Dumplings

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For those who miss dumplings and noodles, here ya go!  Only took me 4 years! :)

When you can’t have flour, it’s really really hard to make dumplings that will hold together during cooking. I’ve used almond flour, coconut flour, flax meal and a variety of alternate flours.  You name it and I’ve probably tried that alternate flour to make a dumpling.  This is no easy low-carb feat.  I wanted a similar taste and similar mouth feel as the dumplings I made before my low-carbing days.  All attempts thus far have been mediocre, at best.

Somewhere on the net a year or so ago, on some forum (probably Low Carb Friends, but not sure), someone mentioned they made dumplings with glucomannan powder.  Not being at all familiar with this product, I ordered some from Netrition.com and began to experiment.  Its gel-like, fibrous qualities lend themselves to a dumpling, providing structure and texture.  It is also useful for thickening gravies, sauces and puddings.  I’ve even found a tad of this stuff enhances low-carb cake, cookie and bread baking results, both in volume and texture.  I’d love to give credit to my inspiration on this recipe, but I must admit I failed to write down the name of the person who’s ingenious idea this really was.  But I’m thankful they triggered off some experimentation that has paid off!

If you’re not familiar with glucomannan powder, it comes from the Konjac tuber, and is used to make shirataki noodles seen in Asian menus.   It can be used as a binding agent in some recipes.  It is virtually a zero carb food, in that the fiber content is so high, it virtually negates the few carbs it contains as fiber is indigestible and passes right out of the system with zero blood sugar impact.   Most importantly, glucomannan adds the structure and elasticity needed for dumplings and noodles.  So I began experimenting.

I’m getting more comfortable using this tricky ingredient and have finally come up with a “dumpling” that feels and almost tastes like my dumplings of old.  This will now be my go-to low-carb dumpling recipe.  As you can see in the pic above, they hold together nicely during very gentle simmering (unlike all previous attempts), and the gluc powder also slightly releases in to the broth to thicken it as well!  NICE!

These were the best low-carb chicken and dumplings I’ve had in 4 years!  My husband gave these dumplings two thumbs up today, and he’s pretty picky.  They don’t have much taste, but pick up the flavor of whatever broth you cook them in.  The carb count for these dumplings is simply amazing!  Guilt free dumplings at last!!  YAAAAAAY!

The recipe posted elsewhere on my site for chicken and dumplings is good, don’t get me wrong.  But you have to bake the rolls separately for that recipe.   With this dumpling recipe, I can stir the ingredients together, drop them into the broth, and the dumplings are simmering immediately!  Much easier!  And you regular readers know I’m really in to EASY cooking.

These made up smaller work nicely in  soups and I have made small, oblong shapes for marvelous gnocchi served in rich cream sauces.  Some more adventurous cooks at Low Carb Friends forums are even using pasta extruders and coming up with all kinds of noodle shapes for this dough!  But I don’t own an extruder and probably wouldn’t go to that much trouble for noodles.  Just being very honest.  I’m a lazy cook. :)

These dumplings are not suitable until the grains rung of the Atkins OWL ladder due to the oat fiber, but omitting it is just not an option for good results.   I’m very proud to have developed a dumpling recipe that many who have tried freely admit fills a dumpling/noodle void in their low-carb lifestyles.  :)  This recipe isn’t 100% gluten-free and thus does not appear in Jennifer Eloff’s wonderful Low Carbing Among Friends cookbooks.  You’ll find many tasty and easy to cook recipes in her cookbooks any hostess would be happy to serve to family or guests. Check out some of those tasty dishes here:  LCAF Cookbook Facebook Page.

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1½ T. glucomannan powder (Konjac powder)

1½ T. oat fiber (NOT certified gluten-free)

1/8 tsp. salt

¼ c. +2 T. water

1 extra large or jumbo egg, beaten

If you prefer a firmer dumpling, either reduce the baking powder to 1/2 tsp or add 1/2 tsp. coconut flour to the dry ingredients.  I cooked one batch using coconut flour and it did have this effect.  But I prefer softer dumplings so I make mine as written above.

VARIATION:  Add 1-2 T. finely chopped parsley to the dry ingredients

DIRECTIONS:   Beat the egg in a small bowl with a fork.  Add the water and beat until well blended.  On a paper plate or in another bowl, mix the dry ingredients well.  Slowly sprinkle the dry ingredients into the wet, stirring with a fork or whisk.  Switching to a rubber spatula, stir and begin to fold the slowly thickening mixture over and over itself until it is a contiguous batter and eventually turns into a thick, almost dry dough.  I let mine sit by the stove 2-3 minutes.  Then, using a teaspoon, dip 3/4″-1″ dollops of the dough into your palm.  This step is important:  roll them slightly into a ball shape.  If you just drop them directly into the broth from the spoon without rolling, they tend to fall apart in the broth during cooking, invariably.  Or using your hands, roll the dough into ropes on plastic wrap and cut into short lengths for gnocchi, if that’s your pleasure.

