Last Updated on 8 months by Tim
Whenever you’re eating German food there are basically two choices you have regarding the appetizer. You can either have some kind of salad or soup. For me, this is a no-brainer. I always go with the soup.
Soups that are served as an appetizer are either pureed soups made out of seasonal vegetables or clear consommés with dumplings floating inside of them.
I’ve already shown you how to make German pancake soup and today I’m going to introduce to these insanely popular semolina dumplings. Like the pancakes, they are super easy and quick to make.
Their taste is beyond glorious. They’re super fluffy soaked with all the beefy goodness from the broth. Every bite of them fulfills your mouth with a deep and savory feeling of satisfaction. It’s such a simple dish that is so much more than the sum of its parts.
How to spot inauthentic semolina dumpling soup recipes
I always do some research on German recipes available in English before writing my blog posts. This gives me a good idea of how well-known the dish might be outside of Germany and helps me with the translation of the recipe.
A lot of times the recipes are pretty decent and nothing to run away from. Of course, there’s a wide range of quality and authenticity. But with some experience
But while doing research for this semolina dumpling soup recipe I was shocked. Almost 90 % of the English language recipes I found prepared the dumpling batter the wrong way. And I’m not talking about little tweaks like the semolina to milk ratio.
Semolina dumplings are prepared using a choux pastry. That means you cook the batter before forming the dumplings. Every recipe that tells you to whisk together a raw batter and chill it in the fridge belongs straight into the trashcan of the internet.
Of course, after reading all these obscure recipes I did have doubts and went back and did some research in my German cookbooks and on some German websites. And let me tell you I felt relieved that after all those years of making and eating semolina dumplings I wasn’t wrong. Literally, all German resources used the choux pastry method.
Preparing choux pastry is easy
If you’ve ever made éclairs or gnocchi à la Parisienne you will already be familiar with choux pastry. It’s very straightforward and quick to make requiring no skill
You need to heat up your liquid and fat in a small pot until it reaches a boil. So for semolina dumplings, you will need to combine milk and butter. The only seasonings used for semolina dumplings are nutmeg and salt. Whisk them into the milk to get an even distribution before cooking the batter.
Once the milk reaches a boil you take it off the heat and whisk in the semolina. Then you return the pot over medium heat and cook the batter while whisking constantly until it doesn’t stick to the pot anymore. About 30 seconds to 1 minute is usually enough. You will notice that the dough will clump together into one big ball.
The thing that is happening here is that the starch in the semolina gelatinizes making the batter stiff. But that’s not all there is. The cooking process also loosens the batter. The water from the milk evaporates and therefore forms little air bubbles in the batter that get trapped inside because of the gelatinized starch.
This is what makes the dumplings fluffy without using a leavening agent. I guess now you understand the reason for my rant about all those bad recipes out there. Semolina dumplings are all about their fluffiness. You don’t want to chew rubber gum.
The cooked batter should be taken out of the pan immediately. Then, in a mixing bowl, you whisk in an egg and your batter is done. The egg acts as a binding ingredient holding the batter together during cooking and will also help to trap the air bubbles inside the batter.
How to shape semolina dumplings
The technique for shaping semolina dumplings might seem a little intimidating at first but it is super easy. All you need is two lightly wetted spoons. You then rotate the batter between the two spoons until you have an oval-shaped semolina dumpling with three edges.
I know that written words can sometimes be hard to interpret so I made a video showing you the process.
The dumplings should always be cooked in lightly simmering water. This is true for almost all German dumplings. If the water boils too heavily you risk your dumplings falling apart.
The semolina dumplings will first fall to the bottom of the pot and then slowly rise up. Once they’re floating on top you can take them out of the pot and set aside for serving.
A lot of people like to cook their semolina dumplings directly inside the broth they’re going to serve them in. That’s totally fine. However, be aware that this might cloud your broth. So for presentation purposes, it’s better to cook the dumplings separately in a pot of lightly salted water.
How to serve your semolina dumplings
For serving, there’s no other choice than homemade beef broth. This dish is all about the savory broth paired with the fluffiness of the semolina dumplings. You will miss out on a lot of
I like to let the broth shine for itself so I only season it with vinegar, nutmeg, and salt. The final sprinkling of chives is optional but it adds a nice color contrast and I love their light oniony flavor.
The hot broth should always be ladled over the semolina dumplings right before serving. You don’t want them to turn mushy.
This recipe serves 4 as an appetizer so the serving size isn’t too big. It’s only a couple of semolina dumplings and 1 cup of beef broth per person. So if you’re a good eater or this is your main meal prepare double the amount specified in this recipe.