It is almost like a ritual for me/my family that we go for yum cha on Sundays. Yesterday, mostly because everyone woke up late, yum cha wasn’t on the agenda and whenever I don’t get to eat out where I want to I make the food myself at home whilst hoping for the best result.
I trekked to the Asian supermarket to buy my supplies for har gow (prawn dumplings). Har gows are my favourite dim sum and let me tell ya – leave it to the experts to make them. There was an Asian snacks cookbook lying around at home so I took a quick read and the recipe for prawn dumplings looked rather simple. Or so I thought. Basically this was all what was needed:
1 kilo prawns, chopped
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon Chinese cooking wine
1 small can bamboo shoots, chopped
1/4 kilo pork fat
1 1/2 cup non glutinous flour
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons oil
Just mix all the ingredients for the filling together. Then mix the ingredients for the wrapper until it becomes a dough. Then divide the dough into about 30 pieces and roll them into tiny thin circles. Like wontons, but round. Put the filling into the wrapper and pleat the edges until you get a crescent shaped dumpling with pleats.
Now there were several things that went wrong while I was making the dumplings. The recipe called for non glutinous flour. I went to the flour aisle of the supermarket and there was nothing called non glutinous flour. There was something called non glutinous rice flour though. I wasn’t entirely confident that rice flour was the right kind of flour but since it was the only non glutinous kind of flour I could find I ended up buying it. While rolling out the dough I felt that it wasn’t sticky enough to be a har gow wrapper. I couldn’t roll it out too thin too because it kept breaking so my dumpling ended up having a thick skin and little filling. But it was too late now. The filling was ready and my bamboo steamer was steaming so, make or break, the family would just have to be forced to eat the dumplings.
Taste-wise, the dumplings were not too bad. I did not have any pork fat so they weren’t greasy. I thought of adding some chicken powder for added flavour but I couldn’t find my chicken powder in the pantry. In lieu of the chicken powder I added garlic salt instead. Appearance-wise, they looked nothing like the har gows you see in dim sum houses. The skin is not translucent enough and, as much as I tried to pleat my dumplings, I couldn’t do so without breaking and cracking the wrapper. Now they just looked like soup dumplings.
Essentially the dumplings were too doughy and the taste of the wrapper was very floury so I made a dipping sauce to rescue them.
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons warm water
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
bunch of coriander, chopped
By the time I finished steaming all the dumplings I’ve decided that in the future I will simply head down to Northbridge to get my har gow fix. Making dim sums is an art that takes years to master.
I had extra prawn filling but I was reluctant to make any more wrappers since I wasn’t too happy with the ones I made earlier. Now what to do with the rest of the filling? I know. Prawn toast.
I have only ever eaten prawn toast twice before and both times were amazing. I like prawns. I like sesame seeds. I like deep fried stuff. I only eat deep fried food in restaurants so my version here is simply pan-fried. It’s not greasy at all so it doesn’t taste unhealthy. And to top it off, I used wholemeal multigrain bread for the toast. A healthy Chinese snack that you can only find in my kitchen.
I never thought I could eat so much prawns in one day!