What is a dumpling? The definition varies; some say it can be made of flour, others potatoes, maybe even rice or bread. It can be a ball of dough or a thin piece of pastry. It may have a filling and contain cheese or meat or vegetables, or it may stand alone. You can fry it, boil it, bake it, steam it, and stew it. In essence, a dumpling is whatever the hell you want it to be. You could just about fling a bowling ball into a hammock and call it a dumpling if only you can find a unique way to serve it.
I love dumplings. As a kid, my grandmother would toss massive wads of dough into her Scottish Stew, creatively “dough balls” (she was hardly Robert Burns) which would puff up and soak up the meat juices. I love nothing more than sitting at a gyoza bar, sipping beer and sake as plate after plate of delicious steamed and fried parcels are delivered. I adore filling my face with Chinese pork buns as I walk from stall to stall in the open air markets and enjoying the aromas of the various street food kiosks.
My favourite form of dumpling to make at home though is gnocchi and when I’m cooking for my Lady I find that it is the perfect way to show off in the kitchen, especially if it’s made from scratch.
Get ready to get your hands sticky with The Culinary Barbarian’s Satiating, Wholemeal Sweet Potato Gnocchi recipe, served with a creamy garlic sauce, guaranteed to make your lady sigh with contentment.
1 med orange sweet potato (kumera)
1 med purple sweet potato (Hawaiian)
(combined weight 1kg aprox, pealed and roughly chopped into 5cm pieces)
2 cups wholemeal plain flour (aprox)
Olive Oil and/ or butter
2 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic
1 cup portabello mushrooms, sliced
1 cup pouring cream
1 handfull of baby spinach
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot of water, boil the potatoes until they are soft and break apart easily with a fork and tender. Strain and allow to steam dry.
- While still hot transfer to a mixing bowl and mash until fluffy
- Gradually begin adding the wholemeal flour ¼ cup at a time and mix through the hot mashed potato with a wooden spoon until it begins to form a dough, then knead the flour in with your hands until firm, but not too sticky.
- Lightly knead on a floured bench and separate the dough into 4 lots. Roll the dough into thin sausages on the floured bench until the dough becomes as thin as the width of your thumb.
- Cut the dough into thumbnail sized pieces (about 2 cm or the width of a fork), roll gently into balls and roll over a floured fork to form small ridges on the dumpling. Set aside onto a floured tray.
- In a pot of boiling salted water, add the gnocchi one serving portion at a time evenly across the base of the pot, ensuring that they don’t overcrowd as they can stick. Bring the water back to boil and when the dumplings rise to the surface, they are done. About 3 min. remove with a slotted spoon and drain in a large container. Drizzle with a little oil to prevent sticking. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi.
- In a frying pan on med heat melt 2 tbsp butter. Add garlic and mushrooms and sauté until slightly browned. Pour in cream and bring to boil.
- Add the gnocchi to the pan and toss through the sauce. Add the spinach and parmesan and stir through. Season to taste.