HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Are you making a specialty food? Share your adventure
TELL US

Cooking from Andrea Nguyen's "Asian Dumplings"

blue room Jun 22, 2012 10:51 AM

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

http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/

 
  1. herby Jun 22, 2012 11:50 AM

    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. s
      sarahcooks Jun 22, 2012 02:47 PM

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

      http://www.youtube.com/user/asiandump...

      1 Reply
      1. re: sarahcooks
        blue room Jun 22, 2012 04:32 PM

        Yes, I'm glad to have them too!

      2. blue room Jun 22, 2012 04:22 PM

        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
          Andrea Nguyen Jun 22, 2012 04:52 PM

          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
            w
            wabi Jun 22, 2012 07:48 PM

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

            1. re: wabi
              Andrea Nguyen Jun 23, 2012 10:07 AM

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

            2. re: Andrea Nguyen
              blue room Jun 22, 2012 08:35 PM

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

            3. re: blue room
              beetlebug Jun 23, 2012 05:41 AM

              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
                Andrea Nguyen Jun 23, 2012 10:08 AM

                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. s
              sarahcooks Jun 22, 2012 08:12 PM

              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
                blue room Jun 22, 2012 08:39 PM

                Sarahcooks, those are gorgeous!!

                1. re: sarahcooks
                  herby Jun 22, 2012 08:44 PM

                  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
                    s
                    sarahcooks Jun 23, 2012 05:55 AM

                    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
                    JoanN Jun 23, 2012 05:03 AM

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

                    1. re: JoanN
                      s
                      sarahcooks Jun 23, 2012 05:53 AM

                      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
                      beetlebug Jun 23, 2012 05:41 AM

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

                      1. re: sarahcooks
                        Andrea Nguyen Jun 23, 2012 10:09 AM

                        Sarahcooks, your pleats are lovely! Thank you.

                      2. s
                        sarahcooks Jun 22, 2012 08:23 PM

                        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.

                        1. Gio Jun 23, 2012 06:26 AM

                          Keeping my finger in the pie so to speak or dumpling, as it were, I've been thinking about getting AN's Tofu book and now, after reading blueroom's and sarahcook's reviews, this Dumpling book is looming large in my mind as well.

                          Great work both of you.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Gio
                            Andrea Nguyen Jun 23, 2012 10:14 AM

                            When I first started making the dumpling dough from scratch, it was a bit of a struggle. However, with all the boo boos, they still tasted better than most restaurant versions. You'll improve as you go along. Now when I see a handsome handmade dumpling, I am extra appreciative to the cook and the taste.

                            If you have an iPad or Nook Color, get the enhanced Asian Dumpling ebook with the embedded videos on dong the shapes. Otherwise, use the videos on Asiandumplingtips.com as your supplemental guide to the instructions and drawings.

                            1. re: Andrea Nguyen
                              Gio Jun 23, 2012 11:48 AM

                              Thank you very much for your kind words of encouragement. Ms Nguyen. I certainly will try.

                              During September 2008 your book Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, and Mai Pham's book Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table were our co-Cookbooks of the Month. Here's a link to the master thread with links to the report thread included...
                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/553813

                              It was my introduction to Vietnamese home cooking and I enjoyed it Very much.

                              1. re: Gio
                                Andrea Nguyen Jun 23, 2012 04:49 PM

                                I remember that, Gio! It was so great to see Chowhounders pick up on Viet home cooking so wholeheartedly. There's lots to learn from one another.

                              2. re: Andrea Nguyen
                                herby Jun 23, 2012 01:15 PM

                                Very nice to have you here, Ms. Nguyen, encouraging and advising us!

                                Just ordered Asian Dumplings and will be reading it very soon. Cooking will have to wait for a couple of weeks because I will be at the cottage, etc. Wonder if there are any GF dumplings in the book - there must be rice wrappers in addition to the flour ones.

