Dumplings / Dim Sims

Wonton ‘salad’ with XO Sauce

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Some beautiful people at my husband’s work organised a picnic lunch last weekend.  It was a diverse mix of people – Australians, Germans, Chinese and a few Indian families. A father brought his son and some yummy curry cooked by his wife’s friend.

“Why your wife’s friend cooked for us, a bunch of strangers?” we asked.

“Our Indians always help each other out in the community”, he smiled, ‘my son, for example, lived with his aunt for a few years; and our neighbor had picked him up from school for many years, unpaid of course”.

That sounds lovely, and a dream for many of us.

I live in a suburb in Sydney.  I like the area because it has lots of big trees and the community was warm and welcoming.  Things changed over the past few years with skyrocket housing prices. Moms are now working more hours and the stress spreading in the air.

How I wish we could have a closely knit community who can help each other, or simply having the time to ask each other, “are you ok?”

Wonton salad with XO Sauce

Here is a large wonton ‘salad’ I prepared for the picnic, a dish perfect for sharing.

The dish is somehow Cantonese, spiced with a Hong Kong style XO sauce made with scallop, fish, garlic and chili; yet it is not quite Cantonese as it was served lightly chilled, a cooking style used frequently by Northern China called the ‘liang ban’ (cool-mix).

A video on how to wrap wontons is also attached below.

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Meals for the homeless – chicken siumai dumplings

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Winter is finally here, and it rained most days last week. This means it was very uncomfortable for our rough sleepers, with many of them having to seek shelter at temporary accommodation. However, I was assured that they would not miss our homemade hot meals on Saturday night. So I made an extra effort to provide them with some nice food – apricot chicken, prawn and chorizo pilau, and chicken siumai dumplings.

Although time consuming, chicken siumai dumplings are very easy to make. My simplest version has only a few key ingredients – wonton wrappers, chicken mince, chicken bouillon powder, salt and white pepper, and cooking oil for pan frying.

Meals for the homeless - chicken siumai dumplings
I first made the meat filling, then the dumplings. I steamed the dumplings, following by pan-frying the dumplings slightly, so they won’t stick during transit to the homeless feed.

The easy method is illustrated as follows:

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Dumpling party for the school fete – what’s your favorite dumpling folding style?

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I run an Asian food stall at the school fete each year to raise money for the school.  It was load of work  – a whole month of preparation rolling thousands of dumplings; the 2-hour sleep the night before the fete; and the stress about food quality and logistics.

But I loved it. I loved the families who helped to cook and served. I loved the families who enjoyed our food and left great comments on the social media.  It is somehow all worthwhile.

Here is a quick video clip to share – families gathered at our house to wrap 1,000 dumplings a week before the fete.  We then freeze the dumplings, boiled and then pan fried them on site at the school fete.

 

Steamed pork and fennel dumplings 豬肉韭菜餃子

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For the past few years I coordinated the Asian food stall for our school fetes. Last year we sold over 1,000 pan fried dumplings which  was one of the most popular food on the day.  To make these dumplings, I held a dumpling party at our house.  Many Chinese families from the school came to help out. I was rewarded handsomely – I learnt many family dumpling tricks from all over China.

Now I am preparing for this year’s fete again. I am keen to experiment a few more varieties of dumplings.

One of the mums from school told me about a thick bush of fennel by the railway. She gathered some of the herbs and made pork and fennel dumplings,  a popular dish from Northern China.

I didn’t gather the herbs from the side of the railway,  but I did make the pork and fennel dumplings. I used a thicker shop bought wrappers and steamed the dumplings. I am a Cantonese after all and I love my steamed dumplings. They were really yummy.

Steamed pork and fennel dumplings 豬肉韭菜餃子
Steamed pork and fennel dumplings 豬肉韭菜餃子

Steamed pork and fennel dumplings 豬肉韭菜餃子

Recipe is as follows:

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Golden pork dumplings 豬肉餃子

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My little boy’s school has a school fete shortly and I am running an Asian food stall for the school.

Last Sunday we had a few school families and friends over to wrap dumplings for the Asian food stall. We used up 16kg of pork mince, 6 large bunch of garlic chive, 3 large wom bok cabbages. At the end of the day we made 1,100 ‘jiaozi’ dumplings and 120 ‘siu mai’ dim sims.

In between wrapping the dumplings, we enjoyed a few bottles of sparkling wines, smoked spicy beef ribs, Vietnamese pork kebabs, some giggles and chats. We also tested our fruit of labor – pan fried dumplings (picture below).

Golden pork dumplings 豬肉餃子

I have learned a few new tricks for making dumplings. Our friend Michelle had kindly came over to help out and she was an expert in preparing the dumping filling.  She soaked some Sichuan red pepper corns with hot water and added the water to the filling, this will give the meat extra favors. She also stirred the mince with chopsticks one circular direction which will smooth the meat.  When she pan fried the dumplings, she added some plain flour mixed with a little water, which formed a lovely web-like base that tasted absolutely delicious.

We also added sesame oil, mirin, soys sauce to the dumpling filling. We used shop bought dumpling wrappers as 1,100 wrappers were too many to be hand made.

Making dumplings for the school fete
Making dumplings for the school fete

Looking forward to sell these lovely dumplings at the fete and raise some money for our school.

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Homemade ‘fun guo’ 粉果 – steamed dumplings with Chinese vegetables and peanuts

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My sister was over this afternoon with my niece who is the same age as my little boy. While the kids were playing, my sister helped me to make some ‘fun guo’, one of my favorite yum cha dish.

It is really simple to make.  I first stir fried the filling with diced chicken, leek, five spice tofu, Chinese mushroom, salted radish, wood ear fungus and bamboo shoot; then I made the wrappers with wheat starch and tapioca.  I have no talent using rolling pins, so I used  my pasta machine to roll out the dough. While I was rolling out the dough and cutting out the wrappers, my sister worked on wrapping the dumplings.

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Homemade ‘fun guo’ 粉果 – steamed dumplings with Chinese vegetables and peanuts
Fun guo dumpling filling
Fun guo dumpling filling

Recipe is as follow:

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Pan fried spring rolls with vegetables and shrimp shells

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As school fete fast approaching, I am trying out different ways to cook a large amount of finger food within a small amount of time. I am running an Asian Food stall for the school fete.

Spring rolls had always been a favorite at the previous fetes. Deep frying food at the fete makes me nevous, especially there are so many little kids around with their balls. So I am trying out pan frying the spring rolls.

The result was brilliant – they were better than the deep fried ones as I don’t have to roll them too tightly, so they are beautifully crispy.

The filling for my spring rolls today were mung bean vermicelli, wood ear fungus, cabbage, carrot, leek, shrimp shell, bamboo shoot and fried shallot. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it.

Pan fried spring rolls with vegetables and shrimp shells

Spring roll filling
Spring roll filling

Recipe is as follow:

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