If I had to choose my two favorite foods, it would be noodles and meat, so the dumpling is my own personal superfood. Andrea Nguyen, my new hero, has recently written my dream book: Asian Dumplings. Yes, all about dumplings. Oh, dear. I’m drooling already, just thinking about it.
When my copy first arrived on the doorstep, thanks to her generous publisher, I opened the box and sat down on the couch. It was ten o’clock at night, I was exhausted, I had just returned from a long dinner meeting and just wanted to relax with my beautiful book. And then I opened the book.
My advice for readers of this book? Do not read without your favorite dumpling joint on speed dial. Two minutes in I was already begging B for a trip to the ID for a late night dumpling run. Five minutes in and I was debating going by myself, so as to prevent the need for sharing an order.
Luckily B. remembered that I had made some soup dumplings with K. the previous week and our leftovers (which I was supposed to share with her, oops, sorry, K.) were in the freezer and he was able to convince me a road trip wasn’t necessary.
What is it about this book? Aside from gratuitous pornography of the culinary variety, more specifically, DUMPLING PORN, it jumps around the continent giving recipes for things I barely thought of as dumplings, but love just the same, like Samosas, as well as for the classics. I was pleased to see all my dim sum favorites like har gow and shu mei, alongside the foodie favorite, Xiao Long Bao, or soup dumplings.
I was ready to write about how amazing and wonderful the book was without ever having dove into a recipe. But that, darling readers, would not be fair to you. Or me, and my incredible need for daily dumplings. When we were in Southeast Asia I declared I was born on the wrong continent because I did not have the opportunity to buy noodles in soup on the street each morning. I have now decided the problem is compounded because I don’t have a daily dumpling. I’m pouting, just so you know.
Regardless of my pouting, I went about following a recipe, so that I can be sure that I can give this book my seal of approval (HA! Like it didn’t already have it from name alone). In the morning before work, I put together my dough for Baozi. I came home to it and followed all the instructions. Soon enough I had the most darling little dumplings! Golden brown and crisp on the bottom, meaty and delicious inside.
I had chosen to make these because I had everything I needed in the house. Now I can’t wait to go out and get the ingredients for all of the other ones. Were my dumplings perfect? No, making dumplings is not like making Kraft Mac n’ Cheese, simple from the first time. There were ugly ones and broken ones, but they all tasted perfect, so I think that’s what matters.