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What Are Dumplings, Types Of Dumplings & Dumpling History

September 26th is National Dumpling Day. Since National Apple Dumpling Day on September 17th, it begged the question: What are dumplings? Depending on the part of the world, the answer is different. In this article you’ll learn:

  • What are dumplings?
  • The different types of dumplings.
  • An idea for a dumpling party.
  • The history of dumplings.

    What is universal is that a dumpling made from some type of dough, cooked and usually served warm or hot.

    It can be filled or not filled; i.e., simply a ball of dough—like suet dumplings*, gnocchi, knödel and a variety of sweet dumplings.

    One unique type is the Chinese soup dumpling, a flour dough filled with broth and then steamed.

    Other “soup dumplings,” like Chinese wontons, Eastern European kreplach (photo #6) and matzo balls, Italian tortellini and Polish pierogi (photo #2), are filled with meat or vegetables and served, boiled, in broth (they can also be prepared in other ways beyond soup).

    So: We’ll agree that a dumpling is a small mass of soft dough that is cooked using different methods.

    Sometimes the dough is rolled out to encase a filling; other times it’s formed into a ball or similar shape and cooked as is.


  • A dumpling is most often bite-size.
  • It can be savory (cheese, fish/seafood, meat, vegetables) or sweet (bean paste, fruit, nuts, sweetened cheese).
  • It can be in a simple dough or a more complex flaky pastry.
  • The dough can be made from a variety of starch sources, including bread, corm and potatoes.
  • If filled, the dough can be crimped or folded and sealed to make an enclosed pocket.
  • It can then be baked, boiled, deep-fried, pan-fried or steamed.
  • It can be served as an hors d’oeuvre, a snack, an appetizer, a side dish, a garnish for soups and stews, a dessert.
  • It is found in cuisines around the world, on the six of the seven continents (we couldn’t find them in Antarctica).
    The lines determining what a dumpling is, or isn’t, can cross over. For example, we may think of ravioli as a pasta, but it’s also a type of dumpling.

    Is a tamale a dumpling? It’s fits the criteria above: an outer layer made with dough (here corn-based), filled, completely enclosed and then steamed.

    Then there filled bread buns, such as Chinese steamed pork buns. Are they dumplings as well as buns? Well…yes.

    How about a knish? Isn’t it a savory pastry? Yes, and it’s also a baked dumpling.

    Here’s a discussion of the topic.

    If you’re a dumpling lover, chances are that you can’t get enough of them. How about having a dumpling party? Invite your favorite cooks to prepare different recipes, whether from cookbooks or from their ancestral homelands. Those who can’t cook can get Chinese or Japanese take-out.

    We wish we could illustrate the following with photos, but space does not allow. Instead, we’ll focus on expanding this article for next year’s National Dumpling Day, with descriptions and links to recipes.

    Before we list the dumplings, here’s a bit of trivia:

    In China, the birthplace of the dumpling, there are so many different types of dumplings that there isn’t just one word to describe them all—i.e., no word in Cantonese, Mandarin for “dumpling.”

    Try to look it up, and you’ll find jiǎozi, a style folded to look like a gold or silver Chinese ingot (here’s more about them). But there are different shapes and folds of Chinese dumplings, each with a different name.

    Here Are The Dumplings!

