Dim Sum at Home

I am nostalgic for dim sum.  It reminds me of being young and taking the train into San Francisco’s China Town for sticky rice and dozens of strange looking dumplings filled with delectable treasure. The smell brings back memories of large lazy susan’s, matriarchs flagging down carts filled with pretty little stacked bamboo steam boxes and rolling myself out of the restaurant at the end, stuffed so full and wishing I could have stayed longer.

Unfortunately, where I live now, I have to drive at least a half an hour for good dim sum and finding a good dim sum brunch partner has been near impossible. While I found some great recipes online, not many had good photos, advice for freezing, folding or wraper use. So here, in one place, are a bunch of pictures with two intro recipes for Siu Mai and Pork Wontons as well as the perfect dipping sauce, folding options and freezing instructions.

ready to eat

Siu Mai

Ingredients:

  • 3 dried Chinese black or Shiitake mushrooms
  • 6 oz peeled deveined shrimp (I used medium, feel free to use large)
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • ¾ cup ground pork
  • 1 TB oyster or fish sauce
  • 1 tsp Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry if you must)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp granulated sugar
  • about 20 wonton wrappers (you are supposed to use round gyoza wrappers, but I liked the flared look of the squares) You can find these in the frozen section of most grocery stores or your local Asian market.

peeling wrappers

Directions:

  1. If you are using frozen wrappers, move them from the freezer to the refrigerator. If you forget this step and need them to thaw more quickly, go ahead and thaw on the counter, just make sure to leave them sealed so they don’t dry out.
  2. Soften the mushrooms by soaking in hot water for approximately 15 minutes. Squeeze out excess water.
  3. Soak the shrimp in lightly salted, warm water for 5 minutes and pat dry.
  4. Mince mushrooms, shrimp and green onions.
  5. Add minced ingredients to the ginger and pork and mix thoroughly.
  6. Shu mai fillingRefrigerate for at least an hour to let flavors blend. I like to even leave over night.
  7. Place unused wonton wrappers under a damp cloth to keep them moist. (I don’t have a photo of this, but I just wet a paper towel and drape over the top, just make sure you squeeze out any excess water so it doesn’t make them soggy).
  8. Wet edges of wrapper and place 3 tsp of filling in the center.
  9. moisten wrappersfilling amount 2Gather up the edges and gently fold so that the wrapper forms a basket around the filling with the top part of the filling exposed.
  10. I start by folding in the sides and the pleating the corners aroundstep one shu mai foldshu mai folded
  11. Steam for 5-10 minutes until filling is cooked, or place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to freeze (more on freezing below).
  12. finished shu maiMakes about 20-25 dumplings.

Wontons with Pork and Shrimp

Ingredients:

  • ½ lb ground or chopped pork (the big difference is texture)
  • ½ lb shelled and deveined medium shrimp
  • 3-5 water chestnuts (I used the canned variety from the regular grocery store and they are small so I use more)
  • 1tsp grated ginger, I use a micro plane (if you like ginger you should consider adding a bit more)
  • 1 TB oyster or fish sauce
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 TB Chinese rice wine or rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • a few drops sesame oil
  • Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • Wonton wrappers (30-40 ish)

Directions:

  1. Like I said in the Siu Mai recipe, If you are using frozen wrappers, move them from the freezer to the refrigerator. If you forget this step and need them to thaw more quickly, go ahead and thaw on the counter, just make sure to leave them sealed so they don’t dry out.
  2. Finely chop shrimp, pork, water chestnut and ginger.
  3. Combine all filling ingredients (ie everything except the wonton wrappers)
  4. wonton fillingAs with the Siu Mai recipe, refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
  5. Place unused wonton wrappers under a damp cloth to keep them moist. (I don’t have a photo of this, but I just wet a paper towel and drape over the top, just make sure you squeeze out any excess water so it doesn’t make them soggy).
  6. filling amountWet the edges of the wrapper in use and then place a heaping tsp of filling in the center of the wrapper. (this one was a bit exaggerated so you could see how I wet them).
  7. There are several folding options I tried (and plenty more if you feel like spending some time on the web):

Bring edges together and twist to seal.
pleat one side 3 times from the left and three from the right and press into flat side to create a curved look (pictured ish, it takes practice, I’m not perfect!)

folded wontons8. Cook right away or freeze (directions below).