                            2. blue room Jun 28, 2012 10:42 AM

                              Basic Dumpling Dough p. 22 ... and ... Japanese Pork and Shrimp Potstickers p. 41

                              Tried another dumplin' variety. It surprises me that I can make the wrappers with just flour and water. You use *very* hot water and try to moisten the flour quickly and evenly (food proscessor helpful here.) A rest for the dough, then press (tortilla press mentioned as a tool!) and shape into a 3 1/4 inch disc with thinnish edges. The filling here is great -- pork, shrimp, cabbage, ginger, garlic, chives, sugar, pepper, soy sauce, sake, soy sauce, sesame oil, I think that's it -- mine lacks sake. (No sake, no chopsticks in my boring house.) All of the filling ingredients are minced fine and mixed well. There's a way to do the little pleats, the folding technique which I've not entirely mastered, but it's fun to try. Videos and pictures help of course, immeasurably.
                              Then you fry on one side only -- then add water carefully (steamy splashing!) and cook more, covered. My results made me very happy -- I will work on making thinner dough discs, these were a little thick for my idea of adorable dumplings. But the taste was perfect -- oh --don't leave out the simple soy sauce / vinegar /drop of chile oil dipping sauce. Exactly right for these, and as easy as blinking.
                              Mr. blue room wants these "every night from now on."
                              2 pics, cooking and cooked.

                               
                               
                              13 Replies
                              1. re: blue room
                                Caitlin McGrath Jun 28, 2012 10:48 AM

                                Brava, blue room! Those look amazing. I've never made my own dumpling dough, only used store-bought, but beyond the dough, homemade potstickers are so straightforward to make, yet so satisfying to have made.

                                1. re: blue room
                                  JoanN Jun 28, 2012 10:55 AM

                                  Gorgeous! And they sound so delicious. Must crack this book open and get going.

                                  1. re: blue room
                                    herby Jun 28, 2012 11:02 AM

                                    Beautiful, BR! My book has arrived and I can't wait to join you all in this virtual kitchen. I wonder how would the potstickers be without the pork? Just leave it out or substitute with something? Or just make another dumpling?

                                    1. re: herby
                                      JoanN Jun 28, 2012 11:14 AM

                                      Having made something similar in the past (although with purchased wrappers) I'd say either leave it out or double up on the shrimp. I'm sure they'd be just as wonderful without it

                                      1. re: herby
                                        blue room Jun 28, 2012 11:16 AM

                                        The pork supplies more than half the "heft" in these -- but ground chicken or beef could surely be subbed. Depending, they might contain less fat, that might be a consideration, but I don't think an important one.

                                        1. re: blue room
                                          Andrea Nguyen Jun 28, 2012 12:13 PM

                                          Blue Room, you're spot on. You could totally another type of protein for the pork. Just make sure it's on the fatty side -- say, ground chicken thigh.

                                          Herby -- There are vegetarian dumpling filling options in the book. If you want to go meatless, a mixture of chopped pressed tofu and vegetables fits the bill.

                                          1. re: Andrea Nguyen
                                            herby Jun 28, 2012 06:33 PM

                                            Thank you, Ladies, for the advise! I do not eat pork but OK with other fish and meat proteins. Subbing chicken thighs for the pork is a brilliant suggestion! I am going to do it from now on for other dishes too - never thought of it myself:)

                                            1. re: herby
                                              Andrea Nguyen Jun 28, 2012 06:45 PM

                                              Ground chicken thigh used to be hard to come by. Nowadays, places like Whole Foods carries it. So much better than ground chicken breast and ... turkey.

                                      2. re: blue room
                                        BigSal Jun 28, 2012 06:23 PM

                                        Very impressive! *applause* I've always wanted to make my own gyoza skins, you might have just convinced me to give it a go.

                                        1. re: BigSal
                                          Andrea Nguyen Jun 28, 2012 06:46 PM

                                          DIY dumpling skins are very forgiving. My basic dough recipe uses regular supermarket flour. Seriously.

                                          1. re: Andrea Nguyen
                                            BigSal Jun 28, 2012 06:57 PM

                                            Thanks for the encouragement. I have been cooking from your Asian Tofu book and am so excited to have made silken tofu, tofu pudding, block tofu and yuba. All on the first try! I'd previously tried making fresh tofu with limited success and your recipes helped me make delicious, fresh tofu with consistent results. Thank you!

