Dumplings All Day Wong: A Cookbook of Asian Delights From a Top Chef Paperback – Aug 19 2014
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“A lot of cooks have come and gone from my restaurants, but Lee Anne was a special chef whom I will never forget. I’m glad America gets to taste her food because I know it’s going to be delicious―and unforgettable like her.” ―MARCUS SAMUELSSON, chef and owner of Red Rooster Harlem and Ginny's Supper Club
“Wong makes the tastiest and most creative dumplings I can remember. The food has guts.” ―JAMIE BISSONNETTE, Executive Chef/Co-owner of Toro NYC
“It's a good thing that dumplings are small because Lee Anne's goodies will make your willpower vanish as you reach for 'just one more'.” ―ROGER MOOKING, host of Man Fire Food
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 Bravos Top Chef, a judge on Chopped and a guest onUnique Eats, The Wendy Williams Show, Iron Chef America and Unwrapped. Most recently, Lee Anne hosted a one-hour special on the Cooking Channel called Food Crawl with Lee Anne Wong, where she searched New York for the best dumplings and noodles. She lives in Honolulu, Hawaii.
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Some of the recipes call for two dozen or more ingredients. Most of these ingredients can be found in larger supermarkets or in Asian markets. My wife and I decided to try a copycat recipe from the Cheesecake Factory for pot stickers. We used store-bought wonton wrappers with the classic pleat technique shown in the book. The cooking method was pan-frying. We had always assumed that fried dumplings would be steamed first, then fried. It may be counterintuitive, but we did it the author's way, frying the pot stickers, then steaming them. How did they turn out? They were as good as any pot stickers I've ever tasted. See my accompanying video for how it went.
I highly recommend Dumplings All Day Wong to anyone who wants to make their own "perfect bites of food" at home. We're excited about making our own dumplings at home using the recipes and methods in the book, including making our own dumpling wrappers instead of using the store-bought ones.
I made the Lemongrass Chicken Dumpling Soup and the results were exquisite. It took me about 4 hours to do the recipe and a total of 7 hours if you count the time traveling to an Asian store for the ingredients. Although, I have over 300 cookbooks, I'm a very methodical cook. So I always read the recipe first and then lay out the ingredients before I assemble the meal for cooking. Also, I clean up as I go and I am not a quick chopper with the knife so it takes me a long time to get the desired result. I was going to make the dough but even though it is easy to make it, it would take a lot of time to roll out. Instead I purchased the round dumpling wrapper for this recipe.
There is an Asian Pantry section at the end that talks about dry goods, flours, oils, aromatics, etc. However, what I did find lacking was a discussion on how to work with some Asian ingredients. For instance, in the recipe I tried, since I know nothing about Asian food and have only cooked two Asian recipes in my life, I had no idea how to chop lemongrass. I didn't even know what it looked like until this recipe. I had to search on the Internet for the chopping method. I did not realize that only the inner core can be used and there's a technique for extracting that core. Also, in the same recipe, it called for filling the dumpling with a tablespoon of the stuffing but it turns out it's really a teaspoon's worth that is required. I wound up with about 6 dumplings that would not close properly because I was trying to get too much stuffing (1 tablespoon) inside. Once I realized only one teaspoon of the chicken ingredient should be used, I folded the rest of the dumplings without incident.
Many of the ingredients are found in Asian stores so since I do not live in a large city, I had to search around for such a store. Even if the ingredient can be found in another store, I still recommend buying the Asian products (such as lemongrass, fish oil, etc.) at an Asian store because it most likely will be cheaper. For instance, I purchased 2 stalks of lemongrass for .55 cents at the Asian store and when I found out I needed more (because only the inner core is used), my boyfriend found a high-end store (Fairway Markets) that had lemongrass. However, it was $7.45 for 5 stalks which is almost $4.50 more than what I would have paid if I purchased all 7 stalks at the Asian market.
In summary, this cookbook is terrific for those who are interested in making Asian dumplings. It almost has every instruction needed to get started. As long as one is willing to put in the time, I trust the results will be close to dumpling nirvana. In addition to having to find the ingredients at an Asian store, the recipe maker also has to know how to cut, chop, and use that ingredient as not every detail is described in the book even though many details are. The pictures are also sensational and accompany almost every recipe. My boyfriend loved the results and said the Chicken Dumpling Soup was absolutely delicious and looked exactly as pictured in the book. After cooking from this cookbook, I have a higher appreciation of the skill and effort that goes into making dumplings. I highly recommend "Dumplings All Day Wong."
Gotta have a good basic dough, because we rather not rely on store bought frozen squares, however serviceable (and Chef does treat them as well). Chef Wong whips up a wheat starch dough. Hers is superb with no glutens except those you may add with some dusting of regular flour. But the result is a silky and tasty wrapper for bamboo steamer of fry pan. Wong adds fun by showing you how to add color to your dumplings-green, red, VIOLET!
But there is much more. The doughs are so important because that is where we are held back. Chef Wong moves right along with a rice flour and finally the sublime Bao, a yeast dough that completes your arsenal for all to come.
The many reviews cover the tasty fillings. But a couple bear more bear special mention. The Scotch Egg dumpling is well named, if ever you have had Scotch Eggs. A nice crust with some pork around a much creamier variety of the hard-boiled egg without getting runny. The chicken-bacon-leek Bao for me, is the jewel in this crown.
Chapter 1 is Tools and Techniques. Very handy for those who aren't sure what you may need to make these. Chapter 2 is about wrappers and I give this 10 stars for the dumpling dough recipes!! Included in the "Dough -how-Choosing the right dumpling wrapper chapter are using premade wrappers but also recipes for wheat flour and variations, basic wheat starch, glutinous rice flour and Bao dough. YAY!! Fresh wrappers always taste 300000x better than premade and I'll be trying all these.
The majority of the chapters are broken up by types of folds. It starts with Classic Folds-potstickers, gyoza, mandu,then Chapter 4:Cup shaped- Shumai, chapter 5:Multi pleat-Har Gow, Chapter 6:round fold/puck shaped, Chapter 7:parcel fold-Bo Choy Gau, Chapter 8 is Wontons, Chapter 9 is Soup Dumplings-Xiaolongbao, Chapter 10: Bao, Chapter 11: Exotic Styles and Chapter 12: stocks, dipping sauces, and condiments, and lastly Chapter 13- The Asian Pantry.
There are a lot of pork recipes in here and a good deal of seafood ones. A few beef and chicken, some sweet ones and a few vegetarian ones. Lots of interesting ones like the Scallop Nori dumplings that are speckled black and white dough, Sardine Ginger Wonton soup and Chicken Caeser dumpling Salad. The Chocolate Bacon Wontons with Caramel Sabayon makes me wish I were eating meat again!!!
My personal preferences are vegetarian but there are enough of those in this book to warrant having it in my cookbook collection. It's interesting and I'll have fun adjusting some of the meat recipes to veggie.
If you're looking for a fresh take on traditional dumplings-grab Dumplings All day WONG and you won't be disappointed!