Friday, 31 July 2015


Dumplings, and variations on that theme, are found all over the world. Dumplings are small pieces of dough, cooked alone or wrapped around a filling. They can be made from flour, potatoes and bread and their filling may include meet, fish or vegetables.

In Britain dumplings are most commonly found floating atop a hearty stuff, like puffy clouds. Made well, from a mixture of flour and suet, they are light and fluffy, but add a useful helping of carbohydrate to a meat or vegetable stew of broth.

Travelling east, dumplings in various forms are found all over Europe, from ravioli and tortellini in Italy to knödel in Germany and Austria, not forgetting the famous Pierogi of Poland, which come in savoury and sweet varieties. Meanwhile, Turkey's answer to ravioli is Manti (meat-filled dumplings), and indeed these are popular throughout Central Asia. And in India there are samosas. Swing round the globe the other way, and in Central and South America, there are empanadas and pasteles.

Far Eastern cuisine is full of variants on the dumpling theme, the most famous being the Chinese dim sum and wonton, and the Japanese gyoza, which has been made popular in the West through restaurants such as Wagamama.

I really love gyoza and will always order them if I eat at Wagamama. My local oriental supermarket sells bags of frozen gyoza (meat, fish and vegetable filled) which can be cooked quickly and dropped into a miso broth for a warming and healthy meal. The same Oriental supermarket also sells gyoza wrappers, and so now I make my own. They are easy to make and you can vary the fillings according to your taste. They are also a useful way of using up leftovers such as roast chicken or mince. Use oriental spices and herbs to add the right eastern piquancy and serve with plum sauce, sweet chilli sauce or sriracha hot sauce (my favourite!).

Here's a simple recipe from Jamie Oliver which also includes a spicy dipping sauce

Dan Leppard's apple dumplings

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