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February 2014 Cookbook of the Month — ASIAN DUMPLINGS: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More

It started as a close race, but ASIAN DUMPLINGS: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More by Andrea Nguyen pulled away and was selected as February’s Cookbook of the Month.

On February 1st, I'll post individual threads for reporting your experiences from this book. I will also post a companion thread for those who wish to cook from Nguyen’s Asian Tofu to help prevent dumpling fatigue. In the meantime, you can use this announcement thread for general discussion about the book.

The voting thread that got us here:

The nomination thread is here:

A general explanation of Cookbook of the Month, and a list of past books:

An earlier Cooking from Asian Dumplings thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/855251

Andrea Nguyen’s Dumpling Tips and many more dumpling recipes that are not in the cookbook.

Join in on the fun even if you don’t have the book! Here a few of the recipes available online.

Basic Dumpling Dough

Char Siu Pork Bun Filling http://www.foodgal.com/2010/03/how-i-...

Baked Filled Buns http://www.foodgal.com/2010/03/how-i-...

Gyoza http://rasamalaysia.com/gyoza/2/

Gyoza in Smoky Chicken Soup http://webcache.googleusercontent.com...

Shanghai Soup Dumplings http://kitchenmusings.com/2009/09/10/...

Pork and Napa Cabbage Water Dumplings (Shuijiao)

Spinach and Pork Wontons http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/sp...

Fried Wontons http://www.npr.org/templates/story/st...

Sweet and Sour Sauce http://www.npr.org/templates/story/st...

Tibetan Beef and Sichuan Peppercorn Dumplings ('Sha Momo') http://www.npr.org/templates/story/st...

Spicy Roasted Tomato Sauce http://www.npr.org/templates/story/st...

Fish and Chinese Chive Dumplings http://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/...

Beef, Sweet Potato, and Raisin Turnovers (Empanadas) http://www.fromargentinawithlove.type...

Siu Mai Open-Faced Dumplings (Shāomài) http://newasiancuisine.com/4237-steam...

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  1. We are still in need of a volunteer to assume the coordinator duties for the next six months.

    14 Replies
    1. re: BigSal

      Question for you all on this topic, does the coordinator typically participate each month in the cooking? I recognize that the coordinator will facilitate voting etc, but what about the actual cooking during each COTM.

      1. re: delys77

        Having taken a turn at it, I can tell you that it is no different for the coordinator than for any other CH. In other words, she or he cooks along or doesn't in any given month, as she or he desires/is able, with absolutely no obligation one way or another.

      2. re: BigSal

        Is there anyone willing to assume the coordinator duties for the next six months?

        1. re: BigSal

          If you don't get an answer I can do a month. Maybe some other former coordinators can also pitch in. But I do hope someone volunteers.

          1. re: BigSal

            I am so sorry BigSal, this is a really busy time for me and I don't think I can volunteer to step forward at this time. My situation might be different by March but I can't make the commitment until things slow down. Hopefully someone else will step forward. If not, I'll get back in touch with you once I know my situation.

            What happens if no one steps forward? Does COTM cease to exist?

            1. re: dkennedy

              Life can be hectic and better to volunteer when you have the time. delys77 has agreed to help March-May, so we have a little time.

              I'm not sure what would happen if no one else volunteers, it hasn't happened before.

            2. re: BigSal

              Hi Big Sal

              I have been toying with the idea of doing it as well, but February will be a tough month for me and I'm not sure of my holiday plans this summer. If anyone wants to tag team it I could do March, April, and May.

              1. re: delys77

                Thank you delys77!

                I can help out for one more month in February. So I'll post the nomination, voting, and announcement threads and you can begin with the official cookbook of the month thread on March 1st.

                Is anyone able to take on June, July and August?

                1. re: BigSal

                  Those are tough months for me with Lulu home from school. I could maybe do one of the months if we really can't find a volunteer by then.

                  Adding my thanks to delys.

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    Thanks LLM. I'm hoping we'll have another volunteer by then.

                  2. re: BigSal

                    Sounds like a good plan. I've never done it before but I am sure I can sort it out. Maybe when we get closer to the date you can give me some pointers since you have done such a great job of it.

                    1. re: delys77

                      I'd be glad to give you a quick overview, feel free to send me an email (in my profile). You'll be a great coordinator, your posts are always so eloquent.

                      1. re: BigSal

                        Thanks BigSal, you are too kind!

            3. What a great resource just this one link is!!! We travel a lot so I don't always have access to the book. This is terrific. Thanks.

              1. One word: Dang. But, we will survive.

                2 Replies
                  1. re: c oliver

                    It think it is in reference to Gio having voted for the other book...

                1. Finally, an excuse to gorge myself on dumplings. I'm looking forward to exploring this book!

                  1. Thank you for an amazing 6 months BigSal. And thanks for all the links and the promise of a Tofu companion thread.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: LulusMom

                      Thanks LLM. I have to say that I am looking forward to trying additional recipes from Asian Tofu, more so than dumplings, but my husband is firmly in the dumpling camp.

