I have another installment for the Cook the Books challenge from Briggs at Oh, Briggsy and Meg at Grow and Resist. The challenge is to focus on one cookbook for every month of 2013 and the one chosen for February is Andrea Nguyen’s, Asian Dumplings.
One of the best things for me about this pick is that it fits in with one of our family resolutions for the year. My husband and I married in 2000 and we really haven’t updated much of our kitchen equipment since. We have a few classic pieces of cookware, an awesome food processor and a KitchenAid mixer, all from our nuptials. But when it comes to other things, like cooking utensils and other useful items, our collection is old and on its last “workin’ hard for ya” breath. We have resolved to update and add some things to our kitchen this year, so our home represents the 40-something-year-olds that we are. The additions I made this month included two pieces of equipment that have long been on my WANT list: a bamboo steamer and a tortilla press. (Although, one of the old, crotchety utensils came in very handy later in the dumpling making, as you’ll read.)
I chose to make Spiced Lamb Dumplings (Khasi Momo) because they sounded delicious. I needed to find some of the ingredients outside my usual grocery shops. We do not buy a lot of lamb, as we try to eat organic and local proteins, but I was able to find it at our local butcher sourced from Newtown, CT. Happy to support a farm from there!
I also sought out a couple of the spices (Garam Masala and Sichaun Peppercorns) from a Penzey’s spice shop. I was ready to go!
I roasted the tomatoes and pepper first under the broiler and let them cool while I made the dough. It was just a mixture of flour and water. While the dough rested, I made the Spicy Tomato Sauce. There was no cooking of the sauce, except for the roasting of the pepper and tomatoes. The sauce was fresh, spicy and aromatic.
The lamb filling used many of the same ingredients as the sauce, so I prepped the similar ingredients for both at the same time. (Reading recipes more than once is great advice and took me eons to learn.) Once the filling was mixed up, it needed to sit for about 30 minutes to marry the flavors. So, I moved on to making wrappers.
The dough was pretty easy to handle and the instructions were right on in the making of each wrapper. I loved using the tortilla press and seeing the perfect circles of dough created. Then, I needed to roll just the edges with a skinny rolling pin. @%&(*! I didn’t have one of those. I started searching through drawers and found an old, crotchety substitute. I had a large, wooden meat tenderizer where the head and handle keep coming apart. The handle was perfect!
I tried wrapping the dumplings into the round pockets that look like little handbags, but after trying one and cussing more than was necessary, I took to wrapping in the easier moon shapes. I steamed half the dumplings in the bamboo steamer and froze the other half. They were incredibly delicious.
In the end, I loved this cookbook! I think I will be adding it to my collection. It’s well-written, the instructions are spot on and you can tell that the author is passionate about dumplings. I think I might be too.