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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dim Sum Party

There comes a time in ones life when one feels ready to have a dim sum party.  When I think of dim sum, I think of lots of variety of things being carted around and my getting to taste each and every little item.  Most items are in their steamer baskets, some are fried, some are savory, some are sweet.  It is an old Chinese snack culture usually served to accompany tea.
At my dim sum party, it was a dinner deal, and I didn't have little carts with little steamer baskets because, well, I only have one steamer basket.  What I did for my dim sum was make one "thing" per cooking utensil.  I made one thing fresh, the Goi Cuan, one thing steamed, the Baozi, one thing deep fried, the Cha Gio, and one thing pan fried, the Jiaozi.
Why would anyone want to go through so much trouble?
Well, for me, spending all day in the kitchen folding egg rolls and pleating dumplings is a fabulous day.  Also, everything but the spring rolls can be frozen, so it's like I'm preparing future dim sum parties that I will be able to bust out impromptu and that is pretty amazing.
It also gets quite addicting.  You may mess up your first steamed meat bun but as you go, you develop a technique, your fingers become nimble little magical cinnamon sticks and you're amazed that you've already pleated 90 dumplings in under 1 hour!
Now, I want to roll spring rolls every day all the time and with a bunch of different fillings.  I want to eat everything wrapped in a big salad leaf with tons of mint and dipped into a tangy spicy sauce!
I'm serious it's all I can think about and I've been doing it for 3 days!!!
I've made each of these items before, but (of course) I changed the fillings a bit here and there.

For the Baozi (Steamed Buns), instead of a ground beef filling, I made a vegetarian filling with paneer.
Yield 15 buns
200g paneer, diced
1 handful shitakes, soaked and diced
2 tsp doubanjiang (Pixian broad bean chili paste)
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 inch ginger, trated
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
3 Tbsp chopped scallions
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1/4 cup water (as needed)
Dipping Sauce:
1 1/2 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp black vinegar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ginger powder
1/4 tsp sugar

For the Jiaozi (Potstickers), I made a leek and scallion filling inspired by Yi Reservation's chive dumplings.
Yield 90 Jiaozi
1 lb (450g) mix of ground turkey and beef
1/2 lb (225g) chopped leeks
3 chopped scallions
1 inch ginger, chopped
1 egg
1 cup hot water
1 tsp corn starch
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
Make the filling by stirring everything together in one direction, adding the water 2 tablespoons at a time until all the water is absorbed.

For the Goi Cuan (Fresh Spring Rolls) I replaced the shitake and basil by some avocado and cilantro to make it dreamily perfect.

For the Cha Gio (Nems/Egg Rolls) I used chicken and red cabbage instead of turkey and kohlrabi.

All this was more than enough food for everybody, so for dessert I stayed on familiar territory.. pie.. Plum Pie to be exact.
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