Category Archives: Dumplings

Filo Rolls with Black Pudding

filobpAs you might have noticed, I have a soft spot for filo… I have been experimenting constantly with this delicate Greek pastry, especially with roll-shaped snacks, which are easy, quick and deliciously crisp. Meat-filled rolls are already a staple, especially for my office lunches, so when one day I bought some black pudding, I thought I’d try combining it with filo and obviously rolls where what first came to my mind. I have combined my soft, delicate French pudding with buckwheat and spices and obtained what I believe to be a fabulous treat for all the black pudding lovers.

For those who have never tasted black pudding (aka “blood sausage”), it is a sausage containing blood which is actually the only recurrent ingredient. The shape, the binding agent, the spices or the casing depend on countries, regions or even on particular butchers. In France, where I buy my black pudding (the Swiss ones have always been disappointingly bland), onions and fat (and sometimes bread crumbs) act as “binders”, but some regions (for example Bordeaux region) use rice, which is also popular in certain Spanish regions and in Hungary. British black pudding contains oatmeal, while barley and buckwheat are Polish kaszanka’s fillers. Not to mention various spices, herbs or offal cuts used to fill the casings. My favourite ones are the two last ones because of their thick “sausagey” texture which enables me to fry them till crunchy and most of all the bold seasonings.

Since I usually have access only to soft “moussy” French black pudding, I always combine it with cooked buckwheat, which makes the rolls somehow less fatty, adds nice nutty flavours and a more pleasant texture (for me at least). If you don’t like buckwheat or cannot find it, barley or rice are a good substitute. These rolls are an excellent snack or a full meal, if served with a salad. I also love them as a snack, served with pickled chilli. They are excellent with sweet and hot sauces.

If you look for other ideas to use black pudding, you might likes one of these:

Upside-Down Tart with Black Pudding

Upside-Down Tart with Black Pudding

Black Pudding and Gochujang Toast

Black Pudding and Gochujang Toast

Baked Wonton Dumplings with Black Pudding

Baked Dumplings with Black Pudding

TIPS: If you use Polish or British black pudding or any other thick black pudding, you don’t need to add any rice or buckwheat.

Chilli powder is of course not obligatory. Add whatever spices you wish.

Cooking buckwheat is not easy, so if you choose it as a filler but don’t have experience with it, check the tips here.

Preparation: about 30-40 minutes

Ingredients (serves 2 as the main course, with a salad):

6 sheets of filo/phyllo pastry

200 g (about 7 oz) black pudding, without casing + about 6 heaped tablespoons of cooked buckwheat or rice or barley or 350 g (about 12 oz) black pudding with a thick texture (already containing oats, rice, buckwheat or barley)

chilli pepper (I have added 1 flat tablespoon of medium hot Korean chilli flakes)

black pepper, salt

1 tablespoon of oil

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Combine the black pudding filling with the grains and spices.

Spread one filo sheet on a big chopping board.

Place horizontally, about 2,5 cm/1 in. from the filo sheet’s shorter edge which is closest to you, a portion of black pudding mixture.

Roll tightly but delicately, starting from the edge which is closest to you, folding the two lateral edges into the roll (I have folded here about 3 cm/about 1,2 in on each side).

Proceed in the same way with the remaining rolls.

Brush the top of the rolls with a tiny amount of oil, place on a baking tray or baking paper and bake in the oven until golden (about 20-30 minutes in mine). Watch them often as they tend to burn quite quickly.

Serve either with a salad as the main course or as a snack, with pickles and a hot and sweet sauce or yogurt/sour cream mixed with gochujang. I have also sprinkled it with the Japanese spicy seasoning (shichimi togarashi).

Filo Rolls with Feta and Leek


I have finally found a fantastic brand of feta and cannot get enough of it. Although I like it best alone with a piece of good baguette, I have already had it in the traditional Spanakopita (see the recipe here) and in Pomegranate and Chicory Salad, but this time I decided to experiment with two beautiful leeks I found in my fridge. I wanted cute snacks  and quickly opted for filo pastry rolls, much easier for my clumsy hands than the popular triangles. The simple combination of two ingredients: sweet, softened leek and sharp salty feta proved a fabulous filling idea. The only thing I regretted was the lack of dill, which I will add here next time.

