I love dumplings! If you ask my husband, he WILL tell you how much I love dumplings. There's just something about them. A little "dumpling" filled with so many different variety of combinations. Sometimes it doesn't even feel "Asian". And Kenny Lao's new book, "Hey There, Dumpling", co-authored with Genevieve Ko shows you just that.
As you already know, I love dumplings, especially a good juicy bite that you can't help but take another bite. I also love to cook and "experiment". However, I sometimes do find it odd that I don't give this 'make my own' dumplings a go more often. I think I attempt to make my own dumplings maybe once every few years? I mean, I'll make the same old pork & chive dumpling, but there's just something about the ones you buy. Or more like my home made dumplings just doesn't cut it for me - possibly I'm not doing it right? So when I have a chance to review this new dumpling book, I jumped on it.
"Hey There, Dumplings" is a funny name, but it really is about the dumplings. Lao and Ko's recipes are easy to follow, with 7 chapters of dumplings, buns, combinations and dips and you name it when it comes to dumplings. Yes, it's an Asian focus, but several of these flavors gives you a different cultural experience all together. I have yet to make those different ones, but just from reading the recipe, that's what I think it will translate. I was more focused on trying (and mastering) the traditional ones such as their version of Pork & Chives, and then the Shanghai Soup Dumplings. Well, it definitely was a little ambitious of me to try the soup dumplings, and I admit I failed on first try, but it will get better. With the Classic Pork & Chives, a little better than my version. OK, maybe a little more than little better than my version. There's a couple of major differences from how good the ones from this book and my version is, one being napa cabbage and sesame oil! I mean it's 'Classic Pork & Chives'. What's with the napa cabbage? Well, whatever reason, it doesn't matter. I have decided this is a good dumpling recipe book, and I would attempt with the others when I'm in the mood. Good thing about having dumplings at home, they are an easy save if you don't feel like cooking one night. Just open the freezer, and wala! Frozen dumplings to the rescue.
As to the actual cookbook, it's a colorful and vibrant cookbook. Total of 208 pages, with great illustrations for many of the recipes, and I love the step by step photos and illustrations on the basic knowledge / how-to area. So definitely get the print copy. Much easier to tag and flip the pages. I have a advance e-copy from the publisher, and it has a BIG "A" Gray translucent square smack in the middle, so it was a little annoying and distracting. Since it is an advance /proof copy, I understand and tried to overlook it. Great for beginners from all the instructions, and great for seasoned chefs for all the great combination recipes.
A little more tidbit about my love for dumplings. When some find comfort in fried chicken, dumplings were my comfort food (and a healthy dose of sriracha). When I was a young foodie (still a little am), I love trying different dumpling houses or just places with dumplings. I even tried Kenny Lao's Rickshaw Dumpling House in NYC, with the Peking Duck dumplings being my favorite menu item (also in "Hey There, Dumplings"). I didn't realize the author, Kenny Lao was the owner of Rickshaw until several minutes ago when I looked up his website. In all, a great cookbook for those who love dumplings, and for those who want some fresh appetizer and snack foods for a party.
Release date: September 8, 2015
NOTE: I received a complimentary e-copy of this e-book from the publisher, ABRAMS Books through Net Galley for an honest review.
TO PURCHASE A COPY: Amazon