Crisp, steamed, fried, dipped or slathered in sauce, what is not to love about dumplings? Those stretched silky skins contain a bolus of hope and comfort. Here we've made a real meal out of store-bought dumplings by incorporating enough elements to call them a proper dinner. Use your favourite fresh or frozen dumplings, cooked according to packet instructions.
The love child of two of the world's ultimate comfort foods, this savoury pancake makes for a superbly convenient midweek dinner. Bonus: the 'hide the vegetables' holy grail when kids grace your dinner table.
450g quality store-bought dumplings
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup cornflour
1½ cups chicken stock
½ head Chinese cabbage, finely shredded
2 tbsp pickled ginger
½ red onion, chopped
¼ cup grated cheddar
9 tbsp tomato sauce
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp Kewpie mayo
furikake seasoning (optional)
chopped coriander (optional)
Combine the batter ingredients in a large bowl and rest for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and cook the dumplings according to packet instructions.
Lightly oil a large non-stick frying pan, add the cooked dumplings and fry for 1 to 2 minutes or until the bases take on a golden colour. Scoop the batter mixture over the dumplings.
Fry on low-medium heat for about 15 minutes until the bottom is browned, moulding the batter around the edges to create a circle.
Flip the okonomiyaki over, press it down firmly and poke a few holes in the top of the pancake to allow steam to escape. Fry for a further 5 to 10 minutes until the thick pancake is cooked through, then transfer to a serving plate.
Drizzle the sauce over the pancake, scatter with furikake and coriander (if using) and serve.
Lacy potsticker dumplings on cauliflower salad. Photo: Katrina Meynink
Potsticker dumplings with herby cauliflower and pickled ginger salad
This is a lovely light salad with great textures from the cauliflower salad and the crisp lacy dumplings.
½ large head cauliflower
1 tbsp coconut oil
½ cup coriander leaves, shredded
½ cup mint leaves, shredded
½ cup Vietnamese mint leaves, shredded
½ cup Thai basil leaves, shredded
3 tbsp pickled ginger, chopped (reserve the pickling liquid for the filling)
½ red onion, finely sliced
2 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp mirin
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
about 20 wonton skins/wrappers
200g pork mince
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp pickling liquid from a jar of pickled ginger
200g tinned water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander
2 tbsp finely chopped mint
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, finely grated
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp castor sugar
1½ tsp cornflour
2 tbsp grapeseed oil (or ricebran oil)
Preheat the oven to 180C.
For the cauliflower salad blitz the cauliflower to a rice-like consistency in a food processor. Turn out onto a baking tray lined with paper, pour over the coconut oil and toss lightly to coat. Roast in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until coloured to your liking, shaking the tray midway to prevent the cauliflower from burning. Allow to cool before combining in a bowl with the remaining salad ingredients.
For the dipping sauce combine all ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
For the dumplings combine all the ingredients except the wrappers in a bowl, massaging with your hands until the mixture is sticky to the touch and fully incorporated.
Place the wrappers on a clean work surface and brush the edges of each wrapper with water. Place 2 teaspoons of the pork mixture in the centre of each wrapper, fold the wrapper in half diagonally to form a triangle (or half moon if using round wrappers), bring the sides together and pinch, pressing along the length of the two edges to seal. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.
For the slurry whisk the cornflour and water until combined.
Heat the grapeseed oil in a non-stick medium frying pan. Arrange half the dumplings in a circle in the centre of the pan so that they are almost touching and cook over medium-high heat until golden (3 to 4 minutes).
Pour half the cornstarch slurry over the dumplings, quickly cover with a lid and cook for 4 minutes. It is important to control your heat, if it is too high the slurry will evaporate too quickly and the lattice effect will be lost.
Uncover and continue to cook until the liquid has evaporated and dumplings have formed a thin golden crust (2 to 4 minutes). When ready, place a plate over the pan, invert quickly and cover the plate with foil to keep warm. Repeat for the second batch of dumplings.
Serve the dumplings on the cauliflower salad with the dipping sauce/dressing on the side.
Note: The crisp bottom 'skin' can be hard to achieve. If it looks like it hasn't formed, repeat the slurry step and lower your heat. It can be a little fiddly to master, but it's OK to repeat the process if necessary.
Dumplings swimming in red curry sweet potato soup. Photo: Katrina Meynink
Dumplings with red curry sweet potato soup
Use vegetable dumplings for a speedy vegetarian meal.
12-16 quality store-bought raw dumplings (about 450g)
3 tbsp red curry paste
700g sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 3cm pieces
400ml chicken stock (or vegetable)
400ml coconut milk
1 bunch broccolini, halved lengthways
¼ small red cabbage, shredded
1-2 spring onions, finely sliced
¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped
Place a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the curry paste until fragrant and the oil starts to separate. Add the sweet potato and cook for 1 to 2 minutes before adding the stock.
Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until the sweet potato is soft. Remove from heat, add the coconut milk and blitz using a stick blender until smooth. Season to taste.
Steam the broccolini and the dumplings according to packet instructions.
Spoon the soup into serving bowls, top with 3 to 4 dumplings per serve then add the broccolini, raw cabbage, green onion and coriander. Serve immediately.
Pink peppercorns perk up this noodle soup. Photo: Katrina Meynink
Dumpling noodle soup with pink peppercorns
This peppery and fresh riff on wonton noodle soup works extremely well with beef dumplings.
2 tsp freeze-dried pink peppercorns (or Sichuan peppercorns, to taste)
2 tbsp chilli sauce
250ml chicken stock
60ml light soy sauce
½ cup sake
¼ cup Chinese black vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
20 store-bought raw dumplings
400g udon noodles
microherbs (such as coriander and red pak choi), to serve (optional)
Place peppercorns in a saucepan over medium heat and cook, shaking the pan, for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add chilli sauce, stock, soy sauce, sake, black vinegar, sugar and ginger. Reduce heat and simmer while you prepare the dumplings and noodles.
Steam the dumplings and cook the noodles according to packet instructions. Divide among bowls (about 3 to 4 dumplings per serve) and ladle over the chilli stock. Scatter with microherbs (if using) and serve immediately.