Saturday, February 4, 2012

Dimsum day part 1 - easy dimsum

...and there goes my diet. I caved because I'd been working late nights working on the proposal. So today, I treated myself to dimsum. I think I will have to pay dearly for this "excursion". 

But! On to dimsum... It is single-handedly the kind of thing that will make you feel like you've pigged out quite a bit. It's certainly not the kind of thing for single consumption. Plus, because they're all "bite sized", well... if you don't watch it, you may end up overeating...

OK! Now that those dire warnings are out of the way... Below are recipes for simple dimsum, simple meaning all you have to do is to throw everything together in a steamer and call it a day. The dimsum itself isn't a one dish meal. It's actually several dishes. So, you can combine the recipe below with the congee and twice cooked rice recipes and the spring roll recipe (sans chili sauce) for a full dimsum meal.

Alternatively, you can also use this recipe to make some wontons/pot stickers for your noodles, and the pork to accompany your quick stir-fry.

I'll discuss the more "complicated" ones later on (because I'm at a cafe and I don't bring my bible for pao's/steamed buns).

Steamed pork ribs

1 - 2 lbs. pork spare ribs, cut to bite sized (bone-in)
2 tbs honey
2 tbs sesame oil
3 tbs salted black beans
4 - 5 cloves of garlic
1 tbs flour
3 tbs cooking wine
2 tsp salt

4 - 5 birds eye chili sliced

1. Mix together honey, sesame oil, salted black beans and cooking wine in a bowl.
2. Add cut meat and mix thoroughly.
3. Add flour, mix evenly.
4. Prepare your steamer and put your meat in a large bowl (about two times the volume of the meat mixture).
5. Add garlic and half of the sliced chili. Steam for 1 hour
6. Adjust taste by adding salt after cooking. Serve garnished with the remaining sliced chili.

1. I hate bones, so I usually substitute this meat with country pork ribs cut meat (boneless). 
2. You can opt to marinate overnight prior to cooking, I've done away without marination and it turned out just fine.
3. You will end up with quite a large amount of liquid if you use country pork ribs. To re-utilize the liquid, drain all the pork meat off the liquid and put the liquid in cold place overnight, don't disturb the bowl. This way, the fat will float to the surface and you can skim off the fat. You can add the liquid back to the meat when you're reheating the meat, or you can use this to replace fish sauce/soy sauce to make stir-fry. You can even season the rice with this "broth".
4. Skip the flour and honey, I've done away without it just fine. 
5. If you use country pork ribs, you might have to cook it longer (15-30 mins longer).
6. If you can't find fermented beans, you can use black bean sauce. It'll just change the color of the meat, not the taste. If you do find the fermented beans, make sure you find one that's really good (the badly made ones/cheaper kinds smell pretty bad), rinse and drain well. You can freeze these beans after washing and draining.


1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground chicken/turkey
2 tbs sesame oil
2 eggs
1/2 tbs sugar
1 - 2 tsp salt
1 tbs fish sauce

1. Mix all of the ingredients above.
2. Adjust taste by pan frying about 1/2 tsp of the mixture.
3. To make:

  • Wonton: Add 4 - 8 oz. water chestnuts and 2 - 3 scallions, chopped. Mix evenly, and spoon one tsp of the mixture to the middle of a wonton wrapper. Fold into two, use water to seal the edges, and press firmly. Attach the two corners of the wrapped wonton with water to make wonton shape. Steam or boil for 3 - 4 minutes until wonton is cooked.
  • Pot sticker: Add 4 - 5 sprigs of cilantro, chopped. Mix evenly and spoon one tsp of the mixture to pot sticker wrapper, fold into two, brush the edges with water, and pleat one side of the wrapper before pressing firmly against the opposite side. To cook: preheat frying pan with cooking spray, place pot stickers upright, cook for 3 - 4 minutes on medium-high, covered.
  • Shumai: Add chopped raw shrimp (10), mix evenly. Lay pot sticker wrapper flat on the palm of one hand, add 2 tsp of the mixture, then cup the hand. Flatten the top of the shumai, top with 1/16th of shiitake mushroom caps. Steam to cook (5 minutes).
1. Wonton wrappers, pot sticker wrappers, and shumai wrappers are similar, just that their shapes are different. So if you can't find pot sticker wrappers, just cut wonton wrappers to circle.
2. It will take time to adjust the taste. The first time I made this recipe I had to adjust it 10 times. I still do now too.
3. This is one of my favorite recipe because one basic thing can make three different things. Obviously if you want to make all three, all you have to do is to divide the basic ingredients to three after mixing them and adjusting the flavors. 
4. This wonton recipe can also be used for wonton soup and as accompaniment for noodles. It can also be deep fried.
5. This recipe freezes well, just make sure to apply liberal amount of flour to the bottom of freezing container and between the wonton/pot sticker/shumai. Alternatively, make the mixture ahead of time and whenever you want, just quickly wrap some right before cooking.
6. You can put whole shrimp inside the shumai, that way it's a "surprise" when people bite into it.
7. You can use all chicken, all turkey, all pork, or mix and match in between. The flavor different will not be too much. Just don't use ground beef or ground lamb.

Roasted pork belly

1 lb pork belly
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tbs honey

1. Mix hoisin sauce and honey, adjust the flavor.
2. Marinate pork belly in the mixture overnight (longer is better).
3. On the next day, roast pork belly covered at 300 F for 1.5 hour. 
4. Uncover, increase heat to 400 F, and continue roasting for another 10-15 minutes until hoisin sauce caramelized.
5. Slice to serve.

1. This is probably the simplest one of all.
2. This roasted pork is a nice addition for noodles. 
3. This isn't a "regular" for the dimsum table, but I usually make this when I make dimsum.
4. You can use leaner cuts of meat, but don't trim off the fat. It's there to keep the meat moist. If you really want it to be fat free, after marinating, wrap in aluminum foil several times, then cook as directed above. This is especially critical for the first round of cooking, they may lose  moisture. The second round of cooking was just to caramelize the hoisin (not so critical, and can be skipped).

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