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

BigSal Feb 1, 2014 02:24 AM

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.

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

  1. delys77 Feb 2, 2014 11:50 AM

    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
      m
      MelMM Feb 2, 2014 12:24 PM

      They look delicious!

      1. re: delys77
        lilham Feb 3, 2014 12:37 AM

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

        1. re: lilham
          delys77 Feb 3, 2014 10:56 AM

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

        2. re: delys77
          Goblin Feb 24, 2014 06:11 PM

          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
            c oliver Feb 24, 2014 06:19 PM

            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
              Goblin Feb 24, 2014 07:01 PM

              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
                c oliver Feb 24, 2014 07:06 PM

                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
                  Goblin Feb 24, 2014 07:21 PM

                  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
                    c oliver Feb 24, 2014 07:24 PM

                    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
                      Andrea Nguyen Feb 24, 2014 10:03 PM

                      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. Candy Feb 2, 2014 01:06 PM

            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. j
              jpc8015 Feb 3, 2014 12:52 PM

              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. i
                ishungry Feb 4, 2014 07:48 AM

                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
                  Caitlin McGrath Feb 10, 2014 08:32 PM

                  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
                    rabaja Feb 11, 2014 04:52 AM

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

                    1. re: rabaja
                      delys77 Feb 11, 2014 01:49 PM

                      They look very tasty and appealing to the eye!

                      1. re: delys77
                        Caitlin McGrath Feb 11, 2014 11:22 PM

                        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. BigSal Feb 9, 2014 05:15 PM

                  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
                    g
                    greeneggsnham Feb 9, 2014 05:20 PM

                    Hi Sal,

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

                    1. re: greeneggsnham
                      BigSal Feb 9, 2014 06:38 PM

                      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.

                  2. g
                    greeneggsnham Feb 9, 2014 05:15 PM

                    Japanese Pork and Shrimp Potstickers (Gyoza), page 41

                    This month has been busier than expected, but I finally got a bit of time to make dumplings today. I worked on the filling of these little babies this morning and then stuffed and cooked them for dinner tonight. I cheated and used pre-made Asian dumpling wrappers from my Asian market, so no review of the dumpling skins with this one. I did read through the dumpling skin recipe though and it seemed doable. It actually sounded like kind of a fun project to do with my play-doh loving kids, so maybe some other day...

                    In any case, the filling contains chopped napa cabbage (salted and drained), ground pork, minced shrimp, garlic, ginger and scallions, seasoned with soy sauce, sake, sesame oil, salt, and a tiny bit of sugar.

                    This is stuffed into your dumpling wrappers and then pan fried and steamed. Directions for everything were clear and the cooking time seemed right on. I used a stainless steel skillet in lieu of a non-stick and that seemed to work fine.

                    The whole filling and cooking process was a bit time consuming, but not hard at all. I chatted away with my husband while assembling and did not mind the somewhat relaxing hand-work. The pre-made dumpling skins can be a bit finicky to seal, but are overall pretty easy to work with. For most of my dumplings, I made the very basic half moon, but also made some "big hugs."

                    These final dumplings are flavorful and addictive. The texture of the filling was a little more homogeneous than I would have preferred. Maybe next time I would leave the shrimp in slightly larger pieces and perhaps not mince the cabbage so fine. But that didn't stop the whole recipe from disappearing rapidly! My kids really adored them and kept asking for more after all of them (about 30 dumplings all told) were gone.

                    I aim to try the Korean dumplings next. And hopefully if all goes well homemade dumpling skins will be in my future!

                     
                    1 Reply
                    1. re: greeneggsnham
                      q
                      qianning Feb 10, 2014 12:32 PM

                      Those look great!

                      I've never made Mandu, looking forward to your report on those too.

                    2. ElsieB Feb 10, 2014 01:55 PM

                      Steamed vegetable dumplings pg 35
                      Wonton Skins
                      I followed her recipe for the dumpling skin and the filling but then cooked them like pot stickers - they were excellent. A good way to spend a snowy afternoon. Froze half of them and cooked them last night (per a tip from another CH thread, put them into shallow boiling water with a spoonful of oil, cover for 2 min then remove cover and boil water away and let fry crispy - they were perfect). I prefer my pizza roller to her suggested small dowel, works better for my hands. I still need practice with all the different dumpling shapes.
                      The wonton skins took some time and effort with my cheap hand crank pasta roller but the dough was beautiful to work with once I had it all rolled and cut and stacked into beautiful piles of wonton skins. I have never purchased wonton skins so I can't compare but this dough was very easy to shape. I didn't use her filling - I just made a simple vegetable filling. They were excellent and very delicate.
                      Not totally sure but think I prefer the thicker dumplings to the wontons - both are a lot of work but totally worth it!!

