Dumplings may just be the universal pocket-size language of love, so get excited to dive into the delicious world of dumplings.
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4 Apr 2018 - 12:42 PM  UPDATED 12 Apr 2018 - 1:44 PM

These parcels of goodness are among some of the tastiest and heartiest foods going. Given their universal appeal, it soon becomes apparent that not only are dumplings one of the oldest foods, but they're also one of the best. 

From savoury to sweet - we've got you covered in the dumpling department.

Manti (Turkey)

Crafting these delicate little parcels of lamb is a labour of love, but it’s also half the fun, as making them is usually a large family affair. Made throughout Turkey and Central Asia, the method varies between regions, but the smaller the manti, the more skilled the cook is considered.

Pierogi (Poland)

Pierogi are boiled, baked or fried dumplings of unleavened dough, stuffed with various ingredients and while they mimic ravioli in their construction they're in fact synonymous with Polish cuisine. These crispy pierogi are not a common dumpling, but they're a great alternative to uszka with clear red borscht and also work well with zurek. You should eat these on the side of soups so that they retain their crunchy consistency.

Momo (Nepal)

Momo (dumplings) is one of Nepal’s most popular dishes which can be eaten as an entree or as a main. It’s a steamed dumpling filled with meat or vegetables and is generally eaten alongside a tomato pickle (golbheda ko achar). 

Rellena (Spain)

The dish is a baked potato dough into which a filling made of chopped beef, olives, hard-boiled eggs, cumin, pepper and other spices are stuffed. Once prepared, the stuffed potatoes are deep-fried and served with a wicked fresh tomato sauce.

Gyoza (Japan)

Gyoza actually originated in China and was known as jiaozi. During WWII, Japanese soldiers were based in China and that's where they fell in love with jiaozi. On return to Japan, they replicated these parcel and the gyoza was born. This pork dumpling recipe is crisp-bottomed and super addictive, making it worth every bit of effort! 

Harajuku pork gyoza

Chai kueh (Indonesia)

Not only are these prawn, ginger and black vinegar dumplings utterly divine, they can be made in 30 minutes thanks to the sheer handiness of ready-made gow gee wrappers. Whip some up tonight! 

Hascheeknödel (Austria)

These dumplings are an Austrian favourite. The ones filled with meat are always made with potato dough, but the exact filling depends on the region that they’re from. In upper Austria, Hascheeknödel, filled with sausage, bacon and smoked pork, are very popular and this knödel recipe is ticking all the comfort food boxes.

Pelmeni (Russia)

Meaning "ear bread", alluding to its shape, ural pelmeni is made from a thin flour dough and encase a filling that often comprises of freshly minced pork, lamb and beef. Traditionally these dumplings were made at the start of winter, stored outside to freeze and were boiled as they were needed. You'll want to serve these with melted butter or a dollop of sour cream.

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Xia long bao (China)

Xiao long bao (those scrumptious soup dumplings that pop in your mouth) are usually filled with pork and aspic (meat stock set to jelly). but these showstoppers add scallops, prawns and a beef bone marrow to the mix. Serve with chilli- and star anise-spiked chinkiang (Chinese black vinegar) and let the love affair begin.  

Tamale (Mexico)

Tamales are made from delicate corn dough, wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves, and then steamed. Traditionally made with pork lard, they can also be prepared with duck fat, butter or vegetable shortening. They make great party foods and get ready for greedy hands and spicy sauces to take to plates.

Mandu (Korea)

These tasty Korean dumplings can be fried (gunmandu), steamed (jjinmandu) or boiled (mulmandu). The addition of kimchi to this pork variety makes these particularly spicy and they're usually served with a soy and vinegar dipping sauce and a hot red pepper condiment of gochujang for an extra kick.

Vori vori (Paraguay)

Up your chicken soup ante with a popular dish in Paraguayan gastronomy, vori vori. Small cornmeal flour and ricotta dumplings are cooked in a rich chicken broth. Scatter with fresh oregano and have your ladles ready.

Ashak (Afghanistan)

This recipe for ashak involves two hours of preparation, but you can lighten the workload by recruiting a few extra pairs of hands to help. Filled with leek or chive, these dumplings are boiled for 3-4 minutes and then added to a plate of garlic yoghurt and meat sauce. 

Saku sai moo (Thailand)

Pork and sago come together in this Thai street snack. Once you've mastered the sago “dough” into a thin disc then wrapping it around the mince filling is a breeze. Finish with chopped peanuts and coriander and let the textures do all the talking.

Varenyky (Ukraine)

A traditional Ukrainian dish, varenyky are filled dumplings, usually boiled and served with a variety of filling options. Whether you want to go curd cheese, cabbage or perhaps you prefer a potato filling with crisp pork, these make-at-home delights are also fantastic the next day as leftovers, fried in butter until crispy.

Pancit molo (Philippines)

Originating from the town of Molo – hence its name pancit Molo – this is the Filipino answer to wonton soup. This is a serious soup designed for meat lovers as it contains prawn, pork, chicken, ham and eggs. You can happily use storebought wonton wrappers here and weeknights just got a whole lot more brothy.

Canederli (Italy)

Combining Italian ricotta and alpine bread dumplings - these canederli (or knödel as they are called in German) from Italy’s northern Alto Adige region reflect the area’s melding of those two cuisines. Topped with honey and butter, dessert dumplings have never looked sweeter.

Dampfnudel (Germany)

According to local legend, these delicate yeast dumplings poached in milk and sugar once spared a small German town from being plundered by a Swedish army. The invaders said they would leave in peace if they were fed sufficiently. So the town baker set to work with the few ingredients on hand (milk, flour, eggs), and created the dampfnudel, sating their hunger and saving his town.

Gulab jamun (India)

These are really one of India’s favourite desserts. They are traditionally made with reduced milk but as that takes a lot of time and effort, you can also make them with dried milk powder instead. They are easy to make and the only two tricks to getting them right - nail that soft dough and then fry them over a very low heat so they cook all the way to the centre. They usually sit in a sweet saffron syrup and milk powder, flour and yoghurt are the makings of a beautifully fried dumpling (and/or doughnut, if you will).

Gomboc (Hungary)

This Hungarian recipe for dumplings uses a technique similar to making gnocchi and yes, they also use potatoes. When cooked the dough forms a pillowy ball around the Morello cherries and be sure to boil the potatoes in their skins as it helps controls how much moisture gets into the potato and therefore the dough. And of course, don't forget to dust them off in icing sugar and perhaps don't tell your guests they're potato till they've dived in - then watch their delight!

More dumplings? We can keep them coming thanks to our dumpling collection right here.

Luke is back in his brand-new series Luke Nguyen's Food Trail airing 8pm, Thursdays on SBS and then on SBS On Demand. Visit the program page for recipes, videos and more.

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