(Image source: www.omnomally.com)
Once I heard a lady I know citing her reason for avoiding dumplings as “They’ve got too much carbohydrate! That’s not good for you!”
But when you really look at dumplings…
The pastry you use for each dumplings are extremely thin and small
A stack like this one makes 30 dumplings. And this stack would only be about 2 and a half inches tall.
This is around a cup of carbohydrate, equivalent to a cup of rice noodles, although obviously you’re not going to be so voracious as to chow down all 30 dumplings by yourself without sharing! As a result, the amount of carbs you’d be consuming with a plate of dumplings will be very minimal, making dumplings a fairly low calorie food.
By simply paring 8-9 vegetable-filled dumplings with some fiberous vegetables to keep you fuller for longer (i.e. kale, spinach) you’ve got yourself a guilt-free Chinese treat!
(As pictured above, 10 dumplings are still less than a cup of carbohydrate, but the amount of fillings will fill you up. The spicy and sour sauce help boost metabolism!) In case you were wondering, the fillings were a mixture of super healthy mushroom, soy protein (to make it a balanced meal, although wheat flour from the pastry would already contain a substantial amount of protein), carrots, onions, cabbage, leek, vermicelli, garlic.
Also, the dumplings’ pastries are not by any means filled with lard like pie pastries. As the word “pastry” suggest; they’re actually similar in composition to rice noodles i.e. flour, salt, water (mostly uses wheat instead of rice flour which are higher in calories) and some brands add in a bit of vegetable oil I think (you can always check the labels).
And if you want to go even healthier with dumplings, go ahead and make your own whole-wheat alternatives! (They’ve been trialled)
(Image source: www.getoffyourtushandcook.com)
Although I’d just stick with your typical dumplings (easier to source out) because refined carbs every once in a while is not gonna kill you.
In summary, don’t be afraid to order dumplings as a food option at Chinese restaurants, thinking they are loaded with carbs. Although the meat-filled ones will probably be a bit higher in calories, steamed vegetable dumplings will definitely be one of the healthiest options on the restaurant’s menu. Even pan-fried dumplings will probably win out against greasy, oily, fried noodles; or even stir-fried veggies swimming in oil. So, I’d suggest filling up on these purely steamed dumplings before you dig into your sugary sweet and sour pork, oily black bean sauce beef or fried rice.