Written by Black Swan Journeys
February 17, 2016
You may choose to call them potstickers, momos, baos, or wontons, or you may prefer them steamed, boiled, fried or baked, but world over, dumplings remain the best soul-gratifying, comfort food.
The warm waft of the steam that breathes out with the first bite into the pillowy softness, does not prepare you for the burst of flavours that lie within. It first surprises your palate, and eventually blends in with the dough coating.
So, hearty or teasingly tiny, sweet or savoury, these flavour bombs leave you wanting for more.
Here, we list out 5 dumplings that we swear by!
Often mistaken as a Russian dumpling, Khinkali actually originated in Georgia which lies on the fringes of Eastern Europe, Russia and West Asia. These juicy meat filled pockets take inspiration from China’s Xiaolongbao and are served with coarsely ground black pepper. Wrapped in neatly pleated dough, Khinkali is listed amongst the national foods of Georgia.
A Maharashtrian sweet offering for the elephant God, Ganesha, Modak can mostly be relished in the months of August-September. It’s a staple in the 10 day long Ganesh Festival every year. The bud-like rice dumpling is meticulously pleated in 21 folds and carries coconut and jaggery filling. Due to the religious sentiments that are attached with this perticular dumpling, it’s best had at some Maharashtrian home, where love and devotion is poured in each ghee-soaked modak!
Though Manti or Mantu is a prominent dish of Mongol culinary heritage, it was originally introduced by nomadic Turks who travelled from Central Asia. These meat stuffed dumplings are often relished with yogurt and spice infused olive oil. Apart from Turkic cuisine, they also often figure in menus of Armenian, Caucasian, Central Asian, Afghan and Chinese Islamic cuisines.
This Russian ear-shaped dumpling is exclusively savoury. The unleavened dough coating typically wraps up spiced meat, veggie or cheese fillings. The legend says, Pelmeni originated in North-western China and was carried to Siberia by the Mongols. Pelmeni, which literally means ‘ear bread’ in native language, can actually be kept frozen for long periods of time with little loss of quality or flavour.
More closer to the home, Momos stops at nothing – the fillings can range from canned tuna to Mars bars! A dish that belongs to Tibetan cuisine, Momo has consistently evolved with changing times. Most commonly found in Northern India and Nepal, the steaming hot momos are prepared in bamboo steamers called Nanglo. They are commonly eaten along with chilli-garlic chutney.
So, you can cross continents, even span the flip side of the globe and we are sure, you will still find some distant cousin of this parcel of treasure that tempts, delights and makes you a dumpling fan for life.
Our culinary advise – Strap on your travelling boots and travel in any cardinal direction to wrap your mouth around this tiny bundle of joy!
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