Thuringia Meets Asia: Dumpling Sushi and Dim Sum

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If the British have their roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and the French the Blanquette de veu – then this is Thuringia's all-time classic Sunday lunch - beef roulade stuffed with paper-thin slices of bacon, onion and gherkins and spread with a hint of sharp mustard and served with braised red cabbage spiced with all-spice, juniper berries and cloves. The steaming hot potato dumplings - the famous Thuringian klöße are the exceptional darlings of every family here in Thüringen.

While each region in Germany has its own specific recipe which are either made of potatoes, bread, semolina or flour, the best-loved dumplings is also the most labor-intensive. Making Thuringian potato dumplings is often a family affair. The dough is a mix of cooked, mashed potatoes and grated, raw potatoes that have been pressed to remove all of their liquids. My mother-in-law swears the key to the proper consistency is to put away the food processor and grate the heap of potatoes by hand. The dough is then wrapped around a couple of buttery croutons, and then the dumpling is cooked in barely simmering water.

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While travelling Thuringia for the Kulinarik food adventure I have had the valuable opportunity to meet so many passionate people – professionals in their fields, working on the love of food alone! It’s been a revelation for me on so many levels and travelling to Heichelheim – the capital of the Thüringian dumplings was a remarkable experience.

It is here in Heichelheim at the “Thüringer Kloßmanufaktur” where the famous Heichelheimer Klöße are produced. But there is so much more to this location as Dieter Fisher, the manager of the company tells me on my visit. He tells me that the klöße were in actual fact an accidental by-product. After the great famine of 1777 the rulers of the region began growing potatoes on a large scale. Bread being very expensive, potatoes quickly became the staple food for the population of Thuringia. To retrieve the starch, potatoes were pressed to remove the liquid and as the remaining side product – the potato mass – was not to be wasted, the housewives created what today has become Thuringia's epic side – the Thuringia Klöße!
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At the Heichelheimer Kloßmanufaktur Dieter Fisher has captured some of the historic moments in the Kloßmuseum. Over 45.000 visitors come here each year and the museum takes them into a whole new world showing them not only how these dumplings evolved but also how the region of Thuringia grew as a result. This however is Dieter Fischer’s hobby, his main activity is producing high quality potato products that are then sent off to the rest of the country. From potato fritters, to potato pancakes and of course the Thüringer klöße are all produced here. To assist the busy young housewife in the kitchen the company produces not only ready-made frozen dumplings but also the actual classic potato dumpling mix, which need only to be formed and simmered in salted water for 20 minutes.

Dieter Fisher tells me the secret to the Thüringer Klöße mixture is two-thirds raw finely grated potatoes and one-third cooked mashed potatoes. As I get the opportunity to actually prepare a few dumplings myself I cannot help but think “How lucky that Heichelheimer sell the mixture!” After grating a few potatoes per hand my arms were rather numb!

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I used this mixture to create something new - bringing Asia to Thuringia. Inspired by one of my favorite German films “Sushi in Suhl” the Heichelheimer potato mix became a great source of experimentation. Over a period of a few weeks I tested and developed a few exciting ideas with the team at Thüringen Tourismus GmbH. We wanted to give the readers a platform for new ideas with the traditional Thüringian flavors … and so we present the “Kloß Sushi” and “Kloß Dim Sum”.

For both, the fillings are reminiscent of the traditional beef roulades and dumpling meal using the flavors of hot mustard, caramelized onions, crunchy gherkins and crispy bacon to create texture and hopefully excitement for your taste buds. Enjoy!

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The latest trailer for the campaign with me trying my hand and making the dumplings from scratch!

