I, white woman from the suburbs, purchased a bamboo steamer (god bless the internet) and made Dim Sum from scratch. If I can do it, trust me, you can do it. Ready? Set, get off your bum
& dim summmmm.
My favorite memory as a kid when we visited San Francisco was this hole in the wall spot in Chinatown my step father insisted we ransack every trip. We invaded that place like cockroaches on a quest for an authentic meal or two…aw who am I shitting, make it 3. And for good reason– the dim sum never ceased to be steaming, fresh, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
Another memory dear to my heart was when I learned the tiny little quail chicks in the shop windows of Chinatown were not pets, but were to be dinner later in the week. Mortified, I begged my mom for some cash and rescued an entire flock. For months thereafter I was a very proud 9 year old quail mother…until they started getting bigger, meaner, and pecking at each others backs until feathers littered our suburban yard and neighbors began to complain of the squawking and the horrific stench. Not sure if that’s the reason I still don’t eat meat…but I’d like to think it made a small, stinky contribution.
So if you’re sitting there reading this post like “kayyyyy…but WTF is dim sum and why should I eat it?” Dim Sum, originally a Cantonese custom, is a catch-all term for a variety of dumplings, steamed dishes, and other goodies. The term literally translates into the phrase “to touch your heart”…and yes, yes it does. Normally you order a bunch of different types and stuff yourself into a Chinese food coma. It’s worth it.
In these dumplins’ the dough is a simple flour + water mixture that yields the perfect chewy texture. The filling consists of a f*ckton of nutritious healing ingredients like ginger root and hot chili (code for mega anti-inflammatories) garlic (a known antibacterial) vitamin K-laden spinach, and protein-rich green peas (8 g per cup!!!) and of course, skrimps for lean protein! The result:
GET OFF MY CHOPSTICKS AND INTO MY MOUTH.
Shrimp Dim Sum Dumplings
Makes 10-12 medium/large dumplings
For the dough: *Make this first!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups just-boiled water
- Boil 2 cups of water in a saucepan or tea kettle. When boiled, remove from heat and let stand for 1 minute.
- Add the flour to a food processor. Pour 3/4 cup of the just-boiled water in and let it whirl away. After 10-15 seconds, check the dough. It should look a wee bit rough, but still be pretty soft to the touch. Add more water, 1 T at a time, if necessary and keep whirling until a ball begins to form.
- Once dough is relatively formed, take out the dough ball and place onto a lightly floured surface Knead for ~30 seconds more with the palm of yo hands. Be careful not to overwork it or the dough will become too tough. The dough should be pretty smooth and somewhat elastic. Place dough ball in a plastic bag and seal it. Let it sit for 15 minutes– dough will sweat a bit (think back to your 16-year old self after gym class) and will be soft and pliable. Dough can be used immediately or can sit in the fridge overnight and then brought to room temp before rolling out for the dumplings.
- Divide dough into 10-20 golf-ball sized balls and roll out each one individually, about medium thickness, with a rolling pin. Actually I used an old bottle of Mescal and it worked like a charm….no judgements up in here. Next up make the filling.
For the shrimp that goes inside the filling: *Make this second!
- 1 T extra-virgin olive, canola, or sesame oil
- 14-15 uncooked medium-sized shrimp (about 1/2 lb)
Place oil in a medium sized skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook, stirring 3-4 minutes until shrimp are no longer translucent. Remove from heat and set aside to use in the next step.
For the rest of the shrimp filling: *Make this last!
- shrimp (*from recipe above), minced
- 1 handful fresh baby spinach leaves, chopped finely
- 1/2 cup cooked green peas
- 3 scallions, sliced thinly
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 T fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
- 1/4 cup fresh chives, minced + 10-15 more chives left whole for tying dumplings
- T sesame oil
- 3 T low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp chili paste (I fancy this kind) but you can also use 1 tsp dried chili flakes
- sprinkle of black pepper
- pinch of fresh lime zest
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients up until the sesame oil and mix well.
- Next, add sesame oil and remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Taste test and see if you would like to add more more of the above ingredients. Get crafty n’ shit.
- Fill each rolled out dumpling ball with a spoonful of filling (recipe above)– use your fingers to shape the dough to encompass the filling, pinching the dough to seal it shut. Tie each dumpling with a chive.
- If you have a bamboo steamer, use the force. If not, fill a large wok or saucepan (just make sure it’s big enough the steamer doesn’t touch the edges of the pan) with 1-2″ water and boil the water. Place the dumpling in the steamer, using steamer papers in each tier and steam for 7-8 minutes. You can also use a metal colander and line it with parchment paper. I actually had to look this part up and ummm… click here if you need further clarification). Again, no judgements mkay.
- Remove from heat, let cool, and eatcho dumplins’ darlin.