Andrew Zimmern's Crucial Advice For The Perfect Dumplings

When it comes to making perfect dumplings, there are two key components to consider: the tasty filling and the dough that encases all that flavor. However, as anyone who's tried and failed to make a batch of mouthwatering dumplings well knows, there's plenty of room for error in the execution of the dish. There are many common mistakes people make when crafting dumplings. And they arise at just about every step of the process, making the filling to cooking the dumplings in a pan.

As Food Network outlines, you might have erred in the amount of seasoning you added to the filling. Or, you might pick a pan that isn't quite the right choice for the task at hand (you want something nonstick, with enough room that the dumplings aren't crowded and overlapping). Another common issue is dumplings that lack structural integrity, a.k.a. the dreaded burst dumplings, where all that delicious filling leaks out and you're left with a mess in the pan, bits of filling combined with pieces of dough in a haphazard fashion.

Luckily, chef and television personality Andrew Zimmern has two quick and easy tips that will help you on the road to crafting restaurant-quality dumplings.

Two key tips for flawless dumplings

The first tip Andrew Zimmern shares, per "The Rachael Ray Show," involves a specific ingredient he encourages using in every single dumpling, no matter what the other flavors in the filling are: cabbage. However, he's not talking about big chunks of raw cabbage. Specifically, he recommends adding cabbage that has been steamed and then cooled, squeeze-dried to remove excess moisture, and finely minced. This simple addition won't detract from the flavor of your dumpling filling, as cabbage has a fairly neutral taste, but it will help you achieve the perfect texture. If your particular dumpling recipe has a fair bit of fat in the filling, he also suggests incorporating a bit of crushed ice — as he explains, it helps to emulsify the fat.

Zimmern's second tip has to do with the assembly of your dumplings, and it prevents the dreaded burst-dumpling conundrum. And this particular tip can be applied to a huge range of foods with that same general filling and dough template, from spring rolls to empanadas. "Underfill everything. That's the secret to wrapped foods," he said on "The Rachael Ray Show."

When you know the filling you've created is absolutely delicious, it's hard to resist adding just a little bit extra to the dumpling. However, in this scenario, more isn't more — too much filling will prevent you from getting the picture-perfect dumplings you dream of.