Whoever said good things come in small packages must have been talking about soft and fluffy, delicious dumplings! Dreamy, bite-sized and almost perfect - there's something very comforting about these silky pouches of stuffed dough. Often referred to as momos, wontons, shu mai or dim sums, dumplings are warm, delicious, juicy if cooked right, and extremely satisfying. And what's great is that you'll find them almost everywhere you go; under office buildings, in busy markets, college canteens, high-altitude holiday destinations, pricey restaurants and sometimes even in places where human population is scarce.
In Asia, dumplings are more or less of the same kind - Dough pastry wrapped around a lump of zingy fillings. But in Europe, dumpling have a different avatar. The English dumpling is just a ball of dough that's cooked in a pot which is half boiling and half steaming and then eaten as is. According to popular English literature, the word 'dumpling' emerged in the 1600s and represented a ball of dough cooked in stock or stew.
What makes a great dumpling? A unique combination of meat, vegetables, spices and herbs. While the three standing flavours - chicken, lamb and pork are most commonly found across the world, the endless variety out there is nothing short of remarkable. Crab meat, vegetables, shark fin, pork belly, steamed shrimp, steamed spare ribs, sweet tofu and minced meat.
The Dough: The case is basic pastry made from all-purpose flour and water. The rolling technique might seem hard at first, but it's actually pretty easy to master. If you add egg to this mix then you can create more complex casing for thin or fluffy wontons. There's also another section of dumpling pastry which is made with sticky rice, tapioca or legumes.
Cook: The most common way of cooking dumplings is to steam them in a tall bamboo basket or a metal steamer. If you're looking for a delightful change, then use a wok to pan fry them, a tall vessel to deep fry them or a pan to poach or smoke them.
After all that talk of delicate deliciousness, it's time for a 'dim sum party'! Here are ten easy, creative, and mind blowing dumpling recipes that will win you over.
1.Tapioca Dumplings - Recipe by Chef Seema Chandra
These Vietnamese dumplings are healthy, gluten-free and make an excellent entree. A chunky, mildly spiced chicken mix wrapped in a dough of tapioca pearls and flour.
2.Fried Momos - Recipe by Chef Niru Gupta
Momos stuffed with chicken, steamed and then deep fried. They're so delicious you just won't know when to stop!
3.Tofu and Spinach Dumplings - User Recipe by Sangeeta Kante
These rank high on creativity, taste and health! Tofu and rava dumplings stuffed with spinach, mushrooms and walnuts. Also whip up a zesty orange sauce for the perfect finish.
4.Lamb Momos with Sweet Chilli Sauce - User Recipe by Neha Emmanuel
Soft and fluffy momos stuffed with spicy minced lamb and paired with a dip that's both sweet and hot, both at the same time.
5.Vegetable Momos - Recipe by Chef Niru Gupta
Carrots, cabbage, onions and garlic, all grated and stuffed into gorgeous dumplings. It's a real treat for all vegetarians.
5.Banh Cuon (Vietnamese Dumplings) - Recipe by Chef Nikhil & Chef Natasha
Minced pork, onions, garlic and clove packed in thin sheets of wonton wrappers.
6.Momos - Recipe by Chef Niru Gupta
With this recipe, the possibilty of various fillings are endless. Roll out the pastry, fill them anything your heart desires. wrap it up and steam it right.
7.Sausage Dumplings - Recipe by Chef Roopa Gulati
You're in for a real treat with this one. Cocktail sausages, mango chutney, garlic, tomato sauce, lemon juice, salt and pepper all mixed together, stuffed in a silky wraps, steamed and fried!
8.Chicken and Prawn Dumplings - Recipe by Chef Nikhil & Chef Natasha
Chicken and prawn dumplings served with a spicy diamond sauce will leave you breathing fire.
9.Austrian Dumplings - Recipe by Chef Peter Pretzel
Experience the Austrian version of amazing dumplings. A paneer based dough and a low fat carrot based filling, these vegetarian dumplings are a healthy feast.