Dumplings vs Wontons
Dumplings and wontons are balls made out of dough. Wontons are considered a type of dumpling as the dumplings can be empty inside or filled. When dumplings are filled inside with some specific filling, they are sometimes called wontons.
Dumplings are basically balls of dough which could be made of flour or bread or potatoes and are cooked by steaming, frying, boiling, simmering, or baking. They could be filled with fish, meat, or vegetables. Some dumplings can be just balls of dough with other ingredients mixed in the dough without any filling inside, for example, something like gnocchi, or they can be filled and encased in leaves, pastry, batter, or dough like wontons. They can be either spicy or sweet. They are used both as savory dish as well as sweets. Dumplings can be eaten in gravy, in soups or stews, or they can be eaten as a dish by themselves. There are many different versions of dumplings in Chinese cuisine like the Har Kao, Pork Bun, Siew Mai, Crystal Dumpling, etc. Let’s check out some variations.
Jiaozi is filled with meat, most commonly ground pork, chicken, beef, lamb, fish, and shrimp or mixed vegetables which are chopped. These fillings are then wrapped in dough and boiled or steamed. They have a thicker skin than the usual dumplings and are shaped differently; they are longer and are wrapped differently.
When jiaozi is shallow fried, it is referred to as guotie.
Tangyuan are sweet dumplings, smaller in size, and are filled with a paste of sweet sesame, red bean, or peanut. They are made of flour of glutinous rice.
Dumplings are not just Chinese food. Their variations are used in many other countries like dim sims of Australia, fufu in Ghana, souskluitjies of South Africa, tortellini and ravioli of Italy, etc.
The basic difference between a dumpling and a wonton is a wonton is always filled. They are made with dough of wheat flour, a thin 10 cm square pastry wrapper is spread in your palm and then filled with minced pork and diced shrimp. It is seasoned with minced onions, garlic, soy sauce, and sesame oil. They are then compressed together like a bundle and sealed with dipping one’s finger into water and rubbing it on the inside of the wonton to seal the flour. They are served with soup or are deep fried. They have many variations in shape. Some are like right triangles, some are globular, etc. In China, each region has a different variation of wonton. Let’s check some variations.
They are very small with less filling and sealed quickly to form a squashed shape. They are served with soup.
They are served as a dish called red oil wontons. In this dish, wontons are served with chili and oil sauce and sesame paste.
Wontons are also found in different variations in different countries. In Canada and the U.S. they are fried wontons and crab rangoons, ravioli in Italy, etc.
The main variation between dumplings and wontons is that wontons are always filled with some filling of meat or vegetables whereas dumplings could be filled or the ingredients could be mixed with the dough and shaped like balls.