Adding pasta or dumplings to soup is a great way to get children interested. They get to fish out whatever looks appetizing and in the process become more familiar with the different flavors and vegetables that can hang out in soups.
This simple recipe has been tricky for me to write specific measurements for. The amount of liquid varies widely depending on the type of flour used. However, once you know the consistency you are going for, these are really easy and can help make a brothy soup more enticing for children.
I usually make these with whole barley flour, but have been successful with whole wheat, whole spelt, cornmeal and buckwheat. Each flour adds its own personality and needs a different amount of liquid. Sorry. No way around it! The amount of liquid in this recipe is specific to barley flour. By using other types of flour, these dumplings can easily be made gluten-free.
1 cup whole barley flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of sea salt
3/4 cup boiling water or vegetable broth (adjust for salt content of the broth)
1. In a medium size bowl, mix the dry ingredients together.
2. Add the boiling water and stir, taking care to not overmix. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Consistency: The dough should be very soft, but still able to hold a shape. If too dry, add a little more liquid.
3. Bring a pot with water and a steamer basket to a low boil. Drop tablespoon sized spoonfuls of dough into the basket being careful they don’t touch. Cover with a lid and steam for 5-8 minutes. They are done when they are spongy and have lost their stickiness. Rolling the dough into balls creates a dense dumpling, rather than dropping which creates a lighter dumpling. The dumplings won’t look pretty, but children don’t usually care and it won’t matter so much when they are in the soup.
4. Add dumplings to a brothy soup, such as the Spring Vegetable Soup or Miso Soup before serving. The dumplings themselves don’t have a lot of flavor (unless you use the vegetable broth), but will soak up flavor from the soup broth.
If you make these with water, you can serve leftover dumplings as a snack with a little fruit sweetened jam or sweet vegetable jam.
Use dumplings to dip into a thicker purèed vegetable soup, like Creamy Squash Soup.
Add dumplings near the end of a vegetable stir fry and let them soak up some of the sauce.
If you try this with whole wheat flour I am sure it will need more liquid than this recipe calls for.
Refrain from stirring the batter again after adding the liquid in the beginning. These dumplings work best when they are kept fluffy and steamed that way.