Golden Coconut Soup with Kale, Collards and Frozen Dumplings

Golden Coconut Soup with Kale, Collards and Frozen Dumplings

In the winter, I aim to make a big pot of soup and then riff on it for a few days with new variations until it’s all gone. The foundation of this weeknight winter staple is made with turmeric, black pepper and coriander toasted in hot oil with a lot of garlic and ginger, then vegetable or chicken broth and coconut milk is added to to simmer with hearty greens.

For the first night of this soup nutrient-dense soup, I suggest adding frozen dumplings to the pot with more coconut milk.

How to cook frozen dumplings in hot soup

I first tried cooking frozen dumplings in hot soup a few years ago with two small servings of leftover chicken and vegetable soup, and after several rounds of experimenting, I finally have some advice to share.

Boiling frozen dumplings can be tricky, but dumpling expert Andrea Nuygen suggests allowing frozen dumplings to thaw for 10-15 minutes before adding them to the hot liquid. Cooking frozen dumplings in hot soup is almost as simple as it sounds, but not quite. If you just drop frozen dumplings in boiling hot soup, they will likely disintegrate by the time they are cooked through.

The next step I learned by trial and error. By adding room temperature liquid as soon as your frozen dumplings go into the soup, then bringing the pot back to a boil before adding more room temp liquid and a gentle stir before bringing to a simmer again, the dumplings are gently cooked in the soup without breaking open from a vigorous boil in somewhat acidic ingredients. For this recipe, I use coconut milk as the liquid to temper the soup as the dumplings cook, and it works like a charm.

Lucky for Austin, Texas, Steamies Dumplings are available at the Mueller Farmer’s Market on Sundays, and they offer a variety of frozen dumplings made with humanely raised meats and organic vegetables. Their chicken shitaake dumplings are my favorite, but the pork or vegetable dumplings are very good, too. Steamies Dumplings aside, I have been enjoying frozen dumplings from Asian supermarkets for years, and I don’t consider my freezer to be stocked without at least one bag of them.

If you’re into the delicious taste and health benefits of turmeric and black pepper, or if a soup made with garlic, ginger and coconut milk and a big dose of leafy greens sounds good to you, this healthy meal wins all around.

My recipe for this golden-hued coconut milk soup with kale and collards makes 4-6 servings, and I make it on the first night by ladling out a serving for me and my husband, and adding the coconut milk and dumplings then saving the rest for weekday meals when I work from home. I reheat with more coconut milk (about a quarter cup per serving) and top with fresh herbs, yogurt, toasted nuts, pomegranates, leftover veggies, fresh arugula-- all or some of this can be stirred into the original soup for a new version than the one from the day before.

Golden Coconut Soup with Frozen Dumplings

Golden Coconut Soup with Kale, Collards and Frozen Dumplings

Soup Ingredients

  • Olive oil or ghee

  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon turmeric

  • 1 3” piece of fresh ginger

  • 2 teaspoons black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • About 4 cups (32 ounces) chicken or vegetable stock

  • 1 can cold coconut milk

  • Fresh mint and cilantro

  • Lime

  • Chili oil

Soup Directions

Roughly chop your greens (I used half lacinato kale, half collards), place in a large mixing bowl, and cover with water. Set bowl aside so the water loosens any grit on the greens while you chop your garlic and ginger.

Heat ghee or olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add spices and season with salt. Cook until you can smell the spices start to toast, about a minute, then add garlic and ginger. Cook on medium heat for another 2 minutes.

Remove frozen dumplings from the freezer and thaw for 10-15 minutes before adding to  the soup. (I add 3-4 per person).

Add chicken broth and bring to a boil for a minute or so before stirring in your greens. Simmer kale or collards until they’re almost tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and more black pepper to taste.

Ladle out the amount of soup you will eat now into another pot, where you’ll cook the dumplings. Bring soup to a boil and drop the dumplings into the liquid, stirring immediately and often so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Add half a can of coconut milk and bring to a boil, continuing to stir gently. Pour in the rest of the coconut milk and bring to a boil again. Check seasoning again and adjust as necessary.

Top with chili oil, lime and fresh herbs.

The flavors in this soup are inspired by those I learned to cook with after fully immersing myself in the manuscript of Priya Krishna’s cookbook, Indian-ish, last year. You won’t find a recipe for this soup in her new book, but I have taken ideas from the flavor profiles and techniques from Ritu, Priya’s mom, and incorporated many of those ideas into the food I make in my own kitchen.

Steamies Dumplings and Collard Greens, Photo by Lauren V. Allen and Mackenzie Smith Kelley
Diaspora Co Turmeric Soup, Photo by Lauren V. Allen and Mackenzie Smith Kelley
Cooking Frozen Dumplings in Soup, Photo by Lauren V. Allen and Mackenzie Smith Kelley
Dumpling Soup with Turmeric and Coconut Milk
Turmeric Soup with Coconut Milk and Frozen Dumplings, Photos by Lauren V. Allen and Mackenzie Smith kelley

We are working on a roundup of the local handmade dumplings and other pocket foods you can buy at farmers markets across the US. Where can we send people to find dumplings at farmers markets in your city?

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