Czech cuisine would not exist without dumplings (knedliky). Is that completely true? Dumplings’ history in the form as we know them today, is not that long. Initially, dumplings had a lot in common with buns, especially the fact that both were baked. Why did we begin to boil dumplings? Most probably out of despair during one of the military campaigns in the 18th century.
A typical Czech dish is vepřo-knedlo-zelo, which can be freely translated as pork-dumplings-sauerkraut.
The word “knedlik” itself became domesticated in the Czech language during the 19th century, its origin being connected with Emperor Franz Josef’s rule. Back then, knedlik was treated as a main course instead of a side dish. Its name comes from the German word “Knödel”, which originally defined fried meatballs with a dipped bun.
Later on, dumplings started to be prepared using flour and begun to be boiled. They say a military cook is responsible for that. During wartime, the oven on the battlefield got destroyed. The cook had already prepared the dough to bake bread, but without an oven, he could not think of a better solution than to boil pieces of dough in water. And that’s how the first knedlik was invented. Potato dumplings were invented thanks to another shortage – when military cooks lacked flour, they just added boiled potatoes into the dough.
Ever since, dumplings recipe hasn’t changed much, however, instead of a savory side dish knedliky became a dessert as well. Nowadays, you can often stumble upon dumplings filled with fruits, such as strawberries, plums or apricots. Delicious and highly recommended!