  • Argentina: empanadas
  • Brazil: coxinhas (photo #8)
  • Central Asia & Middle East: chuchvara (also called dushbara, joshpara and shishbarak), manti (photo #9)
  • China: cha siu bao (steamed pork buns) guo tie (fried crescents, a.k.a. potstickers—photo #4), har gow (shrimp in a transparent skin), jiaozi, shui jiao (boiled crescents), shu mai (shrimp and pork blend), siu mai (open-top round baskets shape), xiao long nao (soup dumplings—photo #1), wonton and numerous others
  • Czech Republic: svestkove knedlíky
  • Denmark: aebleskiver
  • Eastern Europe: knish, kreplach (photo #6), matzo balls
  • Ethiopia: tihlo
  • France: boulette
  • Georgia: khinkali
  • Germany: Knödel, Maultasche, Nockerl
  • India: gujia, malai kofta, modak (photo #7), pitha, samosa
  • Italy: pillow pasta: agnolotti, gnocchi, ravioli, tortellini
  • Japan: gyoza
  • Korea: mandu
  • Latin America: pasteles (in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago
  • Lithuania: koldūnai,virtiniai
  • Malta: pastizzi
  • Nepal & Tibet: momo (also India)
  • Poland: kluski, pierogi (photo #2), uszka
  • Portugal: empanadas, rissóis
  • Russia: pelmeni (photo #10)
  • Spain: empanadas (photo #3)
  • Sweden: kroppkaka
  • Thailand: sticky rice dumplings
  • Ukraine: varenyky
  • Vietnam: bahn bot loc
    And many more!

    So get ready for that dumpling party. Dumplings can be your appetizer, main course and dessert.

    They’re great with beer, black tea (no milk or sugar) and wine.

    It should be quite a party!


    Dumplings were invented in China, the world’s oldest extant civilization and one that created so many things that are an essential part of our lives.

    There are so many it would have taken too long to count them. But just a few: bronze (1700 B.C.E.), the compass (1100 C.E.), gunpowder (1000 C.E.), iron smelting (1050 B.C.E.), the kite (invented for military purposes, 1000 B.C.E.), the mechanical clock (725 C.E.), moveable type printing (960 C.E.), paper (105 C.E.), paper money (9th century C.E.), porcelain (1600 B.C.E.), row crop farming (6th century B.C.E.), the toothbrush (1498 C.E.) the umbrella (1500 B.C.E.) and—no surprise—acupuncture (300 B.C.E.), silk (4000 B.C.E.) and tea production (2737 B.C.E.) [].

    So the dumpling may seem a bit of an anticlimax.

    The Dumpling Is Born

    Its invention is attributed to Zhang Zhongjing, who lived in the Eastern Han Dynasty, the second imperial dynasty of China (206 B.C.E. to 220 C.E.) [source].

    He was a pharmacologist, physician, inventor, and writer—one of the most eminent Chinese physicians during the later years of the Han dynasty.

    He established medication principles and is considered the seminal founder of traditional Chinese medicine. Here’s more about him.

    The story says that, returning to his home town after a long absence, during a difficult winter (and long before central heating), he noticed many people suffering from frostbite, especially around the ears. To he

    To administer aid, Zhongjing took mutton, herbs and chiles, wrapped them in scraps of dough and folded them to look like ears (crescents) and voilà: jiaozi (potstickers).

    He then steamed them to create something warm, nutritious, and may we add, delicious and comforting.

    The herbs helped to improve blood circulation and prevent frostbite and the villagers loved the taste so much that they kept making the dumplings long after spring began [source].

    The Dumpling Goes Global

    The concept spread across the globe—not just as a tasty dish for keeping warm, but as a way to extend a limited amount of meat by mixing it with chopped vegetables or stale bread before boiling.

    The first known dumpling recipe is found in “De Re Coquinaria” (“The Art of Cooking,” also “De Re Culinaria,” “On The Subject Of Cooking). It’s the the oldest surviving cookbook, thought to be be compiled in the 1st century C.E.

    While its author is given as Apicius, likely it was compiled by different writers and named in honor of a well-known Roman gourmet, Marcus Gavius Apicius, who lived in the 1st century.

    You can take a look at it here. It’s also available on Amazon in the original Latin, as well as in German and Italian translations.

    The Word “Dumpling” First Appears

    It wasn’t until the early 17th century that dumplings got their English name.

    One authority dates the word to 1600, in the Norfolk dialect of Great Britain.

  • According to the Oxford Languages Dictionary, the first use of “dumpling” appears to be derived from the adjective “dump,” “of the consistency of dough.”
  • Another source claims “uncertain origin, perhaps from some Low German word or from obsolete noun dump “lump.’ However, the object it denotes—a small and usually globular mass of boiled or steamed dough—no doubt existed long before that.” Dampf is a German word for steam (so how about steaming the lump of dough?) [source].
    Bring on the dumplings!