Drop the dumplings/gnocchi into gently simmering broth or soup and cover.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  This is IMPORTANT, as you don’t want to “rough up” these delicate babies. From the time you cover the pot, set timer for exactly 10 minutes (only 8 minutes for small gnocchi).  I like to remove chicken, meat or large chunks of vegetables to a platter while the dumplings are simmering to allow ample room for the dumplings to rise and swell up. DO NOT LIFT THE LID or disturb the pot during this 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, lift the lid and VOILA!!  They’re done!  You may have to thicken the stock further depending on your personal preference, but the dumplings themselves usually take care of thickening for you.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:  Makes 12 medium-large 1½” dumplings, each contains:

7.17 calories

.49 g  fat

1.38 g  carbs, 1.29 g  fiber, .1 g  NET CARBS

.61 g  protein

55 mg sodium

6.5 mg potassium

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53 comments on “Dumplings

  1. These dumplings are amazing! They taste just like the carby versions! Do you have any idea if they’d freeze well, cooked or uncooked? I’m mostly thinking about making pasta ahead of time and freezing it uncooked for those days when I just can’t figure out what to eat.

    • Aren’t the just amazing? I consider this recipe to be a major low-carb triumph for me. So versatile, too. Paige, I know for a fact the COOKED dumplings freeze well. I made some 1″ gnocchi shapes and served with a pink wine cream sauce on top. I froze the leftovers, sauce and all. A week later, thawed and added a little more cream sauce on top and it was like I had just made them! I also tested freezing some c cooked but without sauce and that worked well, too. I don’t know about freezing RAW ones, however. I wouldn’t think that would work out, as they puff up in the moist heat. Freezing before they get a chance to “puff up” may “kill” that action. You’d just have to try and see, as I just don’t know. They’re so darn easy to make, I just make from scratch the day I want them. :)

    • Oh, you’re so sweet Susie, and quite the writer as well as cook! Your piece made me truly LOL. And the dumpling legend just keeps on-a growin’. I love seeing all the incredible tweaks and variations on my simple concoction. :)

  2. I gave these a try but must have done something wrong. They were way too dense. Kinda like rubber balls. Bleh. Any idea what I could’ve done differently?

    • Gee, Brenda, sorry they didn’t come out for you. I just don’t know what happened, as I’ve made this recipe probably dozens of times successfully (and many other readers have reported success as well). In fact, I just made them night before last with stewed chicken and they came out just like they always do for me, plump, slightly firm and slightly chewy. They’re definitely not poofy and airy like flour-based dumplings, as only flour can achieve that texture. But I wouldn’t call them hard like a “rubber ball” by any means. Only thing I can think of is you might have mismeasured one of the ingredients? I find they come out a bit “looser and softer” if dropped by teaspoonfuls rather than rolling into small balls in your palms. But if you try that method, I forwarn you they then will be inclined to break up in the broth unless the broth is kept barely simmering gently.

  3. Peggy, these dumplings came out great for me. I made them just a shade on the denser side. I wonder if they might even be tastier if I subbed 1/2 of the oat fiber with the Einkorn flour that you recently blogged about, and I ordered. That would only be 3/4 tbsp per batch, so maybe I will be lucky and not get a rise out of my blood sugar. Like the pierogi query, I am tempted to try to make Lithuanian “zeppelinis” out of these (a zeppelin shaped, mostly potato w/flour dumpling that is extremely labor intensive re the potato preps), but don’t have to stuff those. I have just had a hankering for those wonderful conveyors of bacon/butter/sour cream sauce… :D

    • Glad they came out for you! I’ve done some mini dumplings for a gnocchi application. Didn’t put any potato in them. A bit of the Einkorn might sub in for part of the oat fiber (or all of it even) as I put the OF in there just for flavor really, which you would get with the Einkorn. Carbs will go up with Einkorn though. ;)

      • Your gnocchi idea is what got me thinking about the zeppelinis…I wasn’t planning on using the potato part (very laborious). I know the Einkorn will bring up the carb count, but even totally subbing out the oat fiber with the Einkorn will increase carbs by only 6.75 net carbs for the whole recipe, if I counted correctly…so less than 3.4 extra carbs per serving. Thanks so much for all you do for all of us!

  4. I am wondering if you have any thoughts about adapting this recipe for a stuffed dumpling? I have been experimenting to make a low carb perogy with no success. Like your article mentions all my attempts with almond or coconut flour have crumbled up.

  5. I made these today and even my daughter who usually refuses to eat my “health food” ate two bowls of these! OMG they are such a keeper!!!! I did tweak by adding the parsley and some garlic powder to the dry mix, but I am going out to buy a bag of chicken thighs and make up enough to make my lunches for the week. Keep up the good recipes!!

    • I’m so glad you and your daughter liked these, Serena! I put some leftover ones into some homemade beef veggie soup last week and they were good leftover, too. :)

  6. Peggy, I made your dumplings and the recipe and results were great. I only had one problem. The dumplings had a slick mouth feel to them. What could I have done wrong? They looked great but I couldn’t get around the slick mouth feel of them. HELP, please. Janis Inman

    • Well, actually, even flour-based dumplings do that on the surface since they are submerged in liquid for 10 minutes to cook. Not sure you can ever get rid of that slick surface. We were discussing ways one might avoid that a bit on one of my LC forums yesterday and a few folks were going to try to drop the rolls onto some Carbquick bake mix or carbalose flour(wheat products), oat fiber or oat flour before dropping into the broth. But they were doing it to get a flour taste, not to change the surface texture. Another option you might consider that I actually did try was adding 1/2-1 tsp. coconut flour, but the dumplings will be much denser if you do that. You might try one of those options to see if you get a different sort of surface. But bear in mind the texture may change as a result.

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