Sunday, October 21, 2012

For the Love of a Good Dumpling

A warm welcome to Melissa Bourbon Ramirez today. She's giving away The Lola Cruz Christmas Story for free right now, so if you have an e-reader, be sure to take advantage of this opportunity. Details are just below the recipe.

And now Melissa!

I love visiting Mystery Lover’s Kitchen.  It’s one of the best blogs out there and it’s so much fun to be part of it!  I’ve been here a handful of times, each time-sharing a favorite family recipe:

Pumpkin bread:

My passion for mahi mahi with strawberry cilantro salsa:

Spanish rice:

Today I thought about discussing the merits of fried okra, but I fear it is a regional thing and there’s something a lot of people don’t like about the slimy vegetable, so I nixed that idea.

I also considered caramel corn, a recipe which, like Sheila’s Home Ec Pizza, came from my high school home ec class and is still something I make several times a year, particularly during the holidays, and which my family goes gaga over.  But I’m angling for another invite back to Mystery Lover’s Kitchen to share this recipe as fall settles in so I’m going to keep it under my hat for now.  We’ll see if they bite. 

Which leads me to dumplings.

Today I want to share with you my love of these little balls of goodness.  A good dumpling is like nothing else.  Did you know there are whole entire websites devoted to nothing but the dumpling?  It’s true.  And fascinating to read about the lengths dumpling fanatics will go to in their search for the perfect dumpling.

I’m not quite so fanatical as all that, but I do love me a good dumplin’, as we say in the South.

Let me interject for a moment to say that while we now live in North Texas, we’re from California, home of dim sum (2nd home, actually, after, you know, China). Dim sum is Chinese breakfast and while I’ve heard they have some good places in Dallas, we’ve not found them.  So we have truly been on a dumpling adventure since our little Podunk town does not have a Chinese restaurant, let alone dim sum.

My son is another dumpling fanatic.  We started our dumpling adventure together by making gluten free pot stickers (he has celiac disease, so we’re always experimenting with different non-gluten flours).  We’ve become very good at our dumpling making, getting much more ambitious.  And when I say much more, I mean by leaps and bounds.  The steamed dumpling and a variety of fillings to tickle everyone’s taste buds have now eclipsed the simple pot sticker with the ready-made wrappers. 

Making dumplings is surprisingly easy.  What got complicated for us when we made them recently is that we decided to make 5 kinds.  That’s what happens when you have a vegetarian child, another with celiac, yet another with type 1 diabetes, and some meat-eaters, all in the same household. 

But even meeting everyone’s tastes and needs, our dumpling-making extravaganza is always a huge success.  The greatest thing about a dumpling adventure is knowing that the gluten free steamed dumplings are gluten free by nature.  They’re made of white rice flour and tapioca starch and are JUST like the ones in the dim sum restaurants we love so much.   That’s a bonus for my son who hates to be different.

This time around, we made gluten free pork and gluten free shrimp dumplings.  We made pork dumplings and shrimp dumplings with ready-made wonton wrappers.  And we made vegetarian dumplings with bean sprouts, scallions, nappa cabbage, and ginger.

The recipes were from this awesome website all about... DUMPLINGS! (

I’m including the basic Shrimp Paste filling here for you, courtesy of Andrea Nguyen and her Asian Dumpling Tips website.  You can use the ready-made wonton wrappers or get adventurous, like we did, with the steamed dumpling dough.  Either way, enjoy!

 Basic Dim Sum Shrimp Paste 

Makes 1 cup

1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (6 1/2 ounces net weight)

1 teaspoon cornstarch

Scant 1 teaspoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon oyster sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry

1 tablespoon egg white, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons finely chopped scallion, white and green parts

2 tablespoons minced bamboo shoot

1 1/2 teaspoons minced pork fatback or canola oil

So, if you have an hour... or three... try your own dumpling extravaganza.  You won’t be sorry.

To get everyone in the holiday spirit, The Lola Cruz Christmas Story, is now free!  Get a taste of Lola for the holidays on your Kindle, Nook, or whatever eReader you use!
A Lola Cruz Christmas:


Barnes & Noble:



About Deadly Patterns

Bliss, Texas, is gearing up for its annual Winter Wonderland festival, but when a mysterious Scrooge ends the merriment with murder, it’ll take more than a ghost from Christmas past to set things right.

Designing a holiday fashion show set in the town’s most prominent historic mansion seems like a job tailor made for dressmaker Harlow Jane Cassidy. But with the mansion’s restoration still in progress and threatening weather on the horizon, she’s feeling on pins and needles more than reveling in holiday cheer.

