Publisher: Two Americans in China Press (2014)
Length: 174 pages
First, this was a delightfully informative cookbook. It’s inventive and traditional and made from scratch, like the recipes. I really appreciate that the author includes a basic dumpling wrapper recipe for those that like to start from complete scratch. Though, of course, if I am feeling lazy or short of time, I can always use the pre-made wrappers available at my local grocery store.
This book has a wide range of appeal. There’s recipes for vegetarians and recipes for meat lovers as well. I also quite enjoyed the culture food fusion recipes, like the Mushroom and Ricotta Dumplings recipe. There’s dumplings for the sweet tooth as plenty of savory dumpling recipes.
The book is well organized and easy to navigate. The recipes are simple and straight forward. I can easily see making modifications for taste or dietary reasons (or if I simply don’t have one of the ingredients handy). This book made it easy for me to make some spin offs and it was fun explore the possibilities. I especially liked the Hispanic dumpling recipes as we do plenty of Hispanic cooking and turning some of the left overs into dumplings was a nice change of pace. In fact, there is a whole section on taking your left overs and turning them into dumplings. This just seems like a natural thing to do. While I didn’t try any of the sauce recipes (rather just went sauceless or just a little soy for me), I am glad the book includes them for when I want to be fancy and serve dumplings to family and friends.
The wonton soup and dumpling soup recipes are a nice edition as well. While I did not try any of these (yet!), I have made wonton soup in the past and I look forward to trying these recipes out. Also, the book comes with a little bonus to treat your four legged friends as well. Of course my dog would love to try a dumpling! For those that worry about it, there’s a handy metric volume conversion table near the end. There’s a handful of pictures scattered through the book and these made a nice little addition. Food is beautiful and it is nice to have a visual reminder of that.
I received a review copy of this book via Reading Addiction Book Tours. You can catch the rest of the schedule HERE.
What I Liked: Very easy to navigate; simple recipes and they can get as complex as you want; great use for left overs; love the dog treat recipe!; a few nice pictures to accent the book; lovely mix of sweet, savory, vegetarian, meaty, food fusion awesomesauce going on.
What I Disliked: Nothing! This is a sweet little cookbook!
Here is an excerpt of the cookbook, courtesy of the book tour.
Basic Dumpling Wrapper
This recipe is for making 12 dumpling wrappers, enough for all the dumpling filling recipes in this book. Keep some extra flour on hand for flouring the counter and your hands to keep everything from sticking. Also, feel free to add more flour if necessary if the dough is too sticky.
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup boiling water
Dash of salt
Flour for dusting
- Mix flour and salt together.
- Slowly drizzle in water, mixing with a chopstick or fork.
- Leave in bowl, covered with plastic wrap, for 15 minutes.
- Gather dough up into a ball and knead on counter for a minute or two until the dough is smooth.
- Pinch off small portion of dough and roll into a ball about 1 inch in diameter. Roll out into a flat circle on the counter, dusting with flour to keep dough from sticking.
- Choose a dumpling filling from elsewhere in this book and continue following the directions there.
Peking Duck Dumplings
Here I adapted a traditional Peking duck recipe for dumplings. Peking duck is most famous for its crispy skin and golden brown color, which are achieved through a very complicated preparation process that, ideally, can take days. If you are interested in making your own Peking duck, there are many great recipes available online. Just a half pound of leftover duck meat is all you need for this recipe. However, in this recipe, I just went for flavor, not texture or appearance since it is stuffed into a dumpling wrapper and you won’t notice the difference, so it tastes like Peking duck, but doesn’t have the crispy skin and can be made in about an hour. I’m not sure how readily available duck meat is in America, but in China, it is available everywhere.
½ cup oyster sauce or hoisin sauce
4 Tbsp honey
1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
½ pound raw duck meat
¼ cup cucumber, finely chopped
¼ cup carrot, finely chopped
1 green onion, finely chopped
12 dumpling wrappers
1 cup oil for frying
- Mix oyster sauce/hoisin sauce, honey, and Chinese five spice powder together. Set aside.
- Rinse off duck with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Slather with half of the sauce mixture.
- Place the duck on a metal baking dish (if the duck has skin, place it skin side up) and bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.
- When the duck is done, finely chop the meat, including the skin. Mix the duck meat, cucumber, carrot, green onion, and 1 tablespoon of the sauce mix together. Spoon mixture into dumpling wrappers and pinch closed.
- To fry dumplings, preheat oil for 30 seconds on high heat, then lower heat to medium. Cook dumplings on each side for about 3 minutes or until golden brown.
- Serve hot with remaining sauce mixture for dipping.
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