Frozen foods have transformed the way we eat. They have made it simpler and easier to prepare anything from a quick lunch to a family dinner in a fraction of the time required with fresh food. However, some foods can be a bit daunting, even in frozen form.
Dumplings are a prime example – they’re incredible fresh, but they’re just as good when cooked from frozen, and they can be the cornerstone of a delicious meal, and also make a great snack. However, whether we’re talking pot-stickers or bao, cooking those frozen dumplings can be a challenge.
There’s good news. It doesn’t have to be hard. Here’s what you should know to perfect the art pf cooking frozen dumplings.
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Regardless of what the packaging claims, frozen dumplings don’t cook all that well from a completely frozen state. That leads to sticking to the pan and clumping together. Instead, let them partially thaw by setting them on the counter for about 15 minutes before you cook them.
One of the simplest cooking methods is to boil your partially frozen dumplings. To do this, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and then add the dumplings. When they start to float, add a cup of cold water and watch them sink back down. When the water comes back to a boil, they will eventually float once more. Turn off the heat, add your preferred sauce, and serve.
You can straight up steam your frozen dumplings if you want. To do this, you’ll need a wok or pot such as you would use for boiling, a couple of cups of water, and a bamboo steamer insert with a liner of some sort (Napa cabbage works, but so does vented parchment paper). Line the basket, add the dumplings, cover the basket, and then bring the water to a boil. Cook your dumplings for about 10 minutes and you should have a delicious meal.
Pan frying is one of the best ways to serve frozen dumplings, but can be very daunting with all the popping and snapping as oil and water meet. This method gets around most of that. Add at least a tablespoon of oil (a high smoke point type) and get it good and hot. Then, add the dumplings so that you get a complete layer over the bottom of the pan. Add a half-cup of cold water and cover the pan. Cook the dumplings on low heat for about 10 minutes and all the water is cooked off. Serve them when cooked through and the bottoms are golden and crispy.
Of course, you can go the pan-frying route if you want – just omit the water and cook your dumplings in the heated oil until cooked through. Just be prepared for the mess this causes.
As a final note, you can make the process even faster, although the texture of the dumplings might be a bit off. Microwave your dumplings with a bit of water until thawed, usually just a couple of minutes. Then, add them to a frying pan with hot oil and cook until they’re golden brown.
Frozen dumplings can be delicious and simple to prepare – anyway you choose!