Monday, 24 September 2012

TARO CROQUETTES (WU GOK)


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

Method:

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


Method:

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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Pork and Prawn Siomai.
Wontons.
Siopao (Char Siu Pao).
Thanks for dropping by. Please let me know what you think of this post.

13 comments:

  1. OMG!!!! I love this....why I never thought of using taro to make croquettes? This is absolutely delicious isn't it? Your children must have love this very much. This taro croquettes is more or less is like the Dim Sum "Woo Kok" (pronuounce in Cantonese).

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    Replies
    1. It is, wu gok, Mel. Although it did not fluff up, it still tasted good. It had a very crispy crust. I hope you try it. I always enjoy a lot of things made with taro when we go home to Malaysia.

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  2. Hi Adora, I found your blog through Mel's and I love it. Will be dropping by frequently for more cooking ideas.

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  3. Hi Adora, you certainly got my attention with these. I have come across Taro before but clueless as what to do with it. I want to try these but was wondering if you know of a Taro substitute ie some kind of potato?

    Dave

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    Replies
    1. Hi Dave. The combination of the taro and the wheat starch give this croquettes a particular taste and texture. Potato may be used but will result to a very different product.

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  4. There is a Youtube clip from China demonstrating how to do this and showing the gossamer bloom actually spreading while being fried. The dough called for yolks of hard boiled egg.

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  5. I don't know if I have ever eaten anything with taro. I sure know I haven't made anything. These croquettes look delicious and how could I refuse anything with pork and prawns!

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  6. I love this dish! You are really amazing even trying this recipe. Yeah the flaky stuff is a mystery. I always want to learn in the restaurant kitchen just for a day (I don't think I can even work everyday standing!) and learn all the favorite dishes and techniques! Your version looks wonderful! Now you can eat these at home too. Jealous! :)

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    Replies
    1. Same here, Nami, willing to learn but not willing to labour. Cooking should be fun, right?

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  7. Hi, May I please ask in having taro croquettes if you do not have wheat starch, what could be the best substitute? is it possible to use corn flour or wheat flour ? I really want to make taro croquette. thank you in advance

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    Replies
    1. I'm sorry but I don't know any substitute for wheat starch. Wheat starch is wheat flour with the gluten removed. It is not the same as wheat flour nor corn starch. I have searched but not found a good answer.

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    2. I just tried a similar recipe (in which the only difference was that it had called for baking soda), and because I have a gluten issue had to try something other than wheat starch.

      Don't use sweet rice flour, don't use arrowroot starch, they didn't work.

      Cornstarch (which may also have the term cornflour) whichever is the white powdery processed stuff used to thicken soups and sauces seemed to work somewhat well but not as good I think based on my Dim Sum memories.

      Since you can have wheat, I'd recommend going with that, otherwise cornstarch/flour seems to pass an initial test.

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  8. OMG OMG OMG You have a recipe for my wonderful loved Taro Dim Sum!!!!!!!! I am so excited!!! Will try it!!!

    Thank you so much!

    greets Wilma

    ReplyDelete

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