The whole dim sum experience is a culture in itself. Glazed eyes that push carts around a room, stacks of bamboo steamers, drizzle bottles filled with soy sauce – these are just some of the necessary components of enjoying dim sum, tight little parcels filled with proteins and veggies. Like a poker game, there is little conversation to place your order. All you need is a dim sum check sheet, a pencil to mark off your choices and a delicate nod to indicate your next hand.
What is so special about these delicate little sheets wrapped around shrimp, pork, chives and veggies? Is it their translucent, moist and mildly chewy skin? Is it the surprise of the ingredients that lie within or perhaps the bite-sized pressies that fit in to the mouth in one go? Whatever drives you to eat them, there is no question that it fulfills it’s promise by the very suggestion of it’s name ‘touch of the heart’.
The challenge with dim sum is the lines in all the best dim sum houses. Whilst they move fast, that just doesn’t always work when you have a 5 year old swiping the order sheets from all the tables whilst the 7 year old eats soft mints by the exit ‘en clandestine’. We all love them and the communal aspect makes it even more enticing, but now we just make them at home. Firstly, it is surprisingly easy (even the folding part), secondly, you fill them with whatever you want and thirdly, you can use left overs in soups and broths. There is no rolling, no fancy pleating; just good old store bought wonton, some shrimp and fresh herbs.
1 package Nasoya wonton wrappers (or any brand, we would think)
1 pound of fresh shrimp, de-shelled and de-veined
3 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
1 tbsp. chives, finely chopped
salt to taste
1 tbsp. sesame oil
¾ tsp. ginger and garlic paste
¼ cup of soy sauce
4 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 fresh chili, sliced finely (optional)
1 tbsp. ginger, julienne
1 tbsp. scallion, chopped
– Line a plate or tray with saran wrap (to set the dim sum on so they don’t rip off)
– Set a steamer aside to get hot
1) Roughly chop half the shrimp in the food processor and cut the rest as finely as possible
2) Combine all the ingredients except for the wrappers
3) Set the wrapper in front of you in a diamond shape. Place filling in the center of wrap, fold over in half, moisten edges with water. Press to seal and join the wrapper ends
4) Grease the base of the steamer. Steam for 5 minutes. Serve immediately with sauce