When you hear the word “dumpling,” you instantly think of Chinese or Asian cuisine. You will be amazed to know that there are so many unique varieties of dumplings you can find in different cuisines.
From Ghanaian fufu to Nepali momos, from the German spaatzle to Polish piroshky, dumplings are extensively found around the globe. These dumplings vary not just in the filling but in shapes, pleats, and cooking methods.
I recently met someone who loves dumplings. During our conversation over cuppa of coffee, I came to the realization that I have not tried all kinds of dumplings. Heck quite a few on the list were some I had never even heard of!!
There are several delicious varieties, and it will take you days, even a month, to enjoy all types of dumplings. As a matter of fact, if you try one dumpling a day, you can go up to a month without repeating. My research introduced me to a whole new world of dumplings & I came upon 36 different varieties, some of which I will talk about in this article.
HISTORY OF DUMPLINGS
You can find sources that confirm the origin of dumplings in different cultures. For more than 1,800 years, Chinese cooks have enjoyed a variation known as jiaozi. However, the oldest record of dumplings dates back to the Han dynasty. A medical practitioner, by the name of Zhang Zhongjian, visited his family village during the winter.
He observed that many of his fellow people were affected by the harsh winters, particularly those with frostbite around their ears. This issue was resolved by Zhang, who prepared a dish of mutton, chile, and medicinal herbs and wrapped them in dough scraps. He boiled the dumplings, gave them a cute small ear shape, and distributed them to his sick neighbors.
Who knows if the dish treated frostbite or not, but the peasants enjoyed Zhang’s dish so much that kept making the dumplings long into the spring season. Some might consider it a story, but Archaeologists have found wooden bowls from the eighth-century Tang Dynasty. These were filled with dumplings which came out as a big surprise and confirmed that people of that era widely enjoyed dumplings.
DUMPLINGS AROUND THE WORLD
Here’s a handy guide to all of the different types of dumplings people enjoy all around the world:
1. Xiao Long Bao
This probably is the most popular type of dumpling. It is literally soup inside a dumpling. The dumpling holds gelatinized bone broth and pork. When you steam the dumplings, the gelatin melts, giving you a rich, tasteful soup inside the dumpling.
2. Cha Siu Bao
This Cantonese-style dumpling is soft and delicious. It is a steamed bun with BBQ pork filling. These dumplings/buns are mostly steamed or baked and tasteful and soft.
These take inspiration from Chinese dumplings and Indian cuisine. These are relished in Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal. You can use a variety of spicy fillings in momos, which are either steamed or fried.
These fried/baked triangular or conical-shaped dumplings called samosas are filled with lentils, minced meat or potatoes. These are served with chutney or mint yogurt and are a tasteful snack. These are widely enjoyed in Indian and Pakistani cuisine,
This Brazilian snack is very tasteful. Coxinha means “little thigh.” It is named Coxinha because of it’s shape, it is made with a chicken filling and appears like a chicken leg. This deep fried dumpling has a crispy exterior.
6. Banh Bot Loc
You can make this Vietnamese delicacy by wrapping it in thin tapioca wraps, this allows you to see delicious fillings. The main filling is shrimp or pork . Enjoy it with fish sauce. Steam or boil Banh Bot Loc by wrapping it with a banana leaf.
Influenced by Korean cuisine, this dumpling is widely enjoyed in several countries like Turkey, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The dumpling may vary in shape or filling, but it is a popular snack.
Irrespective of how you make or cook it, dumpling is truly a universal food that is found and enjoyed in various cultures. What are some of the types of dumplings you have tried? Leave a comment and share your experience with our other readers.
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