When it comes to weeknight ingredient shortcuts, I am a big fan of the grocery store freezer section. Whether it’s frozen chopped onions for French onion soup, a bag of chopped peppers for quick fajitas, or a couple of cups of frozen peas to enhance, well, anything, these items not only save time, but are often just as flavorful as their fresh counterparts.
What I usually stay away from, however, are frozen prepared items, like pizzas and single-serve entrees, that are all too often full of far too many processed ingredients and far too little flavor. One exception: frozen steamed Chinese dumplings, gyoza, and the like. These can be prepared easily as directed for an ultra-quick but still flavor-packed dinner. Plus, you can choose just about any filling (pork, vegetable, seafood or chicken) you prefer. When I’ve got a little more time (and ingredients on hand), I do, however, prefer to turn them into a quick wonton-style soup.
To further complement the flavor of the dumplings — and to help stave off any late-winter cold — I add in a hefty amount of minced or grated fresh ginger, along with a full bunch of thinly sliced scallions. I like to add both in stages: the scallion whites and two-thirds of the ginger are cooked in a thin, hot layer of toasted sesame oil until they soften and mellow, and then the greens and remaining ginger add a bright pop of flavor right before serving the soup. Between those steps, all you need is a box of chicken broth, an equal amount of water, a generous quarter cup of soy sauce, and the dumplings themselves. At my neighborhood Kroger, I can find frozen dumplings in a variety of bag sizes; a package that weighs a pound and half will serve about four people. I like pork dumplings for this recipe, but feel free to use any flavor you’d like. If you’re serving vegetarians, vegetable dumplings and vegetable broth will work just fine.
The dumplings only need a few minutes to cook in the simmering broth. (Take care to cook them just until they’re heated through to avoid mushy dumpling skins.) Finish with a drizzle of sesame oil. It’ll add an unbeatable fragrance and luster to the final dish.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.