Dim Sum (Scallion Pancakes, Chinese Potstickers & Dipping Sauce)

So Hong Kong is known for it’s famous Dim Sum services, a unique style of buffet like eating, but where the food comes to you, rather than you to it! Like the Spanish Tapas, Dim Sum is a style of Cantonese dumpling prepared as small bite-sized or individual portions of food traditionally served in small steamer baskets or on small plates. During a Dim Sum service, carts are wheeled around the restaurant filled with little bamboo steam baskets, each containing a new and wonderful dish. All in all, there may be dozens of different types of dishes served, on carts pushed by wait staff around the restaurant for diners to choose from. For today’s entry, I’ve chosen two dishes, a Scallion Pancake and a Vegetarian Potsticker, along with a dipping sauce that would go great with either. These recipes will serve 4-6 people, as part of a larger meal. I hope you enjoy!

Scallion Pancakes

Ingredients:

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup self-rising flour
1 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons vegetable oil or sesame oil
2 scallions/green onions, washed and thinly sliced*
a bit of oil to brush on pancakes
a bit of salt to sprinkle on pancakes during frying

* Click here to learn how to clean scallions/green onions.

Directions:

Combine the flours in a large bowl. Stir in the vegetable oil/sesame oil. Pour in half the boiling water into the flour and begin stirring immediately, then use your hands to combine into a dough. Add the remaining boiling water as needed. Cover the dough and let it rest for 2 hours.

While the dough is resting, wash and dice the spring onions. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, knead briefly, then cut into thirds and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Roll each of the three sections of dough out into a flat piece approximately ½ cm or ¼ inch thick. Brush the pancake with a bit of oil, and sprinkle with spring onion pieces. Roll up the pancake and cut into 7 – 8 pieces. Use the palm of your hand to flatten each piece. Stack the flattened pieces on top of each other, and then roll out again, to make one whole pancake again. Heat a bit of oil in a large skillet. Shallow fry the pancakes until both sides are golden brown, being sure to sprinkle with a bit of salt during frying.

While cooking, press down on the centre with a spatula to make sure the pancake cooks. Serve whole or cut into wedges. Serve plain or with soy sauce or another dipping sauce if desired.

PotstickersChinese Potstickers

Ingredients:

½ pound firm tofu
½ cup finely shredded carrot
½ cup finely chopped bok choy*
¼ cup finely chopped water chestnuts
¼ cup finely chopped bamboo shoots
¼ cup finely chopped garlic chives*
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
¼ teaspoon salt
1 package potsticker or gyoza wrappers (in a pinch, wonton wrappers will suffice)
2 tablespoons oil for frying the dumplings

* Click here to learn how to clean bok choy and chives.

Directions:

Drain the tofu, cut into cubes and mash. Wash and prepare the vegetables. Combine the tofu with the remainder of the ingredients and seasonings (except the wrappers and the oil used for frying).

Lay out one of the gyoza wrappers in front of you. Dip your finger in the water and moisten the edges of the wrapper. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper. Fold the gyoza wrapper over the filling and pinch the edges to seal it shut. (You may want to use a cornstarch/water mixture to make this easier).

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet or wok. When oil is ready, carefully add the dumplings and cook on high heat until golden brown (about 1 minute). Without turning the dumplings over, add ½ cup of water and cover. Cook for about 1 minute to cook the raw filling and then uncover and continue cooking until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Serve the potstickers with the burnt side on top, with potsticker dipping sauce or soy sauce mixed with minced ginger for dipping.

Dipping SaucePot Sticker Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

½ cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced or grated
1-2 small chilies, finely sliced (optional)
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced or grated
2 green onions/scallions, sliced thin*

* Click here to learn how to clean green onions/scallions.

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients. For best results, prepare ahead of time to allow the flavors to blend. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to use. (Use within 3 to 4 days). Serve with potstickers.