    *The American version of British suet dumplings are the biscuit dumplings in the dish Chicken and Dumplings. The dumplings are made of biscuit dough, which is a mixture of flour, shortening, and liquid. They are then boiled in Chicken and dumplings is a soup that consists of a chicken cooked in water, with the resulting chicken broth being used to cook the dumplings by boiling.


    [1] Xiao long bao: Chinese soup dumplings (photo © Shardar Tarikul Islam | Unsplash).

    [2] Pierogies from Poland. Add some sour cream! (photo © Karolina Kolodziejczak | Unsplash).

    [3] Empanadas, original from the Galicia region of Spain and from Portugal, which is immediately south of it (photo © Mary Locuaz | Pexels).

    Chicken Potstickers
    [4] Chinese guo tie, called potstickers in the U.S. These are steamed but they can also be fried (photo © Chesapeake Bay Crab Cakes)

    [5] Samosas from India (photo © The Fry Family Food Co. | Unsplash).

    [6] Kreplach is a dumpling most often made to serve in the chicken soup of Jewish cuisine. Here’s the recipe (photo © Tori Avey).

    [7] Modak, from India (photo © Prachi Palwe | Unsplash).

    [8] Coxinhas, Brazilian dumplings, are deep-fried and can also be considered croquettes. The starch used is mashed potato Here’s a recipe (photo © Kroger).

    [9] Manti, from Central Asia and the Middle East, here made with ground lamb and served with yogurt and mint. Here’s the recipe (photo © Delicious Magazine).

    [10] Russian pelmeni are often served in soup or with sour cream. Here, a fusion approach: tomato sauce (photo © JaBB | CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0 License).



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    Key Lime Pie Recipes & Other Recipes For National Key Lime Pie Day

    [1] Key Lime Pie (photo © Morton’s The Steakhouse).

    [2] Key Lime Cake. The recipe is below (photo © Taste Of Home).

    [3] Key Lime Bars—better than lemon bars! (photo © My Baking Addiction).

    [4] A Key lime layer cake. Here’s the recipe (photo © The Baker Chick).

    [5] Key Lime Pie With A Chocolate-Almond Crust. Here’s the recipe. The difference between pies and tarts (photo © The Lemon Apron).

    [6] Key Lime Yogurt Parfait. Just buy Key lime yogurt and assemble (photo © The Pampered Chef)

    [7] Key Lime Pudding. Here’s the recipe (photo © The Pampered Chef).


    September 26th is National Key Lime Pie Day. They are smaller, rounder, less acidic more fragrant than their more traditional relative, the Persian/Tahitian lime (the supermarket lime). Key lime skin is thinner and smooth. It grows in the tropics and subtropics*, and is used in many tropical cuisines throughout the world.

    The Key lime is also known as the Mexican or West Indian lime—although it originated in the Indo-Malayan region of southern Asia.

    The word Key is capitalized because the American supply comes from the Florida Keys.

    They were brought there by Spanish and Portuguese explorers in the early part of the 16th century.

    > What are Key limes?

    Key lime juice can be used in place of regular lime juice in anything, from cocktails to salad dressings (including fruit salad, where just a squeeze will suffice), on chicken and fish/seafood, in marinades, sauces and soups.

    In addition to pie, we’ve got some of our favorite Key lime dessert recipes below: below bars, donuts, cake and a refreshing glass of Key limeade. In fact, we’re starting with a Key lime pound cake!

    > The history of Key limes.

    > The history of Key Lime Pie.

    > The different types of limes.

    > How to store lemons, limes and other citrus fruits.


    Thanks to Taste Of Home for this recipe, which was created by Pat Stewart, Canton, Georgia. Pat says, “It’s now the only cake requested at every gathering. The unfrosted cake freezes well.”