Having volunteered to play Santa in this year’s festival, Dan Lee Chrisson was ready to move on after his divorce—until Bliss became his final resting place. Discovering his body puts Harlow at the scene of the crime. She’ll need plenty of help from friends and even her late great-grandmother’s spirited sleuthing if she’s to have a ghost of a chance of catching a killer who’s just jumped to the top of the naughty list….


About Sacrifice of Passion
Texas rancher, Vic Vargas, finds himself facing more than his stubbornly silent son when the chupacabra, a supposedly mythical blood‐sucking beast, starts killing his livestock—and stalking Delaney West, the town’s newly returned veterinary assistant, the sensual woman who ran from the altar and broke his heart twelve years earlier.

Reluctantly, he seeks her help to get to the bottom of the disturbing animal mutilations, only to have her break through to his sullen son...and rekindle the love he’d thought was lost forever. But her refusal to share a terrible secret sends her running straight into the lair of the chupacabra, plunging her back into her worst nightmare, and forcing them both to confront the wrongs of the past—in order to stay alive for the future they desperately want.

Also available from Melissa Bourbon Ramirez: Bare Naked Lola

Going undercover is second nature for Private Investigator Lola Cruz, but she’s out of her league when the case of a murdered Royals Courtside Dancer leads her to a local nudist resort. Parading around the sidelines of Sacramento’s professional basketball scene in a barely-there cheerleading outfit is one thing—but parading around in nothing but smile? If she has any chance of hiding this from her traditional family and on-again/off-again boyfriend Jack, she’s going to have a lot more than her duct tape bra and killer dance moves to keep under wraps….

About Melissa Bourbon Ramirez

Melissa Bourbon, who sometimes answers to her Latina-by-marriage name Misa Ramirez, gave up teaching middle and high school kids in Northern California to write full-time amidst horses and Longhorns in North Texas.  She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with yoga and chocolate, is devoted to her family, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams.

She is the marketing director at Entangled Publishing, is the author of the Lola Cruz Mystery series with St. Martin’s Minotaur and Entangled Publishing, A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series with NAL, and is the co-author of The Tricked-out Toolbox and two romantic suspense titles.

Visit Melissa at her website | Twitter Page | Facebook Home | Goodreads | and Books on the House, a website bringing books and readers together!


  1. Hi, Melissa/Misa! I always wondered what went into that shrimp filling. Thanks for providing it!

    My first dim sum experience happened in San Francisco, when I was working there. It was a visiting friend who suggested that we should go looking for dim sum (I was clueless), and we stumbled into a huge, multi-story place in Chinatown. It was amazing! I've been hooked ever since.

  2. Fun post, M/M, thanks for the smiles and the recipe. I'm with you on dumplings, little packages of goodness--even the word is delightful and I applaud your rising to the challenge with the dietary needs of your kids!

    On the dumpling front, Marc and I found a little hole in the wall dumpling shop in Chinatown that's a street food delight. If ever you pass through NYC, you might enjoy a nosh (or three). It's down a little alley called Mosco Street and you can't miss it. The pork buns are worth trying, too.

    Your Lola Cruz Christmas story looks like a perfect read for the coming holidays, too. Thanks for hanging with us in the Kitchen, and have a great Sunday!

    ~ Cleo

  3. I'm crazy for dim sum. There's a terrific place in Falls Church, Virginia that has the most fantastic dim sum on weekends. It's huge and busy and they make all sorts of delicious dishes. So nice to get a lot of little plates and be able to taste test.

    I've never been brave enough to make my own dumplings. You've inspired me to give it a shot, Melissa!

    ~ Krista

  4. I love me some dumplings!! We live way out in the boonies though. And it doesn't help that the husband is a meat and potatoes kinda cowboy so we often steer towards manly meal places. My brother and his wife found a place in that supposedly serves up a scrumptious dim sum breakfast. I'm thinking I'll suggest we go there for my birthday. Yummo!! But I just so happen to have wonton wrappers and pork in the fridge. Hmmm. ;) That is a great lunch idea. I'll fix the man a sandwich. Ha. Thanks so much for the dumpling recipes!! The book sounds like a great to check it out!

  5. Wow, what a complete array and all the details! Love it. And gluten-free? I'm in! Thanks for sharing today.

    ~Daryl aka Avery

  6. I always love being here at Mystery Lover's Kitchen! Thanks for having me. :) The dumplings are a bit time consuming, but not if you're only making one kind! Well worth it every now and then.

  7. These look delish ... when are you making me some of those vegetarian dumplings? I'm not ashamed to beg. :)