A casual or serious occasion, tea drinking in China always has a definite snack accompaniment in the form of Dim Sum. A Chinese delicacy, dimsum may also be a light meal or a brunch. Dim sum literally means 'to touch your heart' - bite-size morsels that will bring delight to the heart. The incredible varieties of dim sum have helped it secure a popular place amongst Chinese or Oriental food popular around the world.
Special dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong where the best Cantonese dim sum chefs are found, boast of a repertoire of 2000 varieties. On a single day, around 100 Dim sum recipes may be served in a typical Dim sum restaurant making it interesting for a dim sum lover to experiment and relish mind boggling varieties of tastes. Stuffed dim sum is similar to a dumpling. Certain varieties of dim sum may be served by themselves, in sauces or in soup.
The American equivalent of dim sum is an appetizer, the French hors d'oeuvres. Here is an easy step-by-step instruction for dim sum that is simple to prepare. Once you learn how to make easy preparations, you can broaden your knowledge and try sweet or salty, chilled or frozen, steamed or fried dim sum using various ingredients. The delicacies listed represent a comprehensive range of dim sum recipes from different regions of China. Get ready to host an authentic dim sum party.
Dim sum recipes
Char Siu Bau
1 tsp oil
250g diced barbecue pork
3 tsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry.
1 tsp roasted sesame oil
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp soy sauce (light)
3 tsp sugar
Basic yeast dough
Pour oil in a wok and heat. Transfer all other ingredients except yeast dough chili sauce. Cook for a minute. Let it cool. Now, take the yeast dough and divide into 12 or 24 portions. Take a neat damp cloth towel and cover the half portion of the dough. Knead the half you have for a few minutes.
Make a circle out of the dough in such a manner that the edges are thinner than the center or the center of the circle is thicker than the edge. Take a teaspoon of the filling and place on all the dough circles. Draw the sides and wrap the dough to enclose the filling. Ensure the filling doesn't spill out.
Bring together the top edges. The bun is now ready. Cut the greaseproof paper and make squares of same size, 4"x4. Place the buns, sealed-side down on the greaseproof paper and seal neatly. Let it stand for 10 minutes. You can bake or steam buns for 12-15 minutes. Remember to immediately remove buns from the paper while hot. Your soft, fluffy and almost cake-like texture char siu bau dim sum recipe is ready. Serve hot with chili sauce. Char Siu Bau can be refrigerated for a few days. This dimsum recipe makes 12 large or 25 small dimsums.
Shrimp cutlets Dim sum recipe
8 jumbo raw shrimps
1 tbsp (dry) sherry
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsps cornstarch (or 1 cup breadcrumbs)
Oil for deep-frying
Peel the rings of shell by holding the shrimp firmly by the tail. Remove the veins of the shrimps and leave the tails intact. Make a deep cut lengthwise along the back, little further down into the flesh of the shrimp. Use your palms to flatten the shrimps to look like cutlets. Sprinkle few drops of sherry. The same piece should be dipped in beaten egg, then in cornstarch. Repeat the process once again. Heat oil in a wok. Deep-fry the shrimps for at least 2-3 minutes or until crisp. Place the fried shrimps on absorbent kitchen paper. Just before serving garnish with Chinese parsley. Sweet soybean sauce is a perfect side accompaniment.
Variation: Try a variation using 1/3-cup plain flour, ¼ tsp five-spice powder, 1 egg, lightly beaten, 2 tbsp milk, and 1-cup breadcrumbs. Mix the powders. Mix egg and milk. Dip the shrimps in powder first and then egg and milk. Coat with breadcrumbs. Keep aside for 30 minutes. The other steps involving frying are the same as above.
Dumplings with Crab Meat - Dim sum recipe
4-6 dried mushrooms.
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp fresh spring onion
2 tsp fresh green ginger
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ tsp sugar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sweet sherry
For the dumplings: 2 cups plain flour and ½ cup boiling water.
- Soak the dried mushrooms in cold water for 30 minutes and drain well. Immediately, cut of the stalks. Chop the mushroom caps finely. Chop the spring onions, grate fresh green ginger and keep aside. Clean the crab meat. Remove crab shell and cartilage. Sift the flour and keep aside.
- Heat oil in a wide-bottomed frying pan. Transfer spring onion, ginger, mushrooms and finely the crab meat. Keep stove at moderate high heat and fry for 3 minutes.
- Add the salt, pepper, sugar, soy sauce and finely sherry. Stir for another 1 minute.
- Remove vessel from heat and keep it aside.
- Transfer flour into a bowl. Sprinkle water and mix the flour. The consistency of the flour should be spongy. Take a neat cloth and cover the flour. Let it be for 30 minutes.
- Take a flat roller and roll out the dough. Make nearly round shapes. Cut the dough into fairly medium slices enough to hold the filling.
- Place approximately 1 tsp of crabmeat mixture. Seal edges firmly. Make the dough to represent a semi-circle.
- Take a large saucepan and fill with water, half its quantity. Bring water to boiling temperature. Use a heatproof bowl and place the dumplings on it. Steam for 10 minutes. Serve hot.
Dim sum calories
Dim sum is a light Chinese dish that stands for 'eating to heart's content' in Cantonese. This snack is linked to the traditional Chinese tea drinking. You can choose to make dim sums at home from scratch or pick up 'ready-to-bake' varieties of dimsums. When you make dimsums at home, ensure that you don't put in too much water such that it touches the bottom of the bamboo steamer.
Traditionally made in a bamboo steamer, steamed dimsums are nutritious and not loaded with calories. The bamboo steamer helps retain the color, flavor and texture of the dim sum. You can use a range of vegetables, meat or seafood. With the steaming process, the dimsums retain the nutritive value. You can choose a combination of steamed and fried dimsums; stick to the steamed ones if you are counting your calories!
Har gau or prawn dimsums are an all-time favorite. Fresh crunchy prawn mince in thin translucent skin is sure to tickle your taste buds - and its healthy too! Meat lovers can go in for steamed spare ribs in chilli and black bean sauce. Be sure to pop these dimsums whole into your mouth. You will soon be left with just a clean bone in your mouth, while the rest of the dimsum has melted away. You can pick up dessert dim sums like steamed sweet rice cakes, coconut jelly, custard tarts and sesame balls.