    Prep time is 15 minutes, bake time is 1 hour 15 minutes.
    Ingredients For The Cake (16 Servings)

  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons grated Key lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons Key lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
    Ingredients For The Frosting

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon grated Key lime zest
  • 1 tablespoon Key lime juice
  • 3-3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • Optional garnish: lime slices and zest

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 10-inch fluted tube pan (bundt pan). To remove cakes more easily, use solid shortening to grease the pan.

    2. CREAM the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

    3. BEAT in the lime zest, vanilla and lime juice. Add the flour alternating with the milk, beating well after each addition. Transfer to the pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours.

    4. COOL in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

    5. MAKE the frosting. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, lime zest and lime juice until smooth. Gradually beat in the confectioner’s sugar.

    6. SPREAD the frosting over the cake. If desired, garnish with lime slices and additional zest.


    Since it’s Key Lime Pie Day, we’ve only included sweet recipes here. But we also have savory Key lime recipes.

    Key lime season is June through August. Perhaps the people who campaigned for National Key Lime Pie Day in September sell bottled juice.

    If it’s out of season and the recipe requires Key lime zest, substitute regular lime zest.

    The bottled juice isn’t anywhere near as good as the fresh juice. But as you peruse these delicious recipes, mark your calendar for June!

  • Chocolate-Covered Key Lime Ice Cream Pops
  • Classic Key Lime Pie (photo #1)
  • Deconstructed Key Lime Pie
  • Ice Cream & Grilled Fruit With Key Lime
  • Key Lime Bars (photo #3)
  • Key Lime Coconut Angel Food Cake
  • Key Lime Donuts
  • Key Lime Layer Cake (photo #4)
  • Key Lime Limeade
  • Key Lime Meringue Pie
  • Key Lime Pie Fudge
  • Key Lime Pie Ice Cream
  • Key Lime Pie Ice Cream Pops
  • Key Lime Pie With Graham Cracker Crust
  • Key Lime Pot de Creme Recipe
  • Key Lime Pudding
  • Key Lime Whoopie Pies
  • Yogurt Key Lime & Honey Pie With A Pretzel Crust

    *The Tropics. The region of the world in which the sun is directly overhead for at least one day of the year is found within a band on either side of the equator, from the latitudes of about 23.5°N (Northern Hemisphere) to 23.5°S (Southern Hemisphere). These bands are known as the Tropic of Cancer (Northern Hemisphere) and the Tropic of Capricorn (Southern Hemisphere). This portion of the world, between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, is known as the Tropics. The sunlight is stronger and climate is warmer than elsewhere on Earth.

    The length of the days and nights is almost the same throughout the year. Tropical regions are found on and around the Equator. The equator receives equal amounts of daylight and nighttime throughout the year because it does not tilt in relation to the sun’s location.

    The Subtropics. The subtropical zones lie immediately north and south of the Tropics, usually between about 23.5° and 40° (N and S). Most of what is known as the “Mediterranean Climate” is found in the subtropics. Winter is relatively warm, although the nights are longer relative to the tropics.




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    Classic & Modern Quesadilla Recipes For National Quesadilla Day

    How are you celebrating National Quesadilla Day, September 25th? We started with this fa href=””>fried egg quesadilla and for lunch the Peanut Butter & Jelly Quesadilla. For dinner, we’re heading to our local Mexican restaurant, where we’ve been eying the crab meat quesadilla. Will we be all quesadilla’d-out tomorrow? We don’t think so.

    A quesadilla, from Mexico, is a type of soft taco. Traditionally a corn tortilla is used, but it can also be made with a flour tortilla (we prefer corn tortillas: much more flavor).

    First and foremost, the tortilla is filled with cheese (queso Oaxaca), but not all regions focus on cheese (regional variations vary widely).