If you are a fellow feta fan, you might like some of these ideas:

Feta, Chicory and Pomegranate Salad

Feta, Chicory and Pomegranate Salad

Lentil and Feta Soup with Vinegar

Lentil and Feta Soup with Vinegar

Bouyourdi (Greek Baked Feta with Tomatoes and Peppers

Bouyourdi (Greek Baked Feta with Tomatoes and Peppers

Spanakopita (Greek Feta and Spinach Pie)

Spanakopita (Greek Feta and Spinach Pie)

Preparation: 30 minutes + 30 minutes baking

Ingredients (serves two as a main dish with a salad or four as a small starter):

8 filo/phyllo pastry sheets

1 package of feta cheese (200 g/ about 7 oz)

2 big leeks (white and very light green parts only)

ground black pepper

(fresh dill)

1-2 tablespoons oil or butter

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

In the meantime chop finely the leeks and soften them in 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan on very low heat.

Put the pan aside.

Crumble the drained feta into the pan with leeks, add some ground pepper (and chopped dill, if you have it), stir well and with a spoon divide into 8 equal portions (this will make the filo sheets filling process much easier).

Spread one filo sheet on a big chopping board.

Place horizontally, about 2,5 cm/1 in. from the filo sheet’s shorter edge which is closest to you, a portion of feta and leek mixture.

Roll tightly but delicately, starting from the edge which is closest to you, folding the two lateral edges into the roll, so that the filling doesn’t leak during the baking process (I have folded here about 3 cm/about 1,2 inch on each side).

Proceed in the same way with the remaining rolls.

Brush the top of the rolls with some oil or melted butter, place on a baking tray or baking paper and bake in the oven until golden (about 30 minutes in mine). Watch them often as they tend to burn quite quickly.

Tteokbokki (Korean Rice Cakes in Hot and Sweet Sauce)

ricecakes_pWhen I tasted tteokbokki for the first time at friends’ house, I instantly fell in love with slightly chewy, soft rice cakes laced in a fiery sweetish sauce. I still remember being ashamed of second, third – and maybe even fourth – helpings I accepted, unable to refuse something so irresistible. Luckily, other guests were not so enthusiastic and my host was more than happy to see me appreciate this popular Korean dish. I started to cook it only about a year ago and was pleasantly surprised to learn how easy and quick the process is.

The English term “rice cakes” is somehow misleading. Those who don’t eat Asian food usually think of puffed rice biscuits or imagine rice-based sweets. Moreover, what we translate as “rice cake” exists in many Asian countries, where it might have different shapes, uses and tastes. The word “dumplings” would probably be closer, but the word is used to define thin pastry sheets stuffed with different fillings. This is why, while describing the texture of Korean rice cakes (tteok (떡) ) I like to compare them to Italian gnocchi or their less known Eastern and Central counterparts (such as Polish kopytka, translated as “dumplings”). Tteok are however chewier and bouncier, the characteristics which make them so irresistible for people who love such textures. They are made with a mixture of glutionous rice flour and water, hence the delicate versatile taste. They are either cylinder-shaped (as above) or flat, oval-shaped.

Tteok are eaten in both sweet and savoury dishes. Until now I have had them only in tteokbokki, but never get tired of it. Apart from the addictive sweet and hot sauce, it usually contains also fish cake and often hard-boiled eggs. I have always put only eggs, which already make it a very filling one pot meal (and a quick one too!). Actually I find the rice cake and sauce basis quite versatile and often add some leftover chicken too.

Looking for different sauce recipes, I chose the one by Maangchi, but substituted her dried fish & konbu stock with Japanese dashi made with dried bonito and konbu. I have also slightly changed ingredients’ amounts, adapting it to an individual portion and adjusting it to my taste. The result was still fabulous every time I cooked it, so I hope my Korean visitors will forgive me these slight modifications. To be frank, I’m sure that even using water instead of this stock will give satisfactory results, since the wonderful taste is largely due to the seasonings added later and this amazing chewiness of rice cakes.

