Many of us think of dim sum as something that’s only to be ordered at a Chinese restaurant, often for Sunday brunch. Well, think again!
Making dim sum at home can be a fun family activity – even if you’re not perfect at pleating little dumplings. We have a lot of fun folding dumplings with our grandkids. Well, they’re not technically our grandkids—they’re actually the grandkids of our friends – but it amounts to the same thing. We often get together with those friends when they have the grandchildren over for a visit. We spent quality time with our friends’ children for decades, and so it goes that invariably we now also love spending quality time with their little ones, too.
You don’t have to have the perfect wok and bamboo steamer setup to cook dim sum. In our case we use a steamer basket set on top of a large lidded pot. Cooking dim sum dumplings is really something anyone can do without a lot of extra equipment.
There are a wide variety of dim sum dishes that you can attempt to make, including shrimp dumplings, pork siu mai (a type of dumpling), steamed buns stuffed with sticky pork, spareribs in black bean sauce and jiaozi dumplings (also called Chinese dumplings). You could even try making cheong fun (steamed rice noodles).
Our Favourite Dim Sum
A mixture of pork and shrimp are the most popular dim sum with our gang. These two ingredients work well for us because they’re not very prep-intensive but certainly are flavour intensive.
You can make your dumpling filling(s) ahead of time – or even freeze the pre-made dumplings well in advance of actually consuming them. When you’re ready to eat them, you can simply steam them from frozen or, if you prefer, then pan fry them to a desired crispiness. You may wish to make some fried rice or heat up some other store-bought items to complete the menu.
Everything’s Available At Your Nearest Chinese Market
The first step is to pay a visit to your nearest Chinese market. There, you will find not only the ingredients you need, but also the equipment. Chinese markets are where this culinary adventure begins and where you’ll find, amongst many other ingredients, soy sauce, Hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, sriracha sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and wonton wrappers.
Wonton wrappers and many of these flavourful sauces are also readily available at your local supermarket (not just specialty stores), which makes preparing this recipe even easier.
Shrimp & Pork Dim Sum Recipe
Our proposed recipe is for shrimp and pork dim sum – though there are dozens of dim sum dishes to consider – always a popular favourite with grandkids, and what follows is our step-by-step cooking guide.
- Bamboo or stainless-steel steamer basket(s)
- Pan or large frypan with a lid that your steamer basket(s) fit into
- Food processor
Ingredients For Filling:
- 8 ounces diced pork loin or ground pork
- 7 ounces peeled raw shrimps, roughly chopped
- 1 finely diced green onion (spring onion)
- 2 tbsp finely chopped grape tomatoes
- 1 small carrot finely grated
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 3 tsp rice flour or cornstarch
- salt and pepper to taste
- 18-20 wonton wrappers
Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce:
In a small bowl, whisk together the following ingredients until the sugar is dissolved.
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
Instructions For Making Dim Sum:
- Dice the pork and place in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely ground. Add the remaining filling ingredients and pulse a few times just to combine.
- Lay out a few wonton wrappers on a clean dry work surface and place a teaspoon of the filling in the centre of each.
- Dampen the edges of the wrappers with water and gather the sides of each wrapper around the filling, pinching to form a shape like an open coin purse. Repeat with remaining filling and wrappers.
- Lightly oil the inside of your bamboo or stainless-steel steamer(s) and place over a pan of boiling water.
- Cover and steam the dim sum for about 6-8 minutes, or until the filling is cooked and the wrappers are tender.
- Serve while piping hot with the dipping sauce.
Enlist the youngsters to help mix and make these delicious pockets of yum, for some home made dim sum, the next time you all get together for brunch!