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The Dim Sum Book - Eileen Yin-Fei Lo

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I just picked up a copy of The Dim Sum Book by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo, hoping to find some more obscure dim sum recipes...Any favorites?

Also, any suggestions on other dim sum books?

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  1. "Dim Sum", by Rhoda Yee, published by Taylor & Ng. It may be out of print, but I often see it in used book stores. (Disclaimer - at one time, I knew her as "Auntie Rhoda")

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    1. re: ricepad

      This is an excellent book - worth searching for.

      Try her "lo bok go" (steamed daikon cake, she may spell it differently.)

      BB

    2. I have never attempted to make dim sum from scratch but I love those little morsels of har gau, shu mai, beef meatballs, sticky rice in lotus leaf, etc. Is it worth the effort to make it when it is so inexpensive to purchase and after all is said and done, is the finished product better than what an experienced dim sum chef, presumably trained in Hong Kong, can make? Just curious of your take on it?

      7 Replies
      1. re: bakerboyz

        Dim sum aren't available everywhere. I live in a sort of Chinese Restaurant desert.

        They are usually a lot of work, but even aesthetically imperfect homemade dim sum can be quite good.

        BB

        1. re: Big Bunny

          Dim Sum by Ellen Leong Blonder is a nice, smaller book that is great for someone new to eating dim sum as well as making it.

          1. re: Big Bunny

            In Boston it is readily available and very inexpensive; most dishes have 3-4 pieces and are usually around $2.75 per order for things such as shu mai, har gau, beef meatballs, shrimp in rice noodle, etc.

            1. re: bakerboyz

              We have places like that come and go in Baltimore. Currently I have to travel to get dim sum. You are right, though. A dim-sum parlor is excellent inexpensive entertainment.

              Another thought, making dim sum is partly fun because of the challenge - not just in cooking, but in the marketing for the ingredients. I learned a lot about the various Chinese flours and "starches" from making my lopsided dim sum.

              BB

            2. re: Big Bunny

              Here here! I agree with you completely, Big Bunny. I'm currently in Indiana, aka dim sum desert, though I grew up in SF Bay Area and miss my dim sum dearly. This past weekend, I finally worked up the energy to make my own potsticker wrappers (I usually just get the packaged ones). Even though the wrappers weren't perfect circles and some of the potstickers looked a bit man-handled, they were so yummy and definitely worth the effort! Since moving to Indiana, I've tried to make a variety of dim sum from scratch - siu mai, har gow, pineapple buns, potstickers, XLB, and you get such a thrill of accomplishment (and yumminess) afterwards.

              1. re: kcchan

                My husband and I will spend an afternoon making an assortment of dim sum (with a bottle of wine, of course) then freeze some of it for later. Lot's of dim sum freezes well, especially dumplings and baked buns. It's an enjoyable way to spend some time together in the kitchen. We, also, love to shop for the ingredients.

                1. re: kcchan

                  Thanks for the reinforcement. I haven't cooked dim sum for a while, except "lo bok go" at new year and a few things from Fuchsia Dunlop's Sichuan book. I am a better cook than I was when I did them last, so maybe I could do them better now.

                  The one that gave me the most trouble was "wu gok." I may have had the wrong kind of taro because I never could get it tender enough to mash properly.

                  BB

            3. I think her har gau recipe is decent but too complicated. I am still a fan of the simple recipe in the Time Life China cookbook.

              1. I strongly second the recommendation for Rhoda Yee's book. She wrote it at a time when you could not find dim sum outside of Chinatowns, and it was nearly impossible to find many exotic ingredients. Therefore, she adapted all the recipes to ingredients more readily available in the States. For example, she subs cake flour (Swansdown) for rice flour - very successfully. I have cooked out of that one for nearly 30 years now!!

                And bakerboyz, you are sadly mistaken if you think everyone in the States has access to dim sum (even bad dim sum!). To get dim sum, I must drive 100 miles in either direction. Not exactly readily available, not to mention that both my favorite restaurants (on either side of my state) serve dim sum only on weekends. This is why I learned to cook my own. If I lived in a town with a resto that served it, yeah... I might never have attempted. But I wanted my dim sum, so I learned how to make it (thank you again, Rhoda Yee!).

                1 Reply
                1. re: k_d

                  Sorry for your misunderstanding, my post said that, "In Boston it is readily available...", which it is; however, I would never assume that it was readily available elsewhere, unless it was a large metropolitan area and had a large Asian population.