                       
                       
                       
                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ElsieB
                        g
                        greeneggsnham Feb 10, 2014 06:23 PM

                        They look great! Interesting tip about adding oil to boiling water and cooking them like that. I may have to try that.

                        1. re: ElsieB
                          rabaja Feb 11, 2014 05:00 AM

                          Those look great. I'm going to try to get this book from the library this week. I didn't think I'd have the time to make dumplings right now (we have a 7 month old and I'm still getting the hang of multi-tasking with him), but all of your posts are inspiring.

                        2. g
                          greeneggsnham Feb 11, 2014 07:33 AM

                          Gun Mandu and Mandu Guk (Korean Meat and Vegetable Dumplings) page 46 and 49

                          Last night I made the Korean style dumplings and served them both in a soup and as pot stickers. We actually preferred this filling to the Gyoza filling and it was fun to serve the same dumplings cooked two ways. In addition, this time around, my kids helped me with the dumpling filling. This was mildly stressful for me with 3 little kids (7, 4 and 3) handling raw pork, but they had a great time and the older ones were actually pretty good at it.

                          This filling has blanched bean sprouts, firm tofu, pork or beef (I used pork), seasoned with scallions, onion, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper. I preferred this filling in part due to the crunch from the bean sprouts. I also think the higher proportion of pork just made it a little more juicy than the pork and shrimp combo in the gyoza.

                          In any case, we made a quick chicken broth and boiled half the dumplings in the broth to have soup and then panfried some of them as well. Served with rice and kimchi and everyone was happy.

                          I used the pre-made dumpling skins again. I bought two different brands at the Asian market and the second package had slightly thicker wrappers. I actually preferred the thicker wrappers for a slightly more toothsome dumpling.

                          After eating dumplings for dinner two nights in a row, I will probably slow down a bit. My family is appreciating it though. My son (7) said "Mom, if there were a dumpling Olympics, can I be on your team? I know we'd win gold."

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: greeneggsnham
                            BigSal Feb 11, 2014 09:27 AM

                            Sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing. I love your son's feedback. So sweet.

                            1. re: greeneggsnham
                              delys77 Feb 19, 2014 03:03 PM

                              Gun Mandu Pg. 46

                              I was really looking forward to these because mandu were almost a daily staple for me when I taught English in Korea. There was a little shop in the building where my school was located that sold steamed mandu out of two huge stainless steal steamer trays. I used to love popping down between classes to get a dumpling fix.

                              I won't go into the details as greeneggsnham has done a lovely job above, suffice it to say these were delicious. I used the basic dough for filled dumplings and found it that much easier to roll them the second time around, and while they still weren't artfully assembled I did manage a bit of a pea pod shape.

                              The frying instructions were spot on, and the dumplings came out crisp and toothsome with a luscious and juicy pork filled centre. Paired with the Korean dipping sauce these definitely brought back some great food memories. that said, I might try to steam them next time as I rarely saw dumplings pan fried in my region of Korea (Gwangju Jeollanamdo). The advantage I found with the steamed dumplings I remember is that the filling really got a chance to stand out. As prepared they were very good, but the flavour was just as much about the frying as it was about the filling. My recollection of mandu was lovely dough, but the filling truly was the star.

                              Either way, I am sure to make these again.

                              Picture wise my intention was to line them up in a tidy row with some sauce, but my hunger got the best of me and I simply tumbled the lot into a large plate. No fuss no muss ha ha.

                               
                            2. delys77 Feb 11, 2014 02:21 PM

                              Pork and Napa Cabbage Water Dumplings Pg. 31

                              Well this was my first attempt at making my own skins and I must say I was quite pleased with the results. As noted by others here, her instructions for preparing and rolling the dough are spot on. The warm dough was very easy to work with after I let it rest for an hour or so, and the tortilla press was a great idea. My wrappers were a little oddly shaped with some pretty uneven circles, but on the whole I would say they turned out well.

                              While it did take a while, I found it wasn't too bad once I got my rhythm down. Plus the homemade wrappers were sooooo much easier to work with when wrapping the dumplings. Typically I really struggle with the store bought, but these were a dream to work with. Once wrapped it was very easy to manipulate the pudgy little morsels of dough into the crescent shape I chose. My only challenge was that I my dumplings were a bit bigger than ideal, didn't impact the flavour, just made them look a bit disproportionate.

