My first Dim Sum experience was shortly after I moved to London 6 years ago to embark upon my three year university experience. Well, I actually can’t say too much for a university experience but that’s a whole other story.
‘Lets go to Chinatown on Sunday to get Dim Sum’ exclaimed one of my course mates. Dim Sum I thought, what on earth could that be. Sure enough, when the bamboo baskets full of small pasta looking parcels arrived, I was a bit flabbergasted. I bit into my first one, a crunchy, pork filled morsel and devoured it in seconds. And so went the next and the next and the next until I was totally full and completely satisfied.
Where I’m from (Nottingham), the most Cantonese we’d get was a sweet and sour chicken or beef in black bean sauce dish with a side of chips and curry sauce(!?) from the local take away on a Friday night. I don’t think Dim Sum exists in that part of the world!
This is one of many reasons I love London. The diverse cultural aspect means that there is superb food to go with it. Since my trip to Chinatown 6 years ago, I think I have only been a further two times. Whoever I have dined with has always preferred a pizza or pasta, or a burger. I’ve been to Ping Pong a few times but I’m not totally sure it’s as authentic as my first Dim Sum experience.
So, many of you will know that last week I took part in a London treasure hunt (Hong Kong style) in order to help promote the week long Hong Kong – Live in London festival that is taking place this week on South Molten Street until Sunday 18th September.
The insight into Hong Kong’s vibrant culture has inspired me to try my hand at various Cantonese dishes. Having cooked pan fried Duck with bok choi and damson sauce over the weekend, on Tuesday night it was the turn of the mighty dumpling. We prepared one filling and made crescent shaped fried dumplings and wonton. The dumplings turned out incredibly well but the wonton not so well. They tasted great but looked a bit of a monstrosity!
I was surprised how easy it was to make – simply mix all of the filling in a bowl, fill the dumplings and then fry! I’d highly recommend attempting Dim Sum at home if you never have before. It’s incredibly rewarding and totally delicious.
25g dumpling wrappers
200g minced pork
1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 clove crushed garlic
2 small shallots, chopped
2 tbp light soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
8 shiitake mushrooms, finely diced
Two handfuls of chinese cabbage
2 tbsp groundnut oil
1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl
2. Fill the dumpling wrappers, fold and seal by pinching together
3. Heat a large non stick pan and when really hot add the groundnut oil
4. Add the dumplings to the pan and fry for 3 minutes, or until lightly browned
5. Add the water and seal the pan with a lid. Let the water gently simmer for 10 – 12 minutes
Serve with various dipping sauces. We had sweet chilli sauce, home-made damson sauce, oyster sauce and soy sauce with coriander and chilli.
My failed attempt at wonton:
Though it’s a faff and it’s time consuming (make your friends help) I would strongly recommend making your own wrappers – http://lizzieeatslondon.blogspot.com/2008/03/tester.html (good lord that was my first ever blog post…) Use a glass to cut the holes with.
they are a world apart really, much more pliable and less chewy; you can freeze them, then cook the dumplings from frozen.
That’s definitely on the cards. I’m definitely going to save it for a rainy day though. Thanks for sharing the recipe – I’ll definitely let you know how I get on. I really like the thought of freezing and cooking when you fancy.
That dimsum looks amazing!