TIPS: I always buy refrigerated ready-to-use Korean rice cakes, but I have noticed dried cakes are sold in many Asian shops. I have no idea how they taste or what consistency they might have, but I suppose they are similar, but need to be rehydrated.

If you cannot get rice cakes, you can try making them on your own. Maangchi’s recipe is very well explained and seems not too complicated.

If you don’t have time or ingredients to prepare the Korean dried fish stock or Japanese dashi, use water instead.

WARNING! Just like Maangchi warns at her website, this dish cannot be reheated. I did try once and the rice cakes become mushy and lose much of their taste, so make sure you don’t have leftovers.

Preparation: about 20 minutes (if you already have the stock ready or if you use water)

Ingredients (serves one):

250 ml (about 1 cup) Korean stock made with dried fish (see the recipe at Maangchi’s blog) or Japanese dashi (see my recipe here) or water

125g/about 1/4 lb (1/4 of a 500 g package) fresh (refrigerated) rice cakes

1 hard-boiled egg

1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean chilli paste)

1 tablespoon (or less, depending on your preferences) gochujaru (Korean chilli in powder) or other powdered chilli (Korean chilli is usually medium hot, so add other powdered chillies, which might be hotter, carefully)

1 tablespoon sugar or agave syrup or any other syrup (I have used agave syrup)

3 stalks of green onions, cut into 2,5 cm (about 1 inch) pieces

salt or soy sauce 

(toasted sesame seeds)

Pour the stock/water into a pan.

Add the gochujang, the gochujaru and the sugar/syrup.

Bring to boil, stirring until everything is well combined.

Put the rice cakes and 2/3 of the green onions (leave the rest for the decoration before serving).

Simmer for about 15 minutes until the rice cakes swell and the sauce thickens.

(When rice cakes start to stick to the bottom of the pan is for me the sign that they are ready).

Adjust the taste adding salt or soy sauce or sugar or gochujang.

Place the egg, cut in two lengthwise and heat for one more minute.

Serve sprinkled with green onions and toasted sesame seeds if you like them.




Baked Dumplings with Black Pudding


Black Pudding Potato Cakes recently posted by Mr. Three-Cookies (from Three Cookies blog) inspired me to try something new with my beloved black pudding. Looking through the content of my freezer I found a piece of black pudding (I always keep some in case of an urgent craving) and I also realised I still had wonton skins, leftover from my Baked Wonton Chips. Black pudding dumplings seemed an obvious solution.

I wanted to obtain a crunchy result, but since black pudding is already quite rich, instead of frying, I baked them in the oven (they were slightly tougher than deep-fried dumplings, but crunchy and excellent). I love my black pudding hot, so after removing the casing I mixed it with gochujang (Korean chili paste). In case you have never tested this mixture, black pudding and gochujang go perfectly together (I have been enjoying this combination for years). We had these dumplings with green salad for lunch, but they would make a perfect bowl of snacks for a party too. I was very happy with this improvised dish and  strongly recommend these dumplings to all my fellow fans of black pudding. Thank you, Mr. Three-Cookies, for the inspiration!

TIPS: Many people are put off black pudding because their first experience involves a supermarket cheap product. It is not easy to make a good, well seasoned black pudding, so if you have never tasted it, I strongly advise getting it from a really good butcher. It’s also wise to ask a black pudding fan for recommendation because in some countries certain good quality brands can also sell good black pudding.

Black pudding or blood sausage exist all around the world, but they are slightly different in every country or even region. British, Polish or Hungarian are quite solid because they contain rice, buckwheat, barley or oatmeal as fillers. In most regions French boudin noir is quite soft and smooth (onions and breadcrumbs and/or cream are fillers, but the texture remains custardy). Personally I prefer the denser black puddings, so when I have only the French one, I mix it with cooked buckwheat or barley to fill the dumplings. If you prefer the delicate, smooth texture, you don’t need to add anything, of course.

You don’t have to add any hot spices if your black pudding is already hot or if you don’t like hot dishes. You can add any herbs or spices of your choice too.