                              Filling wise I thought the flavours were excellent, but since I don't love sesame oil I went with about half the amount she suggests. Otherwise, the pork, cabbage, ginger, scallions, stock, shaoxing and soy sauce were perfectly balanced. I was a bit reticent when I added the stock as it looked like the ratio of liquid to solids was off, but after some aggressive stirring the filling came together beautifully.

                              Topped with the suggested Tangy Soy Dipping Sauce these were just delicious!

                              Forgive the photo please, I was starving and literally snapped a shot of the finished product before we devoured them all.

                               
                              7 Replies
                              1. re: delys77
                                q
                                qianning Feb 12, 2014 08:01 AM

                                Don't know why you are apologizing for the picture....it is making me hungry. Those look fabulous. The Chinese have a saying which more or less translates as "No fancy food is as good as water dumplings", and yours look both fancy and good.

                                1. re: qianning
                                  delys77 Feb 12, 2014 10:07 AM

                                  Oh thanks Qianning, that is high praise!

                                2. re: delys77
                                  w
                                  Westminstress Feb 12, 2014 10:43 AM

                                  Did you roll them after pressing in the tortilla press? They look great by the way!

                                  1. re: Westminstress
                                    delys77 Feb 12, 2014 10:47 AM

                                    Thanks Westminstress. Yes I followed her instructions with the tortilla press, which is to say that I pressed them and then rolled out the edges with a rolling pin I bought in Chinatown (basically just like a dowel). On a few of my early one's I didn't manage to keep the "belly" as she says because I was rolling a bit too aggressively, that said, once I kept my thumb firmly in the middle and slowed down a bit I was able to get a good belly with a thin edge surrounding it.

                                    1. re: delys77
                                      w
                                      Westminstress Feb 12, 2014 10:50 AM

                                      How long would you say it took start to finish to roll out the dough and then form the dumplings?

                                      I really want to try this but am so scared of the time commitment!

                                      1. re: Westminstress
                                        delys77 Feb 12, 2014 10:57 AM

                                        Lol I must admit I was a ways into a bottle of Pinot Noir! That said, once my dough was rested and I set to flattening and rolling it probably took me about 30 minutes to make the wrappers, maybe a little longer. Forming the dumplings took me maybe another 15-20 minutes. I would say if you set aside 45 minutes to an hour you would be good to go.

                                        At least, that is what I recall, but wine always seems to make time fly.

                                        1. re: delys77
                                          c oliver Feb 19, 2014 07:20 PM

                                          You've given great specifics and I agree with you. And especially how good her instructions are.

                                3. q
                                  qianning Feb 13, 2014 06:30 PM

                                  Shanghai Spring Roll Skins, pg. 81

                                  Unfortunately this recipe, and the how-to video, work quite well. But my goodness it opens up the door to a project. There's a filling to make and let cool, skins to stuff and roll, and finally cook. Since I already have a request for repeats, next time I'll definitely make the filling (I didn't use the AN filling recipe, because I didn't have the right pork on hand) a day ahead.

                                  That said it's kind of fun to make these. Somewhere between blinis, keeping the pan hot enough but not too hot, and inner child hands on mud pies. There were a few off takes, but it wasn't too hard get the feel for it, The only trick not mentioned in the book or the shown in the video is figuring out how to keep the pan steady enough while smearing the dough.

                                  The resulting skins filled easily and fried up perfectly.

                                   
                                   
                                   
                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: qianning
                                    delys77 Feb 13, 2014 10:20 PM

                                    Very impressive!

                                    1. re: qianning
                                      Allegra_K Feb 14, 2014 08:59 AM

                                      Messy kitchen projects yield the most fun! They look great.

                                      1. re: qianning
                                        ElsieB Feb 15, 2014 06:04 AM

                                        I am interested in this recipe and seeing your success motivates me! I had visions of flour goop everywhere!
                                        Yours look delicious!

                                        1. re: ElsieB
                                          q
                                          qianning Feb 15, 2014 06:45 AM

                                          It does work--which was a pleasant surprise to me! If you give it a go will look forward to your report.

                                          My only real goof was in forgetting that the filling has to be cooked and cooled....that adds up to a lot of extra time. Now that I've done it, I'd make the filling in advance.