                      1. re: BigSal

                        I'm sure my husband and Lulu will be more firmly in the dumpling camp too. But then again, they're not the ones doing the cooking ; )

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          Now YOU have the right attitude! Bob and I have been eating a lot more tofu out but I've cooked perhaps ONE recipe from that book. Looking forward to lots of inspiration.

                    2. I picked up the book at the library today.
                      truthfully, I was disappointed with the book
                      I may not make anything from the cookbook.

                      14 Replies
                      1. re: jpr54_1

                        Certainly to each his/her own but I'm really surprised. Shocked actually. Do you like to eat Asian dumplings - of any sort? If so, I just can't imagine not liking this book. Can you figure out what disappoints you? Asking sincerely.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          I'd like to know too, especially since I haven't been able to lay my hands on the book.

                        2. re: jpr54_1

                          I took a second look at the book
                          I am not into making wrappers from from basic dumpling dough.
                          do the wrappers come frozen?
                          some of the fillings looked good-

                          I may make one of the spring rolls with already prepared rice papers.
                          I also may make the char siu pork

                          1. re: jpr54_1

                            If you have access to an Asian market, there are plenty of frozen dumpling wrappers. Regular grocery stores generally have at least won ton and egg roll wrappers, fresh, generally somewhere in the produce area. The fillings, IMO, are very good.

                            1. re: jpr54_1

                              JPR, we've made Andrea's char siu and thought it absolutely delicious!

                              1. re: jpr54_1

                                Most Chinese families buy their wrappers frozen. I think Andrea Nguyen said as much in the introductory chapters in the book. If you have access to a Chinese grocer, you'll be able to buy wonton, gyoza (jiaozi) and spring roll wrappers in the freezer section. As far as I know, wonton and gyoza wrappers are the same, other then one being square, the other round.

                                So don't feel you are cheating just because you didn't make your wrappers from scratch.

                                PS. Wikipedia informed me that wonton skins are thinner. And I think they are right because the wonton I ate growing up are definitely thinner skinned. However the packets of wrappers I can get here in the UK definitely feel like they are from the same recipe cut into different shapes!

                                1. re: lilham

                                  I think this article helps distinguish jiaozi from gyoza (the Japanese adaptation of jiaozi). http://sakuraave.com/944/chinese-jiao...

                                  I buy gyoza wrappers from the Asian grocer, but my everyday grocery store sells this brand. http://www.jfc.com/images/items/item2...

                                  1. re: BigSal

                                    I wanted to say "no no that's not true" when I saw the first sentence that jiaozi "are savory filled dumplings that are pan-fried and gently steamed". Then the author went go to say for the chinese "the dumplings are also often served boiled".

                                    Jiaozi to me are mostly steamed and sometimes boiled. They are rarely pan fried.

                                    1. re: lilham

                                      The article rang true for gyoza which is what I have familiarity with. I was trying to distinguish it from jiaozi- saying similar but not the same. Interesting note about jioazi served mostly steamed. And how does guo tie differ?

                                      1. re: BigSal

                                        My family is Cantonese from Hong Kong. Guo tie is definitely a northern thing. We usually have jiaozi as part of dim sum and they are almost always steamed. Like shrimp dumplings, siu mai etc. I can think of one that is pan fried but still served in a steam basket (Shanghai dumplings 上海小龍包). I think they might have been pan fried and then steamed?

                                        If eaten at home we usually boil jiaozi and serve with a dipping sauce.

                                        I have eaten gyoza in Japan and they are definitely more pan fried than the shanghai dumplings I mentioned earlier.

                                        The article is very interesting to me. I didn't know for example Japanese gyoza is more limited in scope. I definitely agree with the author that Chinese dumplings vary hugely in fillings and shape.

                                        Also I wouldn't be surprised if Chinese in another region mainly pan fried their jiaozi.

                                        1. re: lilham

                                          I stand to corrected on the shanghai dumplings too. There is an English Wikipedia entry on it

                                          By the way I was using the English meaning of dumpling when I talked about jiaozi. In Cantonese some of the dim sums have names end in jiao, which are strictly the only ones that are jiaozi. Siu Mai isn't probably because the wrapper doesn't enclose the filling?

                                          The Shanghai dumplings are bao.

                                          I'm more skilled in eating dumplings than making them. Already learning lots from the posts here :


                                          I will definitely try making something from the online recipes with frozen wrappers.

                                          1. re: lilham

                                            Are the pan-fried Shanghainese dumplings you're thinking of sheng jian bao (生煎包)?

                                            They're more like buns but still very delicious!

                                            1. re: nonaggie

                                              Yes. I was mixing the two together. Living in a part of the UK without a large Chinese poplation, I don't have a chance to eat Chinese out much anymore.