                                            1. re: BigSal
                                              Andrea Nguyen Jun 29, 2012 11:23 AM

                                              OMG BigSal -- You are amazing. If you ever snap photos of your tofu prowess, email to tweet them to me: @aqnguyen, andrea_@_vietworldkitchen.com

                                              I'd love to give you an extra big shout out. The rich soy milk is challenging to make just because of how hot it gets. But once you have it, it's downhill from there. Try the Japanese silken tofu and soy milk hot pot. That is one of the most interesting and brilliant dishes I encountered during my tofu travels.

                                        2. re: blue room
                                          BigSal Dec 16, 2012 06:04 PM

                                          I finally did it! After much procrastination, I made gyoza skins following Andrea Nguyen's recipe. Like blueroom, I used my food processor. I then flattened the small pieces of dough with my hand and then created rounds using a pastry roller. I started with the rolling pin suggested, but it proved to be too unwieldly for a novice like me so I switched to the pastry roller which proved to be the perfect tool. Although making the dough is not as easy as unwrapping a package of already made gyoza skins, I think the results are worth it. Maybe it's the "I made it so it must be better syndrome," but the tender dough was an improvement over my typical wrappers. Because it is such a time commitment, I made quite a few extra that are in the freezer now making the next gyoza night a breeze.

                                        3. i
                                          illewminator Jun 28, 2012 01:45 PM

                                          I, too, was so excited to receive my Asian Tofu book, I hosted a small Asian Tofu dinner party to try out some of the recipes on my family and friends. (For an appetizer, I made an Edamame and White Bean "Hummus" recipe that I found on Chowhound, which was wonderful with bread sticks). All the rest of the recipes were from the Asian Tofu book: Roast Chicken with Fermented Red Tofu, Tofu Noodle and Vegetable Salad, and, for dessert, Cashew and Cardamom Fudge.

                                          Everything was delicious, beautiful, and my dinner was such a great success, everything was all gone before I remembered to take photos! :-( I found the recipes were very clear and the instructions easy to follow. I especially appreciated the author's descriptive (and very accurate) tips along the way of what each dish should look and feel like as you're preparing it, as it made me feel more at ease that I was not making any critical mistakes.

                                          Can't wait to try out more of these recipes. I already was a fan of tofu, but lacked the knowledge to prepare it in ways other than in soups or stir-fries (and, to be completely honest, would usually just eat it cold, as in the book's Japanese Chilled Tofu recipe).

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: illewminator
                                            Andrea Nguyen Jun 28, 2012 06:44 PM

                                            Illewminator -- You are a tofu STAR! Wow. Thanks for taking Asian Tofu for a spin or two in your kitchen. My only regret is that I wasn't at the tofu dinner partay!

                                          2. s
                                            smtucker Jun 29, 2012 04:44 PM

                                            Getting a serious case of the "wants."

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: smtucker
                                              blue room Jun 29, 2012 05:10 PM

                                              Seek pleasure, avoid pain.

                                            2. blue room Jul 11, 2012 03:23 PM

                                              Filipino Shrimp, Meat, and Vegetable Spring Rolls *Lumpia* p. 87

                                              My latest attempt is again not pretty, but again delicious.
                                              These wrappers, or skins, are filled with fine-chopped pork, shrimp, carrots, green beans, onions, garlic, salt, sugar, pepper, fish sauce. An easy stir-fry kind of process.
                                              Making the skin-wrappers is a riot. You mix plain flour and a little tapioca flour with water, a little salt, a little oil. Stirring in one direction develops the gluten. (Who knew that?) The cooking method was completely new to me. The video
                                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=...!
                                              explains the rest better than I can. For me it worked fairly well -- my pan heat was just right, my dough maybe a little too wet, under-mixed? But it worked well enough to make me feel I could do better next time.
                                              I did overfill the skins-- they should be cigar-like cylinders, not envelopes, not blintzes!
                                              The sauce is that good simple dip -- rice vinegar and soy sauce. Add a little garlic.
                                              We loved these!

                                               
                                               
                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: blue room
                                                JoanN Jul 11, 2012 04:28 PM

                                                Very impressive, blue room. And they just sound sooo good. Not sure I'd ever have dared try making my own wrappers, but you make it sound doable. You're making me eager to start trying things from this book, but I'm afraid events will continue to conspire against me for a while.