                                      2. ElsieB Feb 15, 2014 06:14 AM

                                        Basic Dumpling Dough pg 23-24
                                        I did the variation using turmeric for the golden color and then the added sweet rice flour for the 'extra chewy dough'. I did a vegetarian filling and cooked them as pot stickers. They were certainly more chewy that the plain dumpling dough and perhaps a bit easier to form and handle. Very good and I will repeat the chewy dough again. Only got one before pic since we gobbled them up so quickly:)
                                        Next I want to make the Nepalese vegetable and cheese dumplings pg 35 the picture looks so good.

                                         
                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: ElsieB
                                          i
                                          ishungry Feb 15, 2014 10:26 AM

                                          These look pretty! Lokking forward to your report on the Nepalese dumplings, they are next on my list (also wanted to make paneer for some time), but running out of time. February is so short.

                                          1. re: ElsieB
                                            delys77 Feb 17, 2014 11:03 AM

                                            Wow, look at those! The pleating is so pretty, very impressive.

                                          2. t
                                            TxnInMtl Feb 17, 2014 12:59 PM

                                            Shanghi Soup Dumplings - p. 59

                                            I made the mistake of trying these on the same day that I attempted the rice sheets (see other thread), so my soup dumplings weren't very soupy and instead were more like plain pork dumplings for various reasons of rushing through these while steaming up my apartment making rice sheets. This report will focus more on the closed satchel.

                                            My largest change to this recipe was making a stock using a duck carcass I found in the back of the freezer in the slow cooker. I ended up with a very gelatinous stock even before the agar-agar was added. Due to timing issues with the rice sheets, I rushed the final chilling of the stock and rather than having cubes just mixed a fairly jello-ish stock into the pork. When cooked, I didn't get the same burst of soup because it was too mixed, but it was still good.

                                            My biggest struggle with this recipe was the satchel shape. Having made the Nepalese vegetable and Tibetan beef dumplings a week ago (which I never reported on due to a work trip and being uncertain what to report - we both liked them, but not nearly as much as the fish dumpling or LOP dumplings and there wasn't much sichuan), I knew the shape was problematic for me. Attempting it the same night as the rice sheets was a disaster. The steamy apartment air just made the dough too difficult to work with.

                                            I had plenty of filling left over from last night's failed dumplings, so I decided to make another attempt today. She notes the filling doesn't keep well, but mine had firmed up very nicely overnight, so I thought it was worth trying. The dough is slightly different than the main dumpling recipe, using bread flour as well as all-purpose and a little oil. She notes it makes the dough more elastic and I think it helped for forming the satchel. Like the regular dumpling dough recipe, it's very easy to work with even without a food processor.

                                            I think I watched her video at least a half dozen times trying to put these together: http://www.asiandumplingtips.com/2010... . My difficulty with the satchel shape is that I seem to squeeze the filling out while doing the pleating. At the end, I became more confident in stretching the dough upwards and pushing the filling down, rather than letting the filling push out towards the side. I still don't seem to be able to get nearly as much filling as I should be able to into a wrapper and closing it is often problematic as the filling pushes towards the opening and makes it harder for the wrapper to stick.

                                            The good thing is that even with the difficulty in closing these (in the picture the middle ones were the earliest and some weren't closed at all), they all steamed up very nicely. In the future, I may stick to half moons, but I'm glad I gave this one another shot.

                                             
                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: TxnInMtl
                                              delys77 Feb 17, 2014 02:03 PM

                                              Good for your for persevering. I think they look good, plus as long as the results are tasty that is the most important thing. For my part, I am always happy I can rely on the half moon to save me if I can will my fingers to manoeuvre the dough into any other shape.

                                              1. re: TxnInMtl
                                                BigSal Feb 17, 2014 04:56 PM

                                                Wow,I am totally impressed by your perseverance with these recipes. I appreciate you sharing the challenges/struggles. I just received the agar-agar powder and am hoping to give these a go.

                                                1. re: TxnInMtl
                                                  h
                                                  hyperbowler Feb 21, 2014 11:38 AM

                                                  Go you! I love the idea of using duck stock.

                                                  I've tried a few recipes for these, most completely unsucessful, over the years (there's something fundamentally wrong with Eileen Yin Fei Lo's recipe in her Dim Sum book). Andrea's recipe, and rolling with a 1" diameter dowel, finally led me to more than 50% soup retainage the last time I tried. Half moon shape would be much easier, but there's a reason they're supposed to be shaped upright--- when you bite into one side of a half moon, soup shoots out the other side!

