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Dumplings are a food that consists of small pieces of dough, either cooked alone or wrapped around a filling. They can be based on flour, potatoes or bread, and may include meat, fish, vegetables, or sweets. They may be cooked by boiling, steaming, simmering, frying, or baking. They may have a filling, or there may be other ingredients mixed into the dough. Dumplings may be sweet or savoury. They can be eaten by themselves, in soups or stews, with gravy, or in any other way. While some dumplings resemble solid water-boiled doughs, such as gnocchi, others such as wontons or ravioli feature a wrapping of dough around a filling.
Banku and kenkey fit the definition of a dumpling in that they are starchy balls of dough that are steamed. They are formed from fermented cornmeal dough. Banku are boiled while kenkey are partly boiled then finished by steaming in banana leaves.
Fufu may be described as a dumpling although in actual sense, it is not. Fufu is made by pounding boiled cassava (common in Ghana) or yam (common in Nigeria) in a wooden mortar with a wooden pestle. Plantain or cocoyam may be added. There are several other versions of fufu in Africa and the Caribbean. There have been other versions of fufu which will fit better into the definition of dumplings. These are mostly common outside Africa where they originate. It is made by steaming cassava and plantain/cocoyam flour into thick starchy balls.
Tihlo—prepared from roasted barley flour—originated in the Tigray region of Ethiopia and is now very popular in Amhara as well and spreading further south.
Souskluitjies are dumplings found in South Africa. They are a steamed sweet dumpling, sometimes made with plain flour and sometimes with the addition of dried fruits or other flavours. They are often served with syrup flavoured with cinnamon or a custard sauce.
South Africa has another kind of dumpling known as melkkos. These dumplings are formed by putting milk, one teaspoon at a time, into a dry flour mixture. The flour clings to the milk and forms dumplings, which are then boiled in a mixture of milk and butter. They are served hot and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.
Several types of dumplings are popular in the United States. Bite-sized, hand-torn pieces of dough are cooked in boiling chicken broth along with a variety of vegetables to make the dish chicken and dumplings which is served as a thick soup. Chicken and dumplings is a popular comfort food in the Southern and Midwestern U.S.
Dumplings are often used as part of the regionally popular Burgoo stew.
The baked dumpling is popular in American cuisine. These sweet dumplings are made by wrapping fruit, frequently a whole tart apple, in pastry, then baking until the pastry is browned and the filling is tender. As an alternative to simply baking them, these dumplings are surrounded by a sweet sauce in the baking dish, and may be basted during cooking. Popular flavours for apple dumplings include brown sugar, caramel, or cinnamon sauces.
Boiled dumplings are made from flour to form a dough. A pot of boiling chicken or turkey broth is used to cook this dough. The thickness and the size of the dumplings is at the cook's discretion. The size does not affect the taste but the thickness does. It is optional to serve with the meat in the dish or on the side.
Dumplings can be made with eggs, milk, baking powder or even yeast, or just from flour and water. Rolled dumplings are rolled thin and cut into small pieces for cooking, while dropped dumplings are formed into small balls.
Tortilla dumplings are made by adding tortillas and fillings to a boiling pot of stock. Popular varieties of Southern dumplings include chicken dumplings, turkey dumplings, strawberry dumplings, apple dumplings, ham dumplings, and even butter-bean dumplings.
Steamed dumplings are found throughout the region.
Central Asian cuisine
Manti (also manty or mantu) is a steamed dumpling in Central Asian and Chinese Islamic cuisine. It contains a mixture of ground lamb (or beef) spiced with black pepper, enclosed in a dough wrapper. Manti are cooked in a multi-level steamer (mantovarka) and served topped with butter, yogurt, sour cream, or onion sauce. These dumplings are popular throughout Central Asia, including Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Xinjiang region of China and India.
Chuchvara is a very small boiled dumpling typical of Uzbek and Tajik cuisine. Made of unleavened dough squares filled with meat, it is similar to the Russian pelmeni and the Chinese wonton, but in observance of the Islamic dietary rules, the meat filling is without pork. Chuchvara can be served in a clear soup or on their own, with vinegar or sauce based on finely chopped greens, tomatoes and hot peppers. Another popular way of serving chuchvara is topped with suzma (strained qatiq) or with smetana (sour cream), Russian-style.
