There’s hardly a food that is as versatile as dumplings. Dumplings are popular in many world cuisines and can be prepared using various ingredients, so you can definitely prepare dumplings for every occasion.
What’s really impressive about dumplings is that you can always prepare them in advance and store them in the freezer until they’re needed. You can also buy ready-made frozen dumplings and cook them right before serving.
In this article, you’ll learn about the different ways of cooking frozen dumplings to serve them for every meal.
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What Are Dumplings?
Dumplings are pieces of dough, usually wrapped around a filling. The starch-based dough can be made of bread, potatoes, or flour and is usually filled with meat, vegetables, fish, cheese, fruits, or even sweets. As a result, you can definitely serve dumplings for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Dumplings Around the World
People usually associate dumplings with Chinese cuisine, and a legend goes that they were invented during the Three Kingdoms era. But apart from other East Asian countries like Japan, Korea, and Mongolia, dumplings are actually famous in other parts of the world.
African cuisine is filled with various types of dumplings like Banku and Tihlo. These dumplings are made of cornmeal or flour. The fillings differ by region, so in South Africa, some types of dumplings are filled with dried fruits and served with custard sauce.
In Latin America, dumplings are usually deep-fried or steamed, and the excess of the dough isn’t cut off. Dumplings are usually served as party food and can be filled with cheese, seafood, or chicken. The dough is different, as it usually contains some spices, onions, or olives, and they’re popular in fast-food kiosks. In Chile, dumplings are traditionally served in soup, and in Jamaica, boiled or fried dumplings are served as a side to the traditional Ackee and Saltfish.
Dumplings are also quite popular in British cuisine and are usually cooked in a stew, so they’re boiled and steamed. In Central Europe, dumplings are quite popular, and there’s a wide variety of sweet and savory variations.
German dumplings are usually filled with liver and are served with soup. They can be flour or potato-based. As a matter of fact, the only potato dumpling museum, the Thüringer Kloßmuseum, is located in Germany.
The Slovak national dish is made of potato dumplings served with salty sheep cheese. In Ukraine, dumplings can be sweet or savory and are usually boiled or steamed. Italian ravioli and gnocchi fit the basic definition of dumplings, although they’re considered as pasta.
Katayef dumplings are famous Arabic dumplings that are usually served sweet. Shishbarak is another popular Middle Eastern dish that is filled with meat and condiments.
Dumplings Can Be Cooked in Several Ways
The same type of dumplings can be cooked in several ways, depending on your preferences. In some cases, you can combine two different cooking methods. For example, leftover boiled or steamed dumplings can be fried and served on the next day, as the frying gives them extra crispiness.
In this section, we’ll explore the most popular cooking methods, so you can enjoy your dumplings just the way you like them.
Boiling is the easiest way of cooking frozen Chinese dumplings, but it’s also the most time-consuming one because you have to boil the water. As a matter of fact, Shui Jiao literally means water dumplings and is the most common type of dumplings served in Chinese households.
This cooking method gives dumplings a clean taste, so they can be easily served with other dishes like noodles, Asian salads, or soup.
- Fill a pot two-thirds with water and bring to a boil.
- Add the dumplings, so they can fit in a single layer while stirring.
- Cook them until they float.
- Cover the pot with a lid and let the dumplings cook for three minutes.
- Fish them out and drain them.
Tips for Boiling Dumplings
Although this method is straightforward, there are a few tips that can make your job more successful.
- You might need to add cold water several times before the dumplings are fully cooked.
- Keep the lid on until the dumplings are cooked.
- If you’re not serving the dumplings in soup, you can rinse them with cool water to wash the excess starch, so they won’t stick together.
- Boiled dumplings tend to lose their shape, but you can avoid this by using high-gluten flour.
Frying is probably the best way of cooking frozen potato dumplings, but you can also use this method with several other types of dumplings, whether they’re sweet or savory. Many people prefer this cooking method because it’s the fastest and allows you to achieve tasty dumplings, which are moist and soft on the inside and crispy on the outside.
Cooking fried dumplings from frozen is pretty straightforward, as you need a single ingredient; oil. You can use a deep fryer or a regular pot.
- Add vegetable oil to the deep fryer or a regular pot.
- Heat the oil to a temperature between 325- and 375-degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add the dumplings without thawing them to the hot oil. Make sure not to overcrowd the pot or fryer.
- Lower the heat to medium, so the dumplings cook evenly.
- Cook them for about three minutes, or until the outer layer is golden-brown.
Using a smaller amount of oil, you can also pan fry frozen dumplings. Cooking frozen dumplings pan-fry is a process that takes between 20 and 25 minutes and is best done with a non-stick pan with a thick heavy bottom to distribute the heat better.
- Add two tablespoons of vegetable oil to a pan and heat on high heat.
- Add the frozen dumplings and cook for 4 minutes on each side. Don’t move them too much.
- Add boiling water to cover half the height of the dumplings and bring to a boil.
- Cover the pan and let the dumplings cook until their bases are golden.
Whether they’re store-bought or homemade, dumplings can be frozen until they’re needed. Tasty dumplings can be cooked in multiple ways, depending on your preferences and how you wish to serve them.
Do I need to thaw frozen dumplings before cooking them?
Generally, you do not need to thaw frozen dumplings before cooking them. They can go straight from the freezer to the pot. Thawing beforehand could make them sticky and difficult to handle.
What are some tips to prevent frozen dumplings from sticking together while cooking?
To prevent frozen dumplings from sticking together, make sure you don’t crowd the pan or pot; leave some space between each dumpling. When boiling or pan-frying, stir gently during the initial cooking phase to prevent sticking. If you are pan-frying, make sure the oil fully covers the bottom of the pan before you add the dumplings.
Can I cook frozen dumplings in the microwave, and if so, how should I do it?
Yes, you can cook frozen dumplings in the microwave. Place them in a microwave-safe dish and add a small amount of water or broth to the bottom of the dish (enough to cover the bottom, but not submerge the dumplings). Cover the dish and microwave on high for a few minutes. Be sure to check the dumplings periodically to make sure they are fully cooked. Remember that microwave cooking times can vary.