    The quesadilla can also be filled with:

  • Cooked meats: beef, chicken, chorizo, pork. A tinga quesadilla refers to a meat mixed with a spicy tomato sauce
  • Cooked seafood: fish, crab, lobster, shrimp. .
  • Cooked vegetables: black beans, huitlacoche [corn fungus], mushrooms, potatoes, squash blossoms
  • Herbs (like epazote) and spices
  • Toppings: avocado/guacamole; chopped chiles, cilantro, onion, tomato; salsa; sour cream
    The tortilla is warmed on a griddle or stove so that it can be folded in half, and then filled. More heat melts the cheese.

    Contemporary quesadillas: More and more cooks like to make quesadillas with “modern” ingredients: caramelized onions, goat cheese, pizza fillings. See the “nouvelle” recipes below.

    Halloween quesadillas: Get ready for Halloween with Spokadillas, quesadillas designed to look like a mummy’s face (photo #3).

    Breakfast quesadillas with eggs, cheese and bacon are very popular in the U.S. And don’t forget dessert quesadillas: ice cream with chocolate, butterscotch or caramel sauce, fruits and whipped cream!
    There are more quesadilla recipes below, but we’re starting off with this fun fusion recipe. It merges two favorite American foods: Buffalo wings and quesadillas.

    > The history of the quesadilla.

    This recipe (photo #4) makes mini quesadillas for snacks, cocktail bites and appetizers. You can make them regular size, of course.

    The recipe, from Kingsford Charcoal, is Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 30 minutes.

    We really like blue cheese, so added blue cheese dressing for dipping.

    Another option would be hot salsa for dipping, to continue the hot sauce flavor of Buffalo wings. If you go this way, buy a jarred smooth salsa, easier for dipping.

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons your favorite BBQ dry rub seasoning
  • 16 4-inch flour tortillas
  • 4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • 4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup hot sauce
  • Canola cooking spray
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • Kingsford cherrywood charcoal briquets
  • Smoking wood or chips
  • Optional: blue cheese dressing for dipping

    1. PREPARE the grill for medium-high heat cooking, approximately 400°F. Once the grill has come to temperature, add 1–2 chunks of your favorite smoking wood (alternatively you can wrap a handful of smoking wood chips in foil and poke several holes in the foil) to the charcoal briquets.

    2. SEASON the chicken thighs liberally on both sides with the dry rub. Place the thighs on the grill and cook for approximately 5 minutes per side until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F. Removefrom the grill and allow the thighs to rest for 5 minutes before finely chopping. As the chicken rests…

    3. COMBINE the blue cheese and mozzarella cheese in a medium bowl and blend well. Combine melted butter and hot sauce in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the chopped chicken to the hot sauce mixture.

    4. SPRAY one side of 8 flour tortillas with canola oil and place them oiled side down on a large platter or sheet pan. Top each tortilla with 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture. Add approximately ¼ cup buffalo chicken, 4–6 slices of bell pepper and another tablespoon of the cheese mixture. Top with the remaining flour tortillas and spray with canola oil.

    5. GRILL. Working in batches, grill the quesadillas for 3–4 minutes per side until they are lightly browned and the cheese has completely melted. Remove from the grill, cut into quarters and serve with the optional blue cheese dressing.
    Apple Sweet Potato Quesadilla With Goat Cheese

  • Bobby Flay’s Ribeye & Anaheim Chile Quesadilla
  • Christmas Quesadillas
  • Fried Egg & Avocado Quesadilla
  • Peanut Butter & Banana Quesadilla With Fresh Fruit Salsa & Vanilla Yogurt
  • Quesadillas On The Grill
  • Spookadillas: Mummy Quesadillas For Halloween


    You’ll get the idea from these recipes that you can put pretty much anything you like into a quesadilla.

    One trend is “pizzadillas,” quesadillas with pizza fillings. We’re down with an “everything” pizza quesadilla—including anchovies.

