Walking around in Prague & Dumplings in a Napkin

Prague is a beautiful city. Very beautiful. There’s so much to see. We only had a day, so we made it only to a couple of places. I took many pictures. If you’d like a bit of background information, Iadded links to some of them.

We had really nice weather, it seems like that after that weekend, summer ended. Since then, we’ve had really autumnly weather here with lots of rain and temperatures dropping to 10°C (50°F), which makes the recipe at the end of this post the perfect choice.

View from the castle
The river Vltava and the Charles bridge (Karlův most in Czech)

The Charles bridge is a very old and beautiful bridge, and one of the main attractions in Prague.

On Karlův most, packed with tourists
These guys on the bridge were probably pretty annoyed with all the tourists. They are preparing to fly away…
The pretty Jerusalem synagogue
Týnský chrám (Týn church)

This church was build in the 15th century. It’s located on the market place in the old town (Staré Město).

Another church on the marketplace: St. Jacobs church
The Astronomical Clock on the old town hall
View from the Charles Bridge
a traditional puppet

My father likes Czech cuisine a lot. I think the food might be his main reason to visit the Czech republic quite often. We went to a not very vegan friendly restaurant, where he ate a traditional meat centered dish with dumplings, and I came home with an urge to cook something similar. So I made dumplings in a napkin (Serviettenknödel) for the first time. These kind of dumplings are German and not Czech I think), but they are cooked in logs and sliced into rounds for serving just like their Czech relatives. And I plan to make some Czech dumplings really soon. And Asian inspried ones. These things are addictive…

Dumplings in a napkin are often made with old bread or bread rolls. For cooking, they are wrapped in a kitchen towel and placed in a pot filled with hot water, where they have to simmer for 30-60 minutes, depending on the recipe. Simmering them in a kitchen towel is a little mess, and you can use greased aluminium foil instead. But the kitchen towel aka napkin method is the traditional way to do it.

Yeah, I had to use the flash. I don’t have much luck with the light these days.

Serviettenknödel mit Pilz-und Seitangulasch
(Dumplings in a Napkin with Mushroom and Seitan Goulash)
adapted from this recipe

For the dumplings:
4 small bread rolls, about 200 g (they can be fresh or stale)
2 cups unsweetened soy milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
150 g flour (1 1/4 cups)
3 tablespoons chickpea flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
pepper to taste

Place bread rolls in a large bowl and pour soy milk over rolls. Let sit for 10 minutes. Add salt and parsley and mix with your fingers until the rolls have fallen apart completely. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Let sit for another 10 minutes.

Fill a large pot with water (about 2 quarts) and bring to a boil. Have ready two kitchen towels and kitchen twine. Divide the dough between the towels and form into a log. Wrap tightly and fasten with twine.

The dumpling log in its hot water bath

Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from pot and let sit for 5 minutes before unwrapping. Slice into rounds.

While the dumplings are simmering, prepare the goulash:

1 teaspoon oil
1 medium onion, diced
200 g seitan (7 oz.)
150 g sliced button mushrooms (5.4 oz)
1 small tomato, chopped
a few fresh sage leaves, chopped
1-2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
120 ml oat cream (1/2 cup, substitute soy cream)
60 ml soy milk (1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Heat oil in a pan. Add onion and fry until translucent. Add seitan and mushrooms. Fry until the mushrooms start to brown. Add remaining ingredients (except for parsley) and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir in parsley. Serve with dumplings.

36 thoughts on “Walking around in Prague & Dumplings in a Napkin

  1. Greetings from Prague! :) have you visited any of the Prague’s vegan (vegetarian) restaurants? I strongly recommend Radost FX, located near I.P. Pavlova station (above the national museum, Vaclavske namesti).
    My vegan version of czech dumplings (boiled in a log as they are, not in a napkin although I know some people who make a version very similar to yours) is: flour (we have 3 types, the roughly milled is used for this recipe), yeast, soymilk or water, salt and cubed bread rolls. An egg is added in nonvegan version, instead of it I use a little bit of baking powder. I like them the most with gravy made out of root vegetables and cream (traditionally with marinated tenderloin) called Svickova (sweechkova) (the name in czech is derived from the word candle, weird ;o).
    Also thanks for having such a nice blog, its a nice change from the american blogs as you make a lot of german and european recipes, that are quite similar to what I was used to eat in my pre-vegan years and that I sometimes miss as a vegan.

    1. Hi Pupa,

      thank you for your nice comment! I can’t wait to try your Czech yeast dumplings, thank you for the recipe. I guess making them without a napkin is a lot easier.

