Thursday, 2 Jul 09
You know that feeling when someone walks past and asks what the heck do you think you’re doing..?
I haven’t been following Masterchef religiously. Blasphemy, I know. But when I do tune in, I do tend to enjoy it. Minus the dramatic video editing and swelling music, and the keep-watching-after-the-break cliff hangers, there are some really talented chefs on the program, some truly delicious looking food being cooked, and the occasional Adriano Zumbo eye-candy. So when I saw the Hong Kong yum cha battle, it elicited a serious craving for dumplings. So, inspired and with time to spare, I got cooking. Warning, pic heavy, text light post.
I went straight to the recent host of the Daring Cooks, Jen at Use Real Butter for her dumpling recipe. First flour is sifted, and some water poured in.
And then combined with chopsticks until incorporated. This part was really tiring. Little by little, more water is added until a firm but slightly sticky dough results. Then give your hand a break while you rest it under a damp cloth for 15 minutes.
Now just chill under here for a bit, okay?
During this time, I also defrosted my filling – its actually Mum’s ‘meatball’ mixture for bun rieu, a vermicelli soup, with crab and pork meatballs/paste and tomatoes. Much more subtle than the ubiquitious pho, but delicious all the same. I also called up to make sure I was actually allowed to use it. ^_^;;
Form into a dome shape, then cut into long rectangles. Then, chop chop…
…and roll as thin as possible. This part is probably the most intensive part. The dough needs to be slightly thinner at the edges than in the centre, and rolling out 50 pieces is really wearing on the palms and the back. It reminded me of cake decorating class and how I used to come home with bruised feeling palms.
Dollop filling into the centre, and shape into a rough quenelle. You need enough room around the outside to make the pleats, but I think I tended to err too much on the side of too little filling. If I had a helper in the kitchen, I’d be able to show you the pleating process, but as it is, you only get the end result of my very first dumpling…which was a…
…fail. They do get better really quick though, as you see. Pleat just one side (the side closest to you tends to be easier, and press the other side firmly against the pleat.
That way, you end up with the pretty curve that is characteristic of these dumplings. I should become a hand model.
Try to have the curves as even as possible, though I liked to make it get smaller towards then end.
What are these? All will be revealed later. They were an attempt at a xiao long bao shape, but I wasn’t quite sure how to seal it. The dough probably needed to be a touch thinner.
Plates of dumplings ready to be cooked. I made about 50 of them all up from the recipe. These were boiled or steam-fried over the next few days. Be sure to liberally coat the plate with flour though – I made that critical mistake and spent far too long trying to prise them off the plate..and off each other.
Steam – frying – not quite golden enough, but getting there…
deep fried Nutella xiao long bao
Time consuming as it may have been, I would make the dough again in an instant – if only to fill them up with Nutella and deep fry them.
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