The jiaozi is a common Chinese dumpling which generally consists of minced meat and finely chopped vegetables wrapped into a piece of dough skin. The skin can be either thin and elastic or thicker. Popular meat fillings include ground meat (usually pork, but can instead be beef or chicken), shrimp, and even fish. Popular mixtures include pork with Chinese cabbage, pork with garlic chives, pork and shrimp with vegetables, pork with spring onion, garlic chives with scrambled eggs. Filling mixtures vary depending on personal tastes and region. Jiaozi are usually boiled, steamed or fried and continue to be a traditional dish eaten on Chinese New Year's Eve, the evening before Chinese New Year, and special family reunions. Particularly, in Northern China, people generally eat dumpling on the Winter Solstice (December 22 of each year), a custom signifying a warm winter. Extended family members may gather together to make dumplings, and it is also eaten for farewell to family members or friends. In Northern China, dumplings are commonly eaten with a dipping sauce made of vinegar and chili oil or paste, and occasionally with some soy sauce added in.
If dumplings are laid flatly on a pan, first steamed with a lid on and with a thin layer of water, then fried in oil after the water has been evaporated, they are called guotie (sometimes called "potstickers"), as the Maillard reaction occurring on the bottom of the dumplings makes the skin crispy and brown. The same dumplings are called jiaozi if they are just steamed.
The wonton is another kind of dumpling. It is typically boiled in a light broth or soup and made with a meatier filling. The skin wrapping for wontons is different—thinner and less elastic—than that used for jiaozi. Wontons are more popular in Southern China (Shanghai, Guangdong, Hong Kong etc.) whereas in Northern China, jiaozi are more popular. Jiaozi, wonton and potstickers are all wrapped differently.
Another type of Chinese dumpling is made with glutinous rice. Usually, the glutinous rice dumplings zongzi are triangle or cone shaped, can be filled with red bean paste, Chinese dates or cured meat depending on region. Glutinous rice dumplings are traditionally eaten during the Duanwu Festival. Other types of dumplings would be soup dumplings, commonly referred to as xiaolongbao.
Chinese cuisine includes sweet dumplings. Tangyuan are smaller dumplings made with glutinous rice flour and filled with sweet sesame, peanut, red bean paste. Tangyuan may also be served without a filling. Tangyuan are eaten on the 15th day of Chinese New Year, or the Lantern Festival.
See also: dim sum for descriptions of several other kinds of dumplings such as har gow, fun guo, siew mai, Cha siu bao, lo mai gai and crystal dumplings.
Subcontinental cuisine features several dishes which could be characterised as dumplings:
Dango is a sweet dumpling made from rice flour, similar to mochi. Dango is eaten year-round, but the different varieties are traditionally eaten in given seasons. Three to four dango are often served on a skewer.
Gyōza is the Japanese version of the Chinese jiaozi.
In Nepal, steamed dumplings known as momos (or momo-cha) are a popular snack, often eaten as a full meal as well. They are similar to the Chinese jiaozi or the Central Asian manti. The dish is native to Tibet and was brought to Nepal by the Newar traders of Kathmandu who were trading goods with Tibet before the 1930s. Many different fillings, both meat based and vegetarian are common. Kathmandu Valley, a popular destination for momos, has with time developed its own essence for this food that differentiates it from its Tibetan counterpart.
Momos can be both fried and steamed. Momos are usually served with a dipping sauce normally consisting of tomatoes and chillies as the base ingredient, from which numerous variations can be made. Momo soup is a dish that has steamed momos immersed in a meat broth. Momos that are pan fried after steaming first are known as kothey momo, and steamed momos served in a hot sauce are called C-Momo in Nepal. Momos can also be prepared by directly deep frying without steaming first. Momos are one of the most items on the menus of Nepalese restaurants not only in Nepal but also around the world with significant Nepali populations like India, USA, UK, Australia and some Middle Eastern and European countries.
CARIBBEAN AND LATIN AMERICA CUISINE
It derived from the Akan cuisine of Bofrot, with the exclusion of vanilla and yeast. For Jamaican dumplings, however, sugar and butter is optional as there are various ways to make it in Jamaica.
Puerto Rican cuisine
Another dumpling that originated in Puerto Rico is the pasteles, a dumpling made of grated root vegetables, squash, plantains, and unripe bananas. The masa is then mixed with milk and annatto oil, and they are stuffed with stewed pork, chick peas, olives, capers and raisins. They are then placed on a banana leaf, tied and then boiled. The origin of pasteles leads back to Natives on the island of Borikén. Pasteles are popular in the Dominican Republic, Hawaii, Trinidad and lately seen in Cuban cuisine.
British and Irish cuisine
After beef stew is finished, a pudding can be created by topping the dumplings and gravy with sugar.
