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Jun 22, 2012 10:51 AM

Cooking from Andrea Nguyen's "Asian Dumplings"

This is a thread for anyone who'd like to post about this cookbook. The book is new to me, but I'm very excited about it. I'll try a (steamed bun) recipe this afternoon and post later.

Ms. Nguyen has a blog here

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  1. Thank you for starting the thread, Blue Room! I live to give this book a try and will check the library first. Unfortunately, TGC does not have it, otherwise I would have bought since $10/book sale is on.

    1. Make sure you watch her videos on youtube! I find them so useful.

      1 Reply
      1. Steamed Filled Buns p. 95

        These are so plump & adorable! (My unlovely 1st attempt hasn’t discouraged me at all -- now I know lots more than I did this morning.)
        This type of dumpling uses a yeast dough--can be made ahead of time (I refrigerated overnight) and rolled out and shaped later. I was a little worried because this dough has no salt (!) -- but the filling flavor steamed right into the finished dough and I didn’t think it lacked salt when I finally tasted it.
        The rolled-out-flat little rounds of dough which will be filled should have a “belly”. The belly is simply a thicker center area (um, yeah, I‘m familiar). Keeps the dumpling evened out in the end. The filling is spooned into the disc of dough and then the dough is “pleated” in your hand -- the technique that creates the plump round shape. It’s tricky tricky -- I know I’ll get it, but as you can see, those first 3 are ungainly, one even opened prematurely. I think the dough itself is too thick, I should have rolled it thinner. (Book/author instructions are great -- my work was slapdash) And the videos showing you how to do the pleating are of course shot **facing the pleater** -- I wish I could have seen one shot **over the shoulder** of the pleater, so I could match my movements to hers… is this haha too much detail?
        Anyway, I did the best I could, I feel completely confident that this is like anything else -- the more you do it, the easier it gets.

        I was NOT concerned this time with the filling -- diced some very American leftover BBQ’d ham for filling this time. The authentic knock-out delicious fillings will be all-important later on of course!

        I bought a bamboo steamer for this, but surely almost any (covered) steam-delivering system will do. It took a few minutes to figure out how the steaming works (it’s all in the book --every step of everything.) The Joyce Chen 10 inch Steamer I bought from Amazon fits perfectly over my 4 quart Dutch oven. You need to cut little squares of waxed or parchment paper to put under the dumplings. It’s all a little bit fiddly, but think of the dumpling banquet you could have someday when you‘re proficient.
        On a serving plate, pleat-side-up means a savory dumpling, and pleat-side-down means a sweet dumpling.
        But I also read that pleat-side-down is simply a good way to disguise lousy pleating.
        Thoroughly enjoyed this recipe tryout, looking forward to more.

        6 Replies
        1. re: blue room

          Great job blue room! Definitely-- you have to just practice. The yeast dough is remarkably forgiving. Don't be afraid to man handle it a bit to get the wrapper closed.

          Thanks for using the book and sharing your progress!

          1. re: Andrea Nguyen

            Andrea...nice to see you here. I think there are a lot of fans of your books and VWK here.

            1. re: wabi

              Thanks, Wabi. If y'all ever need to reach me directly, visit and send an email.

            2. re: Andrea Nguyen

              Well how nice of you, I appreciate your friendly comment !

            3. re: blue room

              Really impressive. In restaurants, I've had dumplings steamed on top of napa cabbage leaves. The thin leafy parts. I wonder if that would work here as well v. fiddling with the paper. Plus the leaves tasted good as well.

              1. re: beetlebug

                Leaves would be fine as liners. You may want to use a mallet to smash the spines flat. Seriously. I've seen the pros do that.

            4. Spiced Lamb Dumplings

              I used a beef/pork mixture instead of lamb, because I'm not fond of lamb. These were awesome. Are awesome, as I think there are still a few left in the freezer. I made one batch, and a little while later made a double batch and by the end I was pretty proud of my technique. I'm almost out, so I'll have to do it again soon. After I made these, I stopped ordering momos at restaurants because mine are better :) I even critique the fold on restaurant ones as I seem them pass by my table. I wish I had better pictures (I know I have some of cooked ones somewhere).

              The only thing I feel the book is missing is a recipe for Siberian pelmeni. Siberia is Asia, and I feel it would have really shown the complete Asian dumpling story if she'd included them. Plus they're very tasty :)

              7 Replies
                1. re: sarahcooks

                  Sarah, I have an old Russian cookbook that most likely has a recipe for pelmeni. I will have a look when I am at home next week and will post the recipe if there is one. My grandmother used to make hundreds of them and everyone in our small family participated in rolling out the dough, stuffing the little wrappers and pinching the edges together. They were always frozen first and later cooked from frozen. I have no idea why but never in my life did I have a fresh pelmeni!

                  1. re: herby

                    I haven't made them for years, but I did several times when I was in college. I'm not sure, but maybe freezing them helps them cook more evenly?

                  2. re: sarahcooks

                    They are just stunning, sarahcooks. And you mastered the pleating technique in just three batches? Both impressive and encouraging.

                    1. re: JoanN

                      You know, the dough is just so forgiving, even when they're not perfect they're still sealed and homemade dumplings are just so impressive I doubt anyone would criticize. I have had some previous experience with pasty crimping (DH is from Cornwall) and I find pie crust so difficult to work with, dumpling dough was refreshingly easy. Definitely give it a try (and watch the videos, I can't stress that enough!)

                      I still haven't been able to find an asian style rolling pin locally so I've been using my 5 year old's little pink silicon one. I think it would be pretty difficult with a standard size pin, but easier using a proper one.

                    2. re: sarahcooks

                      Stunning. Asian Tofu is on route to me from the library. Now I want to request this book as well.

                      1. re: sarahcooks

                        Sarahcooks, your pleats are lovely! Thank you.

                      2. Pork and napa cabbage water dumplings

                        This was the first recipe I tried from the book, and I made my own wrappers. There is a place for store bought wrappers, but for me dumplings are all about a nice chewy wrapper so it has to be homemade. The dough is remarkably easy to work with. It isn't as stretchy as I was expecting, so it more or less does what you want it to. I find store bought wrappers don't even save that much time in the end because you spend so long wetting them down and trying to get the edges to stick together. Homemade dough sticks really easily and is so much more forgiving. Anyway, the filling is very tasty, very much what you'd expect. Maybe a tad too salty for me since I like lots of sauce to dip in which is also salty. But no complaints. They keep so well in my deep freeze, and cook up quickly. Definitely a freezer staple.