One of the first things I did once my exams finished (*ahem* more than two weeks ago) was to bake a batch of crème caramels (which I must blog about some day….once I get it perfect!) as I’d been receiving requests from my family for them since ages ago. It’s been a while since I’ve made a relatively successful dessert and I was quite happy to be in the kitchen again measuring and whisking away. It's been quite a while since I've been in the kitchen making a nice dessert, as you may have noticed from the things I post on this blog. I do however, bake and cook a lot more than I blog- don’t worry, I haven’t completely stopped baking! I’ll admit that I’ve been quite lazy with blogging this year and too often, just can’t be bothered to photograph food nicely or to write something which doesn’t make me sound like an idiot (which, might I add, takes quite a lot of effort!) to publish here.
My second creation of these holidays, which I'm quite proud of, are these squid shaped (yess....they're supposed to look like squid!) shrimp dumplings, which took me and my mum about 1.5 hours to make! The recipe comes from a cookbook I bought at the airport at the beginning of the year, on the way back from Hong Kong, Trendy Dim Sum in Hong Kong . Dim sum is one of my favourite things to make (though probably not as much as desserts and pastries!), despite me not liking yum cha that much, because it's a really category of its own- with its unique techniques and methods, some of which are quite challenging.
I've been itching to try some recipes from this particular book though, because it has got to be the most creative dim sum book I've ever seen. Think pea shaped dumplings, turtle shaped pastries, chrysanthemum pastries just to name a few!
Dumplings before streaming
My mum often makes har gow (steamed prawn dumpling) at home, from a trusty recipe she obtained from a cooking course she attended ages ago (which I might have to share here some day) so making these dumplings wasn't too much of a challenge for us. The dough/wrapper was a little different in this recipe because it's supposed to be a crystal wrapper- that is, it's supposed to be transparent. Which didn't exactly happen to ours, as you can see in the pictures, and the addition of a tapioca starch paste to the dough made it incredibly sticky and difficult to handle. We didn't exactly follow the recipe because we didn't have a whole lot of seafood in our pantry so we basically made the filling with prawns and water chestnuts and minced some squid to stick all the filling ingredients together.
The squid shape was a lot harder to make than it looked and we ended up using so much time to perfect our squid shapes- probably a lot more time than it was worth but it was fun! They didn't end up tasting as good as the har gow we usually make from my mum's recipe but still quite good. And I thought they were pretty cute too!
Squid and Seafood Dumplings
Recipe from Trendy Dim Sum in Hong Kong
75g tapioca starch (can substitute with corn flour)
225g boiling water
150g wheat flour/starch (tang flour)
225g boiling water
300g chopped squid
38g cooked shark's fin
38g diced water chestnut
38g soaked white fungus
19g diced spring onion
19g diced bell pepper
15g grandulated sugar
19g corn flour
Some black sesame seeds for making the eyes
1. Mix the water and tapioca starch of (A) together. Then add in the boiling water, stir until the starch becomes half done. (I'm not quite sure what it means exactly by half done, but this should be a thick paste)
2. Pour the boiling water of (B) into the wheat flour until totally done (this should become a thick paste)
3. Mix the above mixtures together and knead the mixture into a smooth dough. Then divide to 20 portions, 11g each. Roll them into round, thin slices. We didn't bother weighing the dough out- we divided them into fishball sized portions.
1. Wash the squid, mince and strir vigorously until sticky, add in the seasoning and then mix with the remaining filling ingredients. Set aside.
2. Wrap about 15g (~ 1 teaspoon) of the filling with a portion of crystal wrapper and knead into a squid shape, and then stick 2 black sesame seeds as eyes.
3. Steam in a steamer on high heat for aout 3 minutes. Serve with broth.
The shaping probably needs a bit of clarifying here. What we did was to roll the dough into a circle about the size of a mug, place the filling within and then fold it in half and pinch together the dough to seal. We then cut horizontally along the top of the semicircle so that the filling remained sealed. One of the ends of dough, we shaped into a ball, flattened slightly and then cut into strips. The other end, we pinched into point. With the extra dough we rolled that into a thin triangle and pinched it back onto the pointy end to make the tail.
P.S: Sorry for disappearing for so long- sleeping in and doing nothing just feels too good ;)