Dumplings. Almost every culture seems to make a nod to these little parcels of joy; Poland has the pierogi, Turkey has the manti and Japan the gyoza, so many of us are at least a little familiar with these filled wonders. When I lived in London I was lucky enough to live with Guy, a talented Chinese cook, who stuffed my belly with all manner of delicious, authentic dishes but, particularly luckily for me, taught me how to make fresh dumplings. Since then I have whiled away many an hour making batches of fresh dumplings to enjoy with his trademark dipping sauce!
Whilst making dumplings yourself isn’t that hard once you have the technique down (a process that I will share), sometimes after a busy day I just don’t want to spend the time fiddling with wrappers, so I literally jumped for joy (queue some strange looks) when I spied these ready made gyoza in the freezer aisle in Waitrose a few weeks ago. While I could buy large bags of fantastically made frozen dumplings in my local Chinese corner-shop in London, I haven’t had sight of a frozen dumpling on the island before.
Yes, full disclosure, this recipe is not going to tell you how to make dumplings (I will do one day, I promise) but it is going to tell how you make a light and tasty dinner that ticks all the right dumpling craving boxes without as much of the heavy lifting. The Asian flavours will get your mouth zinging in no time at all and the salty, warm broth is an instant hug in a bowl; next time I have a cold I am reaching for a bowl of this double pace!
If you can’t find frozen dumplings, this recipe can be adapted by replacing the dumplings with your favorite protein. Pre-cooked, shredded chicken, raw thinly sliced beef (which will cook lightly in the broth) or cooked prawns would all make lovely substitutions.
- 1 x bag of frozen dumplings (we used Itsu’s king prawn gyoza, giving 8 dumplings per serving)
- 200g ready prepared fine noodles
- 250g thinly sliced vegetables, such as pepper, spring onions, beans, broccoli or plain beansprouts
- 800ml of chicken stock (fresh is ideal but a stock pot is ideal otherwise)
- 2 tbsp of dark soy sauce
- 1.5 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine (or rice wine vinegar)
- A small thumb of ginger, cut into fine matchsticks
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- Pinch of white pepper
- Small bunch of fresh coriander
- 1 red chilli finely sliced (optional)
- Chopping board
- 1 x large pan with lid
- 2 x large bowls
- Pour your stock into the pan and bring up to a simmer.
- Add the soy sauce, rice wine, ginger, spring onions, white pepper and a few sprigs of coriander (you can also add chilli if you are feeling brave). Bring back to a simmer, cover with the lid and leave to infuse for 15 minutes.
- Divide your noodles between your serving bowls then top with the thinly sliced vegetables (they will cook slightly in the broth) and the rest of the coriander. If you are adding protein instead of dumplings, add this to the bowl after the vegetables but before the coriander.
- Give your broth a taste and adjust the seasoning if need be – remember that the soy sauce is salty so be careful with any addition of salt.
- Add the dumplings directly to the broth and follow the cooking instructions. Ours took only 3 minutes to be ready.
- Spoon out your dumplings between the serving bowls and top with the broth.
- Garnish with chili as desired. The vegetables (and protein if you are using that) will start to cook lightly once the broth is added so give the bowl a few minutes before your dive in!