                                                  Maybe because it used too much agar agar, I've had the gelatin pierce through skin in the past. How did you prepare the gelatinized stock before stuffing it into the dumpling? Did you mash it up or cut it into cubes?

                                                  If, when you close the dumpling, there's too big of a nub of extra dough above the seal, you can cut it off above the seam with kitchen shears.

                                                2. Andrea Nguyen Feb 18, 2014 02:29 PM

                                                  Thanks everyone for celebrating dumplings (again!). I'm very honored by your February foray into Asian foodways.

                                                  1. delys77 Feb 19, 2014 03:18 PM

                                                    Siu Mai Pg. 77

                                                    Another winner for us. I have to start by saying that some of my in laws are Cantonese and Siu Mai are one of my favourites when we go for Dim Sum. So much so that they often mock me for it.

                                                    I did use pre-made thin wrappers that I found at my local market. I was tempted to round them off but after wrapping one I found the slightly rustic appeal of the square wrappers uneven edges quite cute. I decided that with the Mandu to cook off as well I would give myself a break and wrap as is.

                                                    The filling itself consisted of pork, re-constituted mushrooms, water chestnuts (canned in my case). sesame oil, green onion, shaoxing wine, egg white, and a bit of soy. Once the lot is combined you let rest for about 30 minutes, much as you do in her other recipes, and then you are ready to stuff. A process which is very easy given that you don't need to seal the dumpling.

                                                    I topped mine with a little pea and steamed for about 8 minutes. The results frankly were even better than I hoped. I'm used to Siu Mai with a bit of shrimp and a pleasant yet slightly spongey texture. These were a bit less spongey, not sure why, and I have to say I preferred the mushroom to the shrimp. It gave the dumplings greater complexity and a much more earthy flavour. I will still enjoy the dumplings on offer at the local restaurants, but now I can say I like mine (AN's) better.

                                                     
                                                    9 Replies
                                                    1. re: delys77
                                                      BigSal Feb 19, 2014 05:15 PM

                                                      Your siu mai and mandu photos have me craving dumplings!

                                                      1. re: BigSal
                                                        s
                                                        smtucker Feb 19, 2014 05:18 PM

                                                        I hear that there is a whole group of people making dumplings over on chowhound Big Sal. You might want to join in. :-)

                                                      2. re: delys77
                                                        Andrea Nguyen Feb 19, 2014 09:10 PM

                                                        Gorgeous siu mai. I went to dim sum today and frankly, they weren't as good as yours/mine/ours.

                                                        1. re: Andrea Nguyen
                                                          delys77 Feb 20, 2014 10:26 AM

                                                          Well it's mostly due to your very well written book, and thanks all for the positive comments.

                                                          1. re: delys77
                                                            c oliver Feb 20, 2014 10:30 AM

                                                            Ain't it the truth, delys! I don't know about you but I was totally insecure until she came along.

                                                            1. re: c oliver
                                                              delys77 Feb 20, 2014 11:23 AM

                                                              True true! This is one of my favourite things about COTM, we get the chance to really discover some well written cookbooks that help us acquire and hone new skills in the kitchen. Plus we discover new authors who really do raise the bar on cookbook authoring.

                                                              Personally when I buy a book I hope to buy a little portion of the authors expertise and knowledge. Sometimes that comes in terms of exciting new flavours or cuisines, other times that knowledge comes in the form of precise metrics and techniques. In the case of Asian Dumplings you get both.

                                                              1. re: delys77
                                                                c oliver Feb 20, 2014 11:33 AM

                                                                If you haven't already, you make want to friend her on FB.

                                                            2. re: delys77
                                                              m
                                                              MelMM Feb 20, 2014 11:49 AM

                                                              Couldn't agree more about what a well-written book this is. The recipes are very precise, and the instructions perfectly clear. It's really a joy to cook from.

                                                              1. re: MelMM
                                                                Andrea Nguyen Feb 21, 2014 11:50 AM

                                                                You just made my day. Thank you!

                                                        2. Goblin Feb 25, 2014 04:38 PM

                                                          Fried Wontons, p. 69 served with
                                                          Sweet and Sour Sauce, p. 217

                                                          My second foray into this book, and again, I chose a relatively simple recipe which delivered, big time! The filling for the wontons is quite simple; AN's recipe specifies finely-chopped shrimp and pork. I used only shrimp, combining it with a diced scallion, s, p, sesame oil, and a bit of cornstarch. (It's the identical stuffing used in the Shrimp Wonton Soup recipe on the next page.)

