My Dim Sum- Chicken & Cashew Satay Dumplings and Prawn, Ginger and Garlic Dumplings

November 07, 2013

Having been massively inspired by a cracking meal at Ping Pong in London, courtesy of (the soon to be) Mr and Mrs Barnes and Katie Wheeler, I wanted to try my hand at Dim Sum. I have also had massive cravings for it and quaint though my parent's Sussex cottage is, it is not local to anything much beyond the local pub and a post box. (The pub doesn't do Dim Sum).

These are my attempt at Dim Sum. They are not an authentic, faithful example of the Chinese delicacy and I apologise to Dim Sum aficionados out there! This is not a master class in, having watch numerous youtube videos on the subject, the art form that is beautifully formed dumplings. With my attempt satisfying my cravings I think it worthy of telling you how I did it.
The Dim Sum Wrappers- this is enough to make loads of dumplings. I didn't use the whole lot, I froze the left over but I would say you can make enough for 4-6 people to have a REALLY good meal.
230g plain flour (all purpose flour)
150-200ml water
1 egg white
The chicken filling- (any unused filling can be frozen)
1 chicken breast fillet
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce/soy sauce
1 tsp peanut butter
1/4 red chilli
20g cashew nuts
1 tablespoon hot water
1 large clove garlic
25g fresh ginger
The prawn filling- (any unused filling can be frozen)
135g prawns (I used cooks for lack of availability but raw would be preferable)
1 large clove garlic
25g fresh ginger
1 tsp finely chopped chives
splash lemon juice
To make the dumpling dough, mix the egg white and half the water together then pour in to a well made form the flour. Combine and add the water to create a kneedable dough. Having done this a few times I found that a slightly stiffer rather than softer, wetter dough is preferable so it can be rolled very, very thinly for the final dumpling.
Kneed the dough for a good five minutes then cover and leave to rest in the fridge for at least half an hour.
You will be best served to use a food processor to prepare the filling as it will ensure a good texture that will cook evenly when steamed.
There is a very simple 'chuck it all in together' method for the fillings- just add the ingredients for your desired filling and blitz until finely chopped (but not a paste) and combined.
If you have a pasta rolling machine then you will be streets ahead when it comes to rolling as the key to good dim sum steamed dumpling is a very, very thin skin.
Squash a chunk of dough through the machine on decreasing thicknesses until you have the dough at its thinnest.
Lay the dough flat and cut out a circle about 10cm in diameter- now decide what shape you wish to make.
The three I have made above are the simpler shapes I liked, but that look like 'real' dim sum!

Find a step by step diagram of how to fold these shapes here.

The simplest shape is the frilly edge half moon. Blob a small teaspoon of the mixture in the centre of the circle of pastry then fold in half so the edges meet. Use a tiny dab of water to seal the edges, use something like the handle of a table knife or a drinks stirrer and crimp the edges of the half moon to create the frill pattern.

To make the star, drop a small teaspoon of filling into the centre of the dough circle. At '10' and '2' (if the pastry circle was a clock face) tuck your forefinger and thumb under the pastry then pinch them together. It's as if you are making a half moon again but only one side, use a little water to seal. Repeat this on the opposite side but be sure to push in towards the sealed pinch as you do so, so that the pastry loops out to create the star points at a right angle to the first pinch.
I have quite long nails which I found pieced the pastry so I found that the best way to really squeeze all the edge together in the centre of the star was to use the knuckled of my fore fingers.

To make the crown shape, start by making the half moon shape but don't frill the edge. Lay the half moon with the flat edge towards you, take one of the corners and fold it into the centre of the flat edge and seal it with a little water just over the centre point. Fold the other corner in to the centre so it wraps over the top of the first sealed corner, seal with water. Sit the crown up so the flat edge (now folded into a circle) of the original half moon rests on the surface.

Find a step by step diagram of how to fold these shapes here.

These Dim Sum dumplings are steamed so you will need a steamer of sorts to cook these. I did not have one so created my own!

Use a large saucepan and a colander that will sit inside the pan but not touch the bottom. Place something round and flat into the bottom of the colander to place your dim sum onto. A 'push pan' base from a cake tin would be perfect but failing that I used a (old- Mick Hucknall :/ ) covered in tin foil.

Make sure that your cooking surface is low enough in the colander that steam can find its way from the saucepan through the colander holes. You will need a lid to trap the steam in the colander, use a large pan lid or plate- what ever fit!

Fill the pan with water up to the point that colander reaches and set to boil, when a good amount of steam is being produced pop your dim sum dumplings on the cooking surface and the lid on your steamer.

My dumplings took about 8 minutes to cook, the surface of the dumpling will still look pale but it will have bubbled an become slightly translucent when they are cooked. If you have used raw filling (either is fine) then just be sure to check one dumpling to ensure the middle is thoroughly cooked.

Serve with dips like soy sauce, sweet chilli or with a pickled ginger salsa and chopsticks!

Find a step by step diagram of how to fold my Dim Sum shapes here.

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