Hors D'Oeuvres & First Courses The Book

61. Shrimp Dumplings With Dipping Sauce p.59

No recipe is available online.

These were fairly good, and easy to prepare. Here, a filling of chopped shrimp, water chestnuts, scallions, ginger, and egg are mounded onto wonton wrappers. The wrappers are folded over and sealed with water, then they’re browned in a skillet with a bit of oil. Water is then added and they’re allowed to steam, covered, until they’re cooked through. They’re then served with a simple soy, ginger, sugar, scallion dipping sauce.

I didn’t find that the flavours were particularly interesting, or desperately craveable. There was no A-Ha! moment, it was pretty standard fare. On the night I made them that was exactly what I was looking for though. As I’ve mentioned my dining companion is not a great fan of seafood, but we’ve been working on introducing her to various not-too-fishy parts of the sea’s bounty. I thought shrimp with a good deal of other flavorings would be a nice place to start. And guess what? she liked them. This dish gave us a toehold, which lead to other more shrimpy preparations (pan fried with a bit of pernod and tarragon, yum). I was shocked and delighted last week when she ate a beautiful diver scallop I’d made her. She’s also happy to eat raw oysters, tried some grilled squid, and is looking forward to trying lobster. It looks like the world of shellfish is a place we can explore together. Fish are still out, and she gagged a bit when I brought out a smoked salmon mousse surrounded with salmon roe, but that just gives us stuff to work on.

The flavours here were fine, the ingredient list reads like a mid ’70s “Chinese food at home” recipe card from the grocery store, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Everything in here is easy to obtain, most of it can live in the pantry or freezer, and the dumplings tasted pretty good. My main complaint would be the fry then steam technique used. The fry builds up beautiful caramelization on the dumplings, but then steaming washes most of it away and leaves them kind of mushy. I’m not sure if a steaming first would have made the dumplings too delicate to fry properly, but I think it would result in a better tasting dish.

The recipe itself wasn’t amazing, it had virtues, but it also had problems. I’ll always remember these fondly as the first fishy thing I made my dinning companion that she ate and liked. But, as a recipe I can’t give it better than average marks.


I'm a graduate student in Montreal. I spend most of my time studying drug addiction using brain imaging techniques. I'm also a foodie, exploring the culinary world both in and out of my kitchen.