Food For Thought: Day Of The Dumpling

Apr 12, 2017

A slight touch of pneumonia got in the way of the dim sum feast I'd planned with my visiting sister Debbie and niece Jen, both ace cooks.  Fast forward a year and we were ready to roll (wrappers) again.  Naturally, Nancy Leson came to share the cooking and eating.

The one thing I knew we'd have to make was Mandy Lee's crystal shrimp with shrimp oil and cashew butter flavored mayonnaise.  After all, the stuff's made with shrimp heads!

Shrimp heads, shells, ginger, garlic paprika and oil. Boil, strain and refrigerate.
Credit Stein

In these Interesting Times, there's nothing like popping off  shrimp heads and boiling them in oil to brighten up a guy's outlook. 

I'd always thought that orange goo inside the shrimp's head was its brain. Why I'd give a shrimp credit for that much intellect I'll never know.  Turns out it's actually the hepatopancreas, the shrimp's digestive system. 

We also made Mandy's cumin ribs.  My only tweak to her recipe was to let the ribs marinate overnight instead of the two to four hours she recommends. 

We sat down to three kinds of dumplings, a big plate of the ribs and Debbie's coconut lemon curd cake.  When it was time to stand up again we couldn't.

L&R: Niece Jen, sister Debbie. Their hair frightened my hair.
Credit Nancy Leson

Nancy showed up with a giant sheet pan of ready to cook dumplings, some of which we boiled, some we steam fried for potstickers.  But Nance was just getting started on her journey to Dumpling City.  She'd recently been making manti, the Turkish ground meat and onion dumpling. 

Nance says they remind her a lot of the ones she had at Seattle's Bodum Bistro.  The recipe's in "A World of Dumplings" by Brian Yarvin.With wrappers at one square inch these things are tiny.  Hats off to Nance for obsessive dumpling wrapping.

Cooked manti
Credit Nancy Leson

"Soup dumplings, sitcoms, one night stands:  Good ones leave you wanting more."  – Eddie Huang