I've read that there is one thing that all societies have in common when it comes to food: if you have any kind of flour available in your kitchen, you make some sort of a dumpling. And Chef Jerry Pellegrino has been pondering these tempting little bundles of goodness.
Around the world the basics are the same: make a flour dough, roll it out, cut it up, and stuff it with whatever comes to hand. You can fry it, you can boil it, you can steam it, and you can serve it with or without a sauce. It's a very basic concept.
Here are a whole batch of dumpling ideas that Jerry came up with at Schola Cooking School, along with his partner Chef Amy von Lange.
The Art of Making Dumplings
Chefs Amy von Lange & Jerry Pellegrino
Steamed Shrimp Dumplings
1 large egg 3/4 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined and finely chopped 1/3 cup finely chopped peeled jicama or water chestnuts 2 scallions, finely chopped 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch 1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry 3/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil Kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon sugar Pinch of ground white pepper 36 round dumpling wrappers, thawed if frozen Lightly beat the egg in a large bowl. Add the shrimp, jicama, scallions, cornstarch, rice wine, sesame oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, the sugar and pepper. Stir well until the mixture starts to thicken, about 1 minute; cover and refrigerate until very cold, about 1 hour. Set 1 dumpling wrapper on a clean surface (keep the rest covered with a damp paper towel so they don't dry out). Stir the shrimp mixture, then scoop 1 heaping teaspoonful onto the center of the wrapper. Dab a finger in a cup of cold water and moisten the edges of the wrapper. Fold in half and press the edges together to seal; transfer to a baking sheet. Cover with a damp paper towel while you form the remaining dumplings. Fill a large nonstick skillet with 1/4 inch of water and bring to a boil. Working in batches, add the dumplings and arrange in a single layer, cover and let steam until cooked through, about 5 minutes. (If the water evaporates before the dumplings are fully cooked, add 2 more tablespoons to the skillet.) Carefully transfer the dumplings to a serving plate. Ponzu Dipping Sauce Combine 3 tablespoons ponzu sauce, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 chopped scallion in a small bowl.
Pork & Scallion Pot Stickers
(We used pre-made wrappers for these but there is a recipe if you’d like to try and make them from scratch)
Filling 2 cups chopped napa cabbage 1/2 tablespoon salt 1/2 pound ground pork (Don't get lean pork, the fat is good for juicy and flavorful dumplings) 2 tablespoons minced ginger
½ cup chopped scallions 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic 2 tablespoons thin soy sauce 3 tablespoons sesame oil 1 egg 1 to 2 cups chicken stock or water
HOT WATER DOUGH: 4 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups boiling water
SPICY SOY DIPPING SAUCE: 1/3 cup thin soy sauce 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar 1/3 cup sliced scallions 1 teaspoon sesame oil 1 tablespoon sambal Pork & Scallion Filling: Sprinkle cabbage with the 1/2 tablespoon of salt and let stand for 30 minutes. Place the cabbage on a clean dishtowel or cheesecloth and squeeze out any water. The dryer the cabbage the better. In a large bowl thoroughly mix the cabbage with all of the other ingredients, except the chicken stock. Cook a tester to check the seasoning. Dough: In a stainless steel bowl mix flour and salt. Slowly add hot water to flour in 1/4 cup increments. Mix with chopsticks until a ball is formed and the dough is not too hot to
handle. On a floured surface, knead dough until it becomes a smooth, elastic ball. Place back in bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rest for at least 1 hour.
Working on a floured surface with floured hands, roll out dough to form a long 'noodle', 1-inch in diameter. Cut 1/2-inch pieces and turn them over so the cut sides are facing up. Flatten with your palm and roll out thin using a rolling pin. The dumpling wrapper should end up about 3 inches in diameter. MAKING THE DUMPLINGS: Place a small mound of filling in the middle of the wrapper. (Be very careful not to touch the edges with the filling as this will impede proper sealing of the dumplings. Nothing is worse than dumplings breaking during cooking.) Fold the wrapper in half to form a half moon shape. Starting on one end fold/pinch the wrapper tightly together. Proceed with this fold/pinch method until the dumpling is completely sealed. There will be approximately 10 to 14 folds per
dumpling. Rest the dumplings with the folded edges straight up. COOKING THE DUMPLINGS: In a hot saute pan coated well with oil, place pot stickers flat side down and cook until the bottom is browned. Have pan cover ready and add 1 cup of chicken stock, cover immediately. Be careful, the liquid will splatter! The stock will steam the pot stickers. Check them in 5 minutes as more stock may be needed. The trick here is that once the dumplings are firm and fully cooked the stock will evaporate and the bottoms will crisp-up again. Spicy Soy Dipping Sauce: Combine all and serve in a small bowl.