Chinese Happy Family

Chinese Happy FamilyThis dish is called a “Happy Family” because it is blend of all different ingredients, coming together to make something delicious, much like how a family is. This recipe can easily be converted into a vegetarian dish by substituting tofu for the chicken. You can also use beef instead of chicken. This recipe makes about 8 servings.

Ingredients:

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into cubes/strips
1 tablespoon oil

Marinade:
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Vegetables:
¼ cup olive oil
2 onions, sliced thin
1 carrot, julienned
2 red bell peppers, seeded and julienned
2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and julienned
1 ½ cups sugar-snap peas
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup water chestnuts
1 ¾ cups baby corn
1 ½ cups bamboo shoots, sliced

Stir-fry Sauce:
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons water/chicken broth

½ cup sliced green onions*

Directions:

Combine the ingredients for the marinade and pour them into a large freezer bag or a bowl that you can marinate the chicken in. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat. Let the chicken marinate in the fridge for at least an hour, or even overnight.

In a wok or large skillet, on medium-high heat, add the tablespoon of oil and sauté the chicken pieces until they are cooked through. Remove them from the pan. DO NOT put them back into the bag or bowl that you were marinating in. That is a good way to get food poisoning! Just set the chicken (and any juices) aside on a clean plate or bowl.

Next, add the ¼ cup of oil (or less) to the wok/skillet and add the onions and carrot. Toss to coat and let cook for about 2 minutes. Next add the peppers, tossing and allowing to cook for an additional 2 minutes. Next add the peas and mushrooms, then the water chestnuts, corn and bamboo shoots. Allow everything to cook together for another 2-4 minutes. Add the chicken back to wok/skillet.

In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the stir-fry sauce. Make sure you have fully incorporated the cornstarch, so that it is not too lumpy. Pour the sauce over the stir-fry/chicken mixture. Allow the sauce to come up to temperature and you will notice it begins to thicken. Once it has done this, toss the stir-fry to cover everything in the sauce. Serve hot garnished with the green onions. This dish goes really well with rice or noodles.

* To learn how to properly clean green onions, click here.

Authentic Chinese Egg Rolls

Egg RollsOriginal recipe makes 20 egg rolls

Ingredients:

4 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 eggs, beaten
1 medium head cabbage, finely shredded*#
½ carrot, julienned#
1 (8 ounce) can shredded bamboo shoots
1 cup dried, shredded wood ear mushroom, re-hydrated (or other mushroom)
1 pound barbecued or roasted meat or tofu, cut into matchsticks
2 green onions, thinly sliced*
2 ½ teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 (14 ounce) package egg roll wrappers
1 egg white, beaten
oil for frying, as needed

Directions:

Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Pour in beaten eggs and cook, without stirring, until firmed. Flip the eggs over and cook for an additional 20 seconds to firm the other side. Set egg pancake aside to cool, then slice into thin strips.

Heat the remaining vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Stir in cabbage and carrot; cook for 2 minutes to wilt. Add bamboo, mushroom, meat/tofu, green onions, soy sauce, salt, and sugar. Continue cooking until the vegetables soften, about 6 minutes. Stir in sliced egg, then spread mixture out onto a pan, and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.

To assemble the egg rolls, place a wrapper onto your work surface with one corner pointing towards you. Place about 3 tablespoons of cooled filling in a heap onto the bottom third of the wrapper. Brush a little beaten egg white onto the top two edges of the wrapper, then fold the bottom corner over the filling and roll firmly to the halfway point. Fold the left and right sides snugly over the egg roll, then continue rolling until the top corners seal the egg roll with the egg white. Repeat with remaining egg roll wrappers, covering finished egg rolls with plastic wrap to keep from drying out.

Heat about 6-inches of oil in a wok or deep-fryer to 350 degrees F. Fry egg rolls 3 or 4 at a time until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Alternatively, for a healthy version, you can bake the egg rolls at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes, or until they are nice and golden brown.

* To see how to properly clean cabbage and green onions, click here.

# For ease of convenience, you can purchase pre-cleaned, pre-checked, bags of shredded cabbage and carrots.