QUIZ: How About Those Dumplings?

matzoh ball soup Joan Bernstein

Matzoh ball soup (Jewish).

Dumplings are all the rage right now. How well do you know your dumplings? Are they the soft or mildly firm rounds that you drop into chicken soup or stew, or the filled geometric shapes like gyoza  or pierogi, that you steam and/or fry? Let’s find out!

In the left column is a list of dumplings from around the world. On the right are the numbered sources  out of order. Match the dumpling to its specific country or ethnic origin.  You’ll probably want to print out the quiz. Then I’ll tell you a little about dumplings, enough to whet your appetite for the recipes in a couple of future articles- or look them up on your own. Answers are at the bottom of the page. Have fun! (None are obscure, but some are more common than others. These are a tiny sampling of the world’s dumpling largesse. No cheating!)

  1. Papas Rellenas                                                                          A. Norway
  2. galuska                                                                                        B. Jewish
  3. nockerl                                                                                         C. Puerto Rico
  4. varenysky                                                                                    D. Scotland
  5. pozi                                                                                               E. Arabic
  6. Norfolk                                                                                         F. Germany
  7. risk                                                                                                G. Armenia
  8. boraki                                                                                           H. China
  9. apple dumpling                                                                           I. Latin America
  10. pastelles                                                                                        J. Russia
  11. spätzle                                                                                           K. Africa
  12. tortellini                                                                                        L. India
  13. kreplach                                                                                        M. Jewish
  14. pierogi                                                                                           N. Great Britain
  15. palt                                                                                                 O. Peru
  16. knoedels                                                                                        P.Austria
  17. clooties                                                                                          Q. USA
  18. gnocchi                                                                                          R. Afghanistan
  19. kubbah                                                                                           S. China
  20. halusky                                                                                          T. Brazil
  21. asida                                                                                               U. Nepal
  22. manti                                                                                              V. Sweden
  23. wonton                                                                                          W. Iraqi/Jewish
  24. pitha                                                                                               X. Germany
  25. pelmani                                                                                          Y. Italy
  26. mandu                                                                                            Z.Belarus
  27.  dim sum                                                                                     AA. Sweden
  28. samosa                                                                                         BB. China
  29. momos                                                                                         CC. Siberia
  30. empanadas                                                                                  DD. Italy
  31. jiaozi                                                                                             EE. Jewish
  32. souskluitjies                                                                                FF. Korea
  33. pasties                                                                                          GG. Bavaria
  34. matzoh balls                                                                               HH. India Subcontinent
  35. kams                                                                                             II.   Italy
  36.  dango                                                                                           JJ. Poland
  37. coxinhas                                                                                       KK. Japan
  38. ravioli                                                                                           LL.. Ukraine
  39. knish                                                                                            MM. England
  40. lieber kloss                                                                                  NN.  Hungary

Dumplings may be sweet or savory. The exterior is often pastry, combining one or another variety of flour—wheat, barley, rice, potato, for instance—mixed with liquid, often sugar and/or spices. Once filled, they are steamed (like potstickers), fried ( like knishes), boiled (like knoedels), baked (like empanadas), and usually served in or with another liquid or sauce. Fried dumplings usually come with dipping sauce. There are dumplings no bigger than a fingernail, while several inches in diameter may be the norm elsewhere. A dumpling may be stuffed to bursting with meat, vegetables, fish or fruit, or it may be a single bite of robust flavor. There is one Indian dumpling that is no more than a spoon dipped in milk, then in flour, and scraped into a stew to cook. When meat is scarce, dumplings extend a meal. Soup dumplings can be solid, light as air, or carry a weighty contrasting texture in the center. Small dumplings are often served as appetizers; two or three different appetizers can make a meal. It’s a terrific way to taste a variety of dishes and to share, especially when there may be several different preparations of the same dish. Thai “little bags,” ultra-thin pastry filled like a chubby paper bag squeezed tight at the neck, tied with a strand of onion or chive, might be filled with minced meat, vegetables, shrimp, even fruit. In one country, the so-called dumpling is baked as a loaf, and served in slices. Meat stews are a natural vehicle for the soft drop dumplings that cook ‘under cover’ in a deep, broad Dutch oven, on top of the stove, or a deep roasting pan in the oven, convenient for taking to a church supper or a potluck where a hungry crowd gathers. Nor would chicken soup be the same without matzoh balls, be they light and fluffy or the legendary family “cannonballs” (also called “sinkers”).

With frozen goods from all over the world in our markets, you can treat yourself to exotic dumplings whenever you like, but making them yourself can be a lot of fun, even a family project. A production line can produce enough to fill your freezer, if you put your mind to it. You’d be surprised how quickly you start to reach for them without even thinking about it.

The word dumpling lends itself to another meaning. A plump child may be referred to endearingly as a “dumpling.” Can you picture the rosy cheeks? “Sugar and spice and everything nice …”

Click here for the answers to the dumpling quiz.

Featured photo, Shanghai Dumpling House in Fei Long Market, by Evan Sklar.