Asian Dumplings: Mastering Gyòza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More By Andrea Nguyen, Ten Speed Press, 2009. Hardcover. $30; 234 pages
We loved this book for its focus on one of life's simplest pleasures: the little dough package. Asian cuisines are particularly dumpling-centric, and Nguyen (who has two books in this list) runs the gamut with almost 90 recipes from India to China—boiling, steaming, baking, and frying along the way. Chapter titles show the range: Filled Pastas, Thin Skins, Stuffed Buns, Rich Pastries, and more. Line drawings help with "master shapes" like the Pleated Crescent, Half Moon, and Football (origami meets pastry). Complex recipes, like doughy pork-stuffed buns, samosas, and potstickers, are broken into easy-to-follow steps. And because dumplings are often dunking foods, there's a nice little chapter at the end on dipping sauces, chili oil, and chutneys, plus recipes for the stocks in which to boil the dumplings. Not every dumpling is photographed, but many are, beautifully.