Food Talk: What’s the difference between dumplings and jar stickers?

Washington Post

Each week, Washington Post Food staff answer questions about all things edible. Here are edited excerpts from a recent chat.

What is the difference between dumplings and pot stickers?

I believe it’s a case of rectangles and squares. Dumpling is the most generic term for packages filled with ingredients that can then be boiled, steamed or pan-fried. There may also be other types of dumplings, such as in chicken and dumplings. Pot stickers refer to pan-fried dumplings only. –Aaron Hutcherson

Many recipes for vegan cream or cheese sauces use soaked and pureed cashews to replace dairy. Is there a cashew substitute for those who are allergic or concerned about the negative environmental and ethical impacts of cashew production?

Yes, cashew cream is a beautiful thing. For those with allergies, try using blanched slivered almonds, which also ‘cream’ quite well when soaked/puréed.

As for environmental/ethical impacts, you might look for a fair trade certified brand – these are rare, but I buy from one, Beyond, and can vouch for the product. -Joe Yonan

If kepac manis is “sweet soy sauce” can I make an acceptable substitute by adding sugar or honey to regular soy sauce or, since that’s what I have in the kitchen, Kikkoman? Please specify quantities.

Yes, you can use 1 tbsp soy sauce and 2 tbsp brown sugar for 3 tbsp kecap mani. –JY

I try to eat healthier and have more fiber in my diet. I also like to cook. I recently purchased whole wheat pastry flour. Can I just replace it with white flour to make cakes, cookies and muffins? Or should I do half wheat, half white? Will baked goods taste noticeably different using whole wheat pastry flour?

Whole wheat pastry flour is a great choice for baking because it’s actually made from a different type of wheat than regular whole wheat flour. it’s sweeter and less protein. So you get nice, tender results without as much whole-wheat flavor. Ellie Krieger uses it exclusively in many of her recipes for us. This is a particularly good option for cookies and muffins.

For cakes, you may want to be a little more careful, at least initially, as these generally need more structure than other types of baked goods. Starting a cake recipe with a 50-50 mix of whole wheat dough and all-purpose dough is a reasonable plan, then if that seems to work, you can move even further in the direction of the all-purpose cup.

That being said, there are plenty of recipes that would be designed to use whole wheat pastry flour from the start. Thus, you would not have to worry at all. – Becky Crystal

When I see recipes for removing water from cooked cauliflower rice (or thawed frozen spinach), they usually suggest wringing it out in a towel. I don’t want to waste paper towels, or end up with a kitchen towel covered in stuck-on chunks of vegetables. Could I just spread it out on a baking sheet and dry uncovered in the oven on a low heat? If so, what temperature and for how long? Alternatively, how about dry sautéing over low heat in a skillet until the excess water evaporates?

I guess it really depends on what you’re going to cook, but I’d be concerned about over-precooking and changing the texture using any of the methods you ask. Honestly, I use my tea towels. I have a big cheap pack of 24 and I make them what I want. I spin the zucchini and spinach in mine. When I’m done, I rinse them and toss them in the laundry. This seems to me to be the least tricky and least risky solution. —BK

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