I know that I've said that making dim sum is best left to the experts. I have to say it again.
I just can't help but tinker with recipes that intrigue. These wu gok or taro croquettes, for example, I wonder how they burst into these flaky, almost feather-like crumbs.
My curiosity overcame me one day and I thought I should just try to see how they are made. There's no harm in trying. All the ingredients are available to me and I have the recipe in my trusted dim sum book (Chopsticks Recipes: Dimsum by Cecilia J. Au-Yang). I was sure my son would appreciate my efforts because it is his favourite on the dimsum menu.
The recipe is pretty straightforward and the process was easy. I changed the filling a bit because the recipe uses light soy sauce but I seem to taste oyster sauce in the ones we eat in the restaurant. I followed the exact recipe for the dough because that part is new to me. The dough is made of steamed taro root and wheat starch. Wheat starch is different from wheat flour. I don't know how to put in words what the difference really is because it is rather scientific. It is starchy rather that floury (duh!) and becomes translucent when mixed with boiling water. It is available in Oriental supermarkets.
Having said all that, the finished croquettes didn't turn out as it should but the tasters said that they were actually nicer than the ones at the restaurant because they were crispier and less greasy. That must be because they did not have as much flakes that absorb the oil.
The verdict: they are very doable at home, easy and very delicious. I must make some more because the first batch was polished quicker than it it took me to make them.
This recipe will make 16-20 croquettes.
Ingredients for the pork and prawn filling:
150 gms. of minced pork
150 gmc. of raw shelled prawns, roughly chopped
2 tbsps. oyster sauce
1 1/2 tbsps. of cooking oil
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1 small carrot, chopped
4 chestnut mushrooms, chopped
1 tsp. sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
Season the pork and prawns with 1 tbsp. of oyster sauce.
Heat up a wok and, when hot, add in the oil. Stir fry the garlic in the oil for 1 minute then add the chopped carrots and stir fry for 2 minutes or until it begins to change to a lighter colour. Add the mushrooms and stir fry again for another 2 minutes.
Add in the seasoned pork and prawns and stir fry on high heat. Add the last tablespoon of oyster sauce and the sugar. Fry until the prawns turn pink. Lastly, add the beaten egg and sesame oil and stir fry until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes.
Leave to cool and use as a filling for the croquettes.
Ingredients for the taro dough:
1 kg. of taro
1/2 c. wheat starch
1/3 c. boiling water
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. of oil
cooking oil for frying
Peel and cut the taro into big pieces. You can buy peeled frozen taro from Asian supermarkets.
Steam the taro for about half an hour until soft. Test with a fork.
Peel off the dry outer layer of the cooked taro and grate the middle part. You will need 560 gms of grated cooked taro for this recipe.
Pour boiling water on the wheat starch and stir to mix. When cool enough to touch, knead gently to a smooth dough.
Put this in a food processor and add the taro, the sugar, salt and oil. Blend until a soft, smooth dough is achieved.
Form an approx. 35 gm. ball of dough in a wheat flour dusted board. Press an indentation in the middle and scoop a 1 tbsp. measure of filling. Fold the edges towards the middle and gently seal. Coax into a quenelle shape.
Heat up enough oil for deep frying. When very hot, lower a few of the croquttes carefully into the oil. Fry on medium heat for about 4 minutes until flaky and browned. When done drain on racks with a tray under it.
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