  • Bacon Cheeseburger Quesadillas
  • Texas BBQ Pulled Pork Quesadillas With Vinegar Slaw (photo #5)
  • Black Bean & Butternut Squash Quesadilla With Chipotle Lime Crema
  • Blackened Shrimp, Bacon and Green Onion Quesadilla
  • Butternut Squash, Leek & Apple Quesadillas
  • Crab and Avocado Quesadillas With Mango Salsa
  • Greek Quesadillas
  • Green Goddess Quesadillas
  • Margarita Pizza Quesadilla
  • Peach, Burrata, Bacon Quesadilla
  • Smoked Gouda Mushroom Quesadillas (photo #6)
  • White Bean & Kale Quesadillas (photo #7)

    [1] Surf and turf? Here, lobster quesadillas. In the next photo, steak quesadillas (photo © Mackenzie Ltd).

    [2] Flank steak quesadillas (photo © Kingsford Charcoal).

    [3] Mummy “spookadillas.” Here’s the recipe (photo © Pace | Campbell’s).

    [4] Fusion: mini Buffalo chicken quesadillas (photo © Kingsford Charcoal).

    [5] Fusion: Texas BBQ pulled pork quesadillas with vinegar slaw. Here’s the recipe (photo © Snixy Kitchen).

    [6] Different but delicious: peach, burrata and bacon quesadilla. Here’s the recipe (photo © Running To The Kitchen).

    [7] White bean and kale quesadilla. Here’s the recipe (photo © Running To The Kitchen).



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    Make This Horchata Recipe For National Horchata Day

    [1] Some liken horchata to drinking rice pudding (photo © Pampered Chef).

    [2] Sunbasket adds sesame seeds to its horchata. Here’s the recipe (photo © Sunbasket).

    [3] This recipe adds sesame seeds (photo © Sunbasket).

    [4] The original horchata was made thousands of years ago from tiger nuts. You can buy them online for horchata, snacking, salads and desserts (photo © Anthony’s Goods).

    [5] You can buy horchata ready-to-drink, made with almond milk or rice milk (photo © Califia Farms).


    September 24th is National Horchata Day, a refreshing drink courtesy of Mexico. It’s one of the more popular varieties of Mexican agua fresca.

    A classic, creamy drink, Mexican horchata is made with milk, ground rice, cane sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. You can make nondairy versions with your milk of choice.

    Brands like Almond Breeze and Rice Dream sell quarts of horchata, ready-to-drink. The history of horchata is below.

    Horchata is an addictively delicious cold drink, but you can also warm it up to create a cup of hot milk with cinnamon-vanilla accents.

  • Dessert. Serve it as a drink with dessert, instead of coffee or tea. We love it with loaf cakes (pound cake, carrot cake, chocolate loaf) and with pastries.
  • Coffee. Make a blended drink with coffee.
  • Cereal. Add it to hot or cold cereal.
  • Cocktail. Turn it into a cocktail with rum or other spirit.

    This recipe requires the overnight soaking of rice. It makes 34 ounces of beverage. If you don’t have a 60-ounce pitcher, you can reduce the amount of water for a 32-ounce pitcher (and a slightly more concentrated flavor).

  • 1 cup of white rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup sugar, depending on taste (we used 2/3 cup of sugar, and you substitute noncaloric sweetener)
  • 1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 1.5 cups milk, almond milk or rice milk
  • 4-1/4 cups water
  • Ice

    1. COMBINE the rice, almonds and cinnamon in a bowl of water. Soak overnight (or at least 5 hours) to slightly soften the rice.

    2. STRAIN and discard the water. Blend the rice mixture and evaporated milk in a food processor until the rice is completely ground.

    3. STRAIN into a pitcher. Add the sugar, vanilla, and milk. Mix well, then mix in the water. Chill and serve with optional ice.


    We think of horchata as a creamy, refreshing drink from Mexico that tastes similar to rice pudding.

    But the first horchata, horchata de chufa* originated in North Africa around 2400 B.C.E., in the area of present-day Nigeria and Mali [source].

    The drink was originally made from dried, ground tiger nuts (chufa in Spanish, Cyperus esculentus), which were combined with water and sweetener, then filtered.

    The “horchata” portion of horchata de chufa derives from the Valencian dialect (a variant of Catalan), where it is called orxata de xufa. “Orxata” is a name given to various kinds of plant milk beverages [source].

