I don't know how long people have been enjoying dim sum. Despite the change in food trends, the dawn of food trucks and the inundation of fast food, dim sum has remained a favourite. People all over the world are still fanatics and are always on the quest to find the best dim sum houses in town. We are lucky to have a good one nearby and it never fails to give us pleasure and satisfaction.
Dim sum is the Chinese equivalent of the English high tea. It literally means to touch the heart. I love the concept of little taster portions of different kinds dishes rather than having a full set meal. Having dim sum is a sociable way of eating because the food is shared amongst the people at the table. The more people to share the meal, the better it is because you can order more dishes.
When I went home to the Philippines recently, I was quite surprised to see siomai in every street food cart and even in convenience stores such as Seven Eleven. Although dim sum making is a fine art that is best left to the experts, simple dumplings such as siomai can easily be made at home. The quality would not equal that of the dim sum houses but the resulting taste is definitely something to enjoy.
1 1/2 c. of chopped pork belly meat
1/2 c. of raw prawns, cut into cubes
3 cooked Chinese mushrooms, chopped
1 tbsp. light soy sauce
1 tbsp. corn flour
1 tbsp. sherry
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. sesame oil
gyoza or wonton wrappers cut into circles
chopped carrots and frozen green peas for decoration
Season the prawns with 1/2 tsp. of salt and set aside.
Mix the rest of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. Pick up the mixture with one hand and throw back into the mixing bowl. Repeat this process until the mixture becomes sticky.
Rinse the prawns and dry very well with some kitchen paper. Add to the pork mixture and mix again. I made 13 big dumplings with this mixture.
If you are using wonton wrappers, you can trim the corners off to make flower wrappers (round shaped). You can also use cookie cutters to do this. Put a tablespoonful of filling in the middle of a wrapper and gather the sides. The top remains open.
To do the pleated sides, it is easier if you set the wrapper on a board. Spoon in the filling, then pleat the wrapper all around. Using both hands, encircle the dumpling with your thumb and forefinger near the edge of the wrapper and squeeze gently while pushing down. This shapes the bottom of the dumpling so it sits squarely on the steamer as well as gives the top a rounded bump.
Sprinkle the top with chopped carrots or frozen green peas. Gently press to make it adhere to the filling.
Fill up a wok or steamer with water and bring to a boil. Line the steamer basket with Chinese leaves (so the dumplings won't stick) and arrange the dumplings on top.
Steam for 15 minutes. Standard sized dumplings would only take ten minutes. Serve with chilli sauce and chilli oil.
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