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The Dimsum Experience Part II - May 2003 Newsletter

 

Now that you've been acquainted with the origins and development of dim sum, it's time to experience the creation and enjoyment of these little "heart warmers"! The following are several recipes for the some of the most popular dim sum dishes and desserts. Along with excellent kitchen tools and tableware available at Mrs. Lin's Kitchen, these recipes are sure to turn you into a dim sum chef-a top notch cook for those special meals at home or even a culinary artist for your next dim sum party!

Pot Stickers (Wor Teep)

Originating in northern China, pot stickers were often eaten as main meals along with noodles. These are typically round wonton wrappers folded into a crescent or triangular shape around a meat or vegetable filling. In dim sum eateries, they are often served steamed, right out of bamboo baskets, or freshly fried.

Approx. 30-35 dumplings
Ingredients 12 oz. minced meat (suggested: pork, shrimp, or chicken)

6 oz. vegetables (any that suits your taste; suggested: carrots, cabbage, bok choy, bean sprouts)

1 pkg. dumpling pastry
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon chicken bouillon
1/2 teaspoon sugar
pinch white pepper
a few drops sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Directions
-Defrost dumpling pastry.
-Sauté or blanch vegetables until just wilted. Drain and coarsely chop.
-Mix meat with seasonings; add to chopped vegetables.
-Put a generous tablespoon of filling onto a sheet of pastry.
-Make into traditional dumpling, or use a crescent press and make into crescents.
To fry dumplings: fry one side of dumpling until golden brown, then turn
add a small amount of water and cover for three minutes to make sure the filling is properly cooked remove lid when water has more or less evaporated but to not touch dumplings
add a bit of oil and let fry for another minute
toss dumplings around to coat them evenly

A healthy alternative is to steam dumplings in steamers on high for 8 minutes, after water has come to a boil.

For dipping, try Chinese or balsamic vinegar with ginger shred or soy sauce and vinegar.

SPRING ROLLS (Cheun Guen)

Also called egg rolls, these are perfect as finger food and for dipping in your favorite Asian sauces. They’re name of “spring rolls” is attributed to the time of year they are usually made; they are also a traditional New Year’s dish. They are made by rolling a thin egg and flour wrapper into a cylinder shape around a meat and vegetable filling, and then deep-frying. Quite versatile like the dumplings, spring rolls can be made with any combination of meat and vegetable fillings and are easy to cook.

Ingredients 6 oz. ground pork, chicken, shrimp, or tofu

6 oz. shredded cabbage
6 oz. shredded bean sprouts
4 oz shredded carrots
1t soy sauce
1/2 t sesame oil
1 t pepper
spring/egg roll wrappers
a little flour and water, or beaten egg (to seal wrapper)
any other vegetables

Directions
-Stir fry meat or tofu and all vegetables (except the carrots) for 2 min. and set aside.
-Add soy sauce, salt, sesame oil, and pepper
-Mix a little flour and water in a cup (or beaten egg) and set aside
-Place a piece of spring roll wrapper on a flat surface so that it resembles a diamond shape; put about a tablespoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper fold the side corners in first, then the top corner
-Place a dab or two of the flour and water (or egg) on the edge of the bottom, last corner and then roll up the wrapper
-Deep fry on medium-low heat until golden brown
- Dip in soy sauce and vinegar, sweet chili sauce, or any of your favorite sauces

 

STEAMED PORK BUNS (Char Siu Bao)

A favorite dim sum dish everywhere, these buns are practically a meal in themselves! Tasty and wholesome, a barbecue pork filling is sandwiched within a fluffy, white bun made out of a lightly sweetened dough, and then steamed. These buns also come in a variety of other fillings such as chicken, beef, vegetables, or bean paste; there is a baked version as well.

Approx. 12 pieces
Ingredients
(Dough) 4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup warm milk
1/3 cup warm water
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

(Filling)
8 dried black mushrooms
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 cup minced green onions
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup water
4 teaspoons hoisin sauce
4 teaspoons oyster-flavored sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups chopped Chinese barbecue pork

Directions
-Dissolve 2 tablespoons of the sugar in milk and water sprinkle in yeast; let stand in a warm place until bubbly, about 10 minutes
-Gradually mix in remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 cups flour, and salt
-Add more flour as needed until dough is no longer sticky
- Place dough on a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, 6 to 8 minutes place in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour

Meanwhile prepare filling:
soak mushrooms in warm water to cover until softened, about 20 min.; drain
discard stems and coarsely chop caps
Heat a wok over high heat add oil, swirling to coat sides
add green onions, garlic, and mushrooms; stir-fry for 1 minute
stir in water, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar
add cornstarch solution and stir until sauce boils and thickens
stir in pork; cool.

