Dumplings are universal. Some version of dough wrapped around a delicious filling can be found almost anywhere in the world. From Chinese pork buns and Georgian khinkali, to Swedish pitepalts and South African souskluitjies, dumplings come in all shapes, sizes and flavors from all corners of the globe.
One bond all dumplings share is that across the board they are supremely comforting. Eaten as an appetizer or dessert, a side or main meal, they are perfect at any time of day, and always beloved by everyone. Dumplings just might be the ultimate comfort food.
These Cantonese steamed buns are traditionally served as dim sum. The dough is fluffy and chewy, and usually filled with barbecued pork.
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These pouches of flaky, fried dough can be found everywhere from Europe to Latin America to South East Asia. We could write an entire post on the different variations -- they might be be stuffed with spicy tuna fish in Cape Verde or chicken in Argentina. The dough might be flour or corn-based. Some people consider them too big to be a dumpling, but what's wrong with that?
Fried Taro Dumplings
These sweet and savory Chinese dumplings are made with mashed taro root and stuffed with pork. They are often served as dim sum.
A yam-based dumpling, the fufu is common in Central and West Africa. Pounded yams -- or other starchy vegetables -- are formed into dough and then boiled and served in or alongside a stew. The dough might be filled with lamb or chicken.
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Italian dumplings made with either potato or flour and egg, these pillows of pasta vary greatly by region. Whether they're made with spinach and ricotta, sage and brown butter or a simple red sauce, they're always delicious.
These Japanese dumplings are usually pan-fried and dipped in a mixture of rice vinegar, soy sauce and chili oil. A thin layer of dough is wrapped around either ground meat or vegetables, and pinched together at the edges to form the dumpling. In Chinese, they're called Jiaozi.
Steamed, shrimp-filled pockets, these Chinese dumplings are traditionally served in dim sum.
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These German potato dumplings are a common side to meat dishes. They're made with potatoes and/or semolina flour and then boiled.
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These Georgian dumplings traditionally contain a spiced meat but might also contain cheese and herbs. The flour-based dough is wrapped around the raw filling and then twisted at the top before being put in a pot to boil.
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Often called "Jewish Ravioli" these dumplings are often served in soup. The flour-based dough is often mixed with an egg, and the filling might be beef or potatoes.
These Polish dumplings can be filled with cheese, potatoes, sauerkraut, mushrooms, meat or fruit. They're boiled and then either pan-fried or baked.
Swedish dumplings made from potatoes and barley or wheat flour, Pitepalts get their name from their place of origin -- a town called Piteå. They are usually stuffed with meat and served with lingonberry jam or butter.
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These dumplings from Central Asia are stuffed with beef or lamb and served with yogurt sauce. They're often seasoned with red pepper powder.
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These dumplings are found in Nepal, Tibet and parts of Northern India. The dough is steamed and often made thicker with yeast. They can also be pan-fried, and traditionally contain ground meat.
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These Italian pasta pillows can be filled with vegetables, meat, cheese or a combination of all three. It goes without saying that Italian grandmothers make them best, but even the packaged stuff holds up well.
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Samosa are a fried Indian pastries with a hard, crispy shell. They're usually filled with potatoes, peas and spices, and sometimes meat.
Commonly known as shumai, these Chinese dumplings can be filled with shrimp, chicken or pork, and are typically eaten as dim sum.
South African dessert dumplings, souskluitjies are made with butter and covered in a cinnamon syrup.
These Chinese dumplings can be boiled and served in soup, or deep-fried and served with dipping sauces. Their preparation varies by region -- they often contain pork, but could also be made with chicken, shrimp, vegetables or crab.
Xiaolongbao - Or Soup Dumplings
These steamed dumplings from Shanghai are known as soup dumplings for the injection of broth that they contain -- which keeps the meat inside flavorful and moist. They're typically served in bamboo baskets and traditionally filled with pork, but can also be filled with a combination of pork and crab meat.
Correction: This post originally stated that momos typically contain beef, however the meat in momos varies by region, and might include yak, chicken or lamb.