like.
What do dumplings taste like? There are different kinds of dumplings, each one is unique in its own way so we cannot exactly settle on what dumplings taste like. When dumplings are pan-fried properly, they can get crispy and create a contrast with the soft insides. The flavor and taste of dumplings can be sweet or spicy depending on the kind of filling that they are filled with.
There are different kinds of dumplings across China alone, and the different varieties of dumplings cannot be contained in one article. Let’s take a look at what nutritional benefits dumplings have.
Nutritional Benefits of Dumplings
Dumplings generally are healthy, as long as you eat them moderately. If you have too much, you could be exposing yourself to a serious health risk. It is very easy to eat too many dumplings in one sitting. The health benefits of dumplings are dependent on whether they are boiled, pan-fried, or deep-fried. The method used while preparing them could determine the fat content of the dumplings.
Steamed dumplings are the healthiest of the bunch because you have not added to their fat content. Pan-fried dumplings are lightly fried so you only increase the fat content a little bit. Deep-fried dumplings are the least healthy of the bunch because their fat content has been increased by a significant amount.
The kind of meat you use for the filling of the dumplings can also affect how healthy they would be. If you use lean and nutrient-dense meat like ostrich you would be having a whole lot of nutrients and minerals from which your body can benefit.
Apart from the kind of meat you use, vegetables also bring a nutritional benefit to the body. But, dumplings do not usually contain vegetables except if it is a vegetable dumpling. Vegetables in dumplings can provide vitamins and micronutrients that the body needs to survive.
The kind of sauce used in the dumplings could say a lot about if it is healthy for consumption or not. If you have a sauce that is too salty, excess sodium is not so great for the body. The question of whether the dumplings we eat are healthy or not solely depends on the way we make them, and what we fill them with.
Culinary Uses of Dumplings
Dumplings are very easy to make, all you would need is flour, water, salt, and the filling of your choice. Regular dumplings are made using wheat flour, but there are unique dumplings that are made with a mix of wheat flour and tapioca starch. The variation doesn’t stop there, you can fill your dumplings with anything you wish to fill them with.
Dumplings can be filled with greens like spinach, ricotta, carrots, Chinese cabbage or with meat like chicken, lamb, pork, beef, or with seafood like dried shrimp and shrimps.
You can use dumplings when making chicken paprikash. All you need to do is boil them first in a pot of boiling water then, when they rise, you transfer them into the main dish. In this same manner, dumplings can be integrated into soups (like the Chinese soup recipe) and stews. If you do not like your dumplings all souped-up, you can boil or fry them, before eating them as they are, like a snack.
Dumplings can also be made with rice flour or cornmeal. They can be baked, steamed, boiled, or fried in whichever way that you desire. There are a lot of dumpling recipes out there, but you can decide to make yours unique and taste just like you want it to if you are not scared of adventure.
What is the History of Dumplings? How to Procure Them?
The history of Chinese dumplings can be traced back to Zhang Zhongjing who invented dumplings as a way to cure frostbite in his community. He wrapped minced meat that has been laced with medicines in flour dough and then cooked them in soup. He would then serve these dumplings to the poor so that it could serve as a source of warmth to them, and to cure frostbite.
In recent times, dumplings have taken over the world and have had their medicinal history forgotten. In Europe, North America, Africa, and South America, dumplings are an integral part of their cuisines and are usually prepared in different manners.
Dumplings are easy to make, you can make them all by yourself and enjoy them. However, you can find frozen dumplings in stores and shops. Some Chinese restaurants might have dumplings on their menu if you do not care for the frozen kind.
Do Dumplings Float When They Are Done?
If you want to know when your dumplings are done, pierce it with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, this means your dumplings are well cooked enough.
Dumplings float because starch molecules do not absorb as much water as they get done, so the remaining water can vaporize and fill the hair pockets which will make your dumplings float. Floating dumplings are not an accurate way of knowing if they are done properly or not.
Facts You Do Not Know About Dumplings
- If you leave your dumplings to cook for too long in the water, they can disintegrate and get ruined.
- The most popular kind of dumpling is called Huntun. In English, it is known as “Wonton”.