  • You can boil wontons (5 – 8 minutes) or fry them in a pan with a little oil (about 2 minutes) or steam them (5-8 minutes).
  • I suggest frying and then adding a little steam at the end for a mix. I am not the best at wrapping them and sometimes they tear which makes boiling my least favorite option, however they do taste wonderful boiled.

Freezing for Later

ready for freezing

This step is important to me because I like to make a ton and eat them for breakfast, snack, lunch, whatever for days and days after and if you do it right they can hang out in the freezer for a month or so. This also makes all the work of folding those little buggers worth it.

The most important thing to remember is DO NOT COOK BEFORE FREEZING.
Did you read that? FREEZE RAW.
It is best to lay them all out on a lined cooking sheet uncovered first and place in the freezer for 30min to an hour.  This gets them set enough for a zip lock bag.
Then, place as many as you like into FREEZER Zip Lock bags (the non-freezer kind don’t protect them from burn very well so if you use those they will not last nearly as long in the freezer).
When you take them out, don’t thaw, just put right in the steamer or boiling water. YUM!

Dipping Sauce

dipping sauce

We can’t get this far without something to dip our dim sum in!

You could go with just soy, or something simple, but this little recipe is real perfection.

Ingredients:

  • 2tbs Soy Sauce
  • 2tbs Chinese Rice Wine or Rice Vinegar
  • 1tbs Red Chilly Oil (from the Asian section at the regular super market)
  • Juice of 1/4 to 1/2 of a lemon (this is really to taste, I like to use less but my husband loves more so what can I say?)
  • ground white or black pepper to taste

Directions:

Whisk together and serve!

The big deal about this recipe is to play with the amounts. I rarely measure but rather start small and taste with my fingers until it gets to my liking. You may like it heavier on the vinegar like I do, heavier on the citrus like my husband or light on the heat (more group friendly for parties) it is totally up to you!

I hope that these beginner recipes have give you the confidence to enjoy dim sum at home. I welcome any additional questions and hope to bring you some more advanced recipes in the near future!

Happy eating.

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S’moregasm brownies

This was not actually my idea, but rather a glamping (glamorous camping) kitchen mash-up miracle created by the one and only Caitlin McKenna!

All you need is butter, brownie mix, vanilla, graham crackers and marshmallows. 

brownie prep

You could get a pre-made graham cracker crust but who wants to pass up the opportunity to break out the culinary hammer and a ziplock.  Drizzle melted butter over the crumbs while mixing (4-8tbs) and then press into the bottom of a greased 9×9″ brownie pan.

In the meantime, make your box brownies as instructed (Caitlin adds some extra magic in the form of a dash of vanilla) and pour the brownies into the crust.

smore pie

Then, grab your mallows and push into the brownie mix leaving the top quarter or so exposed.  We used the really big mallows and it worked really well but I imagine minis would be delicious as well.
cooked smoresWe baked at 8000ft of elevation so you may have to experiment, but we baked according to box brownie instructions and removed them a little early using the darkness of the mallows as a guide.  

They came out gooey and the mallows had melted into the brownie batter – sinfully delicious s’more variation. Enjoy!

And thank you to Caitlin again for the post!

Radish Refrigerator Pickles

Radishes are so delicious especially in the summer and they flood the farmers market just begging to be saved for the winter.  The more pickles I make the more I value vegetables that don’t require too much pre-prep and have a brine that doubles as a salad dressing – these definitely fit the mold.

radish boiling

This is based off a Pinterest find that I tweaked after finding there was not quite enough liquid and to add a bit more spice to make the brine more flavorful as a salad dressing.

I grabbed 3 large bunches of radishes from the farmers market – cut the greens off and save for radish green pesto 

Cut radishes in quarters (halves if they are small) and mix with the salt in a large bowl and cover with ice. Set aside.

In a medium size pot bring the rest of the ingredients to a boil.

Rinse off radishes and add to liquid. Bring back to a boil and then remove from heat and add to jars.

You can sterilize and process the cans or throw them into the fridge – your choice.

So beautiful, so delicious!

radishes done

Ingredients:

3 radish bunches

1/4 c salt

2 c  Apple Cider Vinegar

3/4 c sugar

1.5 tsp Coriander Seeds Whole

1tsp Peppercorns