I was an adult the first time I tried Domplines (Dominican-Style Dumplings). This was not part of my regional food culture. I am going to hazard a guess and say that this is a dish that probably arrived on our shores with the waves of people from the American British colonies settled here.
If you are totally unfamiliar with it, think of this as a local version of many similar dishes found throughout the world, such as Italian gnocchi and Austrian spätzle.
Dumplings, for most people, are pockets of dough filled with meats, vegetables or cheese, then fried, steamed or boiled. Of the filled variety, the jiaozi (the best-known Chinese dumplings) are the most famous ones, with Italian tortellini and ravioli possibly following (or viceversa). Nearly every country seems to have one or many dumpling varieties that are traditional in their cuisine.
In Latin America, Puertorrican domplines consist of fried, puffy dough; in Chile pancutra are slices of dough added to vegetable soup.
In the Caribbean British isles, dumplings are very similar to ours, and to our Bollitos de Maíz, another type of dumpling popular in the Dominican Republic. In Barbadian cuisine dumplings are slightly sweetened, and served in soup, while in Jamaica they can also be fried.
As we can see, dumplings are nearly-universal, with countless versions and combinations of ingredients and preparations.
About Domplines (Dominican-Style Dumplings):
Our Domplines are made with wheat flour, and usually cooked in a sauce-rich dish. It’s a very humble dish, filling, and packing a lot of carbohydrates. Domplines are usually served with small amounts of protein, most commonly Dominican Salami Guisado, Bacalao Guisado (Salted Codfish) Pollo Guisado (Braised Chicken), or canned sardines in tomato sauce. It’s the kind of dish that will keep you going when the budget is short, although some people eat it because for them is comfort, familiar food.
For this recipe I have made them with a cheese sauce inspired by the one in which it is sometimes traditionally served, but also given you the option of serving it with salted codfish in tomato sauce, following this recipe, but leaving the potatoes out and using dumplings instead.
- 1 1/2 cup of sharp cheddar , cut into cubes
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1/4 cup of milk
- A pinch of pepper
- 1 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 3 tablespoons of water at room temperature
- 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour (plus 3/4 cup to use as needed)
- 3 tablespoons of salted butter at room temperature
- 2 qt [2 lt] of water for boiling
- 1 tablespoon of minced parsley (optional)
Blend all the ingredients on the food processor.
Dissolve the salt in the water. Pour into a large mixing bowl.
Add in 1/2 cup of flour and butter. Mix in with a spatula, the dough will be very shaggy, so add extra flour as needed to make it non-sticky. Then start kneading with your hands until you obtain a smooth dough.
There are several traditional shapes for dumplings. To make the finger-like ones, cut small pieces of the dough and shape into long fingers (about 3" [7.5 cm] in length and 1/2" [1.3 cm] in diameter). Let them rest.
To make the short-shape in the pictures, a much easier and attractive shape in my opinion, I flattened the dough and cut into long 1" [2.5 cm] diam. rolls, then cut them into thin slices with a very sharp knife, or, to make it even faster, cut with a kitchen scissors, like in the video. They get a little flattened when cut, taking the elongated shape that you see (1), to make the traditional flat ones, just flatten with your thumb (2).
In the meantime heat the water for boiling over medium-high heat, until it breaks into the boil. Lower the dumplings carefully into the water in small groups (to prevent splatters), stir.
Cook for 5 minutes after the dumplings rise and float, stirring often to prevent them from sticking (taste for doneness by splitting one and checking there's no raw flour in the middle). Remove from the water with the slotted spoon.
To make with cheese sauce: In a separate pot, add cheese sauce to the dumplings, cook over low heat until the sauce thickens. To make it with Bacalao: Add to the sauce in lieu of potatoes, simmer in its sauce for a minute.
Serving: Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm.
Just so you know, while the portions might seem small, this is because I measure it as a side dish. If you want to have it as the main dish, you should double the size.