    It was brought to Spain by the Moors in the 8th century, during the Muslim conquest†. It began to spread throughout Hispania (the Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula and its provinces) in the 11th century, and became a popular drink.

    The drink spread from Spain to Mexico in the course of colonization.

    The Spanish didn’t bring tiger nuts with them to the New World, but they did bring rice. Hence, the genesis of horchata de arroz, flavored with New World cinnamon and vanilla (and in some regions, marigolds [source]).

    The more familiar Mexican version of modern times, horchata de arroz [rice], is made from rice milk, vanilla, cinnamon and sugar, and has a more milky texture. Other countries put their own spin on horchata. For example:

  • In Puerto Rico, horchata de ajonjoli is made with coconut milk, ground sesame seeds and rum.
  • El Salvador and Honduras make semilla de jicaro with licorice-flavored jicaro seeds (from a calabash that grows on a tree).
  • In Ecuador, horchata lojana is a red herbal tea made from flowers, but adds a similar mix of the herbs and spices that are used in other types of horchata [source].
    Today the beloved horchata flavor can also be found in baked goods (cake, churros, donuts), candies, chocolate, coffee and ice cream.


    *Chufa refers to the tuber of the chufa plant, which can be roasted, made into flour, or turned into juice.

    †Muslim forces invaded Andalusia (southern) Spain in 711, and in seven years conquered the Iberian peninsula. The Muslim civilization in Iberia reached its peak in the 10th century. Muslim rule declined after that and ended in 1492 when Granada, the heartland of Muslim reign, was conquered by the forces of the [Catholic] king of Castile. This ended nearly eight centuries of Muslim rule.


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    Vegetarian Spaghetti Carbonara With Mushrooms For National Mushroom Month

    September is National Mushroom Month. We’ve put together some of our favorite mushroom recipes, below, as well as this yummy recipe for Vegetarian Spaghetti Carbonara With Mushrooms. The mushrooms substitute for the cured pork in the original recipe. Here’s the classic recipe, and the history of Spaghetti Carbonara recipe, which includes the history of Spaghetti Carbonara. International Carbonara Day is April 6th.

    The name “carbonara” comes from the carbonaro, Italian for “coal burner.” It was believed that the dish was created as a hearty, easy-to-make meal by men working outdoors for long periods, who used a coal burner to cook the dish.

    >Check out the different types of mushrooms.

    This recipe from DeLallo is an evolution of Spaghetti Carbonara. It has carbonara’s sauce, which is made with mushrooms, eggs, butter, garlic, thyme, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. But it lacks the guanciale (pork jowl).

    You can add the meat, of choice. But it may be easier to use crisp bacon, which works beautifully with the mushrooms.

    The history of mushrooms is below.

  • 1 package (16 ounces) spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme, plus 1 tablespoon fresh chopped for serving
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese plus more for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

    1. BRING a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the hot pasta water.

    2. MELT the butter with the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the shallots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 30 seconds.

    3. ADD the thyme sprigs and mushrooms to the skillet. Once the mushrooms are tender, about 4 to 5 minutes, remove the thyme sprigs and discard them.

    4. ADD the hot pasta to the skillet and toss to combine.

    5. WHISK together the eggs and Parmigiano-Reggiano in a mixing bow. Remove the pasta from heat and pour the egg mixture into the pasta, tossing quickly until the eggs thicken and create a sauce. Thin the sauce with a bit of the reserved hot pasta water, until it reaches your desired consistency.

    6. SEASON the carbonara with fresh pepper, salt and chopped thyme. Serve sprinkled with Parmigiano-Reggiano.


    Before you dig in, here are some tips for cooking mushrooms.

