Yum cha (literally means “drinking tea”) is a Cantonese practice – involves drinking Chinese tea at a tea house and eating dim sum. In the good ole days, this happens early in the morning at breakfast time. Nowadays, yum cha usually occurs in a restaurant at midday. Dim sum (literally means “touching heart”) refers to a variety of small dishes of food (steamed or fried, savoury or sweet) usually served in three or four pieces in one dish. The idea is these are delicate parcels of food that will touch one’s heart.
Siu Mai / Pork Dumpling (together with Har Gow / Prawn Dumpling and Char Siew Bao / Barbecue Pork Bun) is a staple at any yum cha (dim sum) restaurant. It’s very easy to make pork dumplings at home. Normally, the filling is a mixture of pork and prawn. In this recipe, I have substituted prawn with scallop. Here’s how.
- 200 gm belly pork (no skin, minced)
- 200 gm fresh scallop (diced) or prawns (minced)
- 1 tablespoon dried mushroom (soaked in hot water and finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon minced carrot or bamboo shoot\
- 2 teaspoons light soya sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Dash white pepper
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- 1/2 egg yolk
- Wonton wrappers
- Topping: Minced carrot or fish roe or fried crab roe
1.To make the filling, put all the ingredients (except wonton wrappers and topping) in a mixing bowl. Stir well to combine till the mixture becomes gooey. Marinate for 15 minutes.
2. Cut wonton wrappers into circles using a pastry cutter.
3. Put a heaped teaspoon of filling mixture on a wonton wrapper. Wrap up into a small cup. (You may find it easier to use a small pastry cutter cup to help with the process. Place the wrapper in the pastry cutter cup. Fill the cup with pork mixture, shake gently to take the dumpling out). You may choose to make a larger dumpling but small dainty ones will truly “touch your heart”.
4. Top with a bit of minced carrot. Traditionally, a bit of cooked duck egg yolk is used. You may use fried crab roe or fish roe or even a small prawn. The idea is to add colour to the open faced dumpling.
5. Place a greaseproof baking paper on a plate. Arrange the dumplings on the paper.
6. Steam for 10 minutes.
7. Serve the pork dumplings with sweet chilli sauce.