Dim Sum always has a special place in my heart (and stomach), and it doesn’t matter if it’s noon on Sunday or midnight on Thursday I can always go for a ha-gow (shrimp dumpling) or a wu-gok (deep fried taro dumpling) and finish it off with a daan-taat (egg tart). My passion for dim sum takes me as far as battling in a dim sum showdown along with 19 other foodies to take down 111 dishes and valiantly lost (I did a write up on this if you want to read about it!). There’s no doubt that my dim sum love runs deep and knows no boundaries.
Recently, I was given a dim sum guide book written by Evelyn Chau entitled, “Have Some Dim Sum” where she is celebrating her book’s 10-year anniversary. In it she recounts her childhood memories of her dim sum adventures and describes the history and evolution of this beloved social gathering along with descriptions of popular dim sum dishes and a few recipes. Did you know that dim sum dates to the Tang Dynasty in 618-907 A.D. and was used to describe snacking? It wasn’t until the Sung Period of 960-1279 A.D. when dim sum was used as a noun. Whatever part of speech dim sum falls into with the Chinese literal translation “touch the heart,” dim sum is a weekend ritual most people look forward to sharing with family and friends. Her timing of her re-launch coincides with Valentine’s Day where she hopes to share this Chinese culinary experience with the ones you love.
So I decided to make my family’s favourite dim sum dish as an afternoon snack, Siu My, a pork and shrimp dumpling. For those unfamiliar, it’s like an open-faced dumpling packed with ground meat like pork and shrimp and seasonings. In dim sum restaurants, you may fine a heaping pile of fish roe on top, or even a juicy scallop. I didn’t have either at home (plus my kiddos are not scallop fans) so I topped it with slices of heart shaped carrots I carved out. After all, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner!
The verdict: EASY PEASY to make! Although Evelyn’s version is very clean tasting, I think some freshly grated ginger or even 1-2 grated water chestnuts would be a nice addition into the meat filling. It didn’t last long and I couldn’t steam them fast enough. I could barely get a few snapshots in without the whining of, “Can I eat yet?” Why not try making your own dim sum for your Valentine this year to “touch their heart”?
SIU MY Recipe (adapted from Evelyn Chau’s book)
6oz shrimp, shelled, cleaned, tails removed then chopped*
7oz extra lean ground pork
2 oz Chinese mushrooms (if using dried, soak them until they are soft), finely chopped
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/3 tsp salt
2/3 tsp sugar
1/3 tsp chicken bouillon powder
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger (I didn’t add this in my first attempt of making this recipe, but I would definitely add some next time)
1 package won ton wrapper (or the round dumpling wrapper if you can’t find the square wonton wraps)
flying fish roe (optional)
10-12 scallops (optional)
*I soak the shrimps in cold water and 1 TBSP of baking soda for 30 minutes then rinsed very well under cold running water to wash away any bitterness, and pat dried with paper towels. Soaking the shrimp in the baking soda water makes the shrimps plump when cooked.
1. Coat chopped shrimp with some salt and cornstarch.
2. Add pork, mushrooms, 1/3 tsp salt, sugar, chicken bouillon, sesame oil, white pepper, grated ginger and mix well.
3. Take a wonton wrap and put it on the palm of your hand. Then place a tablespoon of the meat filling in the centre. Bring up the edges of the wrapper starting with the corners and pressing gently to the meat filling until it adheres like you are forming a cup. I used the flat underside of my spoon to pack the filling into the wrapper and then tap the bottom of the dumpling to make a flat bottom so it can stand up on its own. Place a slice of scallop on top, or fish roe, or whatever you have on hand like carrots, sliced mushrooms, or even frozen peas. Set aside and repeat until all the meat filling is used up. You can freeze some on a baking tray lined with parchment paper until it’s frozen then transferred to a ziploc bag or freezer safe container.
4. Arrange the dumplings in a steamer that’s lined with nappa cabbage or parchment paper and steam over simmering water for about 10-12 minutes. I managed to yield 17 large dumplings.
5. Serve hot and enjoy!
~ Carol (aka. @Bakingzen)
*Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of Evelyn Chau’s book for review purposes only, with permission to reprint her recipe. Opinions expressed here are my own.