Review: Chinese Dim Sum Recipes
by Shou Tuan-Hsi
1983: Weathervane Books (First Edition)
There are plenty of Dim Sum cookery books on the market these days and I almost hesitate to do a review of one that now appears to be out of print. However, the content and illustrations in this particular publication are excellent and thus it is one that is very much worth seeking out. There are a few copies available at Amazon, I note, but the only ones I have seen are used ones, which is a bit of a pity really, as this is the sort of cookbook that makes a great gift…
The foreword states that the book offers 109 recipes, but the total is actually 116 when you include the detailed instructions for some additional preparations, such as those for the four types of dough that are used in many other recipes.
The dishes on offer include both the sweet and the savory and range from soups through, dumplings and noodles to rice dishes and cakes. There are plenty of favorites, like scallion pancakes, man-tou, and pot-stickers (although these last are just referred to as fried dumplings), but there is no shortage of interesting and less well known items either. I am particularly interested in trying the Peanut-flavored Stone Biscuit which I have never encountered elsewhere.
The best feature of this book is the wealth of very well taken photographs. There is a picture of each finished dish as well as anywhere from one to four additional images for individual recipes. The techniques for making the various types of dough are supplemented by a dozen or more pictures and the textual description for these, and the other recipes, is excellent. Even novices should not find it too hard to produce decent results following the very clear and concise instructions.
A few purchasers my be disappointed that there are not more complex dumpling types on offer (those with intricately pleated and folded wrappers, for instance), but with the wealth of other great recipes this ought not to count too heavily against the book, in my opinion.
This is would be a great introductory book for beginners but it is also a lovely volume to browse through for more experienced cooks. It is a shame it is now out of print but maybe the publishers will come out with a new edition sometime.