Maybe you love the idea of making some delicious dumplings at home, but you find the thought of making them intimidating or overwhelming.
As you’ll see from today’s brief guide, learning how to make dumplings for stew or sauces is fairly straightforward.
So, if you fancy lashings of soft and pillowy dough wrapped around a flavor-packed filling to warm you from the inside out as the weather starts turning, you’re in luck.
Before we show you how to make drop dumplings for stew, a few basics on dumplings in general, and we’ll also highlight some of the most common types of dumplings you’ll encounter.
I. Dumplings 101
The simple dough used for dumplings is not dissimilar to a biscuit. You then drop the batter directly into a super-hot liquid. With biscuits, by contrast, you would roll, cut, and bake the dough.
You then steam the dumplings before boiling them directly in the stew or soup they will be complementing – chicken and dumpling stew, for instance.
Are all dumplings the same, though?
II. The Most Common Types of Dumplings
The umbrella term “dumpling” is used to describe myriad similar dishes from all over the world, from gyoza and kopytka to har gow and guo tie.
For the purposes of today, we’ll be focusing on drop dumplings, one of the most common types of dumplings you’ll find.
- Banh Bot Loc
- Drop Dumplings
1) Banh Bot Loc
Dumplings served on a plate with some chili fish sauce on the side are known as Bahn Bot Loc.
This Vietnamese staple is usually filled with pork belly and shrimp then wrapped in tapioca and served with that sweet chili fish sauce for a taste sensation.
Banh bot loc need to be eaten fresh as they have a very short shelf life.
Wonton are lip-smacking dumplings often found in the classic wonton soup.
While they are most commonly used for this Asia soup, you also find wonton dumplings cooked with chili oil in a deep fryer. Sometimes, you also see these dumplings served in a clear broth.
As with all types of dumplings, you can fill wonton dumplings with almost anything you want. Typically, this style of dumpling is filled with whole shrimp, shrimp paste, or ground pork with shrimp.
3) Drop Dumplings
Drop dumplings are a classic comfort food that’s widely eaten throughout the Midwestern and Southern United States.
The origin of this style of dumpling is unknown, but dumplings were first used to provide sustenance in times when meat was scarce.
Complementing both stews and soups wonderfully, making drop dumplings couldn’t be easier, and we’ll show you how to do it right now.
III. How to Make Drop Dumplings for Stew
Now, most dumplings are traditionally made using suet, but we understand that suet is not an ingredient on most people’s weekly shopping list. Unless you’re making dumplings with suet or some suet pastry, you likely have no cause to buy this stuff.
Here at Madiba, we want to make your life easier, so we’ll bring you an alternative drop dumpling recipe that doesn’t call for any suet at all.
Even better, they will turn out just as fluffy and tasty as if you made them the traditional way.
All you need to do is follow the simple recipe below and drop the dumplings into your stew 25 minutes before it’s ready to serve.
What You Need
All you need to make drop dumplings are the following basics:
- Butter (115g)
- Self-raising flour (200g)
- Water (3 tablespoons and more per instructions)
What To Do
- Combine the butter and flour in a mixing bowl. Use your fingertips to rub it together so it forms a crumb dry
- Add the water and stir it in with a spoon. Using your hands, press it together. Add more water – try adding a tablespoon at a time – and mix the batter until a small and soft ball of dough forms. If you add too much water in one go, you can easily oversaturate the batter
- When the dough is formed, flour your hands and roll the mixture into around 10 dumplings. The dumplings will grow in size as they cook so factor this in when considering servings sizes
- With 25 minutes of cooking time remaining, pop the dumplings in the top of your stew. The dumplings are going to soak up some liquid during this remaining cooking time, so make sure the stew has enough liquid left
- Pop the lid on and continuing cooking the stew for 25 minutes covered
If you are making casserole and you want the top of your dumplings to be slightly crunchy, finish them for an extra 5 minutes with the lid off to achieve this.
OK, what can you do if you have some spare dumplings left over when you’re done?
IV. Storing and Freezing Dumplings The Right Way
If you have any leftover dumpling soup, you can keep this fresh in the refrigerator for a couple of days. When you’re ready for more, just gently reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop. You just need to make sure everything is warmed. Sometimes, you’ll notice the dumplings break down slightly more, but they will normally stay mostly intact.
The optimum method is making batter for drop dumplings when you need it. It is possible to make bigger batches, though.
If you plan to do this, divide the batter into single dumpling servings, and then quick freeze it in a muffin tin or on a baking sheet.
Wrap each of the frozen dumplings in plastic then pop them inside a freezer bag.
When you’re ready to
V. Tips for Cooking Dumplings Like a Pro
To round out, some hacks to get the most out of cooking drop dumplings:
- Add some extra liquid to your soup or stew if necessary. You need to consider that dumplings soak up lots of broth while they cook, so thicken your soup accordingly
- Allow the dumpling batter to rest before you drop it into the stew or soup if you want an even fluffier and softer dumpling on your plate
- Remember that dumplings grow as they cook, so when you’re portioning out the batter, you should take this into consideration to avoid overstuffing people
If you have always been partial to dumplings but never tried making them at home, we hope today’s simple recipe has given you the confidence to give it a try.
While the concept of making dumplings seems quite tricky, once you break out the ingredients and get down to work, you’ll find it’s really not that hard after all.
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