Dim sum is perfect brunch food – lots of small bites, flavour overload, and tons of choice all packed into elegant little packets. While most dim sum dishes are not that complicated to cook, they are time consuming to make.
This is because many of them involve stuffing dumplings or wonton wrappers and that it slow work. The results are worth it though and you can make lots at a time and freeze them in batches to thaw and cook as needed.
The recipes I’ve chosen for you today are among the most popular ones at a dim sum and can be prepared by a home cook without too much difficulty.
It can be handy when you have unexpected company to be able to thaw some dumplings and wontons to create a nice meal without too much prep work that has to be done at the time.
If you intend to freeze some, freeze them before cooking and thaw and cook when ready to use.
You can make your own dumpling and wonton wrappers by hand but you can also purchase them in many grocery stores now. I suggest buying them to save yourself time, particularly if making dough is not your forte (frankly, it isn’t mine).
The only case where this isn’t advisable is with har gow. The latter uses a special translucent dough. I include the recipe but if you are lucky enough to be in a Chinese grocery store that socks them feel free to buy ready made wrappers.
These recipes are all courtesy of Rhonda Parkinson.
#1: Har Gow
Har gow are shrimp stuffed dumplings that are steamed. They are possibly my all-time favourite dim sum dish.
- 3/4 cup wheat starch
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
- 2 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Har Gow Filling:
- 6 oz raw shrimp, rinsed, tails removed, chopped
- 3 TB bamboo shoots (can be canned), finely chopped
- 1 ½ tsp green onion, finely chopped
- ¾ tsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- ¼ tsp Asian sesame oil
- ¼ tsp salt, or to taste
- Pinch of fresh ground white pepper (about 1/8 teaspoon)
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- Vegetable oil, as needed
In a medium bowl, combine first three dough ingredients. Stir in ½ cup boiling water, slowly. Add the vegetable oil and use your hands to shape the dough. If it is too dry, you can add an extra 2 TB boiling water.
Shape it for approximately 2 minutes, do not overwork the dough. It should be smooth and shiny. Cover it and let it rest for twenty minutes.
To prepare the filling, mix all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. Cover and refrigerate for one hour to allow flavours to blend.
Oil your working surface using a paper towel that has had some vegetable oil applied to it. You also want to oil the sides of a large knife such as a cleaver. Keep your unused dough covered at all times to prevent it drying out.
Take a teaspoon of the dough and use the side of the knife to flatten it into a circle that is 2 ½ to 3 inches in diameter. Place 1 heaping tsp of filling in the centre of the circle.
Spread it out evenly but do not spread it all the way to the edge of the wrapper. Carefully fold it so that the edges of the dough meet. Pinch them together while pushing inwards to create pleats in the dough.
Place them on a plate and cover with a damp cloth to prevent them from drying out while you continue to make the rest of the dumplings.
Steam them on an oiled plate in a steamer for about 13-15 minutes. The dough should be translucent and the shrimp should appear orange in colour. If you do not have a steamer, you can use a metal colander over a pot of boiling water.
Oil the colander to prevent sticking and cover the colander with a pot lid to keep steam inside the pot. Serve with hot chili oil or soy sauce. Recipe makes 30-35 har gow.
#2: Siu Mai Dumplings with Pork & Shrimp
- 3 dried Chinese black or Shiitake mushrooms
- 6 oz peeled deveined large shrimp
- 1 green onion
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- ¾ cup ground pork
- 1 TB oyster sauce
- 1 tsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- ½ tsp granulated sugar
- about 20 gyoza wrappers (or won ton wrappers cut into circles)
Soften the mushrooms by soaking in hot water for approximately 20-30 minutes. Squeeze out excess water and remove stems.
Soak the shrimp in lightly salted, warm water for 5 minutes and pat dry. Mince mushrooms, shrimp and green onions. Add them to the ginger and pork and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate for an hour to let flavors blend.
Wet edges of gyoza wrapper and place 2-3 tsp of filling in the centre. Gather up the edges and gently fold so that the wrapper forms a basket around the filling with the top part of the filling exposed.
Steam for 5-10 minutes until filling is cooked. Makes about 20 dumplings.
#3: Wontons with Pork & Shrimp Filling
- ½ lb boneless lean pork
- ½ lb shelled and deveined medium shrimp
- 3 water chestnuts, skinned
- 2 slices ginger, or as much as is needed to make 1 tsp
- 1 TB oyster sauce
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 TB Chinese rice wine, dry sherry or rice vinegar
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- a few drops sesame oil
- Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
- Wonton wrappers, as needed
Finely chop shrimp, pork, water chestnut and ginger. Combine all filling ingredients (ie everything except the wonton wrappers). Refrigerate for one hour to let flavours blend.
Place unused wonton wrappers under a damp cloth to keep them moist. Wet the edges of the wrapper in use and then place a heaping tsp of filling in the centre of the wrapper. Bring edges together and twist to seal.
It should look like a small bag of money. You can boil wontons (5 – 8 minutes) or dry fry them (about 2 minutes). Makes about 35-40 wontons.
Although known as Japanese potstickers, gyoza are actually Chinese in origin.
- ½ lb ground pork (1 cup)
- ¾ cup shredded Napa cabbage
- 1 green onion, diced
- 2 tsp minced ginger
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 TB soy sauce
- ¼ tsp hot chili oil, or to taste
- ¼ tsp sesame oil
- 2 TB vegetable oil for frying, or as needed
- 30 gyoza wrappers, or as needed
Blanch shredded cabbage in a pot of salted, boiling water until tender but still crisp. Immediately plunge it into a bowl of ice water then drain and thoroughly remove water.
In a medium sized bowl, combine all filling ingredients (ie everything but the vegetable oil and the wrappers). Refrigerate for one hour to let flavours blend.
Wet edges of wrapper and place a heaping tsp of filling in the centre. Fold the sides to form a semi-circle and pinch edges to seal.
To cook, heat vegetable oil in a heavy frying pan over medium-high to high heat, Place gyoza in pan and cook for 2 minutes until the bottoms are golden brown.
Add ½ cup of water to the pan and cover the pan. Cook for approximately 5-7 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Makes about 30 gyoza.
Cover photo: theculinarycreep.wordpress.com