Thai Chive Dumplings
Dough: (32 wrappers)
1 ¼ cups (150 g) wheat starch
¼ cup (30 g) tapioca flour/starch or wheat starch
1 cup (240 cc) boiling hot chicken broth
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients for the dough. With wooden chopsticks, stir in the boiling hot chicken broth and the vegetable oil.
Sprinkle wheat starch over a wooden cutting board or other appropriate kneading surface. When the dough is still hot, start kneading the dough until it becomes smooth. If the dough is sticky, you may need to add more wheat starch.
Cut the dough into 4 sections and roll each section into an 8-inch cylinder, using the palms of your hands. For this recipe, cut each cylinder into 8 pieces. Cover with plastic to keep the dough moist while you flatten each piece.
The trick to making the wrapper into a near-perfect circle is to sandwich the piece of of parchment paper and flatten it using the bottom of a pan. Then you can use a rolling pin to roll them out more. You want your wrappers to be at least 3 1/2" wide.
Cover the wrappers with plastic while you make the chive filling
Ingredients for chive filling
1 tsp. salt (for blanching the chives)
½ tsp. salt (for the filling)
½ lb chinese chives, cleaned, trimmed and cut in 1/2-inch lengths
½ lb. shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut in 1/4-inch dice
1/3 cup bamboo shoots or jicama (optional)
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Blanch the chives in boiling hot water with 1 tsp. salt for 1 minute, then drain and rinse the chives under cold water. Squeeze the excess water out of the chives
In a medium bowl, gently mix the chives, shrimp, bamboo shoots, soy sauce, ½ tsp salt, sugar, sesame oil and cornstarch.
Place some filling onto the center of a wrapper. Fold 8 pleats around the entire edge and then pinch the wrapper closed. Flip the dumpling over so that the pleated side is facing downwards. Gently flatten the dumpling with your palm. Fill the remaining wrappers until you have about 32 dumplings.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium to medium-high heat. As soon as the skillet start smoking, add the dumplings to the skillet. Make sure that the dumplings do not touch each other, otherwise they will stick together. Cook each side for about 2 ½ minutes, letting them turn slightly brown. Add 1/3 - 1/2 cup water to the skillet or enough to cover the bottom of the skillet with 1/4" of water. Then cover the skillet with a lid and reduce the heat to a little bit over low. Cook the dumplings until the wrapper becomes translucent on the sides, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the lid and raise the heat back to medium. When the water has evaporated, flip the dumplings over and brown the other side. Serve the dumplings while hot.
