So instead of trying to narrow the scope of what a dumpling actually is, why not celebrate the multitude of ways different cultures interpret the highly craveable comfort food? (I guess there is a common thread after all.)
Below you'll find a whirlwind tour of some of our favorite international dumpling recipes.
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Chowhound editor-at-large Joey Skalandy's ode to the classic New York Chinatown dumpling is one of several highlights from his cookbook debut "Basic Bitchen." The pan-fried pockets stuffed with juicy pork, garlic, cilantro, and ginger are well worth the indulgence. Get the Pfft to Portion Control Pork Dumplings recipe.
Take the vegetarian route on China's vast dumpling landscape. Start off by making a batch of our Easy Dumpling Dough (only 2 ingredients!). Spinach, carrots, mushrooms, and tofu are stir-fried in a wok to become the filling. This recipe yields 32 dumplings and freezes well for up to a month. Use a steaming tray set-up for best results, and don't forget the Tangy Soy Dipping Sauce. Get our Steamed Vegetable Dumpling recipe.
Pierogies are a staple across the Baltics and Eastern Europe and go by different names and variations. Here, savory mushrooms come together with a herb-packed dry sherry sauce for a filling that won't have you missing meat (though if you're craving carne, go ahead and stuff with ground beef). And, since sour cream is folded into the dough, you should have a bit leftover to serve alongside the finished product. Get our Mushroom Pierogies recipe.
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Gyozas, Japan's particular spin on Chinese dumplings, tend to contain more garlic, have a thinner wrapper, and are pan-fried on a single side to crisp perfection. Pork is a popular filling, but if you're in a seafood state of mind, shrimp is sure to satisfy. Get the Shrimp Gyoza recipe.
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These adorable bite-sized dumplings from Turkey feature a filling of ground lamb seasoned with baharat, a fragrant spice blend. Slather in yogurt and browned butter tomatoes for a full flavor explosion. Get the Lamb Manti recipe.
As fun to say as they are to eat, kreplachs are Yiddish dumplings. This recipe calls for a rye dough that creates a gorgeous speckled effect. They're individually shaped into architectural mini-pyramids with the help of a basic cookie cutter then filled with potatoes, ricotta, caramelized onions, mint, and dill. Eat them on their own or submerge into chicken soup. Get the Rye Kreplach recipe.
How about a Scandiavian spin on the dumpling? The Swedes prefer to stuff these boiled or fried potato balls with grouse but dark meat from other poultry or even lean ground beef will do. The addition of bacon here gives the filling a hint of smokiness. Get the Kroppkakor recipe.
These toothsome Italian dumplings are absolutely heavenly, especially when they're made from scratch. Who needs a filling when you lay your potato pillows to a rest in a vegetable-laden, slow-cooked pork shoulder ragu? Get our Gnocchi with Pork Ragu recipe.
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This chicken stew with biscuit-like morsels of bliss is pure Southern comfort. In our version, thyme and chives give the dumplings an herbaceous boost while bacon and cremini mushrooms add a welcome earthy depth. Get our Chicken and Dumplings recipe.
Empanadas are ubiquitous across South America, and it's no wonder why. That irresistible flaky, buttery crust stuffed with a flavorful filling (in this case a mouthwatering combo of spiced braised chicken and olives) is the perfect portable lunch. Making them from scratch can be time consuming so consider going big batch especially since they freeze extremely well. Get our Chicken Empanadas recipe.
Savor the fall flavors of warm apple pie without all the effort. Only five ingredients are needed for this classic dessert dumpling with a flaky crust housing a sweet and cinnamony fruit center. Add a double dose of cream (ice and whipped) for extra indulgence. Get our Five Ingredient Apple Dumplings recipe.
David is a food and culture writer based in Los Angeles by way of New York City. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, CBS Local, Mashable, and Gawker.
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