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Dumplings can be defined as cooked dough balls, whose composition may include flour, matzoh meal, potatoes, bread and sweet, fish or meat. Dumpling recipegenerally requires one of these cooking techniques – simmering, boiling, baking, steaming or frying. Mostly, a dumpling contains filling, although, in some variations of the dumpling recipe, the ingredients can be directly mixed with the dough. The tastes of dumplings can range from sweet to spicy and these can be either eaten in soups, in gravy dishes, stews or several other ways. While many dumplings appear to be water boiled solid dough like gnocchi, others like wontons, may look more like meatballs with a fillings inside small dough made pouches.

History of Dumpling Recipe

Dumplings with chicken are the traditional recipes of South America, which have a rich history associated with them. This South American dumpling recipe involved the cooking the dish in a single pot as a filling meal comprising chicken meat pieces and simple flour dumpling, either noodle like, flat or round cooked in a thickened broth. This recipe is believed to have roots in Asia and Europe and is largely eaten as a comfort food in regional variations all across the United States.

The earliest record of dumplings in the books of history, date back to 618 - 907 A.D. in China, during the Tang Dynasty, when the easy access of milling flour to households led to the discovery of new flour recipes, of which dumpling was a part that gained immense popularity. The earliest dumplings had fillings of vegetables or meat or the dough used to be rolled out flat and cut into noodles and cooked with broth.

The advent of dumplings and dough made pasta came into prominence in Europe centuries ago, after Marco Polo introduced the dumpling recipefrom Asia. The earliest European recipe of dumplings were the Italian versions, made during the 1400s, which included cheese, four noodles and broth, a recipe which soon engulfed the entire European continent and became a part of the traditional fare in the British Isles, Western and Eastern Europe.

The dumplings began to gain popularity in the U.S during the 1800s, mostly in Midwest and New England, when the stuffed versions came into the scene, alongside the already existing unfilled versions which were served with chicken and broth. These recipes became more popular as the nation was going through the phase of Great Depression at that time and these foods were economical, delicious and filling.

Ingredients Used and Popular Methods of Preparation of Dumpling Recipe

Although several variations exist in the world of dumplings, the most commonly found are those made with chicken and the widely used recipe is to stew and shred the chicken and create the dumpling with cornmeal based dough or biscuit like flour and cook the chicken and the dumplings in the same pot until the chicken is tenderized and a thick creamy broth is cooked. The dish is then seasoned with salt and pepper. This simple recipe may often at times also be made with celery, carrots and onions to enhance the flavor.

Popular Variations in Dumpling Recipe

In Europe, savory dumplings are more popular, especially in the Irish and British cuisines, where, the seasoned dough balls are made with self rising flour and cooked with soup, stew or into a casserole dish. Often, these dough balls are flavored with herbs or have a small cheese filling at the centre. The Norfolk dumpling is made with flour and self raising agent, without using fat. The Cotswold dumplings are made from cheese and breadcrumbs, which are rolled into dough balls and can either be fried or cooked in stew or soup. Sourdough dumplings in the European cuisine are often made with spices and fruits and served as desserts. In Scotland, clootie dumpling and in Dorset, doughboys are very popular. In Italian cuisine, gnocchi made with chicken essence, Périgord truffle and pancetta are popular. The other variations of dumpling recipein Italy are tortellini and Ravioli with fillings of mushrooms, cheese, seafood, spinach and meat.

In the United States, a bowl of chicken and dumplings served with vegetables, called "chicken-and-dumplins" is most popular. In the American cuisine, baked dumpling is also common which has a sweet taste and is mainly served as dessert. These dumplings come with fruity stuffing, which can include whole apple tart enclosed in a pastry wrap, which is baked till brown and tender. This dumpling recipe is generally served with a sweet sauce. Apple dumplings can include ingredients like cinnamon sauces, caramel and sugar. Boiled dumplings are generally savory, with turkey or chicken filling. Tortilla dumplings feature more in the Southern cuisine which can be filled with apple, strawberry, butter and bean mixture, ham or turkey.

In the Asian cuisine, the Tibetan meat filled dumplings called momo and the Chinese wantons are quite similar. The Singaporean dumpling recipeis generally a fried version of the Chinese, with minced chicken and spring onion filling, as is common to the Tibetan and Chinese dumpling. The momos are also eaten in Nepal and Sikkim, along with Tibet, as all three are Himalayan regions and share several recipes. In the Indian cuisine, dumplings stuffed with coconut and condensed milk are quite popular during the Sankranti festivals in Bengal, Orissa and Assam. In North India, Gujia is much favored which is made with a khoya stuffing, while the Fara is made with a filling of lentils.