Food & Cooking

Smith: Many names, flavors for dumplings across globe | Food and Cooking

Dumplings are interestingly found in many world cuisines, each serving them in their own unique fashion. In a broad definition, dumplings are pieces of dough, which may be wrapped around a filling of meat, vegetables or fruits. Dumplings are generally made with flour or potatoes.

Here in America, we typically know dumplings in the classic “chicken and dumplings” dish. Six simple ingredients, including flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, margarine and milk, are mixed to form a soft dough and dropped by spoonfuls into boiling soup or stew. Head to Poland and you’ll find pierogis, dumplings made with unleavened dough surrounding a filling most often made of potato. Travel to Italy and have a bowl of gnocchi, traditionally made with flour and potato. My personal favorite are dumplings found in Asian cuisine. Potstickers, also referred to as jiaozi or Chinese dumplings, are often served on Chinese New Year. The dough is made of just flour, salt and water, and rolled very thin. The filling is often made of pork and cabbage, pan-fried for crispy edges and then steamed. If you don’t want to make your own dough, use won-ton wraps. Three wraps are only 50 calories. Plus, substitute ground chicken for pork to lower the saturated fat content. Try the recipe below!

1 small shallot, finely chopped

½ Tablespoon grated fresh ginger

½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

¾ of a 12 oz. package round wonton wraps

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

Wash hands. Over medium-high heat, cook ground chicken for three minutes, crumbling with a wooden spoon. Add cabbage, shallot, garlic and ginger. Continue cooking until pork reaches internal temperature of 160°F with a food thermometer. Stir in soy sauce and sesame oil; remove from heat.

Wash hands. Place one Tablespoon of filling in center of wrapper. Fill a small serving dish with water. Dip you finger in water and run along the edge of the wrapper. Fold wrapper in half to create half-moon shape. Pinch edges to seal. Repeat until filling is gone.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Place potstickers in single layer and cook for two minutes or until bottoms are browned. Add ¼ cup water to the pan, cover and cook two minutes. Remove lid and continue cooking until water evaporates. Remove potstickers and serve with soy sauce for dipping.

Yield: 10 servings, 3 potstickers each

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 220 calories, 4 grams fat, 490 milligrams sodium, 36 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams fiber, 11 grams protein

Smith is nutrition and wellness educator for the University of Illinois Extension, McLean County. Contact her at 309-663-8306.