Getting back to the dough:
punch down dough, then roll into a cylinder
cut cylinder into 12 equal pieces
roll each into a ball; cover
Flatten each ball and roll into a circle 4 to 6 inches in diameter place 1 heaping tablespoon filling in center
gather edges of circle over filling; twist and pinch edges together to seal
Place a 3-inch square of waxed paper under each bun place buns, seam side down, 2 inches apart
cover and let rise in a warm place until puffy and light

When buns have risen, steam them over high heat until tops are glazed and smooth, 12 to 15 minutes.

 

Pearl Balls (Steamed Pork balls in Glutinous Rice)

Another dim sum favorite, these appetizers are hearty enough to fill you up like a main dish. Quite delectable, a juicy ground pork center is coated with a sticky rice that adds just the right amount of sweetness, and then steamed. These are also a popular dish for celebrations as well.

Approx. 4 servings
Ingredients
1 cup glutinous rice
1 pound pork or ground pork
1 - 2 green onions
2 slices fresh ginger
1 egg
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon sherry
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Directions
Soak the glutinous rice in water for at least 6 - 8 hours (preferably overnight); drain well in a sieve or colander.

Mince or grind the pork if not using ground pork mince the ginger and chop the green onions finely

lightly beat the egg and combine in a bowl with the light soy sauce, sherry, water, cornstarch, sugar, and the salt.

Take about 1 tablespoon of filling and form into a ball continue with the rest of the pork mixture.

roll the pork balls lightly over the dried glutinous rice until they are completely coated

Place the pork balls on a heat proof dish 1/2 to 1-inch apart place the dish on a rack in a pot, cover, and steam over boiling water for between 25 - 35 minutes.

Serve with soy sauce

EGG TARTS (Daan)

Also known as egg custard tarts, these little tarts are a scrumptious dessert fit for any meal. Sweet and creamy, it is composed of a golden yellow custard filling, surrounded by a firm, layered crust. While also a popular food for celebrations and special occasions, you don’t have to wait for the end of a meal for these treats-savor them when you please!

Approx. 14 tarts
Ingredients

(Pastry dough)

1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening, chilled
1/4 cup butter, chilled
1 egg
2 tablespoons ice water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

(Filling)
2/3 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions
To prepare dough: place flour in a food processor
cut shortening and butter into 1/2-inch chunks and distribute over flour
process with on-off bursts until fat particles are the size of peas
add egg, ice water, and vanilla
process until mixture just begins to form a ball.
remove dough, shape into a patty 1 inch thick, and cover with plastic wrap; chill for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days

To prepare filling:
in a small pan, heat water and sugar until sugar dissolves; let cool.
in a bowl, beat eggs slightly; whisk in sugar, water, evaporated milk, and vanilla extract, blending until smooth.
preheat oven to 300 F.
on a lightly floured board, roll out pastry to about 1/4 inch thick; cut into fourteen 4-inch circles and place circles into 2 1/2-inch tart pans.
lightly press dough into bottoms and sides of pans; trim edges
pour filling into pastry-lined pans to within 1/4 inch of top
place filled pans on a baking sheet; bake in preheated oven until a knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.

let cool for 10 minutes; remove tarts from pans

serve warm and enjoy!

SESAME SEED BALLS (Jian Dui)

A delicious treat also found in many Chinese bakeries, sesame seed balls are a favorite dim sum dessert. Sweet and crispy, a red bean paste filling is wrapped by a sweet rice dough, coated with sesame seeds, and then deep-fried. These treats are also popular during celebrations such as New Year’s and are associated with good luck.

Approx. 20 pieces
Ingredients
1 pound glutinous rice flour
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
1 1/4 cups boiling water
1 cup sweet red bean paste
1/4 cup white sesame seeds
4 cups oil for deep-frying

Directions
Dissolve the brown sugar in boiling water place the rice flour in a large bowl; add the dissolved sugar and water mixture
stir until thoroughly mixed.
Dust your hands with a bit of rice flour and shape the dough into balls roughly 2 inches in diameter
repeat the process with the red bean paste, using about 1 teaspoon and shaping into smaller balls
Using the thumb and index finger of both hands, press a hole into the dough to form a cup place a ball of the red bean paste inside
pressing the dough, completely cover the red bean paste
roll each of the filled balls in your hands to form a perfect sphere
roll the balls in the sesame seed.
Deep-fry the sesame seed balls, a few at a time, in oil heated to between 320 and 350 degrees

Once the sesame seeds turn light brown and the balls start floating to the surface (about 2 minutes), gently apply pressure to the ball with the back of a spatula or a large ladle against the side of the wok continue applying pressure as the balls increase to approximately three times their normal size and turn golden brown

place the deep-fried sesame seed balls on a tray lined with paper towels to drain

Serve warm and enjoy!

