When I first met my fiancé’s family, I was relieved to discover they were incredibly kind and incredibly nice. In fact, some of the kindest, nicest people I’d had the pleasure to meet in my life so far. This was the first thing I noticed. The second thing was that they loved good food, and anyone who knows me, knows this fact will make you pretty amazing in my book!
My first dim sum experience was with my fiancé and his family at a large, bustling restaurant called East Lake Chinese Restaurant. As soon as the first cart rolled up to our table and we began choosing dishes from the plethora of options available, I knew I was going to be hooked on dim sum.
Crunchy fried wontons, dumplings filled with shrimp and pork, and a multitude of different flavored sticky buns. Heaven!
There are really two aspects that makes dim sum so appealing, in my opinion:
- I get to see my food and pick it out right now.
- I get to try a bunch of different things at a low cost (à la tapas style).
And if I’m being completely honest, I think there are many other cuisines out there that could be adapted to fit the dim sum concept. Just imagine your local Mexican joint with carts being pushed around, filled with trays of all sorts of different tacos with different ingredient combinations. And you just get to pick out whatever looks amazing. I really think I’m onto something with this idea!
And I love making homemade dumplings almost as much as I love to devour them. They are such deliciously plump packets of goodness! And they are so easy to make and easy to freeze, which makes for a super simple, yet delightfully complex meal on a weeknight when I might not feel like cooking.
So without further ado, here is one of my favorite go-to recipes for shrimp dumplings (har gow). I like to change up the ingredients sometimes depending on what I’m in the mood for, but this is a fairly classic Chinese dumpling recipe. Enjoy!
- 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 tbsp. of minced bamboo shoots
- 3 tbsp. green onions (both green and white parts), minced
- 1 tsp. of ginger, finely grated
- 2 tbsp. bacon fat, minced*
- 3 tsp. soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. of rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
- 4 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 package dumpling wrappers
- A bamboo steamer (which I use with this steaming ring)
Finely mince the shrimp. Add to a bowl with the rest of the filling ingredients. Mix until everything is incorporated and the mixture almost has an elastic feel to it. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
Fill a small dish with room temperature water. Set out a baking sheet and dust with flour. To fill dumplings, hold one dumpling wrapper in your hand. With the other hand, add a spoonful (about one and a half to two teaspoons) of filling to the dumpling wrapper. Use your finger to wipe water around the edge of the dumpling wrapper to help with sealing. Then seal the dumpling using a pleating method. I find the easiest way is to watch someone else do it. Here is a video I recommend.
Place dumplings on the floured baking sheet as finished. Repeat this method for the remainder of the filling.
To cook the dumplings, line the bamboo steamer with parchment paper or cabbage. Place the steamer on the steaming ring over a pot with about one inch of water in it and bring the water to a rolling boil. When water is boiling, place the dumplings on the parchment paper and cover with lid. Cook for about ten minutes. Serve with soy sauce.
These dumplings can be easily frozen. Place on a baking sheet (that will fit inside your freezer) so that the dumplings are not touching each other. Once they are completely frozen, transfer them to a large freezer bag. The dumplings can be cooked directly from the freezer using the same method as above, just increase the cooking time to 13 minutes.
*The original recipe calls for pork fat, so use whichever is more convenient for you. If neither is possible, this can be omitted, or you can use a small pat of butter or some vegetable shortening to add fat to the filling.
Source: Adapted from Rasa Malaysia.