Recipe: Dumpling Sushi and Dim SUM

By
Prep Time:
Total Time:
Serves: 6 as appetizers

Ingredients

Dumpling Sushi
  • 1 Heichelheimer dumpling recipe(see notes below)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 beef roulade, thin and cut from the topside
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tablespoons hot mustard
  • 3-4 gherkins, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 slices of bacon, cut into strips
  • Chives
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. To make the filling for the Dumpling-Sushi, heat one tablespoon oil in a skillet until very hot. Fry the beef roulade on each side for not more than 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove, cover with foil and allow to rest.
  2. Lower the heat then add 1 tablespoon oil and gently sauté the onions until caramelized and tender. Remove and set aside. Turn up the heat again and fry the bacon until crisp.
  3. Place a piece of plastic wrap on your countertop. Spread the potato dumpling mixture on the plastic wrap in a rectangle approx. 20 x 30 cm. Make sure the roulade does not become too thin – it should be approx. 2cm in thickness. Using a knife spread the hot mustard along the whole length of the dumpling mixture. Then add the caramelized onion, bacon strips and gherkin slices. Cut the beef into strips and spread them on the potato mixture too. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Taking the plastic wrap from its longest edge gently but tightly roll the potato roulade. Once completely rolled, carefully remove the plastic wrap and pinch the sides and the seam shut so that now on the filling falls out. Heat the remaining oil in the skillet. Place the entire roll in your skillet and fry on all sides until crispy and golden. Remove and place on a wooden board. Allow to cool so that you can handle it with your fingers then using a sharp knife cut about 3cm thick slices.
  5. Wrap a single chive around each sushi and tie carefully. Serve on platters either warm or at room temperature with the typical sushi condiments if desired.
Dumpling Dim Sum
  • 1 Heichelheimer dumpling recipe(see notes below)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 beef roulade, thin and cut from the topside
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tablespoons hot mustard
  • 3-4 gherkins, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 slices of bacon, cut into strips
  • Black sesame seed (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. To make the filling for the Dumpling-Dim Sum, heat one tablespoon oil in a skillet until very hot. Fry the beef roulade on each side for not more than 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove, cover with foil and allow to rest. Then chop finely.
  2. Lower the heat then add 1 tablespoon oil and gently sauté the onions until caramelized and tender. Remove and set aside. Turn up the heat again and fry the bacon until crisp.
  3. Mix mustard, gherkins, beef, bacon and onions in a clean bowl. The filling should not be homogenous but not paste-like.
  4. Taking a small pieces of the dumpling mixture roll into balls. Flatten on the heel of your palm add about a teaspoon (more if required) of filling into the center and then pull the sides of the dumpling and pinching them together to close it. Once all the Dumpling-dim sum are ready heat the remaining oil in a skillet and quickly fry the bottom of the dumpling until slightly brown then add about 40 -50 ml water, cover and allow to steam for 4-5 minutes.
  5. Remove from the pan, sprinkle the sesame seeds (if using) on the top, allow to cool slightly and serve on a large platter with the usual sushi / dim sum condiments.
Notes
You can use the following recipe for the dumpling mixture. Follow the instructions till you have the mixture but do not form them as instructed.

Verdict

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This is a fun recipe and we enjoyed our experiments with all our ideas. I did figure this recipe would be one of those that causes a bit of ruckus as I dared to take a quintessential and sacred traditional product here in Thuringia and totally take it out of its comfort zone to create something out of the box. This Asian inspired idea did create a controversial furor, many loved it and some were rather miffed to say the least. However, I am a person who enjoys bringing together flavors from different parts of worlds and love exploring different possibilities. Traditional recipes, be it from my Indian roots or from my adopted German sources are important for me. They ground me and show me the importance of our traditions. The typical dish of “Rindsrouladen, rotkohl & Kartoffelklöße” - beef roulades with braised cabbage and German dumplings is my favorite German meal and no one makes it better than my mother-in-law - I absolutely enjoy each morsel with gusto. But I cannot help myself when my imagination gets carried away with all the possibilities. I do this with my own Indian recipes too - for me it’s a way of progressing and developing my ideas further. After all if those housewives all those years ago were not so creative and visionary and actually did throw away the side product after getting the starch from the potatoes - the dumpling might never have been found!

This recipe even got me a whole page in Germany’s most read tabloid newspaper the “Bild” which has the sixth largest circulation worldwide. Not bad for some dumpling sushi and dim sum!

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You might like these ideas from WFLH:

BeefStroganoff_0003-CR Königsberger Klöpse_0007-WM Ossobuco with Prunes, Apricots and Saffron  (0009) by Meeta K. Wolff
Beef Stroganoff Königsberger Klopse - German Meatballs in a Creamy Caper Sauce Ossobuco with Prunes, Apricots and Saffron


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2015 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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12 comments:

  1. A wonderful creation and take on Thüringer Klöße! Those dumpling sushi and dim sums look fantastic and delicious.

    Congrats on the feature!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. Thank you Rosa! These really were great - just a bit out of the box!

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  2. Haha, my celebrity friend! I like the new "invention" of Klöße. And I really like what we all created for Thüringen entdecken! Kind of work I love to do! Hugs, Sandy

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    1. LOL! Your Indian friend tries to change your beliebtes dumpling ... I still like it with the rouladen but this is a pretty cool alternative!

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  3. Absolutely stunning!!! The recipe idea is genius and the styling out of this world! This totally rocks!

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    1. Thank you Anne! We need to get together and swap recipes and cook for each other!

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  4. Love the sound of those Thuringer flavours - the beef, the gherkins... mmmm it all comes together so beautifully with your Asian twist too.

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    1. I had a feeling you would have liked this. Maybe next time in Dubai we can make these together!

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  5. Replies
    1. Let me know what you thought of this Cate!

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta