Dim Sum: Har Gow 蝦餃

This is my fourth attempt at trying to make my favorite dim sum: Har Gow, which is a traditional type of steamed dumpling served during dim sum, the Chinese equivalent of brunch but without the alcohol. It’s widely known that this dish is the ONE that dim sum chefs are judged on because it’s the epitome of dim sum. Whenever I try a new dim sum spot, I do indeed judge everything about the restaurant on their quality of har gow.

There are so many recipes and resources available yet none of them are foolproof nor tested out to yield perfect results. I have been trying to get the dough recipe down to perfection and for the previous three times, I have failed due to the dough. The filling is easy; it’s basically just shrimp and you can add in bamboo shoots or water chestnuts or something else to give it some texture.

I’m not that skilled yet in rolling dough into perfect circles so I used a ring mold to cut out 3½-inch circles.

DSCN2592

Makes approximately 20 dumplings.

For the Filling

  • 3 water chestnuts
  • 1 lb shrimp
  • 1-inch ginger, microplaned
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 tsp sesame oil

Peel and finely mince the water chestnuts into little cubes.

Peel and de-vien the shrimp. Then using the side of your knife, smash the shrimp and roughly chop them. Place them into a mixing bowl. Add all other ingredients except for water chestnuts. Thoroughly mix shrimp until it gets sticky, add the water chestnuts just to combine, and place in refrigerator until ready to use.

For the Dough

  • 1 cup wheat starch
  • ½ cup tapioca starch
  • 6 TBS/3 oz. boiling water
  • 1 TBS oil

In a mixing bowl, add the two starches and using a spoon, stir starches while slowly adding the boiling water. Continue to stir until the mixture has turned translucent. Add the oil next and continue to stir. While the dough is still hot but cool enough to handle, knead the dough for a few minutes until it becomes a smooth dough ball. Cover the dough with a damp paper towel while you set up your steamer.

I noticed that my bamboo steamer just barely fits into my rice cooker so I steamed them that way since I have two bamboo steamers so I could fit 12 dumplings per steam, instead of using the steamer rack that comes with the rice cooker.

TO ASSEMBLE

Roll dough into a long cylinder and either cut or tear off little 1-inch pieces and roll them into 3½-inch (diameter) circles. Place a little filling in the center and wrap dumplings. It’s difficult to explain how to wrap them and there are several ways to close dumplings. Do what works best for you or YouTube it.

Make sure that dumplings have an inch of expanding space during the cooking process. Steam for 10 minutes and serve with soy and chili sauces.

Plans for Thanksgiving 2015

It’s that time of year again! I already set on my menu this year; I just haven’t typed it out yet. And since I don’t want to go outside because it’s cold, and I have caught up with all my TV, I am going to write out all the recipes today.

This year, it’s going to be a small Friendsgiving because I’ll be hosting in my new apartment and my kitchen isn’t all that big. I don’t even own a gas oven so I have to make do with my tiny (but the largest that I could find) convection oven and my two-top gas stove. I bought a smoke gun and an iSi dispenser, so things should be interesting at home!

I originally had six courses but when I was writing up the recipes, I realized that the duck confit would take a lot of my time and that it didn’t really make much sense to have two soups on the menu.

Scallop Crudo
Shichimi, Shimeji, Haricots Verts Salad & Fennel Foam
1st Course

Quail
Glutinous Rice, Chinese Sausage, Dried Shiitake, Spiced Black Currant Ximénez Reduction
2nd Course

Shredded Duck Leg Confit
Cream of Mushroom and Chestnut, Crackling, Parsley Chips
3rd Course

Smoked Dry-Aged Duck Breast
Chinese Steamed Buns, Cucumber, Scallions, Cilantro, Tian Mian Sauce
4th Course

Warm Pear Tart
Spiced Crème Chantilly
5th Course

Watermelon Sago with Kiwi Fruit

This was the dessert and end to the rooftop party that I held yesterday. Cold, naturally sweet, hydrating, refreshing!! And, totally drinkable!!!

watermelon sago

[100% organic]

For the Sago

  • 1 cup Sago/Tapioca pearls

In a large non-stick pot, boil 6 cups of water. When the water comes up to a boil, add in the sago and stir with a rubber spatula frequently. Continue boiling for 10 minutes, stirring.

Turn off heat after 10 minutes, place a lid on the pot, and let it sit there for another 10 minutes. When ready, pour and cool in a running bowl of iced water.

Store in some cold water before assembling.

For the Watermelon

  • 1 watermelon
  • 4 kiwi fruits

Cut watermelon into large chunks and place in a blender. Do not add any water. Blend in batches and then strain watermelon juice through cheesecloth. We do not want the pulp to be part of the dessert.

Peel kiwis and cut into thin quarters.

TO ASSEMBLE

Using a slotted spoon, add sago to the serving glass/bowl. Pour in the watermelon juice, stir, and garnish with kiwis.

Mango Sago with Dragonfruit & Strawberries

For some reason, every time when I make sago, I use coconut milk. I don’t think I need it at all so this time I only used mango juice.

DSCN1730b

[100% organic]

  • 4 cups mango juice
  • 2 large ripe mangoes, cubed
  • 1 dragonfruit, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • Simple syrup (equal amounts of water and sugar, melted)
  • 1 cup sago pearls

Boil 5 cups of water with 1 cup of sago. Once boiling, turn off heat, cover with lid, and let it steep for 10 minutes. Taste and check consistency. Sago should be translucent and it should not be soggy and mushy. If it needs more cooking, repeat but steep for 5 minutes. Run the cooked sago through a fine sieve and flush cold tap water, then set aside.

