Many American consumers are sometimes confused about Chinese dumplings and potstickers. In fact, during a photo shoot session for steamed dumplings, one of the food stylists told me the dumplings were “upside down”! She was alarmed that they looked uncooked!
Then it occurred to me that many Americans’ first taste of Chinese dumplings or potstickers were pan fried, with a crusty brown bottom., served on a plate with the crust showing. Potstickers are pan-fried dumplings, and during the process, often get stuck to the pan, and thus the name! Therefore, some may not even have tasted dumplings steamed!
Indeed, fried foods appeal to the average American more than plain steamed dumplings. But pan frying or deep frying dumplings, while perfect for entertaining, may not be the only ways to enjoy dumplings. In my household, we often have dumpling wrapping as family affair, and my daughters used to keep count who could eat the most. Our way of cooking is real simple – toss wrapped dumplings into a pot of boiling water until they float. We would choose our dipping sauces – ranging from regular soy sauce with oil to chili sauce, or if we feel like splurging, some XO sauce.
If you’re health conscious, try wrap you own with quality fillings – which can be ground pork with vegetables, ground chicken, seasoned with fresh herbs, chopped mushrooms, bamboo shoots, ground ginger. Meatless ones are great too.
Tang’s Natural, manufactured in Brooklyn, New York, sets the new standard for precooked dumplings and noodles. The whole wheat wrappers and use of choice ingredients such as Bell & Evans chicken make them a league of their own. If you’re into making fresh dumplings at home, their Tang’s Natural wrappers should be your choice too. For dumpling connoisseurs, wrappers should not be too thick to fill you up with dough, but should not disintegrate when dunked in boiling water. These wrappers come in oval and square shapes for different regional styles. They are honestly your best bet. I usually have some in my fridge as a standby ingredient, when I am out of ideas of time to cook dinner.
With children’s diets being closely examined and questioned these days, I think packing some dumplings for school would be an excellent option. You can put protein (even tofu) and vegetables all in a tasty package appealing to kids of all ages. It’s what I called tasty, fun food that is healthy and not junky! Consider having a dumpling wrapping party for children for special occasions. I believe teaching children how to cook properly is one life skill that will serve them a lifetime of good.