I love good Chinese food. (I know, I’ve said it before!) But in all honesty, what I enjoy the most is Dim Sum (點心). According to Wikipedia, dim sum is described as “a style of Chinese cuisine (particularly Cantonese but also other varieties) prepared as small bite-sized portions of food served in small steamer baskets or on small plates. Dim sum dishes are usually served with tea, and together form a full tea brunch. Dim sum traditionally are served as fully cooked, ready-to-serve dishes. In Cantonese teahouses, carts with dim sum will be served around the restaurant for diners to order from without leaving their seats.”
When we lived in Bellevue, going to a Chinese restaurant that served dim sum was easy. Just a short 20 minute ride from our house to the International District and we were in dim sum heaven. But now that we live (on a good traffic day) 75 minutes away from the district, we are not so prone to jump in the car for a lunch time excursion.
But that doesn’t mean that I don’t still love dim sum. It just means that if I want dim sum, I pretty much have to make it myself. And believe it or not, as frightening as that sounds, it’s doable! All you need is a little time, confidence, and a few readily available ingredients. (Well, at least in the 3 recipes I’m sharing with you today!)
So go ahead. Be brave. Put on your big kid pants and get out to your kitchen and prepare a treat that everyone will love. Just make enough while you’re at it. They freeze beautifully. Just don’t cook them before you freeze them. Simply lay them out on a lightly greased baking sheet. Allow them to freeze solid individually, then bag them up. Then any time you want dim sum for lunch or have a yen for appetizers before dinner, take a few out, steam as directed below, and enjoy. (No need to defrost before placing in the steamer.)
And please know that if you live close by, I am always available as a taste tester. I take great pride in being considered approachable and I’m always more than eager to assist in the quest for fine cuisine.
CHINESE PORK AND SHRIMP SHU MAI (DUMPLINGS) WITH GINGER-SOY DIPPING SAUCE
- ½ lb. ground pork
- ½ lb. chopped fresh shrimp
- 4 diced water chestnuts
- 2 green onions, very finely minced
- 3 fresh shiitaki mushrooms, minced
- 3 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, then drained and minced
- 1 T. rice wine or dry sherry
- 1½ T. cornstarch
- ½ tsp. sugar
- 2 tsp. low sodium tamari or soy sauce
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper (not too much)
- 24-30 round won ton wrappers
Combine pork, shrimp, water chestnuts, green onions, and mushrooms together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the rice wine, cornstarch, sugar, tamari, sesame oil, salt, and pepper. Add to the pork mixture. Place a tablespoon of the mixture in the center of each won ton wrapper. Gather the sides up around the filling so that it looks like a tiny purse. Allow some of the filling to show at the top. If you have trouble, dab a little water on the skin so that it sticks together better.
Place onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Repeat until all the filling and wrappers have been used. Place shu mai in the refrigerator or freezer for 1 hour. Lightly coat your steamer rack(s) with cooking spray. Place the cold shu mai onto the prepared steamer racks, 1-inch apart. Cover steamer, and cook dumplings for 15-20 minutes or until the wrapper is tender and the filling is cooked completely. Serve with Ginger-Soy Dipping Sauce. (See recipe below)
VEGETABLE POTSTICKERS WITH GINGER-SOY DIPPING SAUCE (Vegetarian)
- 3 T. vegetable oil
- 2 tsp. minced ginger
- ½ lg. onion, finely chopped
- 1 lg. garlic clove, finely minced
- 1 c. shiitake mushrooms, chopped (you can use part re-hydrated dried mushrooms)
- ¾ c. finely shredded green cabbage
- ¼ c. finely shredded carrot
- 2 green onions, finely minced
- ¼ tsp. white pepper
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 5 tsp. Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
- 1 T. GF tamari or soy sauce
- ½ tsp. sugar
- 1 pkg. round won ton wrappers
In a wok or large skillet over medium heat, add the oil and ginger. Cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the onions and stir-fry until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the chopped mushrooms and stir-fry for another 3-5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender and any liquid released by the mushrooms has cooked off.
Add the cabbage and carrot and stir-fry for another 2 minutes, or until the veggies are tender and all the liquid released has been cooked off. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
When cool add the minced green onion, white pepper, sesame oil, Shaoxing wine, tamari, and sugar. Taste and adjust seasoning.
To assemble, scoop 1 scant tablespoon of filling onto the center of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half to form a half circle. Using a fork, crimp the edges together. (Make sure to seal as tightly as possible.)
Place onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Repeat until all the filling and wrappers have been used. Place potstickers in the refrigerator or freezer for 1 hour.
Lightly coat your steamer rack(s) with cooking spray. Place the cold potstickers onto the prepared steamer racks, 1-inch apart. Cover steamer, and cook dumplings for 12-14 minutes. Serve with Ginger-Soy Dipping Sauce. (See recipe below)
Thanks to the Woks of Life website for the main gist of this recipe.
SHRIMP SHU MAI (CHINESE SHRIMP DUMPLINGS) WITH GINGER-SOY DIPPING SAUCE
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- ¼ tsp. lime zest
- ½ lb. lg. uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp. low sodium tamari or soy sauce
- ½ tsp. rice wine vinegar
- ½ tsp. sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/8 tsp. white pepper
- 1 green onion, very finely minced
- 20-24 round wonton wrappers
Place garlic, ginger, and zest in a food processor and pulse 6 to 8 times or until finely ground and well combined. Scrape down sides of bowl.
Add half of the shrimp, Tamari, vinegar, sesame oil, salt, and pepper to the food processor and process until a smooth paste just comes together. Pour mixture into a mixing bowl and fold in the minced green onion and remaining shrimp.
Place scant tablespoon of the mixture into the center of a wonton wrapper. Gather the sides of the wonton skin up around the filling so that it looks like a tiny purse. Allow some of the filling to show at the top. If you have trouble, dab a little water on the skin so that it sticks together better.
Place onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Repeat until all the filling and wrappers have been used. Place shu mai in the refrigerator or freezer for 1 hour. Lightly coat your steamer rack(s) with cooking spray. Place the cold shu mai onto the prepared steamer racks, 1-inch apart. Cover steamer, and cook dumplings for about 20 minutes. Serve with Ginger-Soy Dipping Sauce. (Recipe below.)
GINGER-SOY DIPPING SAUCE
- ½ c. low sodium tamari or soy sauce (use GF tamari or soy sauce for vegetarian)
- 2 T. rice vinegar
- 1 T. sesame oil
- pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 finely minced green onions
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 T. finely minced fresh ginger
Combine all ingredients.