  • Asparagus & Mushroom Pasta
  • Bacon-Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms
  • Baked Mushroom Parmesan
  • Breakfast Tarts With Mushrooms & Goat Cheese
  • Chanterelle Tacos
  • Different Stuffings For Portabellas
  • Egg & Mushroom Recipes
  • Green Bean & Mushroom Gratin
  • Grilled Eggplant, Mushrooms & Zucchini
  • Grilled Philly Mushroom Sandwich
  • Grilled Portabello First Course
  • Grilled Portabello Main Course
  • Grilled Portabello Mushrooms With Goat Cheese & Herb Salad
  • Mushroom And Smoked Salmon Frittata
  • Mushroom Carpaccio & Raw Mushroom Salad
  • Mushroom Fettuccine With Cremini, Morels & Shiitake
  • Mushroom Gravy
  • Mushroom Salad Recipes
  • Mushroom-Stuffed Cheeseburgers
  • Mushroom Toast
  • Mushroom Appetizers
  • Mushroom Bread Pudding
  • Portabella Burgers, Mains & Sides
  • Portabello Eggs Benedict
  • Portabella Steak & Salad
  • Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
  • Shiitake Mushroom Veggie Burger & More Shiitake Recipes
  • Zucchini, Mushroom & Onion Side

    [1] Vegetarian Spaghetti Carbonara with mushrooms replacing the pork (photo and recipe © DeLallo).

    [2] Cremini mushrooms, also spelled crimini (photo © Christine Siracusa Wesusal | Unsplash).

    [3] Grated parmesan (parmesan is a generic Parmigiano-Reggiano. Here’s more about it (photo © DeLaurenti).

    [4] Add some shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano as a garnish (photo © Jen Segal | Once Upon A Chef [check out the great recipes).

    Fresh Thyme
    [5] Fresh thyme (photo © Good Eggs).


    We’ll get to food mushrooms in a minute, but the earliest uses of mushrooms seem to be spiritual/religious. Long before written history, what we now call “magic mushrooms” were employed thusly. When writing records appear, we know that such mushrooms were considered sacred.

    Archaeological evidence of mushrooms used “spiritually” may be as old as 10,000 B.C.E. Mushroom grew around the world, and were use by the Chinese, the Mayas and the Vikings, as well as the Greeks and Romans. (But that’s another article for another publication) [source].

    Unlike plants, mushrooms (which are funghi) are very difficult to cultivate. Even today, relatively few of the 614 species of edible mushrooms can be cultivated (there are more than 10,000 species overall). Morels are an example of a desirable mushroom that cannot be cultivated commercially [source].

    Mushrooms have been foraged since prehistoric times. Skipping ahead to written history*, we know they were prized in ancient Greece and Rome. There is evidence that shiitakes were first cultivated in China and Japan as early as 600 C.E.

    Far earlier, the Chinese cultivated Auricularia polytricha, the cloud ear fungus, around 300 to 200 B.C.E.

    The cultivation of mushrooms in Western cultures was first recorded in Paris around 1650: Agaricus bisporus, white button mushroom. It seems very late, given how mushrooms took French cuisine by storm! The mushroom was first discovered growing wild in a melon crop compost!

    From France, mushrooms hopped the English Channel to England. By 1865, the U.S. began mushroom cultivation. In addition to the white button mushroom, two genetic variants of Agaricus bisporus appeared: the cremini/crimini and the portabello/portobello.

    In the U.S., the first known reference to mushrooms is in a 1824 cookbook, “The Virginia Housewife” (1824). Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup, the American staple used in countless casserole recipes, was invented in the 1930 [source].

    One of the first English language mushroom cookbooks is One Hundred Mushroom Receipts by Kate Sargeant, published in 1899 (and available on Amazon). [source]

    Today the most commonly consumed variety is the button mushroom, that same Agaricus bisporus. It makes up about 40% of the mushrooms grown around the world. The name “mushroom” has been given to over 38,000 varieties of fungus that possess the same threadlike roots and cap. These threads, sometimes referred to as “gills,” are responsible for giving mushrooms like portobellos their meaty taste and texture. As air passes through the threads moisture evaporates, giving the mushroom a rich heartiness you can really sink your teeth into [source].


    *The earliest form of writing appeared almost 5,500 years ago in Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq).

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