Make simple syrup by melting ¼ cup sugar with the ¼ cup water, then set aside.

Reserve one half of the cubed mangoes for garnishing. Mix one half of the cubed mangoes with the sago, and adjust sweetness with simple syrup. Whisk well, and chill in the fridge.

TO ASSEMBLE

Portion out mango sago mixture into serving spoons/bowls/ramekins and garnish with cubed mangoes, dragonfruit, and strawberries.

Update: Cantonese Fried Rice with Dried Scallops & Chinese Broccoli

瑶柱蛋白炒饭

I’m still in the very glacial process of updating my posts from the earlier years of this blog. My mom sent me some dried scallops from Hong Kong and what’s my favorite thing to cook with dried scallops? Cantonese fried rice!!! It’s so delicious! It’s one of the many things I must eat during the first few days of going back to Hong Kong.

DSCN1701b

[100% organic, dried scallops from Hong Kong]

For the Rice

  • 4 cups rice (jasmine/kokuho)
  • Salt
  • Canola oil

Cook the rice and set aside to cool, then refrigerate it. Rice must be cold when making fried rice.

For the Dried Scallops

  • 6 medium dried scallops (soaked in water for at least 8 hours)
  • 4 scallions
  • 1-inch piece ginger
  • ¼ tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • Reserved soaking liquid
  • Canola oil

Using your fingers, pull apart the soaked scallops and reserve the soaking water.

Finely chop the scallions and set aside. Thinly slice the ginger and set aside.

In a hot pan, add the canola oil. When oil is hot, stir-fry the dried scallops shreds. The scallops will jump out of the pan, put them back into the pan. Add in brown sugar, dark soy sauce, ginger, scallions, and a few drops of the reserved soaking liquid. Cook for 2-3 minutes and remove from heat. Place scallops in a sieve and drain off excess liquid. Reserve scallops, keep warm, and set aside.

For the Chinese Broccoli

  • 1 bundle Chinese broccoli
  • 1-inch piece ginger
  • Salt
  • Reserved soaking liquid
  • Canola oil

Clean Chinese broccoli, remove leaves and thin stems. Using only the thick stalks/stems, slice them into thin rounds or use a mandolin. Thinly slice ginger and set aside.

In a hot pan, add a few drops of canola oil. Add ginger and stir-fry Chinese broccoli until al dente. Season lightly with salt and add some reserved soaking liquid so that the vegetables don’t burn. Remove from heat. Place Chinese broccoli stems in a sieve and drain off excess liquid. Reserve, keep warm, and set aside.

For the Egg Whites

  • 5 egg whites
  • Salt
  • Canola oil

Lightly beat the whites with a pinch of salt. In a non-stick pan, add a little of canola oil. Cook whites for 1-2 minutes then remove from pan.

TO ASSEMBLE

In a large non-stick pan on low heat, add enough canola oil to cover the base of the pan. Add in cold rice and break rice apart into loose pieces. Once slightly warm, add in dried scallops, Chinese broccoli, and egg whites. Season with salt and occasionally toss and turn. Adjust salt content to your liking and serve immediately.

Mango Sago Soup with Pomelo

杨枝甘露

Ahhhhhh, I can’t wait to start level 6 pastries with Chef Anna again! I want to make more Asian-influenced desserts. Whenever I go back to Hong Kong, I have to make my way to Honeymoon Dessert in Shatin within 36 hours from touchdown… And I have to go multiple times! I need to get all the cravings for 杨枝甘露 (mango pomelo & sago sweet soup) out of my system before I attack my other favorites on their menu. This is by far one of my favorite desserts, ever. I’m not sure if I like this better or tiramisu! Gasp! I really don’t know!

Who knows, I might make something entirely different once I get to level 6 with Chef Anna. Or maybe she’ll like this recipe.

If you can’t find pomelo, you can use grapefruit. This recipe makes about 1 liter (2 pints) of the sago-mango-coconut mixture.

[Organic coconut milk, sugar]

  • 3 cups mango juice
  • One 13.5 oz. can coconut milk
  • 2 large ripe mangoes, cubed
  • Simple syrup (equal amounts of water and sugar, melted)
  • 1 cup sago pearls
  • Pomelo, suprêmed and broken apart

Boil a pot of water, add sago and bring to a boil again. Turn off heat, cover with lid, and let it steep for 10 minutes. Taste and check consistency. Sago should be translucent and it should not be soggy and mushy. If it needs more cooking, repeat but steep for 5 minutes. Run the cooked sago through a fine sieve and flush cold tap water, then set aside.

Make simple syrup by melting ½ cup sugar with the ½ cup water, then set aside.

Reserve one half of the cubed mangoes for garnishing. In a blender, blend the rest of the mangoes, coconut milk, and mango juice until well combined. Adjust sweetness with simple syrup. Add cooked sago to the mixture, whisk well, and chill in the fridge.

TO ASSEMBLE

Portion out mango sago mixture into serving spoons/bowls/ramekins and garnish with pomelo and cubed mangoes.

*Adapted from Honeymoon Dessert.

Pre-Halloween Week Dinner

I probably won’t be able to eat any Halloween-themed foods or snacks this year because there won’t be a house party and Chinese people don’t celebrate Halloween; there’s not even Halloween candy!

For dinner tonight, I made a Napoleon steak (humphead wrasse) steamed Cantonese-styled and some spinach with rice. I also had a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. This is nice. I love wine. My EtOH levels have been low recently…