Although I have been eating them pretty much since I was able to eat solid food, my real dim sum journey started about four years ago when I went back to Singapore to learn how to make them from scratch. On the first day of class, my teacher made sure that I made a minimum of 500 of each type before I could move onto the next, as getting each one to look exactly the same takes time. With these open wontons, practice makes perfect – but don’t be put off! They will taste good however they end up looking and are a great addition to any dinner party.
PREPARATION TIME: 1 HOUR PLUS SOAKING
COOKING TIME: 10 MINUTES
You Will Need
Remove the scallop roes, if still attached, and slice the scallops in half lengthways. Finely chop the prawns and mushrooms. Mix together the sauce ingredients, if using, in a small bowl or ramekin.
Mix the pork mince, prawns, mushrooms and cornflour together with the marinade ingredients, then beat the mix together until it forms a smooth paste (see Tip).
Cut the wonton pastries into circles using a 6.5cm pastry cutter, then place 1½ teaspoons of the pork mixture in the centre of each pastry. Using the base of the teaspoon, spread the filling out over the pastry, ensuring it covers it completely edge to edge.
Create an ‘egg cup’ shape with your left hand and insert the pastry so that it rests on top, with the middle drooping into the centre of your hand. With your free right hand, use the base of your spoon as a ‘lid’ to ensure all the meat stays in the parcel, while turning the pastry with your left hand using your thumb and index finger of your ‘egg cup’. The aim is to form a uniform dumpling with straight walls of pastry all the way around the meat. Once your dumplings have been made, place half a scallop on top of each.
Line a bamboo steamer with greased baking paper or banana leaf. Add the dumplings to the basket, place over a wok a third-filled with boiling water and steam for 8–10 minutes. Serve with with the dipping sauce, if using, or with sweet soy sauce.
TIP: To devein a prawn, use a small, sharp knife to make a slit along the middle of the back to expose the dark vein, then pull it out. Alternatively insert a toothpick roughly three-quarters of the way up the back of the prawn and pull the vein up and out of the prawn.
TIP: To rehydrate dried mushrooms, cover them in 300ml hot water and leave to soak for at least 1 hour (preferably overnight). Drain them before using, reserving the soaking water for use in your recipe, if necessary.
TIP: The traditional way to beat the filling is to scoop it from the mixing bowl in a cupped hand and throw it back into the bowl. This not only tenderises the meat, but will push any air out of the mix, creating a smooth finish when biting into the dumplings.