                                                1. re: blue room
                                                  BigSal Jul 11, 2012 07:26 PM

                                                  *Applause*Standing ovation* I'm so glad you created this thread. I am so impressed by your efforts and am excited to try them myself. I bought a dowel to use as a rolling pin for the gyoza, but the weather has been so hot I haven't felt like making it, but will soon. Could fresh lumpia rolls be in my future too??

                                                  1. re: BigSal
                                                    Andrea Nguyen Jul 11, 2012 07:39 PM

                                                    Holy lumpia, Blue Room. Congrats! You just graduated from dumpling making school. Seriously. Those skins are tough to make but as you said, they are a 'riot' to put together together. The amazing flavor payoff is well worth it. I just pinned your photo here:

                                                    http://pinterest.com/andreanguyen88/d...

                                                    I'm flattered, honored and proud all at the same time!

                                                2. blue room Jul 11, 2012 08:49 PM

                                                  Everyone's comments are so supportive, you'd think I'd invented Fire :)
                                                  Thanks for the encouragement!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: blue room
                                                    Caitlin McGrath Jul 11, 2012 09:23 PM

                                                    Between dumpling and tortilla posts, it sounds as if you are having fun exploring new-to-you doughs and enjoying the process. It is impressive all around, and fun to read about.

                                                  2. c oliver Apr 10, 2013 10:59 AM

                                                    Giving this a bump cause I just attended Andrea's Asian dumpling class at the San Francisco Cooking School - http://www.sfcooking.com/# . It was a five hour course where 14 of us paired up and made the dough and the filling for 7 different dumplings. Guess what? Even *I* could do this! One of the things she kept repeating is that "it's just food." And also the fact that less than pretty wasn't going to make the result taste less good. And she was right. I encourage y'all to break out the book or visit her website - http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/... . But as you can see from the pix, most everything looked pretty also. And you can use one very basic folding technique for many. The great tool is the tortilla press. And if you get it too thin, then just "redo" a cry heard often when we first started :

                                                    )

                                                    I know not everyone can attend her class but you can make these dumplings if you've a mind to. I'll be making some in the coming days for sure. Thanks, Ms. Nguyen!!!

                                                     
                                                     
                                                     
                                                     
                                                     
                                                     
                                                    11 Replies
                                                    1. re: c oliver
                                                      eLizard Apr 10, 2013 11:26 AM

                                                      i have her dumplings book, and the potstickers were awesome. and totally doable. i'm so jealous!!

                                                       
                                                      1. re: eLizard
                                                        c oliver Apr 10, 2013 11:33 AM

                                                        I'll not soon forget it! I live less than 200 miles from SF AND they now have Megabus from Reno to SF. So my transpo was a whopping $4!!!! A friend joined me and we shared a hotel room.

                                                        1. re: c oliver
                                                          eLizard Apr 10, 2013 11:37 AM

                                                          they're beautiful. what is the third picture in?

                                                          1. re: eLizard
                                                            c oliver Apr 10, 2013 11:57 AM

                                                            I wish CH had a feature that brought the label over with the pix. It's curried chicken bun or gali ji bao. It's the same yeast dough as is used for char sui bao, which has never been a fave of mine. But these I loved as did everyone. Her yeast dough bao have much more filling to dumpling than I ever see in dim sum places. This version also gets an eggwash before baking and a drizzle of honey and water after. And these show you that the mistakes we made are on the bottom and no one can see them :)

                                                            1. re: c oliver
                                                              eLizard Apr 10, 2013 12:32 PM

                                                              they look incredible! i want to try them now. i made like 100 potstickers. they freeze so well. awesome for a quick meal. and with the tortilla press, not too stressful at all! i used a regular sized rolling pin to roll them a little more.

                                                              1. re: eLizard
                                                                c oliver Apr 10, 2013 12:44 PM

                                                                She suggested a 3/4" dowel (about a foot long) from Home Depot for rolling the outer part more. Worked quite well.

                                                      2. re: c oliver
                                                        Gio Apr 10, 2013 11:52 AM

                                                        What a wonderful hands-on experience that must have been. Most times these sorts of things are demonstrations rather than real teaching.

                                                        The dumplings certainly Look wonderful, CO. What a great idea the tortilla press is! Is that a circle pf parchment paper in the bamboo steamer? And, finally, if the dumplings were steamed why are some of them charred in the 5th photo? (Sorry but I had to ask...) Or maybe they weren't steamed?

