Chicken (or Tofu, if you’re a hippy) and Dumplings

So this is going to be the first true recipe post. I’m kicking it off with the most recent thing I cooked: Tofu and Dumplings.

Tofu and dumplings #firethechef

A post shared by Quisto Settle (@applications_of_randomness) on

Of course, the title leads off with chicken for a reason. The root recipe is chicken and dumplings. And honestly, the chicken version is better, but this does the trick.

Now, here’s full disclosure: This is not my recipe 100%. It comes from a cookbook. The problem is I can’t remember the title, and I’ve made some modifications. I’d happily source the original recipe (or take it down if the copyright owner goes “what the crap, bro?!?”). Until then, I’ll share what I’ve done.

One note on this: If you have someone say “I don’t like that because they’re soggy.” Yell at them and belittle their parentage. They’ve dealt with biscuit droppers, not dumplings. The dumplings in this recipe are not soggy (and if you make them too big, they’re forever dry). This is the only recipe I can say that I’ve never had a better version of the meal.

The adaptations were out of necessity/laziness. The original recipe called for the chicken to be cooked, then sliced. I noped out of that. Boiling (literally) hot chicken was not fun to play with, so I sliced before cooking. That tweak meant further tweaks.

So without further ado, here are your ingredients:

Chicken (or Tofu) & Broth

  • 1 lb. of chicken breasts (or 1 lb. of extra firm tofu or 1 lb. of dark meat chicken if you want the best taste and the least healthy option)
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 1 tbsp of minced onion (I use seasoning, not actual minced onion, but you do you)
  • 3-4 cubes of chicken bouillon (4 if you go tofu route)
  • 1 tbsp. dried parsley
  • 2 tbsp. butter/margarine
  • 1/4 tsp. celery seed
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup of milk (until I tell you that you should add more when I walk through the steps)

Dumplings

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk

Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces (think 1-inch cubed). For tofu, try to go a bit smaller, especially if the texture bugs you (bugs the crap out of me). Combine water, chicken, salt, and onions and bring to a boil until the chicken is cooked. Now at this point, once it’s boiling, keep it at the lowest temperature you can. You’ll keep boiling once the dumplings are added. I overcooked a lot of chicken that way. You’re trying to make sure it’s done (because food poisoning blows), but you need to keep in mind it’ll be in the pot 20 minutes after dumplings are added.

The true recipe calls for the rest of the broth ingredients to be added after the dumplings. Here are my caveats: If you’re using tofu, add the bouillon immediately. It needs the time to absorb into the tofu more. And honestly, I’ve added everything all at once before without paying attention, and it worked just fine. So again, you do you.

While the chicken is going, start mixing the dumpling ingredients. It makes a very stiff, sticky dough. You’re going to drop by teaspoons into the boiling water. Keep in mind the teaspoon size. I’m careless, so I used to do monstrous dumplings. Problem is they won’t absorb enough moisture, so they’re very dry. Not ideal.

Another thing to keep in mind are the eggs. I usually use large or extra large. I’ve been switching to medium for recipes, and it caught me here. My dumplings didn’t stick together like they should (at least I think that’s what the egg does; I’m not a chef). A less stubborn person would have probably just used the dumplings as best they could and then thrown the loose debris away. I am not that person. I’m stubborn. I clumped as best I could, and threw the dumplings into the pot. There were still solid dumplings, but there was also smaller, flakier ones, which thickened the broth.

This is important because it actually helped solve an issue I have with the tofu. I don’t like the texture, but the thicker broth masked it. So it actually worked pretty well.

Once the dumplings are in, you add the rest of the broth ingredients (unless you put them all in at once) and you boil for 20 minutes. Here, it’s especially important to do low boil. I honestly add extra milk too because I’ve boiled off a lot of water before in this recipe. Stir occasionally and make sure you scrape the bottom. It’s a recipe that can burn at the bottom because I don’t know what I’m doing (maybe you do and don’t have this problem).

After 20, you’re good to go. It’s a great recipe, but it’s even better as leftovers. The broth soaks in more, so it gets thicker and the chicken/tofu and dumplings get even better.

Side note, I tried to be healthier once and add whole wheat flour into the dumpling mixture (mixed with regular flour). Did not go well. Do not recommend.

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