U.S. Catfish Belly Dumplings – TCI

U.S. Catfish Belly Dumplings

Recipe from Nick Wallace

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What you’ll need:

  • Catfish Dumplings:
  • 2½ lbs. of raw catfish belly
  • 1¾ c. ice water, divided
  • 4 T. sugar
  • 2 T. dry sherry – not cooking sherry
  • 3 t. salt
  • 4 eggs whites
  • 4 T. cornstarch
  • 2 oz olive oil

  • Pepper Encrusted Catfish:
  • Red Peppercorns
  • Green Peppercorns
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Peppercorns
  • 4 Center-cuts of Catfish Fillets
  • 2oz olive oil

  • Lemon Oil:
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 Cup
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 Whole Lemons, cut into wedges
  • Sweet Potato Stock:
  • 2 Large Sweet Potato, cleaned then chopped
  • 1 qt water
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbs Nick’s 26 Seasoning
  • 1 tsp soy sauce

  • Crispy Shallots:
  • Thinly Sliced Shallots
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1 tsp Nick’s 26 Seasoning
  • 1 cup flour

  • Dukkah
  • Roasted Sunflower Seeds
  • Salt, Pepper
  • Dried Thyme
  • 1 oz almond oil

How to prepare:


Place the fish in a blender add ¾ cup ice water and puree until smooth. Remove fish puree to a stand mixer and add the sugar, sherry and salt. Use the paddle attachment and blend the fish mixture on high for 12-15 minutes. Add the egg whites, one at a time, while the mixer is running, during the 15 minute blending time. Now, with the mixer still running add ½ cup of the ice water, then 2 tablespoons of the cornstarch, blending well each time. Add the rest of the water, then the rest of the cornstarch. This should take about 5 minutes. The mixture should look really smooth and kind of silky. Turn off the mixer and place a small spoonful of the mixture in water- to be sure it floats. Now, you are supposed to squeeze small amounts of the mixture through your hands as you make a fist to form into 1- inch balls. I just used a tablespoon to spoon out the mixture, then used wet hands to form into balls. They aren’t going to be perfectly smooth and round, but that is fine. Have a big bowl of cold water standing by. As you make the balls drop them in the water. They will keep their shape and not stick together- they are soft, but should hold together. Once you have all the dough in balls, get a big pot of water just barely simmering. You don’t want the water to boil. Drop about half of the dumplings into the water at a time. Cook until they float, 2-3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Preheat a 12 inch skillet on the stove and add 2 oz olive oil. When hot, place the dumplings one at a time to develop a crispy texture which will enhance the flavor of the dumpling.

Pepper Encrusted Catfish:

Place all spices in a mortar and pestle and grind until smooth. Then coat all sides of the catfish, preheat a 12 inch skillet on the stove and when hot. Place catfish for about 2 minutes on each side or until done. Let rest until ready to serve.

Sweet Potato Stock:

Place a pot on the stove with the water and all the other ingredients and cook for about 22 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender. After tender, take a stick blender and pulse the ingredients together in the liquid. After, strain the liquid and reserve until ready to serve.

Crispy Shallots:

Place shallots in a bowl, then add one egg and mix and start adding the water. Season your shallot mixture well and reserve until fryer is pre heated and then dredge the shallots with flour and shake off additional flour before fryer and cook until crispy and add additional seasoning when finished frying. Reserve until ready to plate.


Add all ingredients onto a sheet pan or roasting pan. Preheat a oven to 350 degrees.

Lemon Oil:

Add all the ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer and cut off the heat until oil gets to about room temperature. Secure it in a sealed container and reserve until adding to the finished dish.