Infuse Your Water With Ginger For Better Homemade Dumplings

Is there a more enjoyable food than little bits of meat wrapped in dough? Here's to dumplings of all shapes, sizes, and styles! There are so many types to choose from, and so many opportunities to play with flavor and texture. But speaking specifically about steamed dumplings, per two-time James Beard Award-winning author Kristina Cho, it's all about the dough.

Once you've got the proper dough and filling prepared, sealed up, and ready to steam, the most important thing to consider is seasoning your water to bring all of the elements together. With plain water, flavor can really only plateau; however, infusing your steaming water with fresh ginger brings the taste of your homemade dumplings to all-new heights.

How does this work? Ginger is a staple in the steamed dumpling flavor profile, so adding it to your steaming water allows the essence to permeate the dough and through into the filling of your dumplings for an extra boost to the taste. When using fresh ginger root, carefully slicing it either by hand or with a mandolin will ensure extra potency once added to your steaming water.. This punch of spice can also be paired alongside dried spices such as star anise or Sichuan peppercorns to further enrich your dumplings.

Spice up your steamed dumplings

Making dumplings by hand is an arduous task, but well-worthwhile upon sampling the richly delicious results. Starting with excellent dough and finely crafted filling before steaming in seasoned water will ensure a depth of taste as the reward for your efforts.

Indigenous to Southern China, ginger is a staple flavor in Asian cuisine and is typically present in the filling of a variety of dumplings, ranging from robust steamed beef dumplings to lighter pork and chive dumplings, and everything in between. As such, it's a natural addition to flavor your steaming water.

Considering the filling you're making for your specific dumplings can also inform other seasonings you choose to add to your steaming water. For example, while ginger and peppercorns add spice and heat, star anise has a more licorice-like sweetness, and is commonly included in Chinese beef dishes, as well as Vietnamese pho. Lemongrass, characterized by its citrusy and mild ginger type of flavor, is commonly found in Thai dishes. Expertly seasoning your steaming water is just one more way to ensure your homemade dumplings will dazzle every time.