When it comes to dumplings, good things really do come in small packages. Here’s how to pick the best of the bunch.
Dumplings, dim sims and gyoza have made their way out of Chinese and Japanese restaurants and into our supermarket freezers — so whipping up Asian-style meals at home has never been easier. With so many varieties available, there’s a lot to consider in terms of nutrition. Here’s what you need to know.
What’s on the shelf?
There’s a vast array of fillings on offer in supermarket dumplings, from meaty options such as beef, pork or chicken, to seafood and vegetables. There are plenty of exotic flavours on the market too, like ginger, chive, honey soy and Szechuan.
Dumplings, gyoza and dim sims all contain a relatively similar nutritional profile, regardless of their filling or flavourings. There are, however, two key nutrients to keep your eye on when looking at a bag of frozen dumplings:
Sodium is a risk factor for high blood pressure, so it’s wise to keep your intake low. A healthier dumpling contains less than 400mg sodium per 100g.
Limiting your intake of unhealthy saturated fat is important for your ticker too. Luckily, all frozen dumplings are relatively low, but prawn and vegetable options tend to be particularly light. Look for dumplings with less than 4g saturated fat per 100g.
Dish up your dumplings
It’s easy to fill up on dumplings, but alone they aren’t a balanced meal as they can be low in vegetables. For a dietitian-approved dinner, serve four to six dumplings with two to three servings of vegetables: a plate of steamed Asian greens, a bowl of edamame beans or a stir fry with of carrot, zucchini, squash and capsicum.
Dumplings are rarely eaten on their own. Instead, they’re often served in a soup or with a tasty dipping sauce. But these additions, can send your intake
of sodium soaring.
For a healthier broth, try making your own at home with reduced-salt stock and flavoursome ingredients like garlic, ginger and lemongrass. Use high-sodium products like soy sauce, fish sauce and miso sparingly.
For a healthier, lower-sodium dipping sauce, try:
➜ Peanut oil with a tiny dash of reduced-salt soy sauce
➜ Sweet chilli sauce
➜ Chilli oil
➜ Pureed kimchi
➜ Black vinegar & sesame oil
For more advice on dumplings, we recommend: Gyoza: The basics on Japanese dumplings or How to choose frozen dumplings