Chinese food has found a home in America. There are more than 40,000 Chinese restaurants all over the country. That’s more than all the McDonald’s, KFCs, and Pizza Huts in the country combined.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. More and more Americans are preparing Chinese food in their own homes. In particular, they are making the frozen dumpling a popular meal option.
Can you buy dumplings, and where can you get them? Should you thaw your dumplings before cooking? How can you boil, steam, and fry them?
Answer these questions and you can create a delicious Chinese meal without having to order takeout. Here is your quick guide.
How to Make Frozen Dumplings
The best frozen dumplings are ones you make yourself. Make your dumplings however you like until they are cooked through.
Place them on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread them apart so they won’t freeze to each other. Place the uncovered tray into your freezer and keep them there until they are fully frozen.
Once they are, you can transfer them into a freezer bag. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible, then seal it tight.
Do not use a standard plastic bag unless you line it with aluminum foil. Freezer burn occurs when ice crystals turn into water vapor, which often happens when there is airflow. Most plastic bags trap air.
Your dumplings can last for up to two months. Try to cook them before then. The longer they stay in your freezer, the higher the likelihood for freezer burn.
Where to Get Dumplings
If making your own dumplings is not an option, you can buy them at a store. You can go to the freezer section of your local grocery and buy a product that seems good.
A better option is to go online. The XCJ and other companies specialize in making dumplings.
Some companies offer additional tools like bamboo steamers. Many online outlets sell their dumplings in bulk, and buying steamers can help you cook them over a period of time.
Many newspapers like to run columns comparing different products together. Read their articles before you make a final purchase.
How to Thaw Your Frozen Dumpling
You may be able to cook your dumplings without thawing them. But it is often a good idea to let your frozen food thaw for a few minutes. Melting ice crystals can water down the flavors of your food.
Remove your dumplings from the freezer and let them sit on a counter. It may take ten to fifteen minutes for them to come up to room temperature.
You can remove them from their packaging, but this can cause water to melt. Sit them on top of an absorbent rag.
Steaming is the easiest way to cook dumplings. Fill a pot with a few cups of water.
Take a bamboo steamer and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper. Place in the dumplings, keeping them an inch apart from each other.
Wait until the water comes up to a rolling boil. Then place the steamer over the top of the pot and cover with the bamboo lid.
It will take a few minutes for the dumplings to cook, depending on how thick they are. Remove from the heat when they feel soft.
Fill a large pot with handles two-thirds of the way with pure water. Turn your stove to high heat and cover the top of the pot.
It takes some time for water to boil. Let your water come up to temperature while your dumplings are thawing.
Once your water is at a rolling boil, remove the cover and add the dumplings in. Try to create one layer without stacking them on top of each other.
Do not stir the water or prod the dumplings. If they stick to the side, guide them away with the tip of a wooden spoon. Let them cook for two to three minutes until soft.
Use a spoon with holes to remove the dumplings. If you pour the pot out, the dough may break.
Deep frying creates a crispy dough while cooking through the filling. If you don’t have time to thaw your dumplings, this is the way to cook them.
Add oil into your deep fryer or a large pot that you can put a lid on. Heat the oil until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place your dumplings on a spider strainer and lower them into the oil. The oil will lower in temperature, which comes from the heat transferring into the cold food and cooking it.
Do not stir the oil or adjust the cooking temperature. Deep frying can cause a fire, so stand by and be willing to smother the flames. Cook for three minutes until completely cooked.
Pan frying creates a crispy exterior with less risk of fire. Pour a couple of tablespoons of oil into a pan. Use canola oil instead of olive oil, which can overpower the flavor of your food.
Once the oil starts to bubble, add your dumplings in. Cook for two minutes, then flip them over.
Cook for another two minutes, then add water into your pan and place a lid over top. Turn the heat down and let the water cook your dumplings through. Wait for a few minutes until the water has evaporated, then remove the dumplings from the heat.
How to Cook Frozen Dumplings
The frozen dumpling can be the king of your Chinese meal. You can freeze fresh dumplings, or you can buy them online.
Thaw them on your kitchen counter. To boil them, bring a pot of water up to boil and place them inside. To steam them, place the dumplings in a bamboo steamer and close it.
If you don’t want to thaw your dumplings, you can deep fry them. To use less oil, pan fry them until crispy and then steam them.
Once you have the facts, you can have great food. Follow our coverage for more culinary guides.