Here are some other common dim sum dishes and desserts that you may encounter:

Bean Curd Skin Rolls (San Juk Guen)
A very thin wrapper made of dried bean curd, rolled around a meat filling into a cylindrical shape. The roll is deep-fried, and then steamed, which gives it a characteristic, wrinkled appearance.

Congee (Chuk)
A thick rice soup with a variety of savory ingredients added. Among the many popular additions are peanuts, dried or raw fish, gingko nuts, and ginger. Sometimes the congee must be ordered separately from the food brought on carts.

Curried Beef Pastries
Flaky pastry, resembling French puff pastry, wrapped around a curry-spiced beef filling to form a crescent, then deep-fried.

Drunken Chicken
A marinated whole chicken, steamed and then soaked in dry sherry or Chinese shao-shing wine for at least a day. Cut into bite-size pieces and served cold.

Fried Fish Balls (Jar Yue Yuen)
Bite-size balls of white-fleshed fish, deep-fried.

Hot Mustard Greens (Szechwan Chung Tsai)
Mustard greens stir-fried in peanut oil, flavored with scallion and ginger.

Lotus Leaf Rice (Nor Mei Gai)
Sticky rice with a mixed ingredient filling that might contain chestnut or hard-boiled egg, as well as chicken, pork, or sausage. Enough rice for two people or more is wrapped in a lotus leaf, forming a rectangular packet, then steamed.

Pork Sausage Buns (Lop Cheung Bao)
A square of yeast dough wrapped around a Chinese sausage in the same way that westerners make pigs-in-a-blanket, then steamed.

Pork Spareribs
Marinated spareribs cut into bite-size pieces and either steamed (seejup pai gwut) or glazed and barbequed (siu pai gwut).

Rice Noodle Rolls (Cheung Fun)
Large, flat rice noodles rolled around meat or shrimp filling and steamed.

Scallion Pancakes
A dense, wheat-flour dough with chopped scallions kneaded in, rolled into pancake-shaped disks, and pan-fried. The pancakes are cut into wedges before serving.

Steamed Meat Dumplings (Siu Mai)
Quite popular, their name siu mai means "cook and sell." They are made by pressing a thin, round egg and flour wrapper around a bite-size ball of meat filling, usually pork, leaving the filling exposed at the top, similar to a little flower pot.

Stuffed Crab Claws (Yeung Hai Keem)
For these, the snapper is used as a handle. A portion of shell is removed from the meaty end, leaving the meat attached. Shrimp and crab paste are then pressed around the claw meat, and the whole is dipped in flour and crumbs, then deep-fried.

Tea Eggs
Hard-boiled eggs with their shells cracked, but not removed, are brought to a boil in a mixture of tea, soy sauce, and spices. After being cooked in this bath, the shells are removed. The marinade colors the egg in a beautiful crackled pattern.

Wontons
These are made by folding meat or vegetable filling in a square, flour and egg wrapper. They are usually deep-fried when served as dim sum, although they are also often simmered and served in soup, along with other noodles.

For the perfect complement to these delicious dishes, or just as a great way for the new chef to relax, serve alongside a pot of good, hot tea. Also, don’t forget to extend your culinary creativity with elegant and unique plates, bowls, and saucers that will truly make your cooking a work of art! In addition to a variety of exotic teas and tasteful tableware, Mrs. Lin’s Kitchen also offers several fantastic Chinese cookbooks featuring dim sum and other Chinese dishes-perfect for those of you who can’t wait to cook more dim sum! Be sure to check out Mrs. Lin’s Kitchen’s wonderful selection, which is updated frequently, for all your cooking needs.

  OUR 2003 NEWSLETTERS

Discover Your Cup of Tea

The Mythical of Dragon and Phoenix

Korean Celadon

The Art of Japanese Cuisine

Chinese Horoscope

The History and Art of Tea

A Taste of The Philippines

The Dimsum Experience, Part II

The Dimsum Experience, Part I

The Art of Paper Cutting

Feng Shui for the Home

New Year's in Asia

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