I never heard of dim sum growing up in Ireland. My knowledge of Chinese food extended little beyond sweet and sour until I left Ireland (despite Dublin now having quite a few fantastic Chinese restaurants). It wasn’t something I really became aware of until I moved to Melbourne, with its wonderful Chinatown area. My Australian friends immediately introduced me to the (in)famous Camy Shanghai Dumpling, which provides probably the cheapest and almost certainly rudest meals you could have in Melbourne. It served dim sum all day and night. Their approach to taking orders was to view them as suggestions, and then generally to ignore them and bring something else, so you got to try quite a lot. I was hooked.
For some reason, it never occurred to me until recently to try making them myself. In London, dim sum was never far away given the reasonably good Ping Pong restaurants, and my proximity to Chinatown. I have yet to find a good Chinese restaurant in Aarhus, but I have two confusing Asian supermarkets within walking distance. I decided it was time to try something new, conveniently just in time for Chinese New Year. This recipe is adapted from Julie O’Neill’s recipe on the wonderful Shananigans Blog. I changed some ingredients due to availability, and gave a nod to their Japanese cousins, the Gyoza, by adding garlic. The dipping sauce is translated from Almanak by Claus Meyer, and pairs nicely with it. It is a little bit time consuming to make, but a simple soy sauce and honey mix would probably do the job if time is an issue.
Ingredients – jiaozi
- 30 round dumpling wrappers
- 250g minced beef
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped coriander
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice wine
Ingredients – dipping sauce
- 25g sugar
- 1oo ml vinegar
- 25ml soy sauce
- 2 peeled slices of ginger
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- 2 slices of fresh red chilli
Method – Jiaozi
- Mix all the ingredients (except the wrappers obviously) in a large bowl together and season well.
- Leave to sit for a few minutes to allow the flavours to mingle, or refrigerate if not using soon.
- To assemble spoon a small amount of mixture onto one side of the dumpling wrapping circle.
- Dip your finger in water and run it around the edge of the wrapper.
- Fold the other side of the wrapper that does not have filling over the side that does, to create a semi-circular package.
- To cook, heat oil in a large skillet or frying pan with a lid over a medium-high heat.
- Add as many dumplings as you can without it becoming too crowded.
- After 1-2 minutes when the side facing down is golden brown, add about 50-100 ml of water to the pan, keeping the dumplings crispy browned side down.
- BE CAREFUL, the oil will spit at you like an angry cat.
- Put the lid on quickly, and leave the dumplings to steam for about 7-8 minutes.
- Remove from the pan and keep warm while you start on the next batch.
Method- dipping sauce
- Melt the sugar until liquid in a saucepan over a medium heat until it is lightly golden and caramelised.
- Add the ginger, garlic, soy and chili and stir.
- Add the vinegar and bring to the boil.
- Reduce by half.
- Strain out the ginger, chilli and garlic and leave to cool completely before serving.
- This sauce keeps pretty well in the fridge, and the dumplings freeze well before they are cooked, so we had this meal twice in one week.