In order to understand all these terms, let us begin with the word dumplings. The broad term used for all types of cooked balls of dough, whether with fillings or not, whether sweet or spicy, have a universal term – dumplings. Hence, dumplings are the common term for all such preparations, which are then named exquisitely according to the regions and cultures they belong to. Such is the dumpling.
The original dumplings were created to feed the poor or by the poor as it needed meat in smaller proportions. This was way back in the 17th century. Since then, the popularity of dumplings has grown across cultures as ethnic and savory food. Here are some popular varieties:
This staple street food of Delhi is a dumpling of Nepali and Tibetan origin, brought to the city by the refugees that have settled there in the last few decades. As the need for new kinds of snack food options arose in the capital, Momos have taken the prime seat among them. They are available in both veg and non-veg options and are famous in many parts of north and north east India.
These are dumplings native to northern China with a long and rich history. They are square shaped dough moulds filled with pork that has been seasoned with spices like garlic, ginger, green onion, etc. The finesse of the wonton is difficult to get perfectly, and many folk stories have been woven around it. In some parts of China, wontons were eaten in mid winter in memory of a doctor who added medicinal herbs in them to cure poor people of frost bites.
Other famous types of dumplings are ravioli from china, dimsum, gnocchi, etc. Ravioli and Gnocchi both have Italian origins; while Ravioli is strips of pasta filled with different kinds of stuffing which is then cooked, Gnocchi are balls of dough filled with potato, cheese and egg which are then boiled in water and served as a snack. Dim sums are also Chinese dumplings usually served with tea.
For Indians, this would mean that ‘samosas’ are also part of the family of dumplings as they are also cooked balls of dough filled with spices and potato and deep fried, served as everyday snacks. Other kinds of Indian dumplings are Pitha, Gujhia, Modak, Karanji, which are usually made during festivities or are extremely ethnic to the region of India they belong to.
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