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February 2014 Cookbook of the Month-- ASIAN DUMPLINGS: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More: Filled Pastas;Thin Skins

Please use this thread to report on the following chapters from ASIAN DUMPLINGS: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More by Andrea Nguyen.

Filled Pastas, pages 20-61
Thin Skins, pages 62-89

To post a review of any recipe, please reply to the original post with the name of the recipe and page number. If a report already exists (please check before posting), please hit the reply box within the original report. This way all of the reports on the same dish will be together.

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  1. Wuntun in Soup Pg. 70

    My first post to COTM in a very long time, it is nice to be back. Unfortunately I don't have the book with me so I'm not 100% positive of the recipe title. Either way, I know the page number is correct.

    So I took the lazy day tip, mostly because I have access to a good Asian grocer who has thin wrappers sans food colouring, and also because I didn't want my first recipe to be to daunting given my relative lack of manual dexterity. Were not kidding here, I was one of those kids who took forever tying his shoes when he was little because I couldn't seem to get my fingers to perform those "precise" moves ha ha.

    Long story short, success! At least relative to my previous attempts at dumpling making. In the past I never tried anything beyond a simple triangle but this time I went for the nurses cap, and while they were ugly, they sort of looked like they were supposed to.

    Filling wise, I went with the proposed pork and shrimp mix that she suggests as a substitute and it was a real winner. At first it seemed there were too few ingredients so I was a little worried about flavour, but I was wrong, these tasted super aunthentic and just right. Just the right balance of pork and shrimp with light seasoning and a hint of freshness from the scalllion. Clean, simple and delicious. I served them in the broth from this same book (sorry no page number) but I added some pork ribs to the stock (a la Fuschia Dunlop) and it also made for a clean yet flavourful stock with a hint of ginger. As with any stock you need to season relatively aggressively, or it may taste a little flat.

    Lastly, my favourite cantonese noodle house serves their wuntun soup with lovely egg noodles, so I mimicked this and added some noodles to my broth as well as a little blanched bok choy.

    Delicious!!!

     
     
     
    10 Replies
      1. re: delys77

        Wonton noodles is a favourite in Hong Kong. Yours look really delicious.

        1. re: lilham

          Thanks Lilham, there is a large immigrant population from Hong Kong in Vancouver so I have always had them with noodles.

        2. re: delys77

          Shrimp Wonton Soup, p. 70.
          My first foray into this book and into Asian dumplings! I felt nervous so I began with this very simple recipe, which delys77 describes above. I followed the recipe exactly using the simple filling of finely chopped shrimp, scallions, plus s & p and a bit of sesame oil (and a bit of cornstarch.) The part that was so exciting is that I created handsome dumplings (at least to this my eyes!) on my very first attempt at forming them. The simple triangle? easy-peasy; the nurse's cap? no problem; the flower-bud? a snap! (I didn't try the chopstick-formed version, but that's next.) Nguyen's directions for forming them were precise and worked; the instructions for cooking them gently also worked perfectly and nothing fell apart. Yippee! Mr. Goblin wandered out and watched me forming the last few and I do think that this increased his appreciation for the finished soup. (I can see how a dumpling party could be good fun.) I used store-bought wonton-wrappers and some good canned chicken-broth first enriched with a few slices of fresh ginger and scallions. An uncomplicated dish, but very enjoyable on a cold February evening. Simple but satisfying, and man, were those wontons cute!

          1. re: Goblin

            Sounds great! Once you get your 'sea legs,' try making your own wrappers. She walks you through that also. Just trust her :)

            1. re: c oliver

              Thanks, c oliver, for the encouragement. I do have a seldom-used Atlas pasta machine presently "resting comfortably " in my basement--is this what you use for making your thin skins? I had bought a tortilla-press but I now realize that this is better used for dumpling-dough, not the thin skins. The instructions look kinda lengthy, but I appreciate the helpful detail. So . . . "just trust her"! Onward!

              1. re: Goblin

                I took her class last year and we used a tortilla press and a dowel to roll out the edges thinner. Take a look at this:

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/916278

                She is great!!!! Trust her :)

                1. re: c oliver

                  I envy you being able to take her class. I have purchased an on-line class on Asian Dumplings that she created for "Craftsy" and it is really great. I love her personality. Reminds me a bit of Julia Childs, who was able to inspire great trust when she did her TV shows. "You CAN do this!"

                  1. re: Goblin

                    Ooh, I'm glad you're doing the class. She repeated "Don't worry about how it looks; it will taste good." It was such a fun day and I kinda kicked myself afterwards that I hadn't just trusted her :) And she makes it fun, doesn't she?

                    1. re: Goblin

                      Thank you! And yes, you CAN be a dumpling master. With the online class at Craftsy, you can replay me as many times as you want. So happy that you're there and here to discuss dumpling making.

          2. I made Gyozas and Lumpias on Friday. They are fro pps. 41-3 and 87-89 respectively. They were very tasty. Tonight I am cooking up the gyozas in a chicken broth seasoned with ginger, some toasted sesame oil, cilantro etc. The Lumpia I will fry and maybe just make up some hot mustard for dipping.

