Soup dumplingsCredit: Wikimedia CommonsCredit: Wikimedia Commons

Dumplings are soft balls of dough which are steamed/boiled/fried and sometimes filled with meat or vegetables. It’s a dish often made in many parts of the world. Its popularity is mainly because it’s easy to make, only requires simple inexpensive ingredients and adds flavor to the dish it’s being served with.

Dumplings are used in stews and soups. Dumplings which are steamed or fried are usually not added to a soup or stew which is cooking but instead eaten on its own.

Traditional dumpling recipes made in the USA and Great Britain call for suet or lard as one of the ingredients. In the present day some cooks are using butter or margarine as they claim this gives a softer and fluffy texture to the dumplings.

Simple Traditional Dumpling Recipe with Parsley

  • Flour – 2 cups
  • Baking powder – 1 ½ tablespoons
  • Milk – 1 cup
  • Lard – 1 tablespoon
  • Beaten egg – 1
  • Dried parsley – 1 tablespoon
  • Salt – 1 teaspoon

Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Blend it the milk, then the lard and beaten egg. Stir in the dried parsley and salt. Drop spoonfuls of the dumpling batter into the pot of stew or soup as its cooking. 

Dumpling Recipe using butter/margarine

  • Flour – 2 cups
  • Baking powder – 4 teaspoons
  • Salt – 1 teaspoon
  • Butter or margarine – 4 tablespoons (softened at room temperature)
  • Milk – 1 cup

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Blend in the softened butter. Then pour the milk in little by little stirring with a wooden spoon. The batter should be moist and of a texture which resembles soft balls of dough once it’s dropped in spoonfuls to the cooking pot of soup or stew.

Easy English Beef Stew with Suet Dumplings

Italian Dumplings

Ravioli is a version of dumplings made in Italy and is known as Italian pasta. The dough is first flattened out and cut into square shaped pieces and filled in the center with cheese, mushrooms, spinach, seafood, or meat.

If this is your first time in making ravioli it’s best to keep the following in mind before you begin getting ready to prepare it.

  • When making ravioli the dough is made first, then the filling and finally the dough is cut into squares (each square should have a 3-inch diameter) filled and boiled for 4-5 minutes in boiling salted water.
  • Make sure to keep dough wrapped in a wet towel as you work on the other ingredients or else it will dry out.
  • Always keep a ½ inch edge on each piece of cut pasta once you place the filling inside. Dampen each edge with water to make it easier to seal the pieces together.
  • Don’t immediately place the un-cooked pasta into boiling water. Leave it for 10-15 minutes on a lightly floured board. 

Simple Ravioli Recipe for two

For the dough:

  • Flour – 175gm (6 oz.)
  • Beaten eggs – 2
  • Salt to taste
  • Water

Add the dry ingredients (flour and salt) into a bowl and mix. Make a gap in the middle and pour in the beaten eggs mixing using a knife. Add water little at a time and make into firm smooth elastic dough using your hands. 

Wrap the dough in a damp tea towel and leave aside and make the filling.

For the filling:

  • Beef Pasta Filling recipe
  • Vegetable oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Chopped onion – 1
  • 2 chopped rashers of bacon
  • Minced Beef – 225 gm (8 oz)
  • Red wine/Stock – 4 tablespoons
  • Tomato paste – 1 tablespoon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in pan over medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic and bacon until brown in color.
Add the minced meat and cook till brown. Then add the wine/stock, tomato paste, salt and pepper.

Cook for another 5 minutes. Take off fire and put in a food processor and pulse till all ingredients are chopped finely.

Assembling and Cooking the Ravioli

Separate the dough into two and roll each piece on a floured board till it is about 3mm thick. Sprinkle with flour to prevent the dough from drying out.

Cut into squares each with a 3-inch diameter using a cutter. Place filling in each square leaving a ½ an inch edge on all sides. Moist the edges with water and top with another piece and seal the edges together.

Leave the pieces aside for 10-15 minutes. Then cook in boiling salted water for 5-7 minutes. The ravioli will drop to the bottom but come up when it’s cooked. Cook ravioli which floats to the top for another 2 minutes before removing it from the water. 

Ravioli Tutorial

African Dumplings

Fufu is Africa’s dumplings which are made from starches like yams, cassava (mixed with plantain) and cornmeal. It’s shaped into balls, steamed and served with soups, stews and vegetables. 

