What are Dumplings?
There are many different types of dumplings. They are sometimes referred to as the poor man's potato. The most common type is made from boiled dough that is a mixture of flour and milk, used in dishes like chicken and dumplings. These are usually light and fluffy, while other types are heavier and more comparable to noodles. They can also be fried, stuffed, or baked, and even stuffed with apples for dessert.
The heavier type is used in soups and stews. Fried dumplings can be served with other foods or eaten alone, and are thought to have originated from Chinese cooking. Stuffed ones may also be a taste of Chinese cuisine, and may have started with "fried wanton," a crispy, fried version that is usually stuffed with meat such as chicken or shrimp. Apple dumplings are mounds of dough stuffed with apples and covered with cinnamon and sugar, which are baked until golden brown.
The simplest type of dumplings to make is the fluffy kind. All that a cook needs is 2 cups (240 grams) of biscuit mix, about 2/3 cup (158 ml) of milk, and a saucepan filled with boiling broth. The biscuit mix and milk should be mixed together and spoonfuls of the mixture carefully dropped into the boiling broth. It should be covered and simmered for ten minutes, then gently stirred and covered again to simmer for five minutes longer.
To make them without biscuit mix, cooks can combine 2 cups (250 g) of flour, 3 teaspoons (13.8 g) of baking powder, 1 teaspoon (6 g) of salt and 2/3 cup (158 ml) of milk. Cooks may want to try canned, evaporated milk to give the dumplings a richer flavor.
To make heavier dumplings, one of the above recipes can be used, but only tiny bits should be dropped into the broth. Boil until they take on the consistency of noodles. If more uniform sizes and shapes are preferred, a ball of the mixture can be formed and covered with flour. The dough is then rolled out and cut into small strips. The strips are the boiled until they reach the desired texture.
Dumplings don't have to be served with only certain dishes. They also make a great side dish that can be served in place of rice or potatoes, for a change of pace.
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