Dumplings are plump, bread-like accompaniments to stews and soup, making it more appetizing and complete, and also adding flavor to the dish. Dumplings should replace the accompaniment of bread as it is used to mop up extra sauce on the plate. It is always used with any African meat-stew and as meat is so expensive nowadays, a stew with little meat and a lot of sauce can be made more substantial and filling with the addition of dumplings. Dumplings for soup are generally small and bite-size, as they are picked up by the spoon and finished in one bite. Here's the recipe.
- 2 cups cake flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 125g margarine or butter
- Ice water
- Pinch of salt, chopped herbs (parsley or basil, or dried herbs)
- Sift dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.
- Add margarine/butter and rub into dried mixture until it represents course breadcrumbs.
- Add water and mix with fork until the mixture is very stiff dough. I use my fingers to get the right consistency.
- Pinch off pieces and roll into round shapes (Golfball-size or smaller).
- Make sure there is enough cooking liquid left in pot as dumplings suck up quite a bit. Add to stew and place preferably onto meat and vegetables. Close lid firmly and lower heat. Steam for 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the dumpling. DO NOT lift the lid in steaming process.
- Test with a skewer; the skewer should come out clean.
Dumplings should be fluffed-up and, when broken open, should be of cake-like texture. Serve with a little gravy spooned over and use them to mop up the rest of the gravy left in your plate.
Dumplings also feature in Eastern cuisine, filled with some kind of filling, steamed in baskets and served with dipping sauces. In China and Japan there are restaurants favored especially for their dumpling menus and the social affair it presents, much like our western Tapas restaurants where lots of little dishes are served. Mostly this is enjoyed as a lunch or light supper early in the evening.
Ingredients for Chinese Dumplings (also called Dim Sum):
- 240 g cake flour
- 250 ml warm water
- Half a Chinese cabbage
- 250g pork, minced
- 1 spring onion
- 30 ml soy sauce
- Salt and pepper
- 15 ml sesame oil/peanut oil
- Make dough by mixing flour and water until smooth. Set aside to rest.
- Blanch cabbage and squeeze juice out. Save. Chop up the cabbage finely and put into bowl.
- Add the pork, spring onion, soy sauce, salt, pepper, sesame oil and cabbage juice. Mix well.
- Break dough in small pieces and roll into disks (7cm in diameter). Wrap around filling and pinch closed. Close into half-moon shapes.
- Steam the dumplings in baskets, in bowl over water or pan-fry.
- Serve with rice vinegar and soy dipping sauce or sweet chili sauce.