A couple of Sundays ago, I had a couple of girls over for an old fashioned dim sum making party. Okay. Perhaps dim sum making parties were never really 'the' thing to do on a Saturday night, but I have a very Joy Luck Club image in my head of my grandmother having a couple of gal pals over one night to fold dumplings. Maybe in preparation of a big event? And they would giggle and talk about the latest gossip in the neighborhood and what boys they had their eye on.
So I guess some things haven't changed too much. Ha ha! I took a dim sum making course (a one-day all-day event) with Maple Pecan a couple of years ago, and since then, I have been enthralled with the the idea of making my own dim sum.
"You mean you make your own dim sum????" This is the question or reaction I get when I tell people I like to make dim sum. Or, "you can make dim sum???" Of course! It had to start somewhere, right?
I think my fascination with dim sum really started a couple of years ago when I went back to the motherland and asked the Ol' Father Spoon, "where do restaurants get their dim sum? Do they make it on premise?" (I should note that Ol' Father Spoon came from 'a restaurant family') He informed me that it's usually a mixture of making in-house and ordering. The idea of a restaurant ordering in their dim sum shocked me, yet at the same time the idea of making my own dim sum was groundbreaking.
Making. My. Own. Dim. Sum.
I had always taken the delicious steamed goodies for granted, I figure you could pick up a bag of frozen har gow (shrimp dumplings) at your local T&T, steam 'em up and be good to go. But to make your own? Wow. In the course I took, I was properly schooled. And since then, I never looked back. (Maple Pecan, on the other hand, was a trooper - enjoyed the course but prefers her dim sum already made and cooked in a steamer basket.)
One of the 'classics' - glutinous rice in lotus leaves (Sticky Rice).
6 lotus leaves, soaked in hot water until soft (use half a lotus leaf if they are very large)
2 medium black mushrooms, pre-soaked, stems removed and diced
½ lb chicken breast meat, diced
1 cup BBQ pork, diced
2 Chinese sausages, diced
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon oil for frying
2 cups glutinous rice
2 teaspoons sesame oil, ½ teaspoon minced ginger, ½ teaspoon sugar
Measure 2 cups of rice in a saucepan. Pour cold water over rice and wash by rubbing rice between fingers. Drain off water, pour more water on rice and rinse. Repeat until water is clear.
Add water to cover rice about ¼ to ½ inch above rice level. Cover and cook on medium heat. Bring to a boil, turn heat down when water has completely evaporated and craters can be seen. Turn heat off completely and allow rice to steam, 10-15 minutes. Fluff rice before using.
Marinate diced chicken breast with ½ teaspoon minced ginger, 2 teaspoons light soy sauce, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, ½ teaspoon sugar
Assembling of Filling:
Have glutinous rice hot and other filling ingredients ready.
On medium heat, add 1 tablespoon oil and stir fry chicken until cooked. Add BBQ pork, Chinese sausage and add 2 tablespoons light soy sauce and 2 tablespoons oyster sauce. Add to glutinous rice and mix well.
Shake off excess water from lotus leaves, put a portion of rice filling in the centre (on veined side). Fold bottom of leaf up to cover rice filling. Gently but firmly, bring the two side of the leaf towards the middle and compact filling together. Roll up to enclose the contents.
Place the wrapped rice in a bamboo steamer. Wrap the remaining packets and steam for 20 minutes and serve hot.