What to CookBack to SchoolLunchNot Sad Desk Lunch

Why You Should Be Eating Dumplings for Lunch

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As a defiant response to Sad Desk Lunches, the Food52 team works to keep our midday meals both interesting and pretty. Each week, we'll be sharing our happiest desk lunches -- and we want to see yours, too.

Today: Stuff some dumplings, then stuff your face for lunch. Betty Liu of le jus d'orange inspires lunch envy with tips on packing and making homemade dumplings.

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As the temperature stubbornly remains in the single digits, I find myself drawn towards warm lunches, avoiding staples like cold salads. One of my favorite warm things to bring for lunch, and among the easiest to prepare ahead of time, is dumplings with rice. During the weekends, I'll often make large batches of dumplings (dumpling parties, anyone?), then freeze the extra, and cook them the night before I pack them for lunch.

The best part about dumplings is that you can use anything to make fillings. I tend to lean towards two of my favorites: pork and chives for my meat option, and chives, egg, and vermicelli for my vegetarian option -- but these are only two out of numerous recipes out there. You can get creative with these and make them anything you'd like -- I remember that when I was maybe four years old, I would secretly wrap dumplings with no filling so that they came out as just chewy morsels of dough

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Some tips for packing dumplings:

  • After pan frying and steaming the dumplings to cook them, make sure they are completely cooled to room temperature before packing them. This will prevent excess odor and condensation.
  • Pack with rice, or another layer of food to prevent the smell of chives from escaping your tupperware.
  • If you can store your dumplings in a refrigerator, then feel free to pack meat ones. If not, you may want to pack vegetarian dumplings instead so they don’t spoil. Plus, heat will intensify odors, and with these chives dumplings, it may not be pleasant for your co-workers!
  • If you don’t want to bother with bringing containers of dipping sauce, simply increase the amount of soy sauce you add to the filling when making your dumplings. 
  • Seal the tupperware tightly for your commute, as always!

When it’s finally lunchtime, simply pop them into the microwave for 2 minutes and enjoy a warm, hearty meal of dumplings. 

View (and save and print) Betty's full recipe for vegetarian and pork fillings and dumpling wrappers.

Photos by Betty Liu

Tags: dumplings, lunch, filling, dough