by Nancy Baker
Author of Globally
Techniques & Tips
You will Learn in This Class:
- Making Traditional Czech dumplings
- Understanding the Varying Water
Content of Potatoes
- Adding Flavor and Variety to Dumplings
- Minimize Prep Time by Purchasing
- Storage of Dumplings
Globalization is not a new concept. Five
Hundred years ago, The Age of Exploration and the consequences
of the interchange amongst cultures brought about broad consequences,
both good and bad. The implications of this to the modern
diet are vast and fabulous. Take spaghetti which is credited
to Italy. The dish is a fusion of ingredients from two continents
and the creativity of a third - noodles from China, tomatoes
from the "New World", and the gastronomic ingenuity
of Italy. Our kitchens today are a wonderful mingling of ideas,
ingredients, and techniques from the world over, and still
The potato is grand example. Again, a native
of the "New World", the potato was quickly absorbed
into the diets of the cultures that were lucky to receive
it back into its ports. How this simple root has been used
is often similar in technique but utilizing local practices
Many people are already familiar with Italian
Gnocchi as a potato dumpling. But there are many examples
of how the potato has been made into dumplings by different
groups of people, the Italians being only one of them. Their
shape and consistency are just a bit different. This month
Id like to highlight the traditional Czech Dumpling
This recipe is from Ivana Nova, a native
of Kladno, Czech Republic. My son, Marco, was adopted from
an orphanage in the eastern region of the Czech Republic.
Ivana made these dumplings for him as a comfort food when
he first arrived into our home.
Serving suggestion: Serve with meat &
gravy. (Try serving this with Glutenfreeda.coms Beef
Stew w/ Wine Sauce or Osso
- 5-6 medium Russett potatoes, peeled and
cut in half
- 1 cup of cream of rice*
- 1 cup of rice flour
- 1/2 cup of potato starch
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- (Nutmeg or fine herbs to taste) OPTIONAL
*Note: Traditional Czech dumplings call
for Farina. Farina is considered to be "hard" wheat
flour. In recipes that call for farina, I have found that
cream of rice works well. In Spain, where I live, cream of
rice is called rice semolina.
Step 1: Place the potatoes in a large
pot and add enough water to cover the potatoes by 2 inches.
Add a couple generous pinches of salt. Bring to a boil.
Boil the potatoes until very tender. Drain and remove
|Step 2: Mash the potatoes with
a potato masher until fairly smooth.
||Step 3: Add cream of rice, rice
flour, potato starch, salt and egg. Work dough well, until
|Step 4: Form the dough into
|Step 5: Divide into 5 long dumplings,
shaped somewhat like a hoagie roll. Roll and pat the outside
until no seams appear.
|Step 6: Place into salted boiling
water. Stir immediately to
keep dumpling from sticking to the pot. Cook for 20 minutes.
Remove from the water and drain. Let cool briefly. While
still warm, pat the outside to reincorporate the sticky
||Step 7: Using string (sewing
thread works great) cut through the dumplings making1/4
Note: The traditional Czech version has sliced
dumplings. But they can be shaped into other shapes. You
must adjust the cooking time, but they work well.
|Step 8: Serve with soup, goulash,
or seeped in gravy.
Understanding the Varying Water Content
Potatoes have different levels of water
content. Each time you make a dumpling depending on the size,
age, and variety of potato, you might need to adjust the ratios
of potato to grain (rice flour or cream of rice). After sealing
the edges of the dumpling, I normally test it alone. If the
first dumpling falls apart in the boiling water, add rice
flour to the dumpling mixture until the dumplings hold together
in the water. It is an easy technique.
Adding Flavor & Variety to Dumplings:
I often add Italian spices, parmesagne
cheese, or nutmeg to the dumplings. It gives them a bit of
Minimize Prep Time by Purchasing Frozen
For recipes that require mashed potatoes,
when time is short I sometimes begin with OBrien
Style frozen potatoes. Unlike instant potatoes, these
taste just the same, but do sometimes have a different consistency.
These are cubed potatoes that you can find in the frozen food
section. Read labels, as many are just potatoes but some have
added ingredients that can change the consistency. I just
boil the potatoes for about 5 10 minutes (depending
on the size of the cubes), drain, and then mash them.
Storage of Dumplings:
Wrap the dumplings tightly in plastic wrap
that has been sprinkled with potato starch. You can then keep
the dumplings in the refrigerator. According to Ivana, they
can be kept in the fridge for a bit of time.
Here are some other variations of potato
dumplings Ive found around the world that I hope you
From Krizstina "Kitty" Fulop of
Serving Suggestion: Serve with Goulash.
(Try serving this with Glutenfreeda.coms Beef
Stew w/ Fennel). Hungarian goulash or gulyas is a
soup. The Viennese version is more of a stew. Kittys
family recipe can be found in my cookbook, but online you
can find many worthwhile versions, as well. These dumplings
are also great in chicken soup.
- 2 medium-sized potatoes
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter or lard
- 3 tablespoons rice flour, plus
- 1 egg
- a pinch of salt and a dash of nutmeg
Boil unpeeled potatoes in plenty of water. When done,
peel and mash while still warm. Add the butter, rice flour,
egg, and salt. Mix the dough and knead it well. If the dough
does not incorporate completely add a bit of rice flour.
Using a spoon, cut off pieces of dough.
Lightly flour your hands with rice flour and roll the pieces
into small elliptical dumplings. Drop dumplings into boiling
soup and cook for about 5 minutes, until tender.
German Potato Dumplings
From Sabine Knichl of Hamburg, Germany
Serving Suggestion: Serve with pot roast,
vegetables and gravy. (Try serving this with Glutenfreeda.coms
w/ Glazed Onions)
My neighbors in Budapest, were Germans.
Interestingly, Sabines husband was a German-Hungarian
or Swabian. His family had been in Hungary for generations,
but were sent back to Germany following World War Two.
- 1 pound of potatoes
- 1/4 of a cup of cream of rice
- 2 eggs
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- Salt and peer to taste
- Rice flour if needed
Boil the potatoes until fully cooked. Beat
and egg until fluffy. Add the cold, grated, boiled potatoes,
cream of rice, salt, and pepper, and knead well. Depending
on how watery the potatoes are, rice flour may be needed in
order to get a dough that is neither too firm nor too pasty.
Form round dumpling balls, and cook in barely simmering salted
water for 15 minutes.
Nancy Baker, the mother of two sons,
the oldest with Celiac disease, currently resides in Madrid,
Spain. Nancy is the wife of a diplomat and as such has had
the opportunity to live in Budapest, Prague and now Spain.
Nancy has compiled a fabulous collection of gluten-free ethnic
delights from all over the world, offered in her first book,
Globally Gluten Free. Globally Gluten Free focuses
on international recipes, techniques and ingredients. Her
book will be available for sale before Christmas. For more
information about Nancys new book please contact Nancy