                                                        1. re: Gio
                                                          c oliver Apr 10, 2013 12:06 PM

                                                          She said she was SO glad this was hands-on. She did a demo class once and asked for volunteers. Only one person did and only wanted to make ONE dumpling! We had an intro and then paired up and went to our stations. Each pair made the dough and the filling and then we all came back together for the assembly, cooking and eating. Oh, yeah, and a teensy :) glass of wine reward for all our hard work.

                                                          She said in China, it's not likely you'd see Napa (or other) cabbage in the steamer as that would be wasting something that can be eaten. Hence the parchment paper which is easier anyway.

                                                          Those dumplings in 5th photo are potstickers. I think she referred to it as "fry, steam, fry." So you get them started with a tiny bit of oil, later add some water and cover. When you hear that it's no longer steaming but frying, you remove the cover and finish til brown. The guy who cooked these did a great job but Andrea got to talking as he was taking them out so they got over browned. But it didn't detract one bit from the taste.

                                                          1. re: c oliver
                                                            Gio Apr 10, 2013 12:16 PM

                                                            Oh that's just fantastic! Everything must have tasted delicious, and that's great to know about the parchment instead of napa. Thanks!

                                                            1. re: Gio
                                                              c oliver Apr 10, 2013 12:26 PM

                                                              It's made me hungry 'talking' about this. About the only thing I can get NO version of around here is dim sum so hopefully I'll continue. It was SO much easier than I thought. x,c

                                                        2. re: c oliver
                                                          Andrea Nguyen Apr 11, 2013 10:35 AM

                                                          It was too fun to cook with you and L over the weekend. Thanks for trekking to SF for the class. Yes, we can all be dumpling masters!

                                                        3. Candy Apr 10, 2013 11:19 AM

                                                          I have that book, and I also have her Tofu Book and her first, Into the Vietnamese Kitchen. The recipes work and I have enjoyed cooking from all three. There many excellent recipes in them. If you like Asian cooking they are must to own and with hot weather arriving soon Vietnamese cooking is perfect. I find it light and refreshing.

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: Candy
                                                            c oliver Apr 10, 2013 11:35 AM

                                                            I have VK but not the tofu book. I need to sit down and take a looksee. I'm not interesting in making my own tofu and don't know how much emphasis is put on that. Got both my books signed so now they're even most special :)

                                                            1. re: c oliver
                                                              Gio Apr 10, 2013 11:55 AM

                                                              You'll love Into the Vietnamese Kitchen! I go back to it several times each month. Here's the link to the archived COTM report threads:
                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/553813

                                                              1. re: c oliver
                                                                Candy Apr 13, 2013 02:21 PM

                                                                The tofu book allows for store bought tofu as an option. The chicken soup with watercress is lovely. The tofu is cut into thick triangles, hollowed out and stuffed with a chicken mixture, pan browned and then added to the rich chicken broth with watercress.

                                                                I think we are having Ma Po Tofu tonight. My husband has been getting the ingredients together for it. Good stuff. There is nothing in any of her books that I would not eat.

                                                                1. re: Candy
                                                                  c oliver Apr 13, 2013 02:44 PM

                                                                  Candy, thanks for the info. Guess I'll be buying another of her books :) That chicken-stuffed tofu soup sounds pretty amazing. And Gio has told me that her Ma Po Tofu is the best and one of my favorite dishes anyway.

                                                                  I'm making Har Gow and Vegetarian Crystal Dumplings tonight. The dough and fillings are done. Dim sum is one of the things that we can get NO version of here (Tahoe/Reno) so to be able to turn out this meal will be a pretty big deal.

                                                                  Again, thanks. C

                                                                  1. re: c oliver
                                                                    Gio Apr 14, 2013 04:52 AM

                                                                    I can't wait to read your report of your homemade dim sum! What an accomplishment that is.

                                                            2. m
                                                              madeliner Apr 11, 2013 02:17 PM

                                                              I ordered this book sent to my library and never went to pick it up-darn it :(

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: madeliner
                                                                c oliver Apr 11, 2013 03:32 PM

                                                                Try, try again :)

                                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                                  m
                                                                  madeliner Apr 11, 2013 05:37 PM

                                                                  I sure will, I can be so lazy sometimes :D

                                                              2. s
                                                                sparrowgrass Apr 14, 2013 05:38 AM

                                                                Oh, I love this book! Homemade wrappers for potstickers are the best, but I have such a time pleating the seal. So--I cheat. I bought a dumpling press, and I can turn out pretty dumplings now!