Simple Fufu Yam recipe

  • Yams – 2 pounds
  • Black pepper – ¼ teaspoon
  • Butter – 1 teaspoon

Boil the yams in water until soft (about 20 minutes). Do not add salt. Remove the yams and mash it up with the balance ingredients. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until the mixture is free from lumps but not a ‘puree’ consistency. 

Remove the mixture from the food processor and place in a bowl and whisk until it has a smooth and elasticity texture. Shape into balls and serve.

African Pounded Yam

Jamaican Dumplings

Dumplings from Jamaica are fried or steamed and served with dishes like Ackee and salt fish and chicken. The fried dumplings are normally served at breakfast. The various names for Jamaican dumplings are cart-wheel, Jack, Johnny Cake or Fried Dumpling.

Simple Jamaican Fried Dumpling recipe

  • Flour – 4 cups
  • Baking powder – 2 teaspoons
  • Salt – 1 ½ teaspoon
  • Butter – ½ cup
  • Cold water – ½ cup
  • Vegetable oil – 1 cup

Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and mix till all the ingredients look like crumbs. Add water a little at a time and knead the dough with your hand until it forms a smooth firm ball. Shape into patties.

Heat the vegetable oil in a deep shallow pan over medium heat and fry the patties until golden brown in color (3 minutes on each side). Remove and place on paper towels to drain off the excess oil.

Simple Jamaican Steamed Dumpling recipe

  • Flour – 2 cups
  • Salt – ½ teaspoon
  • Cornmeal – ¼ cup
  • Cold water – ½ cup
  • Pot of boiling water

Sift the dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal and salt) together in a bowl. Add water a little at a time and knead by hand until the dough is of a smooth firm consistency. 

Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and keep kneading for another 5-7 minutes. Make into shapes of patties and drop into the pot of boiling water. Cook for 5 -7 minutes and remove and serve.

Jamaican Fried Dumplings

Chinese Dumplings

Chinese dumplings can be grouped into three types: jiaozi, wonton and rice dumplings.

Jiaozi and wonton varieties are made with a filling of finely minced meat and chopped vegetables. Jiaozi is steamed while the wonton are made by frying or steaming.

The skin of the wonton is much lighter than the jiaozi. Wonton are sometimes cooked in broths or soups.

Jiaozi dumplings are normally made in the regions of Northern China while wonton in Southern China.

Chinese rice dumplings are triangle or cone-shaped and are filled with sweet sesame, peanuts or red bean paste. The dumplings are a favorite dish made during the Chinese New Year. The Chinese New Year celebrations continue on for about three weeks and it’s usually on the 15th day rice dumplings are served.

Simple Steamed Chinese Dumpling (Jiaozi) Recipe

Making the filling:


  • Mince pork or beef – ½ lb.
  • Sesame oil – 3 tablespoons
  • Sugar – 1 teaspoon
  • Cabbage – ½ cup Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped green onions – ½ cup 

Combine the meat, oil, sugar, cabbage, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix thoroughly and set aside. Begin preparing the dough for the dumplings.

Making the dipping sauce:

  • Thinly sliced green onions – ½ cup
  • Fresh garlic paste made from 4 cloves of garlic.
  • Rice vinegar – 1 cup
  • Sesame oil – 4 teaspoons
  • Hot chili oil – 1 tablespoon

Mix together all the ingredients and serve with steamed dumplings.

Making the dough:

  • Flour – 1 ½ cups
  • Cold water 
  • Pan of boiling water (made with 5 cups water)

Add the flour to a bowl and pour in the water little at a time as you knead the dough with your hand. Knead until the dough is firm and smooth and not sticky. Add more flour if the dough becomes sticky. Leave to set for 10 minutes and then divide into balls.

Roll each ball out so that it is 8cm in diameter. Fill each circle with some of the filling. Fold the dough in half and seal the edges together by dabbing it with a little water to prevent the dumplings from opening when it’s being steamed.

 Boil 5 cups of water in a pan. Add a little salt and a few drops of oil and ginger pieces to the water. This will help prevent the dumplings from becoming stuck together. Begin adding the dumplings as soon as the water begins to boil. Cook for 5 -7 minutes. Remove from water and serve while still hot with the dipping sauce.

How to make Dumpling Dim Sum