The Norfolk dumpling is not made with fat, but from flour and a raising agent. Cotswold dumplings call for the addition of breadcrumbs and cheese, and the balls of dough may be rolled in breadcrumbs and fried, rather than cooked in a soup or stew. Vegetarian dumplings can be made with vegetable suet, a type of shredded vegetable fat. When sweetened with dried fruit and spices, dumplings can be boiled in water to make a dessert. In Scotland, this is called a clootie dumpling, after the cloth.
Central European cuisine
Germany, Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic and Slovakia boast a large variety of dumplings, both sweet and savoury. A dumpling is called Kloß in Northern Germany, Knödel, Nockerl or Knöpfle in Southern Germany and Austria. These are flour dumplings, the most common dumplings, thin or thick, made with eggs and semolina flour, boiled in water. Meat dumplings (called Klopse or Klöpse in North-Eastern Germany, Knöpfle and Nocken in Southern Germany) contain meat or liver. Liver dumplings are frequent additions to soup. Thüringer Klöße are made from raw or boiled potatoes, or a mixture of both, and are often filled with croutons. Bread dumplings are made with white bread and are sometimes shaped like a loaf of bread, and boiled in a napkin, in which case they are known as napkin dumplings (Serviettenknödel).
Maultaschen are a Swabian (Baden-Württemberg) specialty food, consisting of an outer layer of pasta dough with a filling traditionally made of sausage meat, spinach, bread crumbs and onions and flavored with various spices. Similar in appearance to Italian ravioli, Maultaschen are usually larger, however, each Maultasche being about 8–12 cm (3-5 inches) across.
The only potato dumpling museum in the world, the Thüringer Kloßmuseum, is located in Germany, in the municipality of Heichelheim near Weimar.
Halušky are a traditional variety of dumplings cooked in the Central and Eastern European cuisines (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Ukraine). These are small lumps cut from a thick flour and egg batter and dropped into boiling water, similar to the German Spätzle, Knöpfle, or Knödel.
In Hungary, these dumplings are called galuska or nokedli. Sweet varieties called gombóc are made with flour and potato dough, which is wrapped around whole plums or apricots, and then boiled and rolled in hot buttered bread crumbs. Shlishkes or "Krumplinudli" are small boiled potato dumplings made from the same potato dough as the sweet plum dumplings, also rolled in hot buttered bread crumbs.
Bryndzové halušky, considered the Slovak national dish, are small potato dumplings without a filling, served with salty sheep's cheese on top. The same dumplings are also used to create a similar dish, strapačky. Also available are their related stuffed version called pirohy, usually filled with bryndza (bryndzové pirohy), quark cheese, potatoes, onions, cabbage, mushrooms, or meat.
In Czech cuisine dumplings have two main forms:
Eastern European cuisine
"Little ears", variously called uszka in Poland, ushki in Russia, vushka in Ukraine, and vushki in Belarus, are folded ring-shaped dumplings similar in shape to Italian tortellini or Jewish kreplach. They are stuffed with meat or mushrooms and traditionally served in borshch or clear soup. In Romania, "little ears" (Romanian: urechiuşe) are also served in dumpling soup (supă de găluşte)
Kluski are a different variety of Polish dumplings.
Lithuanian dough dumplings are called koldūnai and virtiniai. Usually they are filled with meat or curd. One of the varieties is called Šaltanosiai and is made with blueberry filling. There are also potato dumplings called cepelinai or didžkukuliai, filled with meat or curd inside, served with soured cream. A similar dish exists in Belarus that is called klyocki.
Russian pelmeni are smaller than varenyky and made only of minced meat with addition of onions and spices. Sometimes the meat used is only beef, in other recipes is a mixture of beef with pork and/or mutton. Pelmeni should be juicy inside. They are unrelated to the pasta with which they are sometimes compared as it is a savoury main dish. They are usually boiled in water with spices and salt, or in meat bouillon, sometimes fried before serving. They are often served with plenty of sour cream.
An important difference between pelmeni, varenyky, and pierogi is the thickness of the dough shell—in pelmeni this is as thin as possible, and the proportion of filling to dough is usually higher. Pelmeni are never served with a sweet filling, which distinguishes them from varenyky and pierogi, which sometimes are. Also, the fillings in pelmeni are usually raw, while the fillings of vareniki and pierogi are typically precooked.