4 large eggs, plus 1 egg for egg wash 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted unsalted butter, cooled 1/2 cup sour cream 1 teaspoon salt 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Filling: 1 pound potatoes, peeled and cubed 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for sautéing 1 large leek 4 sprigs fresh thyme Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 cup heavy cream Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish Roasted Applesauce, recipe follow
To make the pierogi dough: Mix the 4 eggs, butter, sour cream, and salt together in a bowl with a whisk. Sift the flour onto a flat work surface and make a well in the center, pour the wet ingredients into the crater. Stir the mixture together with a fork, gradually incorporating the flour into the well until a soft dough forms. Squeeze the dough with your hands; if it’s too sticky, add a bit of flour; if it’s not pliable, add a couple of drops of water. Knead the dough, adding only as much additional flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking, until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Gather the dough into a ball and cover it with an inverted bowl or plastic wrap for 10 minutes or so to rest. To make the filling: Cook the potato cubes in boiling salted water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and then mash them with a ricer or regular old potato masher while they are still hot; set them aside to cool while preparing the rest of the filling. Trim the root off the end of the leek and cut off all but 1-inch of the green part. Halve the leek lengthwise and rinse really well under cool water, checking for dirt everywhere; it gets trapped in all the layers of outer leaves. Slice the leek finely. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the leek, mushrooms, and thyme, saute for a few minutes to soften the vegetables; season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook until the vegetables are broken down and almost dry, then pour in the cream, stir to incorporate. Remove the pan from the heat, take out the sprigs of thyme, and scrape the mushroom mixture into the potatoes, mix well to incorporate the ingredients. Make sure the filling is not too hot, or it will start to cook the dough, causing it to sog. Lightly flour your rolling pin and counter. Take 1/2 of the dough (leaving the rest covered so it doesn’t dry out while you work) and roll it out into a thin circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Using a 3-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut circles out of the dough. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the filling into the center of each pastry circle, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Beat the remaining egg with 2 tablespoons of water to make an egg wash and brush it on the edges of the circle. Fold the dough over in 1/2 to enclose the filling and form a semi-circle and seal the edges by crimping with the tines of a fork. Lightly tap the bottoms of the dumplings on the counter to make it flat. Repeat with the remaining half of dough and filling. You should make about 35 pierogies; put 1/2 of them in the freezer to keep on hand (they are better than the ones you find in the frozen section of the grocery store.)
Coat a large saute pan (that has a tight fitting lid) with vegetable oil and place over medium heat. Lay the pierogies in the pan (you may have to do this in batches) and fry them for a couple of minutes until they start to crisp and brown on both sides. Pour in 1 cup of water and cover the pan to let the pierogies steam; when the water evaporates the turnovers should be cooked and crisp. Arrange the pierogies on a platter, garnish with parsley, and serve with roasted apples and/or sour cream (I also served with some caramelized onions). Roasted ApplesauceMakes 2 cups 3 Gala apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped 3 Golden Delicious, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped 1 lemon, juiced 2 cinnamon sticks 1/4 cup sugar Pinch salt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the apples out in a casserole pan and add the lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar, salt, and butter
Chicken & Dumplings
1 large broiler-fryer chicken, cut up
2 celery ribs, sliced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 medium onion, diced
1 (14 1/2 ounce) cans chicken broth
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2-1 teaspoon pepper
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons oil
Combine chicken, celery, carrots, onion, chicken broth, parsley, chicken bouillon granules, salt and pepper in a large pan or dutch oven; add enough water to cover chicken.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours or until chicken is done.
Remove chicken and let stand until cool enough to handle.
Remove skin from chicken and tear meat away from bones.
Return meat to soup; discard skin and bones.
Add more salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
Return soup to a simmer.
In a mixing bowl, combine dumpling ingredients and mix well to form a stiff dough.
Drop by tablespoonfuls into simmering soup.
Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
*SOUTHERN STYLE DUMPLINGS (heavier and chewier) 2 cups flour, 1 cup chicken broth, 2 tsp baking powder, 2 beaten eggs. Combine flour, broth, baking powder and eggs; mix well to form a stiff batter. Drop by tablespoonfuls into simmering soup. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
1 recipe puff pastry
6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups water
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Butter a 9x13 inch pan.
On a lightly floured surface, roll pastry into a large rectangle, about 24 by 16 inches. Cut into 6 square pieces. Place an apple on each pastry square with the cored opening facing upward. Cut butter into 8 pieces. Place 1 piece of butter in the opening of each apple; reserve remaining butter for sauce. Divide brown sugar between apples, poking some inside each cored opening and the rest around the base of each apple. Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg over the apples.
With slightly wet fingertips, bring one corner of pastry square up to the top of the apple, then bring the opposite corner to the top and press together. Bring up the two remaining corners, and seal. Slightly pinch the dough at the sides to completely seal in the apple. Repeat with the remaining apples. Place in prepared baking dish.
In a saucepan, combine water, white sugar, vanilla extract and reserved butter. Place over medium heat, and bring to a boil in a large saucepan. Boil for 5 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved. Carefully pour over dumplings.
Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes. Place each apple dumpling in a dessert bowl, and spoon some sauce over the top.