Are you feeling hungry? Just the mere mention of dumplings can make your mouth water. Little, delicate parcels of deliciousness and joy, Asia is king of the dumpling. So come with us on a delectable journey as we discover the diverse dumplings of Asia.
Shanghai: Xiao Long Bao
Shanghai’s famous xiao long bao is the solution to the age-old 'soup or dumpling' lunchtime dilemma. Take a traditional bao dumpling and fill it liberally with soupy deliciousness. It’s essential to note that there IS a wrong way to eat these - refrain from stabbing it, this will let the hot broth run out and lose all the flavours! Instead, you must bite the top off and sip the broth from the dumpling before tucking in. Follow this xiao long bao etiquette and experience the unadulterated joy of this ingenious culinary invention!
Sri Lanka: Dhal Roti
Found in roadside stalls all over Sri Lanka, along with a selection of other 'short eats', dhal roti are roti - but not as you know it. Using fresh, stratchy pastry, they are cooked on a hotplate then lathered in either dhal, beef or even fish curry. Finally, the cook will fold them into a little parcel. Triangle-shaped denotes dhal, while long and sausage-roll-esque indicates beef. Ideal for a snack or lunch, these little morsels are super tasty and super inexpensive.
Samosas are decadent, deep-fried and packed with spicy curry goodness! Made by millions of grandmothers throughout India, they are abundant in the food stalls of train stations, street markets – actually, quite literally anywhere! Served with a cooling yoghurt raita to dull the heat, or with a tang of tamarind chutney, the samosa is a snack that you can almost fool yourself into thinking is healthy!
Panfried, crispy gyoza are high on the list for most dumpling enthusiasts. Expert palettes will notice the gyoza has a more prominent garlic flavour than the typical dumplings of Asia, even though the gyoza is a direct descendant of the Jiaozi Chinese dumpling. Yaki-gyoza are filled to the brim with cabbage, chives and sesame oil. They are pan fried to a delightful crisp on one side - and the result? Pure pleasure.
Where samosa meet har gow, you'll find Thailand’s moneybags. Small, crispy and deep-fried little purses filled with a mixture of minced chicken or pork, neighboured with prawns, mushrooms and crunchy water chestnuts. To top it all off they're dipped into sweet plum or sweet chilli sauce. Despite their name, they will not make you rich, but are certainly cheap as chips on a Saturday night and one of the most famous dumplings of Asia!
These tasty, handheld pockets are created using seasoned beef or mutton enveloped in a circle of wheat flour dough and fried to a perfect golden brown. They are synonymous with the national celebrations of the Naadam Festival and have origins in China, as traditionally, Mongolian nomads weren't known to farm wheat. They are also known to be a celebrated comfort food. And we're all for comfort foods!
Vietnam: Summer Rolls
Purists will argue that Vietnam’s summer roll is not a dumpling as such. However, given they are made of rice paper, enveloping a mixture of pork and prawn, spring onion and coriander - not to mention they're small enough to hold in your hand - definitions, be gone! These are arguably the healthiest of the dumplings of Asia and will come served with a delicious peanut and tamarind dipping sauce. Why not make them yourself? Fillings can be adapted to include almost any fresh ingredients you have available at home.
South Korea: Mandu
When creating Mandu, the Koreans use an array of different cooking techniques including boiling, steaming and frying. Mulmandu are boiled dumplings, jjinmandu are steamed and gunmandu are fried. Fillings can be pork, beef, seafood or Korea’s iconic kimchi. It seems that kimchi can officially be included in anything! Mandu are popular during celebrations and families consequently spend quality time together creating them to share. Mandu date back to the Goryeo Dynasty when a group of Chinese Uighurs arrived and opened up dumpling shops!
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