            I was a tester for recipes in this book (my last name is wrong in the credits) . It was fun and a challenge. The most difficult recipe I had to make were the Cantonese skins pictured on page 85 and the recipe is on pg. 64. It took some patience and practice to get them together. It was very good. I think I am going to make the Momos with the spicy tomato sauce this week. We are going to be back in the deep freeze again so it is a good thing to stay in and cook, trying new recipes.

            1. This is awesome. I did not know that this would be the COTM and I made the beef and Chinese chive potstickers this weekend for our Super Bowl party.

              I followed the recipe exactly as writer with one variation. I used store bought wrappers instead of making my own. I just thought that making my own for a first attempt at this was a bit ambitious.

              The end result was very good but a nit oily for most people. The filling called for some canola oil which I think may have been a little much. I used a pretty fatty ground beef so maybe next time I would either omit the canola oil in the filling or use leaner beef.

              1. Fish and Chinese Chives Dumplings p. 37

                I just stumbled on this thread - I made the Fish and Chinese Chives Dumplings last Saturday. Never been very patient with making dough and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was, and how much better the results are compared to pre-made dough, although I have a long way to go before mine look pretty! I made pot stickers and to my surprise the dumplings held together and had a nice crunch at the bottom.
                I was very pleased with the result. I cannot compare as it was my first time eating fish dumplings, but the flavors were much more complex than the filling recipe lead me to anticipate, especially since I was out of chicken stock and used a bit of water instead. I'm definitely going to cook more dumplings soon.

                4 Replies
                1. re: ishungry

                  Fish and Chinese Chive Dumplings, p. 37

                  This was my first attempt at homemade skins. AN suggests using the jade dough (tinted by water pureed with spinach) for these, and that's what I did. It comes together easily, and eventually I got the hang of rolling, though it had lots of spring until I really started thinning the perimeter. My dumplings were anything but pretty (except for the dough color), and I had to fiddle my own way of filling and sealing because I cannot use her instructions for holding and manipulating the wrappers due to some physical issues with my hands.

                  The filling comes together easily. In the FP, a rough paste is made from mild white fish (cod) and a seasoning mixture of stock or water (H20), canola (sunflower) oil, sesame oil, light soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, white pepper, and salt (omitted). This is mixed with Chinese chives (I had to sub scallions as there were no Chinese chives the day I shopped) and fresh ginger.

                  AN suggests using whichever cooking method you like for these, and like ishungry I pan-fried them. The filling was flavorful, and though my handling of the dough was inexpert at best, it came out quite well, and certainly with a superior texture to purchased, IMO. As AN says, even unpretty homemade dumplings are delicious.

                   
                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                    They look pretty enough to me. They look crispy and delicious, actually!

                    1. re: rabaja

                      They look very tasty and appealing to the eye!

                      1. re: delys77

                        Thanks, rabaja and delys. They were certainly crunchy-bottomed and delicious, and arranged fried-side up (as AN says you should plate them), their less-impressive features are hidden from view!

                2. Japanese Pork and Shrimp Pot Stickers (Gyoza) p. 41
                  http://rasamalaysia.com/gyoza/2/

                  I’ll preface this review by sharing that I was surprised that Nguyen’s sole gyoza recipe was one made of shrimp and pork rather than classic pork. Interestingly enough, Nancy Hachisu also has a shrimp and pork version that is simmered (sui gyoza) in Japanese Farm Food. AN and Hachisu’s versions are similar, but AN has a bigger shrimp to pork ratio and more seasoning (AN‘s recipe includes garlic, sesame oil and sugar) and double the ginger and over three times as much cabbage. We preferred Nguyen’s stronger seasoning and cooking method to Hachisu’s.

                  I have made Nguyen’s dumpling dough before, but not her filling. This time we made the filling with store bought gyoza wrappers.

                  Chopped napa cabbage (salted and drained to remove excess moisture), garlic, ginger, Chinese chives (nira), ground pork and chopped shrimp are mixed together. Seasonings (salt, sugar, pepper, soy sauce, sesame oil and sake) are poured over the cabbage/meat mixture and are mixed together.

                  The dumplings are cooked by first browning the bottoms (we use a mixture of peanut and sesame), then water is added to the pan to steam the gyoza to cook through, lastly the lid is removed to re-crisp the gyoza bottoms. Nguyen steams her gyoza longer than we do, but her gyoza is bigger than ours. We served our gyoza with a mixture of soy sauce, rice vinegar and rayu (spicy sesame oil).

                  This was a fine recipe, but will not replace our favorite version.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: BigSal

                    Hi Sal,

                    Looks like we were making gyoza in tandem! I'm curious... what's your favorite version?

                    1. re: greeneggsnham

                      Our favorite recipe is from Takashi's Noodles. For us, it has the best balance of ingredients resulting in a juicy, flavorful filling. The recipe consists of ground pork, cabbage (not napa), sesame oil, garlic, ginger juice, and grated ginger, sake, nira (Chinese chives), green onions, soy sauce, sugar, chicken stock and s&p.

                      Looking forward to your report on Mandu.