The Secret to Making the Lightest, the Best, Dumplings
“The first course of the eight on the tasting menu was “Lincolnshire poacher dumplings, Tokyo turnip, mushroom, nasturtium”. I had hopeful visions of a big cheesy ball that would sit in the stomach like ballast, but in fact they were smooth little spheres of the most intriguing texture, like something from the dim sum trolley, and bizarrely light.”Tim Hayward, The Financial Times, in a review of Prévost @ Haycock, February 2022
This is the way to make the most wonderful, light dumplings.
Lightness is achieved by not overworking the dough… a few lumps doesn’t matter, ballast-heavy does. It also helps to steam the dumplings by covering the casserole after you have dropped them into the stew.
The secret ingredient is the Marmite.
An alternative flavour with a bit more kick, especially good with a beef stew, is horseradish (a tablespoon of grated horseradish could go into the amounts below).
The blogger, Emiko Davies, makes dumplings with spinach and ricotta.
NB: you can freeze the dumplings
Alternatively, Aunt Bessie’s is a good, ready-made, option.
For a good beef stew recipe using dumplings go here.
If you are really interested in dumplings, Barbara Gallani has written a whole book about them, Dumplings.
- ¾ cup/100g/4 oz self-raising flour plus a bit more for your hands – if you only have plain then add 1½ tsp of baking powder
- 50g/2 oz shredded vegetarian suet (this is lighter than the animal type)
- 1 tsp Marmite
- ½ tsp smoked salt and a few grinds of pepper
- 3 tbsp cold water
- you can also add chopped fresh herbs if you feel like being exotic – or spinach. Rose Prince adds watercress to hers. And you can also use nettle tops (about 50g for the amount above, boiled briefly, then squeeze-drained and chopped)
- Mix everything together in a large mixing bowl, if it seems a bit too dry add a little more water.
- Cover your hands with flour, and divide the mixture into eight, shaping it into eight balls. DO NOT OVERWORK.
- About half an hour before the stew is due to be taken out of the oven and served, drop the dumplings into the stew AND COVER, IN ORDER TO STEAM.
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Our other culinary tips.
Music to cook to
Your dumplings should be like little fluffy clouds, so it has to be Little Fluffy Clouds, by The Orb.