Accidentally these dumplings tasted great with my recently posted Pineapple and Chili Jelly (any sweet & hot jelly or sauce is in my opinion perfect with black pudding).

Preparation: 20 minutes

Ingredients (serves two):

14 – 16 dumpling skins (I used wonton wrappers/skins)

200 g (7 oz) black pudding or, if you have soft, smooth French type of black pudding and wish to make the filling denser: 100 g black pudding + 6 – 7 slightly heaped tablespoons cooked buckwheat, rice or oatmeal… 

2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste) or 1 tablespoon powdered chili (neither is obligatory, of course)

oil (I have used chili oil)

Remove the black pudding’s casing. Put the filling in a bowl and combine with gochujang or chili and additional filler if you wish.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Prepare a small bowl or glass with cold water.

Put several dumpling skins on a chopping board (or any other clean surface).

Brush their edges with water (about 1 cm thick).

Place a well-heaped teaspoon of the black pudding filling in the middle.

Close the dumplings, pinching the edges and forming triangles or half-circles if you have round dumpling skins.

Repeat with the remaining wonton skins.

Place the dumplings on a sheet of baking paper.

Brush them with oil at least on the upper side (you can do it on both sides).

Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until they are golden. (Every oven i different, so watch your oven frequently after the first 5 minutes because they burn easily and quickly!).

Easy Shrimp Dumplings

Ready-to-use, frozen dumpling skins were a huge revelation to me. As soon as I realised how quickly they thawed and how easy they were to handle, I started to treat dumplings as one of those quick staples I make when I am in a hurry and lack ideas. I used to stuff dumplings with ground meat or ground meat and tofu, but one day I decided to have shrimps instead. After a complete failure with ground raw thawed shrimp filling I opted for roughly chopped, cooked shrimps. The result was perfect and reminded me of the Chinese transparent shrimp dumplings I sometimes have in restaurants. These dumplings are light, slightly crunchy and really simple. Ginger, garlic and chives make them less plain or boring (the only thing I regretted about the restaurant ones). In my opinion they do not need to be fried and taste even better when simply cooked in stock or in salted water (the stock, even instant, gives however much better results). I suppose they can also be steamed. I love them sprinkled with chili oil (or Taberu rayu).

TIPS: I have no access to fresh raw shrimp, but if you do, you might experiment with raw shrimps instead of cooked ones.  My experience with thawed raw shrimp wasn’t successful.

If I want to accelerate the thawing process, I put the dumpling skins (still in their package) in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot!) water.

Special equipment : brush (to moist the dumplings’ edges)

Preparation: 45 minutes

Ingredients (serves 3 as a main dish or 5 as a starter): 

about 25 cooked shrimp, shelled and deveined (26/30 per pound size, mine are usually about 4 cm long without heads)

a package of 24 thawed dumpling skins (I use gyoza skins, but any round Asian thin dumpling skins will be perfect)

2 litres vegetable or chicken stock

1 egg

chives or green onion

1 cm grated fresh ginger

1 big grated garlic clove

salt, pepper

(chili oil)

Heat the stock in a big pan.

In the meantime chop the shrimp with a knife into 4-5 pieces each. (Do not mix them in a food processor).

In a bowl combine a slightly beaten egg, the shrimps, the chopped chives, the ginger, the garlic, the salt and the pepper.

Prepare a small bowl or glass with cold water.

Put several dumpling skins on a chopping board (or any other clean surface).

Brush their edges with water (about 1 cm from the border).

Place a heaped teaspoon of the shrimp filling, discarding the excess egg. Close dumplings, pinching the edges.

Repeat with the remaining dumpling skins.

Cook them in the boiling stock no more than 6 at a time (they shouldn’t be too crowded) for about 5 minutes.

(I usually make the first batch of 5-6 and then, while they cook, I make a second one, and so on.)

Take them out with a slotted spoon, drain them and serve immediately sprinkled with chili oil.

Dumplings can be refrigerated for two days in a container separated with plastic film (otherwise they will stick).

I reheat them in a microwave.