We're talking about dumplings now in the Winter time (while other parts of the world are enjoying Summer time! Perhaps that what the debate was about). I don't think it is difficult to find dumplings in many versions, either in the Western or in the Asian culinary worlds, especially when we're talking about plain dumplings. There are always dumplings in clear soup in Asia and there's also dumplings in stew in the West.
But, dumplings with fillings? Have you got any idea?
It's pretty easy to find recipes of dumplings in Indonesia as many traditional recipes using dumplings in pudding. Such as the one that I make for this event hosted by , it is made of sticky rice flour which is filled with coconut sweetened with palm sugar. These dumplings are eaten with thin rice pudding.
There is a story I heard from Mbak Ine about traditional puddings that in one bowl, somebody can get various dumplings. The Indonesian rice pudding I made for Sugar High Friday this month in Pasar Gede (Pasar = market, Gede = Big) in Solo, Central Java, is usually taken as a part of various dumplings in a bowl. In one bowl, you can get a scoop of rice pudding, a scoop of cendol hijau (made from either rice flour or plain flour), a scoop of diced jackfruits, a scoop of black rice pudding, and other things according to one's personal taste. And do you know what's next? I would like to have a nice rug and sleep afterwards. In one way, this traditional pudding can become a comfort food for me.
Putri Mandi (Sticky Green Dumplings with Thin Rice Pudding)
Source: Kue-Kue Traditional by Yasa Boga. PT. Gramedia Pustaka, Jakarta. Indonesia. 2007.
250g sticky (glutinous) rice (preferably using freshly ground, but I just used the flour from a package, available in Asian groceries), 50g tapioca, 1 tsp air kapur sirih (I don't know the translation—help me please—I have never found this in NZ, so I omit it), 125cc thin coconut milk (I used 75ml coconut cream and 75ml water), green coloring (I used Pandan Pasta, 1 tsp), ¼ tsp salt
½ half of young coconut, long shredded (I used desiccated coconut, 1 cup), 150g palm sugar, grated, 100cc water, 2 pandanus leaves, 1/8 tsp salt
Thin Rice Pudding:
500cc coconut milk from 1 coconut (I used 300ml coconut cream and 200ml water), 1 tsp rice flour (not sticky rice flour), 2 pandanus leaves, torn and tied up, 1/8 tsp salt
First make the filling: Mix all the ingredients and cook on a low heat. Stir well while cooking until all water is absorbed. Remove, and set aside.
Second make the thin pudding: Mix all ingredients and cook over a low heat until boiling. Remove, set aside.
Lastly make the dumplings: Mix sticky rice flour and tapioca flour, salt, and air kapur sirih. Pour in the coconut milk gradually while mixing. Add the pandanus water (or pasta), knead well until it resembles a hard dough which then you can roll balls out of it. Take one teaspoon of the dough, roll into balls, thin them, fill it, seal and roll back into balls.
Cook the dumplings in a saucepan of boiling water until the balls are floating and cook. Remove, then serve with thin rice pudding. Garnish with strip(s) of pandanus leave.