Thursday, 14 June 2012

PORK AND PRAWN SIOMAI


I don't know how long people have been enjoying dim sum. Despite the change in food trends, the dawn of food trucks and the inundation of fast food, dim sum has remained a favourite. People all over the world are still fanatics and are always on the quest to find the best dim sum houses in town. We are lucky to have a good one nearby and it never fails to give us pleasure and satisfaction.

Dim sum is the Chinese equivalent of the English high tea. It literally means to touch the heart. I love the concept of little taster portions of different kinds dishes rather than having a full set meal. Having dim sum is a sociable way of eating because the food is shared amongst the people at the table. The more people to share the meal, the better it is because you can order more dishes.




One of my favourite dim sum items is pork siomai (also called shu mai). It is something that we never give a miss. Aside from the taste, I love the bouncy texture. The pork meat has to be chopped rather than minced for a firmer texture. I have used belly pork meat but chose to trim off the fat. Fat is actually the one that makes siomai very tasty. Some actually add extra chopped fat. I believe that cooking at home should be healthier so I did not go that way. "Throwing the pork mixture against the mixing bowl" also gives siomai its characteristic bouncy texture. The meat mixture is picked up and thrown back into the bowl repeatedly until the desired texture is achieved. 


When I went home to the Philippines recently, I was quite surprised to see siomai in every street food cart and even in convenience stores such as Seven Eleven. Although dim sum making is a fine art that is best left to the experts, simple dumplings such as siomai can easily be made at home. The quality would not equal that of the dim sum houses but the resulting taste is definitely something to enjoy. 




Ingredients:


1 1/2 c. of chopped pork belly meat
1/2 c. of raw prawns, cut into cubes
3 cooked Chinese mushrooms, chopped
1 tbsp. light soy sauce
1 tbsp. corn flour
1 tbsp. sherry
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. sesame oil
gyoza or wonton wrappers cut into circles
chopped carrots and frozen green peas for decoration


Method:

Season the prawns with 1/2 tsp. of salt and set aside. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. Pick up the mixture with one hand and throw back into the mixing bowl. Repeat this process until the mixture becomes sticky. Rinse the prawns and dry very well with some kitchen paper. Add to the pork mixture and mix again. I made 13 big dumplings with this mixture. 


If you are using wonton wrappers, you can trim the corners off to make flower wrappers (round shaped). You can also use cookie cutters to do this. Put a tablespoonful of filling in the middle of a wrapper and gather the sides. The top remains open. To do the pleated sides, it is easier if you set the wrapper on a board. Spoon in the filling, then pleat the wrapper all around. Using both hands, encircle the dumpling with your thumb and forefinger near the edge of the wrapper and squeeze gently while pushing down. This shapes the bottom of the dumpling so it sits squarely on the steamer as well as gives the top a rounded bump. 


Sprinkle the top with chopped carrots or frozen green peas. Gently press to make it adhere to the filling.


Fill up a wok or steamer with water and bring to a boil. Line the steamer basket with Chinese leaves (so the dumplings won't stick) and arrange the dumplings on top. Steam for 15 minutes. Standard sized dumplings would only take ten minutes. Serve with chilli sauce and chilli oil.



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11 comments:

  1. I love siomai!!! nagutom tuloy ako. I want it now :)

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  2. Umm I need this in my life ASAP. Amazing!

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  3. Your pictures and set up look so authentic! I like the concept of high tea too...it's fun and i can get to try out many different things!
    - abeer @ www.cakewhiz.com

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  4. Sweet Adorable Adora:

    I really need you to come to Canada and fill my freezer with all these wonderful dishes :~D

    Have a Joyful Day!

    Charlie

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  5. I think that dim sum is one of the best meals you can have with friends or family and I’m having dim sum tomorrow for my sisters birthday! We’ll be with 10+ people so we can order pretty much everything on the menu =)

    My hubby is a big fan of these. He would love me to make some but frackly I’m to lazy and on top of that my Chinese supermarket sells them in the frozen section and they are pretty darn good. Of course notting would beat homemade ones. If I could only make them like you I don’t think I would be buying them from the supermarket! Have a geat weekend Adora!

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  6. I've loved Siomai since I was small, and always enjoy at Dim Sum! Your version looks even more prettier than ones from restaurants, seriously!

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  7. Possibly my favorite chinese dish! Will have to try this!

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  8. I love siomai! (parang I love everything that you post eh.haha!) But seriously, I'm not sure about the "social/meant-to-be-shared" concept of dimsum because I always make sure I hoard most of it and eat it in peace all by my lonesome because I don't want to share it! Siomai brings out the worst in me (haha)

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  9. Is this siomai recipe as firm as those sold in malls like master siomai and siomai house? I've tried different recipes and up to now I still haven't achieved that firmness. I wish the secret to achieving this is by using chopped meat instead of ground pork. I'll get back to you once I'm done trying this one. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Michael. No this is not as firm as the ones made by experts because I did not add extra pork fat which contributes to the bounce. The throwing of the mixture against the bowl also helps.

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  10. Dimsum will always be a preferred Chinese food of my family. Since it's ground beef, even kids can eat it because it's easy to chew. It's also easy to cook, just steam it and you're good to go.-Ally

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