The word pelmeni is derived from pel'n'an' (пельнянь) – literally "ear bread" in the native Finno-Ugric Komi, Udmurt, and Mansi languages. It is unclear when pelmeni entered the cuisines of the indigenous Siberian people and when they first appeared in Russian cuisine. One theory suggests pelmeni, or stuffed boiled dumplings in general, originated in Siberia, possibly a simplified adaptation of the Chinese Wonton (in some dialect is called Bāomiàn). Pelmeni are particularly good means of quickly preserving meat during long Siberian winter, especially eliminating the need to feed livestock during the long winter months.
The main difference between pelmeni and momos is their size—a typical pelmeni is about 2 to 3 centimetres (0.79 to 1.18 in) in diameter, whereas momos are often at least twice that size.
In Siberia, especially popular with the Buryat peoples are steamed dumplings called pozi (buuz in Mongolian, from Chinese: pinyin: bāozi). They are usually made with an unleavened dough, but are often encountered leavened. The traditional filling is meat, but the kind of meat and how it is processed varies. In Mongolia, mutton is favoured, and is chopped rather than ground; pork and beef mixes are more popular in Russia.
Manti, samsa, chiburekki, and belyashi are all popular imported dumplings.
Ravioli and tortellini fit the basic definition of a dumpling: these are pockets of pasta enclosing various fillings (cheese, mushrooms, spinach, seafood, or meat). Instead of being made from a ball of dough, the dough is rolled flat, cut into a shape, filled with other ingredients, and then the dough is closed around the filling.
Gnocchi (Spanish: ñoquis, widely adopted in Argentina, Portuguese: nhoque, Slovene: Njoki) is a different kind of Italian dumpling. The word gnocchi literally means "lumps", and they are rolled and shaped from a mixture of egg with potato, semolina, flour, or ricotta cheese (with or without spinach). The lumps are boiled in water and served with melted butter, grated cheese, or other pasta sauces.
When the potato is mixed with barley flour, which is traditional in northern Sweden, it is known as palt in Lapland, Västerbotten and Norrbotten, and as kams in Jämtland, Ångermanland and Medelpad. Originally, palt was eaten all over Sweden and was made from barley or rye flour alone, but during the 19th century, when potato was added and wheat became more common and inexpensive, the northern recipes retained the original name, while kroppkaka, which had always been the name used on Öland for the flour dumpling, became the name for the variant in southern Sweden.
Palt and kams is usually filled with diced, unsmoked bacon. However, sometimes fried bacon is served on the side of unfilled palt or kams, which then is known as flatpalt or flatkams, as the lack of filling makes it flatter. The most well-known palt variant is the Pitepalt from Piteå. In Dalarna, where the dish is known as klabbe, it is still made without potatoes and is never filled. Klabbe is instead served with diced bacon on the side.
A variant of palt is blodpalt, where pig, beef or reindeer blood is mixed into the dough. Other palt variants are leverpalt, with minced liver added to the dough, and njurpalt, with diced kidney mixed into the bacon filling. Blodpalt also existed across the country originally, and has been found in iron age graves in Halland.
The filled kroppkaka, palt or kams ball - as well as the flatter, unfilled flatpalt, flatkams and klabbe - is dropped into boiling salted water and cooked until it floats. It is traditionally served warm with melted butter and lingonberry jam, although in some parts of southern Sweden the melted butter is replaced by half cream (a mix of milk and cream) or a warm milk sauce, and in parts of northern Sweden the butter is replaced by a warm milk sauce spiced with messmör. Leftover kroppkaka is often served halved and fried.
Unfilled flour dumplings for use in soup are called klimp if the flour is wheat, but mjölpalt if the flour is barley or rye.
MIDDLE EASTERN CUISINE
Boraki are a kind of Armenian fried dumplings. The main distinction of boraki is that the minced meat is pre-fried, the boraki are formed as small cylinders with an open top, the cylinders are lightly boiled in broth and then fried. Boraki are served garnished with yogurt and chopped garlic.
Dushbara (Azerbaijan: Düşbərə) is an Azeri soup with tiny lamb-filled dumplings.
Khinkali are Georgian dumplings usually filled with spiced meat. herbs (usually coriander), onions, and garlic. Mushrooms, potatoes, or cheese may be used in place of meat. The khinkali is typically consumed first by sucking the juices while taking the first bite, in order to prevent the dumpling from bursting. The towns of Dusheti, Pasanauri and Mtskheta are particularly famous for their khinkali.
Mataz are dumplings in Circassian and some other Caucasian cuisines, closely related to manti. They typically consist of a spiced meat mixture, usually lamb or ground beef, with greens and onions, put in a dough wrapper, either boiled or steamed. Mushrooms, potatoes, or cheese may be used in place of meat.
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