What is a Dumpling?
A dumpling is a little dough ball that is boiled, fried, or steamed. The dough is sometimes rolled out to cover a filling, while other times, it is just made into a mound and fried. Because the definition allows for a lot of variation, there’s sure to be some debate about what constitutes an authentic dumpling. In addition, there are so many different sorts of dumplings in China, the birthplace of the dumpling, that there is no single name to represent them all.
Ways to Cook Dumplings
Dumplings are either boiled, steamed, or fried, although there are a few ways to distinguish between these methods:
- Boiled dumplings can be cooked in water or right in the soup or stew in which they’ll be served.
- Steamed dumplings can be cooked in a basket over boiling water or “pan-fried,” which means the bottoms are browned in oil. Still, the insides are cooked in a covered pan with some water trapped inside.
- Oil, lard, butter, and other fats can all be used to make fried dumplings.
Common Dumpling Fillings
The many types of fillings are as follows:
- Soup dumplings have a solid broth that becomes liquid when steamed at room temperature.
- Meat or vegetables, minced.
- Fruits, almonds, or sweetened cheese are examples of sweet fillings.
- Solid dumplings, such as gnocchi or knödel, have no filling.
Styles of Dough for Dumplings
Dumpling dough can be produced easily using wheat flour and water, but there are many different ways to make dumpling dough:
- Flour variety. Dumpling dough can be prepared from buckwheat, millet, or tapioca.
- Vegetable-based. Vegetables such as potato, sweet potato, or squash can be used to complement (or replace) the starch component of dumplings.
- Bread-based. Leftover bread is used to make dumplings like German knödel.
- Dairy and fat Adding eggs, cream, butter, or cheese to the dumpling dough makes it more prosperous and softer.
Famous Asian Dumplings
Jiao zi, a northern Chinese dumpling eaten with a vinegar-based dipping sauce known by three distinct names depending on how it’s prepared. This dumpling is possibly the most identifiable sort of Chinese dumpling. Boiling shui jiao (“water dumplings”). They’re often pleated and crescent-shaped, with ground pork and napa cabbage. During Chinese New Year, shui jiao is extremely popular. Pan-fried dumplings are guo tie, jian jiao, or potstickers. (The Chinese characters guo and tie signify “wok” and “stuck,” respectively.) They’re frequently stuffed with ground pork and Chinese chives, and they’re sometimes formed like long cylinders with both ends open. Steaming is done with zheng jiao. Shrimp are frequently stuffed into their thin, translucent wrappers.
Har Gow (dim sum)
Chinese har gow are steamed shrimp dumplings with a thin, transparent exterior often filled with tapioca for added flexibility. Jiao is Cantonese for gow.
Another steamed dim lunch favourite is Chinese shu mai. They’re stuffed with pork and shrimp and have an open-top that’s occasionally topped with crab roe.
Chinese hun dun, also known as wontons, are boiled square dumplings made with egg dough and consumed in Cantonese noodle soup. Pork and bok choy are frequently used as fillings.
Xiao Long Bao
The most well-known soup dumpling is the Chinese xiao long bao. They’re from Shanghai and are packed with pork and broth. Soup dumplings are usually vast and spherical. They’re filled with gelatinous broth cubes that are solid at ambient temperature but dissolve into liquid when steamed.
Japanese gyoza is frequently packed with pork and cabbage and pan-fried (yaki gyoza) and served as an appetizer with a soy sauce-vinegar dipping sauce in ramen and izakaya restaurants.
Korean mandu is shaped like Italian tortellini or Chinese jiao zi and can be boiled (mul mandu), steamed (jjin mandu), or pan-fried (gun mandu) and filled with a variety of minced pork, tofu, vegetables, and, of course, kimchi. On New Year’s Day, mandu is served in soup.
Handmade Dumplings in Toronto
In Markham, Ontario, Goobok Toronto offers an authentic Chinese and Korean dumpling experience. View the Goobok menu to find our entire selection of dumplings and donuts. Feel free to call us before placing an order, and tag us on our Instagram when you receive your food.