                                                          Forming the purchased square wonton skins into nurse's caps and flower buds went much quicker this time around and I even essayed the chopstick method for folding the buds. Cooking them in hot oil was so easy when I followed AN's detailed instructions on keeping the peanut oil temp around 325 F. (I used an oil thermometer which made it easy.) I confess to fear of frying, but I now feel confident about making and serving these delicious little bites to others. Of course, then I'll have to share! ;-)

                                                          Served them with the recommended Sweet and Sour Sauce on p. 217, which was delicious and lightly piquant. Mr. Goblin loved it too.

                                                           
                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: Goblin
                                                            c oliver Feb 25, 2014 04:50 PM

                                                            You go, girl!

                                                            I bought some pork skin, cut it into recipe-sized portions and froze. Just an fyi.

                                                            1. re: c oliver
                                                              Goblin Feb 25, 2014 05:00 PM

                                                              Hi c oliver! What is "pork skin" exactly? Are you saying that it is an ingredient in these dumping-fillings?
                                                              Thanks for your encouragement!

                                                              1. re: Goblin
                                                                c oliver Feb 25, 2014 05:13 PM

                                                                Sorry. Pork FAT. I know in her har gow recipe it's called for. ....... Just checked the recipe and it's either pork fat or fatty bacon.

                                                          2. ElsieB Feb 26, 2014 05:47 AM

                                                            Nepalese Vegetable and Cheese Dumplings pg 53
                                                            Wow, these were definitely the most time consuming of the recipes I have tried so far! It would have been better if I had made the cheese, the filling and the sauce the day before. I found the satchel shape difficult tho I have had no problems with all the other shapes. I watched Andrea on craftsy (what a great resource! she is so calm and professional and clear, a wonderful instructor)It ended up being easiest for me to rest the satchel on the table and pinch and fold the tops, but the 'top knot' ended up to be too much dough & while eating them I was cutting off the tops:) I was so tired by the time I finished I decided tit would be easier to pan fry some for that night (pot sticker version) because I had not tried steaming dumplings yet and didn't have a set up arranged. I did not like them as pot stickers and thought I had spent a lot of time on a dish that wasn't really delicious.....they seemed heavy and not that tasty. BUT, the next night I set up a steaming pot and steamed the rest of them and put them in the dish with the sauce and they were so good. Again, I had too much dough at the top but steamed these were so different and tasty. The sauce was simple and fresh and I made it quite spicy (almost too spicy as I was using a unknown round red chile from the grocery store that seemed to grow in heat overnight).

                                                             
                                                             
                                                             
                                                             
                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: ElsieB
                                                              c oliver Feb 26, 2014 07:53 AM

                                                              They look and sound great! Did you roll out the edges thinner than the middle? From the pix it almost looks like they need more filling so the topknot would have been smaller. I've never made them but the shape is similar to XLB. Maybe Ms. N will critique :)

                                                              1. re: c oliver
                                                                ElsieB Feb 26, 2014 10:15 AM

                                                                I did roll edges very thin but maybe I was skimpy on the filling because I worry they will burst if too filled. What is XLB?

                                                                1. re: ElsieB
                                                                  Andrea Nguyen Feb 26, 2014 10:43 AM

                                                                  Elsie, you did a fabulous job! Hedging on the filling on your first run is smart. As you get more adept, you can fit more filling in and the top will be smaller. You can also twist off excess dough if you want!

                                                                  XLB is xiao long bao -- the Shanghai soup dumpling that's kinda the grad-level of dumpling making. The shape is the same. The satchel shape you've made is also used for stuff/steamed bao (leavened buns). You are totally on your way to being a righteous dumpling master!

                                                                  1. re: Andrea Nguyen
                                                                    ElsieB Feb 26, 2014 10:57 AM

                                                                    Thank you so much for the encouraging words. Your book and your teaching skills are turning all of us CHs into proficient dumpling makers!!

                                                                    1. re: ElsieB
                                                                      Andrea Nguyen Feb 26, 2014 11:11 AM

                                                                      It's totally my pleasure!

                                                              2. re: ElsieB
                                                                i
                                                                ishungry Feb 26, 2014 10:01 AM

                                                                Thanks for the report - they do look good! I'll take your feedback in mind and try to make the sauce and cheese ahead. I know the folding will be a challenge for me

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