Dumplings are a common feature in the broad spectrum of Asian cuisine, having originated in Southeast Asia. Today, dumplings are enjoyed worldwide, with a wide variety of fillings available.
All dumplings are made with a simple dough comprising flour and water. The dough is then filled with a stuffing of meat, vegetables, or both. The most common fillings in Asian cuisine include ground pork or chicken, shrimp, carrots, cabbage, and other leafy greens.
There are two main cooking methods for dumplings: frying and steaming. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. So, what’s the difference, and how do you choose the correct method for the dish you’re creating.
What are Fried Dumplings?
Fried dumplings are a delicious snack that can be enjoyed at any time of the day.
Once the stuffing is fully wrapped in dough, the dumplings are placed in a covered pan with hot oil and a bit of water. They are then fried for approximately 10 minutes or until they are crispy and golden brown.
The result is a crispy, doughy treat filled with your favorite ingredients. Fried dumplings can be served as is or with dipping sauces, making an excellent appetizer or side dish.
What are Steamed Dumplings?
One of the most common methods for cooking dumplings is to steam them. This method involves placing the dumplings in a steamer basket. They’re then cooked over boiling water until they are cooked through. The process usually takes about 15 minutes, leaving the dumpling looking shiny.
Steamed dumplings are typically light and fluffy, with a slightly chewy texture. They can be served as a main dish or as a side dish. And they are also often accompanied by dipping sauces like thick soy sauce or sticky sweet and sour sauce.
Difference Between Fried & Steamed Dumplings
Once filled and ready to cook, you can choose to either fry or steam your dumplings. But which one is best, and what’s the difference? Let’s take a closer look at how these different cooking methods affect the dumpling.
Texture: Steamed dumplings are typically lighter and more delicate than fried dumplings. However, fried dumplings have a crispier texture that some people prefer.
Presentation: Steamed dumplings can often be somewhat translucent and delicate. Whereas fried dumplings tend to hold their shape better, making them ideal for dishes that require a neat presentation.
Flavor: Fried dumplings have more flavor on the outside due to the oil and caramelization from the frying process.
Convenience: When it comes to fried dumplings, you can prepare as many as you want at a time. However, the steaming method is easier than frying, with no risk of burning.
Health: Because oil is added when you fry the dumplings, steamed are the healthier option.
Ultimately, the best cooking method for dumplings depends on your personal preferences. Opt for fried dumplings if you’re looking for crispier, tastier dumplings. If you prefer a chewier, healthier option, it’s best to go for the steamed dumplings.