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A selection of our most popular dumpling flavours, all wrapped up in a nice little package.
• 2x Cantonese Chicken & Coriander (FR)
• 2x Shanghai Pork & Savoy Cabbage (FR)
• 2x Prawn and Garlic Chives
• 1x Nepalese Spiced Lamb & 5 Veges
• 1x Korean Sesame Beef & Mung Bean sprouts
• 1x Japanese Six-Mushroom
• 1x Spinach, Tofu & Bok Choy
(FR) denotes Free Range meat used.
To be honest, I was overwhelmed by the logistics of checking out this product. When I do food reviews I always like to have some friends or family members to help me out as people react differently to some flavours, and it is useful to have a balanced reaction. Because I wanted to try them all for myself, however, I opted for just one other person to share this box with me. We agreed that we would have one each of the varieties that were doubled up, and would cut each of the single varieties in half so we could be sure to taste everything.
Once that was decided, we cooked them according to the instructions on the box (ten minutes to the second for the steaming, and five minutes for the searing in a pan - the box suggested 12-15 minutes but that would have been too long; that would have left us with glowing embers!) and sat down to do the tasting. We placed the pottle of dipping sauce on the plate with the dumplings, and organised a second bowl of water to rinse our fingers between dumplings! No forks or chopsticks for us; dumplings are finger food second to none.
We tried each flavour at the same time and stopped to evaluate it before moving on to the next. Luckily the dumplings had unique shapes so it was easy to work out which was which just by checking out the guide printed on the side of the packet. This was the first time we had tried House of Dumplings products so all the flavours were completely new to us. We started with the "familiar" flavours, pork and chicken, and enjoyed both equally. The coriander helped to bring out the flavour of the chicken, giving it a mildly exotic tone, and the pork, while strong on its own, was enhanced by the addition of cabbage which added texture and colour.
Next we tried the Korean sesame beef. It had a satisfyingly chewy texture and quite a mild flavour. Neither of us could really taste the sprouts or sesame content but it was pleasant enough anyway. We moved on to mushroom, which was strong and satisfying without being too dramatic. Both of us thought it was good that a vegan option was included. There was another vegan option too - spinach, tofu and bok choy - which had a deliciously light texture and a lovely combination of flavours. We were sorry there was only one in the packet!
On to the last two: first, Nepalese lamb which had a curry aftertaste that both of us loved. The lamb itself was mild with the included vegetables and spices adding texture and a brownish colour but not changing the flavour noticeably. And finally, our favourite - crystal prawn. This was magnificent, making a great change from the usual red meat or chicken fillings. They were nice both dipped in the sauce and eaten plain, and the garlic chives were the perfect complement. There were two of these in the packet so we did get a whole one each, but I could have eaten another dozen without any difficulty.
Overall impression? A great product, and what a good idea to include a variety pack in the range so consumers can check out which flavours they like best. These products are expensive so you would not want to buy a variety that you did not especially like - much better to try out a small quantity first. We liked the whole deal: quality food which is as good as you would buy fresh, but which has the added advantage of being able to live in the freezer till it is needed; and amazing packaging which has been clearly produced by someone who is not only an artist but also has a sense of humour.
Running on lack of sleep, parent/teacher interviews tonight we needed something quick and yummy. What could be easier then steaming some Dumplings and frying up some vegetables with rice? The box carries ten different dumpling flavours and they sounded perfect. This is the first time I have attempted to cook Dumplings at home and reading the instructions it sounded nice and easy. Using grease proof paper I lined the steamer and place it into a pan of water for nine minutes, (the instructions say 8 - 10 minutes so I opted for the middle). In the mean time I fried up some rice and added vegetables and in less than 15 minutes I had dinner plated up.
One of my pet peeves is to have slimy dumplings and when ever we get them from the local takeaway place that is how they come and I can not stomach them so I was a little concerned about how these would work out. I plated them on a tray so that everyone could trial them while I plated up the fried rice with vegetables. I then took a little nibble from each corner so I could trial them all before the rest of the family bounced on them and I have to say 'no slim' they tasted fantastic and the consistency was perfect and so much flavour..
This particular box has a mixture of flavours, there is a break down of all the flavours on the side of the box and it really does help. I pointed out what each one was before everyone grabbed the ones they wanted - well they were suppose to do what I had done and just nibble a bit of it but before I could blink my youngest had stomached both of the Crystal Prawn and Garlic Chives before I could even stop her. So two family members missed out on that one and it was my favourite one also. Actually truth be told I enjoyed all of them even the Spinach, Tofu and Bok Choy which I thought I wouldn't.
Looking at it I thought this would be a nice date night dish for my husband and myself each having our own box each as they are relatively quick to prepare, but if I am honest the price does scare me a little as we can get one dozen dumplings for $10. But in saying that I prefer the taste of these ones which is rather funny as my husband prefers the other way. Something I will be keeping my eye on as I am keen to have again maybe a nice lunch by myself while no one is home - the possibilities are endless.
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