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Dim Sum

by: Chen Hai Chan

Singapore : Marshall Cavendish 2005, Hardbound
ISBN: 981-261-006

Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Summer Volume: 2006 Issue: 13(2) page(s): 28

This Cantonese chef in Singapore has written another winning book. The earlier volume, The Art of Taste, was reviewed in Volume 12(4) on pages 19 and 20. In this one, sixty new and golden dim sum oldies fill its pages. So do mouth-watering color photographs of every one of them.

Delight in reading and making his bite-sized dot-the-heart foods. The Steamed Twin Sausage Rolls are yummy. The Steamed Soup Dumplings are even better. Not placed in a soup, as restaurants currently do, he serves his sitting in its steamer basket, big beautiful and as juicy as can be. Furthermore, its pig shin aspic tastes terrific and reminds of the great soup dumplings we devoured in Shanghai.

We never saw a recipe for Eel Dumpling before. Never tasted anything with orange peel either. When a friend made these for us, we adored them and now know they need to be served in our very own kitchen, and soon. Chan's Crispy Bean Curd Skin Dumplings are fried and fantastic.

Many dim sum items require talented experienced hands. Not so these easy-to-make pan-fried wonders. Less easy and needing more talented fingers, the Flaky Haw Pastries are filled with a sweet and sour haw flake, yam powder, and pine nut mixture. We sometimes skip the suggested exterior and pig out on the filling; it is so very good. We find ourselves eating it right off the spoon or putting a spoonful in a wonton wrapper and steaming or frying it. That is a lazy-man miracle, so is putting it in a piece of bean curd sheet and steaming it.

Chan advises his kitchen experiences began making dim sum. Those who trained him were less than nice; but what he learned could not be nicer. Everyone can expand their kitchen dim sum delights using this book. Just reading it is marvelous; cooking from it even better. Must confess, we wanted to print at least half of his recipes, could not decide on a single on, so we leave you imagining them, then going to a local library or a Chinese book store, and locate the book and take note of our dilemma. Needing to cut some things to fit in this issue confirmed our decision; next time extra space materializes, we may include more than one of his recipes.

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