These famous soup dumplings (Griessnockerl-Suppe: Griess = semolina, Nockerl = dumpling and Suppe = soup) are served in most traditional Austrian Gasthäuser (restaurants) and are also very common in Bavaria, the southern end of Germany. Barely without exception, they are floating in a bowl of homemade clear beef stock.
Austrians usually enjoy soups as first course, with only a few high-calorie exceptions. Therefore, your semolina dumpling soup would be followed by a Wiener Schnitzel with potato salad and some Torte or apple strudel for dessert ;-). So don’t plan more than 2 or 3 big dumplings per person, if you serve the soup as first dish.
Since the majority of us doesn’t cook three course meals for lunch or dinner on normal days, I usually eat about 4 Nockerl as main dish, with lots of soup. Not that traditional Austrian, but also very delicious are these dumplings in clear vegetable soup.
The recipe itself is pretty simple. You will only need a handful of ingredients.
But there are a few things, you should keep in mind:
First, the type of semolina. I’m using coarse ground wheat farina (farina meal), white-beige in color, called Grieß or Griess in German (this type). Apparently, it is not only very common in Europe, but also in India. I found this type of wheat semolina in an Indian grocery store under the name Sooji.
When you have mixed all the ingredients with an electric hand mixer, the dough batter has to rest in the fridge for 15 minutes. This way the semolina can absorb some of the liquid and the batter gets firm.
Something that can be a little tricky is forming the Nockerl for the first time. I’m showing you how to do so in this video. The batter in the video is actually from making curd cheese dumplings, but it resembles semolina dumplings consistency-wise.
Some people shape all of the batter into Nockerl before dropping them into hot water, others drop them into the water right away when finishing a dumpling. I do the latter. The dumplings are usually shaped with two soup spoons, yielding in big Griessnockerl. To avoid the batter sticking to your spoons, dip them into hot water first.
You can cook the dumplings in either generously salted water or stock. I think they taste somehow better when cooked directly in broth. However, if you do so, you’ll end up with some dough pieces floating in your soup. Especially for the first attempts, I would suggest, you choose the salted water version.
Troubleshooting: Why are semolina dumplings falling apart?
The three main causes for semolina dumplings to fall apart while cooking are the following:
● First, the water temperature is too high and your water is boiling too much. Keep in mind, it should only simmer gently when you drop in the dumplings. After 5 minutes, reduce the temperature and just let them simmer on minimal temperature.
● Secondly, the dumplings tend to dissolve if the batter is too soft. Please really let the batter rest for 15 minutes in the fridge, so the semolina is able to absorb some of the liquid and get firm.
● The third common error often occurs during shaping. You have to shape them tight, with no visible voids. The dumplings should have clear edges and smooth surfaces. If shaping them with two spoons is too difficult for you (lern how to here), wet your hands and shape them with your hands. This way, they will not look perfect but at least, they are not falling apart.
Enough talked about the errors and what could possibly happen. This dish is a real Li’l Vienna treat, so I’m sure you will succeed right away!
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