If you’ve never seen nor heard of pearl balls, they are meat balls rolled in soaked glutinous rice and steamed until the rice grains puff and create a sticky crust. Pearl balls, like most dim sum food, are sized to be eaten in one go. Lift one up with chopsticks, dip lightly in the spicy, sweet, salty sauce, pop into your mouth and chew slowly to enjoy the burst of textures and flavors. … Continue reading »
For as long as I can remember, because of an allergy to crustaceans that began when I was still in grade school, when making dumplings, I’ve never added chopped shrimps to my pork and vegetable filling. Never mind that every decent cook I knew told me that dumplings just aren’t the same without shrimps.
Well. Now that I am slowly overcoming my allergy and I can eat shrimps and all it relatives in small amounts, I added chopped shrimps to the steamed pork dumplings that I made a couple of days ago. And guess what? Everything that I’ve been told about shrimps making a world of difference? It’s all true. Shrimps give the filling a softer texture. And the added flavor… ah, priceless.
And there’s one other ingredient that can turn a good dumpling into an unforgettable one. Sesame seed oil. Serious stuff. A drizzle goes a long, long way.
So, are you making dumplings for the Chinese luna new year festivities? Don’t forget to add chopped shrimps and sesame seed oil to your meat and vegetable filling. They do wonders.
If you’re as much of a dim sum lover as I am, you must have tried just about every item on the dim sum cart. And you must have tried taro puffs at least once. Me? I rarely have dim sum without taro puffs. If it’s not on the cart and has to be ordered a la carte, I order them a la carte. That’s how crazy I am am about taro puffs. It’s been a long time ambition to make them at home but I was unable to muster enough courage until today.
There. The proof of my first attempt at cooking taro puffs. Granted they’re not perfect — I should have boiled the taro for another 10 minutes before draining and mashing them — but the first hurdle has been overcome. Fear. The fear that it’s too complicated for my cooking skills. I’ve thrown that fear our of the kitchen window. Or, perhaps, flushed it down the prep sink. Next time, it’ll be even better — bolder and better. Still, the first attempt is not bad at all. In fact, the taro puffs were pretty good — so good, I wondered what the fear was all about. Want to see how I cooked the taro puffs? … Continue reading »
Wonton goes into the broth. Other times, it is deep fried. It should not be confused with shaomai (siu mai, siomai), the pork dumpling with open tops one finds in dim sum carts and usually served for yum cha. We had wonton soup for lunch today but before I post the wonton recipe, let me provide this simple tutorial on how to wrap and fold wontons.
One website says there are several ways of wrapping and folding wonton. I did it the way Kylie Kwong did in one of the episodes of her My China series on her TV show.
First, you need wrappers. You can make your own or you can buy them in packs of 100 in supermarkets or Oriental stores. Wonton skins come in different sizes. I prefer the medium ones. Choose the size that you think you can work with best. … Continue reading »
You might think it’s just wrapping and folding but there are a few tricks you might want to learn to make fantastic fried lumpia (spring rolls).
First, you need to seal in the filling so that the juices and flavors don’t drip into the cooking oil. Second, if the filling consists of raw ingredients (especially raw meat), you can’t put in too much filling because the cooking time is short — just long enough to brown the wrapper — and a thick filling will not get cooked through.
Third, the temperature of the cooking oil has to be just right so that the spring rolls don’t brown too fast, which might leave the filling raw, nor too slowly which will make the wrapper absorb too much oil. Fourth, never crowd the frying pan. The spring rolls must be able to move around a bit and the cook must have room to roll them over for even cooking. But no matter how perfect the temperature of the oil is, and even if the pan isn’t crowded at all, you can’t have perfectly fried spring rolls unless you prepared them well.
Place a teaspoonful of filling across the center of the wrapper. Leave enough space on the sides for folding. You can have more than a teaspoonful depending on the size of the wrapper. Just remember that if you’re using uncooked filling, there shouldn’t be too much — cooking time is short and the filling has to be thoroughly cooked. If you’re using an already cooked filling like sauteed bean sprouts, you can add as much filling as the wrappers can contain so long as you can fold and seal them well. … Continue reading »
Reheated fried spring rolls? Isn’t that awful? Not if you know how to reheat them properly.
The most common mistake when reheating fried spring rolls is to use oil. I tell you, there is enough oil in the spring roll wrappers and you don’t need more.
The second most common mistake is to reheat the spring rolls using high heat. High heat is essential when cooking the spring rolls because the wrappers are uncooked at that point. But after they have been fried, subjecting them to high heat again is a sure way to burn them.
So, the trick? … Continue reading »