Helen You’s “Dumpling Galaxy” holds true to its title since it is nothing short in delivering everything one needs to know about dumplings. I’ve eaten dumplings but never really gave thought it actually is a complete food in bite size form, especially the kind with the meat and vegetable filling, wrapped in carb which is perfect for the diet-conscious foodie.
The book is sectioned in 6 chapters, the first being Dumpling 101 (quite self-explanatory, n’est–ce pas?) with four chapters covering recipes for the classic dumpling – the variation with both meat and vegetable fillings, green dumplings – geared to please the vegan palate, dumplings fused with foreign flavors and the dessert variety. The last chapter is a very small section of recipes of sauces and sides to be served alongside. It also has starred general helpful tips scattered throughout the book.
The recipe directions seem to be easy and straightforward (see last photo). What I do find a little intimidating (as with anything one has never done before) is the preparation of the dumpling wrapper consisting of just flour, salt, water and egg whites. I’ll try making it but should my attempt turn out to be a flop, it’s comforting to know at the author’s mention that I can conveniently get the dumpling wrappers at an Asian store which I happen to be situated nearby. She was even specific in suggesting which brand she works with.
Most of the recipes call for Sherry Cooking wine which I probably would have to substitute with apple cider vinegar; this planned substitution tweaks the recipe making it my own, something the author encourages with her diagram of flavors which you can create to your liking. A major plus is the ingredients can easily be found at your local grocery store.
To my delight, the book has a recipe of Chinese Fried Chicken Wings! I kid you not, when I moved to OR less than 2 months ago, I was on the hunt specifically for Chinese Fried Chicken wings. I found out Oregonians prefer Teriyaki Chicken than bone-in Chicken wings in the first couple of weeks I was here after going through a few places. I was truly craving that authentic Chinese-American take-out taste that I’m so used to. It never dawned on me to think about making it myself until I received this.
Going through the book momentarily flooded me with flashbacks of having Dim sum where dumplings are a staple (but my actual favorite were Chicken feet!) in Chinatown with Jane, a dear friend. It would have been nice if I knew of the author’s place located in Flushing, Queens, a place saturated with Koreans rather than Chinese, who are mostly concentrated in the lower east side of Manhattan where Chinatown is actually located.
The book is nicely presented in a durably sewn, hardbound format, complete with appetizing depictions on matte pages. Any Chinese take-out junkie (who isn’t?) would appreciate this and it’s one I consider to be a great addition to my bookshelf.
[This is my unadulterated review for a complimentary copy of the aforementioned book which I received from Blogging For Books]