  2. I agree: Prague is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen. Especially the center :) You’re lucky! I’d have liked to visit it again, even if it was for one day.

    Dumplings in napkin? Sounds a little messy, but interesting.

  3. I’m really intrigued by the dumplings in a napkin! And your Prague pictures are beautiful–I especially love the synagogue, so much more colorful than the outside of the churches!

  4. Hmm, perhaps I was just looking at Prague through the wrong lens; it seemed very dark and gloomy to me! Of course, it was overcast and rainy while we were there… Lovely photos, happy to see another side to the city.

  5. My dad’s mother is from the Czech Republic, which makes me 1/4 Czech I guess. Prague really is the most beautiful city in the world, and the food is delicious. Hearty and rich and oh so good. I love this dish and I bet the taste is amazing!

  6. I just found your blog through Andrea’s blog – so glad I did. :) I have never tasted duplings myself, but have heard a lot about them. I think I’ll have to try these one day!

    Your photos from Prague are beautiful, too. Although I don’t live all that far, I’ve never been there (yet).

  7. I went to Prague last year for a few days and loved it! They actually have some great Vegetarian & Vegan places I tried out, I was very impressed…This dish got my mouth watering – I’m Austrian, and this is quite a traditional dish in my homeland :) I never knew they steam them in a cloth like that! Will have to try it, haven’t had dumplings in so long…Thanks for the inspiration xxx

  8. oh, I love Prague! I haven’t been in years though, so it’s great to see your beautiful pictures.

    I always end up coming home from International travel with an urge to cook up/veganize all the various regional specialties that I couldn’t eat while there. It’s become a totally predictable part of traveling for me now.

  9. Beautiful photos, Mihl! I loooove Prague. I traveled there in 2003 & have always wanted to go back. It’s gorgeous. Most of the people were very un-friendly to us, but then again, our plane landed literally hours after the U.S. declared war on Iraq without support from any of our allies, soooo… ;) I suppose can understand them not liking Americans at that time.

    At any rate, those dumplings look so delicious!!

    1. I am very sorry you had such a bad experience. Maybe the people in Prague just had a bad day. I hope they will be nice to you next time you visit.

      1. Oh, I’m sure I would! It’s gorgeous & we certainly met some wonderful people. That’s how it goes sometimes! I’d love to try the vegan foods there, as I wasn’t even vegetarian at the time. :)

  10. wow prague looks so beautiful! im actually studying abroad in italy this semester and leaving for florence on monday, so i’m really looking forward to seeing more of europe!! do you have any suggestions for vegan eating in europe!?

    1. I hope you have a great time! Well, Europe is huge and every country is different. I’ve never been to Italy but could give you tips for Germany, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Norway, etc. Of course you should visit Berlin ;) It’s a great city and very vegan friendly.

  11. Beautiful photos! Prague looks like a lovely place to visit. I love that picture of the clock! I have never heard of making dumplings with bread before. I’m sure I’d like them though, I love any kind of dumplings! I just wish they didn’t take so long to make.

    1. I should have linked back to the Semmelknödel recipe here on the Blog. Those are made with bread, too. Bread dumplings are very common over here.

  12. Love it! My family makes bread dumplings similar to these but without the napkin. We just boil the logs as they are then slice! So delicious! Love your photos. i haven’t been back to Prague in 11 years and really want to get back soon!

  13. Love the photos — I’ve never been to Prague but my son spent a semester abroad there. Now he’s headed to Europe with his gf and Prague is on the itinerary. (Several stops in Germany, too.)

    The dumplings are interesting. I wonder if the texture would be changed using aluminum foil. The towels are so porous. It’s been pretty chilly here, too, and dumplings and goulash sounds like a weather appropriate dish!

  14. What great photos! I’m not a traveller, so love ot see pictures of faraway places and these were really beautiful.

    We had goulash this evening, with doughballs. Your version of dumplings looks MUCH less fattening and I think I should try it. You’re so inventive! I’d love to come to dinner at your place! :)

  15. Gorgeous pictures! I’d love to visit Prague. Too bad the restaurant wasn’t very vegan-friendly, but your own dumpling dish looks delicious! (and I think the pic looks great, especially if it’s taken using flash!)

  16. Great photos, Mihl! Prague really is a beautiful city, despite its loads of tourists. I’ve never tried Serviettenknödel–although the Austrian cookbook I bought my mom a few years ago does have a recipe for them–so I’m eager to try your version soon. Thanks for sharing your lovely photos and recipes!

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