Thursday, October 9, 2014

Trying New Things in the Kitchen Thanks to Chef Lee Anne's New Cookbook. "Dumplings All Day Wong" -- Cookbook Review

Disclosure:  I was sent a review copy from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.


Also available for the Kindle


August 2014 / Page Street Publishing
$22.99 US; Paperback
ISBN: 9-781-62414-059-4
Ebook also available.


Do you have a favorite cuisine to cook for your family?  I am from an Italian and French background, while my husband is from El Salvador and loves all things Latin.  So, when I get in the kitchen I try to put a fun new spin on recipes I grew up enjoying, by adding a little more spice into them.  While dating, my husband would always comment on how my dishes were lacking salt, cumin or other popular spices used in Latin dishes.   While I knew the dishes I was making definitely had flavor, I would make a point to put extra condiments out on the table so that he could adjust the flavor to his liking.  He would even make comments when dining out at Italian restaurants on how their food tasted like mine, without much flavor.  Ugg.  Guys...gotta love them!

Well, for the past few weeks I threw my husband for a loop, as instead of making the same old Italian inspired dishes I usually make, I switched up a few with fun new recipes I found in Chef Lee Anne's new cookbook, "Dumplings All Day Wong."  While this cookbook is not something that usually catches my eye, as I have never cooked Asian food, I wanted to try new things in the kitchen.  

More about the book:

"Dim Sum has long been a Chinese restaurant favorite, whether for take-out or eat in. But what many of us don’t realize is that delicious dumplings can be easy and fun to make at home!

In her new book DUMPLINGS ALL DAY WONG [Page Street Publishing, August 2014, $19.99 US], author Lee Anne Wong, a renowned Asian chef, a finalist on season one of Bravo’s Top Chef, and a judge on The Food Network's Chopped, provides the basics of creating delicious Asian dumplings any time for any occasion, perfect as a snack, appetizer, or entrée.

Lee Anne’s recipes are easy to follow and are accompanied by beautiful color photos. “Biting into a hot, fresh, juicy dumpling can be a transcendent moment,” Lee Anne says. “This dumpling euphoria is commonly achieved by dining out or ordering in, which is why making them at home for yourself is that much more special.”

Lee Anne includes chapters which cover choosing the right dough and folding techniques, as well as focusing on delicacies such as Shumai, Har Gow, Wontons, Soups and Baos. Some of the savory original recipes include:

  • Sweet Corn Tamale Dumplings with Sesame-Avocado Sauce
  • Chicken Pad Thai Wontons with Spicy Peanut Sauce
  • Edamame and Sweet Pea Gyoza with Wasabi Cream
  • Pork and Chive Dumplings with Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce

Making tasty, unique dumplings has never been easier with DUMPLINGS ALL DAY WONG and celebrity chef Lee Anne Wong’s most coveted recipes and techniques.

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Having never cooked Asian or made dumplings before, I was a little imitated as I began flipping through the recipes in this book.  But, after trying the Pork and Chive Dumplings with Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce (see recipe below), I found myself with more confidence and eager to try other easy to make recipes.  Besides the Pork and Chive Dumplings, another family favorite recipe from this book was Sweet Corn Tamale Dumplings with Sesame-Avocado Sauce.  While it is an Asian dish, it had many similarities to things my husband would eat in his Latin cuisine, including tamale, avocado and corn.

Pork and Chive Dumplings with Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce

This classic recipe is a winner every time

1 1/2 lb (680 g) ground pork
 1/2 lb (75 g) garlic/Chinese chives, chopped 1/4" (3 mm) thick
1/4 cup (55 g) ground fatback
1/4 cup (60 ml) low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup (60 ml) shao xing rice wine
2 tbsp (28 g) ginger, finely grated or minced
2 tsp (10 g) sugar
1 tsp (5g) salt
60 round dumpling skins
Chopped scallions for garnish

Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup (60 ml) soy sauce
1/4 cup (60 ml) rice, black, or Chinese red vinegar
1/2 cup (120 ml) water
1 tbsp (15 g) granulated sugar
2 tbsp (28 g) ginger root, finely julienned

In a large mixing bowl, combine the pork, garlic chives, fatback, soy sauce, shao xing, ginger, sugar, salt and white pepper. Mix the ingredients until the filling is well combined.

Fill and form each dumpling with a 1/2 tablespoon of pork filling. Choose your cooking method:

Boiled: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the dumplings in small batches for 2-3 minutes. Drain, serve immediately with soy ginger dipping sauce.

Steamed: Steam on greased parchment paper over a boiling water bath until the filling and dumpling skins are cooked through, about 4 minutes.

Pan-fried: In a small container, mix 2 cups/475 milliliters of water and 2 tablespoons/12 grams of flour until the flour has dissolved into the water and the mixture is cloudy. Heat a small nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon/15 milliliters of vegetable oil to the pan and place the dumplings in the pan, lined up next to each other and cook until the bottoms turn golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup/25 grams of flour/water mix to the pan; it will react with the hot pan and steam and splatter a bit so as soon as you add the flour/water mixture, cover the pan with a tight-fitted lid. Cook thedumplings covered until almost all of the water has evaporated and a thin golden crust begins to form in the bottom of the pan. Remove the lid and cook until all water has evaporated. Carefully removed the dumplings from the pan, serve immediately.

Deep Fried: Preheat a large pot of deep fry oil to 350°F/175°C. Carefully drop the dumplings one by one into the hot oil, frying in small batches being sure not to overcrowd the oil. Cook the dumplings for 2 minutes, until the filling is cooked and the exterior is golden brown. Drain to a paper towel. Repeat with remaining dumplings until all are cooked, making sure the oil temperature returns to 350°F/176°C before frying the next batch. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

To make the dipping sauce, mix all the ingredients until the sugar dissolves. Refrigerate and allow to macerate for at least one hour.

Source: Recipe from DUMPLINGS ALL DAY WONG by Lee Ann Wong
Page Street Publishing/August 2014

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Even my two picky eaters were eager to roll up their sleeves and try these fun Asian recipes I was turning out in the kitchen, partly because of the dipping sauces that accompanied them.  And, while some were favorites and others not so much, I personally loved being able to expose my daughters to new culture and cuisine beyond what I usually cook up in the kitchen.  It is always nice to cleanse your palette and introduce new flavors, and this new cookbook by Chef Lee Anne will definitely have you excited about cooking with an Asian flare. :-)

Foodies and cooks will especially love this new cookbook, and it would make for a great gift idea this upcoming holidays season.  Click here to order this book now from Amazon for only $14.54 in paperback.


About the Author



Lee Anne Wong is a celebrity chef with a passion for Asian cuisine. She was one of the top four contestants on Bravo’s Top Chef. She was also a judge on Chopped as well as a guest on Unique Eats, The Wendy Williams Show, Iron Chef America and Unwrapped. Most recently, Lee Anne hosted a one-hour special called Food Crawl with Lee Anne Wong, on the Cooking Channel, where she searched New York for the best dumplings and noodles. She resides in Hawaii.

Disclosure:  I was sent a review copy from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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