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other recent NOURISH articles:
o the Myth of the Bad Cook
o feeling saucy? 

o 12 Kitchen Timesavers that don't sacrifice taste
o Making Maki Sushi
a basic guide to perfect rolled sushi
o Technically Speaking
a glossary of basic cooking methods

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dumplings for dummies a step-by step illustrated guide|  1 2 3 4 5 6
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Having assembled your pretty little dumplings packages, you're now ready to start cooking them. The most common methods for cooking dumplings are boiling and pan-frying. Boiling is the easiest -- you just set a big pot of water to high, and once the water has come to a boil, drop in your dumplings and cook for 3-5 minutes (depending upon your filling). The texture of boiled dumpling skins is wonderfully chewy -- this is particularly apparent when you've used homemade wrappers -- and many people like boiled dumplings best.

Pan-frying, on the other hand, results in much more flavorful -- albeit slightly more fattening -- dumplings. Essentially, the method involves browning the bottoms of the dumplings in a skillet, using a tablespoon or so of oil, then adding a small amount of water (approximately 1/3 cup) to the pan, covering and cooking for 3-5 minutes. If at the end of the cooking time, you still see liquid in the pan, cook uncovered until the liquid has evaporated.

Deep-frying is another option -- although given the highly fattening nature of deep-fried food, I'd recommend this only when serving dumplings as appetizers ... the notion of an entire meal consisted of deep-fried dumplings makes me feel a little ill. I particularly like to deep-fry cheese-filled dumplings ... the contrast in texture between the melty cheese and the crisp shell is delectable.

As for your dumpling fillings, the options are endless.  The wrappers themselves have no strong flavor, allowing them to accommodate a wide range of flavorings, ranging from the traditional Chinese soy sauce and ginger-spiked concoctions to the decidedly non-Asian cheese fillings. Try out a few of my favorite dumplings recipes:

Pan-fried Pork Dumplings
Pan-fried Vegetarian Dumplings
Deep-Fried Scallion-Cheese Dumplings
Boiled Shrimp Dumplings

Now invite a group of friends over, and start wrapping!


check out these related articles:
technically speaking
a short guide to basic cooking techniquesmaking maki sushi 

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