                                                                The press comes in several sizes. I also have a ravioli tray, which makes tiny bite size dumplings, just right for soup.

                                                                I make lots at a time, and freeze them. Put them in tupperware boxes, not bags, so they don't get bashed around in the freezer.

                                                                I guess I know what is for dinner tonight.

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: sparrowgrass
                                                                  Andrea Nguyen Apr 15, 2013 10:25 AM

                                                                  Thanks for sharing your techniques! Just get the darn things closed.

                                                                  1. re: sparrowgrass
                                                                    Candy Apr 20, 2013 01:43 PM

                                                                    A tortilla press works well for flattening skins. I have also used my pasta machine for rolling out noodles and skins for spring rolls.

                                                                    1. re: Candy
                                                                      c oliver Apr 20, 2013 02:03 PM

                                                                      The tortilla press works great! I've found their either the perfect size or I've gotten it too thin, in which case just roll it up and re-do.

                                                                      I repeated last weekend's last night as I had everything except shrimp. Bob made the har gow filling. They were better than before cause I didn't overwater :) and I didn't overcook.

                                                                      ETA: I've considered my pasta maker so thanks for the rec.

                                                                      I had enough dough left for maybe six more dumplings so made a filling a little while ago with three shrimp, a water chestnut, a little jicama, some Chinese chives, and 'dots' of liquid and dry seasonsings. This is a breeze. Gotta branch out next week :)

                                                                       
                                                                  2. a
                                                                    akachochin Apr 14, 2013 07:27 AM

                                                                    As with others, many thanks for starting this thread. I'm going to order the book today and give them a try. My last attempt at wrappers was making the "Beijing doilies" for mu shu pork. Lots of burned fingers, many, many that would not separate, and just enough that worked for a decent dinner. The dumplings look more straight forward and do not require handling steaming hot flats; a good thing.

                                                                    1. c oliver Apr 14, 2013 12:08 PM

                                                                      Last night I made the following:

                                                                      Har Gow Shrimp Dumplings, p. 135

                                                                      Vegetarian Crystal Dumplings, p. 139

                                                                      With the wheat starch dough, p. 132

                                                                      Super easy and I'd give them higher than a B for my score. I think I may have gotten the dough a little too moist as it tended to tear when I rolled it. I added a little more water than she called for and I won't next time. I also just flat out overcooked. At the recommened time (seven minutes) they weren't ready and then I let them go too long. You can see from the pic. Also the vegetables didn't have the crunch that they should have. But they were still very tasty.

                                                                      As Andrea says, don't get fancy in the beginning. Just use the basic half moon shape. I did pleat a few but, as I said, the dough seemed a little fragile.

                                                                      I am super pleased with my solo flight and will be trying more during the week. While I sure the dumpling maker gets the job done, these are really a snap to make.

                                                                      PS: I had six from last night that I couldn't squeeze into the steamers so just did them now. Honestly, I don't think holding them overnight uncooked detracted from them, taste or texture wise. I'd anticipated maybe doing that with the yeast dough but this comes as a pleasant surprise.

                                                                       
                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: c oliver
                                                                        Andrea Nguyen Apr 15, 2013 10:27 AM

                                                                        Catherine, this is fabulous. Another woman who took that class went home and made a bunch of dumplings for her family. Can't tell you how happy this makes me feel as a cookbook writer and teacher. Keep on spreading the good dumpling word. :-)

                                                                        1. re: Andrea Nguyen
                                                                          c oliver Apr 15, 2013 10:44 AM

                                                                          Ya know what's cool is that this isn't "rocket surgery" :) I realized after the class that I could have done this long before. You bet the class helped and was SO fun but this is in reach of anyone with the desire.

                                                                          As an aside, I left an unopened, just bought bag of rice flour on the countertop yesterday. When we returned Gypsy the Airedale, my avatar, had opened it all over the wood-grained vinyl floor. This is turning into a hands and knees operation. Argh.

                                                                      Show Hidden Posts