I love dumplings. I usually serve them as a tasty little extra on top of a stew, but this time I thought I’d make a few small adjustments to make these chickpea dumplings a meal in their own right.
The main difference was that I replaced most of the flour in the dumplings with chickpea flour. It has more than twice the amount of protein as regular flour, and fewer carbs, so it makes for a more nutrient-dense dumpling. If one small change can make my favourite dumplings into a real dinner, I’m here for it.
I also helped my chickpea dumplings be the star of the show by serving them in a simple sweet potato gravy, rather than with a more complex stew. It still contains plenty of veggies – sweet potato, onion, tomatoes, peppers – but without detracting from the dumplings themselves.
If you’ve never made dumplings before, rest assured that they’re super easy. You’ll need some vegetable suet, which is really easy to find in any big supermarket in the UK. I’m not sure how common it is elsewhere – if you can’t find suet, I have heard of some recipes where grated butter is used instead, but I haven’t tried this myself, so I can’t vouch for its success. Let me know if you try it! But you’re probably better off just buying some suet online if you can’t find it in the shops (Amazon US*).
All you need to do is combine your suet with the chickpea flour and a bit of plain flour too, and add enough water to bring everything together into a sticky dough. You can add whatever flavourings you like – I used some fresh herbs. Dollop the mixture into your sauce, and let it bubble away until the dumplings are firm.
Just like all good dumplings, these chickpea dumplings are dense and doughy – such good comfort food. I know the word ‘stodge’ is sometimes used in a less than flattering way, but personally I love a bit of stodge, and these chickpea dumplings are definitely good stodge.
All that’s left to do is serve up your chickpea dumplings – with some fresh veg to make the meal feel a little lighter – and your warming winter dinner is ready to go!
Chickpea dumplings in sweet potato gravy
For the sweet potato gravy:
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1cm dice (~ 2 cups when diced)
- 1 bell pepper, diced (red, orange or yellow)
- 400 g tinned tomatoes (~ 1 1/3 cups)
- 500 ml (~ 2 cups) vegetable stock
- Black pepper
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp ground cumin
For the chickpea dumplings:
- 100 g (~ 1/2 cup) vegetable suet
- 150 g (~ 1 cup) chickpea flour (gram flour)
- 50 g (~ 1/4 cup) plain flour
- Few sprigs fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Few sprigs fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
- Black pepper
- 175 ml (~ 2/3 cup) water
- To make the sweet potato gravy, heat a dash of oil in a large, deep saucepan. Add the diced onion, sweet potato and pepper, and cook over a medium heat for a few minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes, vegetable stock, and some black pepper, along with the spices. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the sweet potato is very soft - at least 20 minutes.
- When the vegetables are very soft, use a hand blender to blend the sauce until smooth. At this point, you can add a dash more water if needed, until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.
- To make the chickpea dumplings, combine the suet, chickpea flour and plain flour in a bowl, along with the chopped herbs and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Add enough water to bring the mixture together into a sticky dough (stir with a spoon, as it will just stick to your hands) - I used about 175ml.
- Add the dumpling mixture to the sweet potato gravy in tablespoon-sized dollops - I ended up with 12 dumplings in total. Don't worry if they drop down into the gravy. Cover the pan, and cook gently for a further 15-20 minutes, until the dumplings are firm.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for a serving of 3 dumplings.
Love dumplings? Try them on top of my vegetarian ‘beef’ stew:
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