They say that one of the hardest parts of dim sum making or dim sum dumpling making is in the folding and creation of the little dough filled critters that are so popular and tasty with endless varieties of fillings. Dim sum is an old, yet quite trendy, culinary dish that has a Cantonese tradition. These delectable bite size dumplings of love were usually served at roadside teahouses as snacks with hot tea to weary travelers along the legendary Silk Road.
In order to really learn the ‘art’ of folding, I decided there was no better place to learn than from the best. And, that meant traveling half way around the globe to Shanghai, China and a delightful home cook, Mrs. Yi. While her English was like my Mandarin, about non-existent, we were super lucky to have with us (hubby Ben and me), Zoe, our skillful and amazing Chinese guide. You’ll hear Zoe narrate as she videoed me struggling with the mastery of the folding technique as Mrs. Yi patiently worked with my clumsy hands trying to emulate her skillful artistry!
Mrs. Yi, used pre-made dough from the market. These were small squares, about 3″ x 3″, and precisely like wonton wrappers that you can purchase in some markets and all Asian grocery stores. Yes, you can make your own dough, but for those who really want dim sum and are motivated enough to make it, then opting to skip the making of the dough encourages actually doing it! I’m always looking for ways to encourage Millenials and GenX’ers to get in the kitchen. And, if we can have shortcuts, and in this case using wonton wrappers, then it’s likely that they’ll actually cook in the kitchen.
After the dim sum dumpling making, Mrs. Yi served table full of incredible homemade Chinese food. She kept returning to her very small kitchen bringing out dish after dish after dish. It was truly a feast, and we all sat around long after eating, talking (thank goodness for Zoe the interpreter!), laughing and sharing!
Yes, this is the magic of food. There are no barriers. No boundaries. No differences in us as humans. We love to share our passion for food and the love and camaraderie that explodes when we all sit around a table. I find this to be true whether I’m in a small apartment in Shanghai, a Berber tent in the Sahara desert, a coffee table in St. Petersburg, Russia or right in my home in America.
Here are some tips:
You’ll want to have a small bowl of water nearby as you fold the wrappers.
You also will need to have your filling of choice prepared. You can use both savory and sweet fillings.
Don’t overfill the dough. Mrs. Yi literally used a teaspoon or a little more and spread it out some in the center of the dough. (Sorry no specific measurements for this!)
Try to work fast. You’ll get better as you learn the folding technique.
Keep the dumplings you’ve completed covered with a damp cloth. You don’t want them to dry out.
Dim sum is typically served in piping hot bamboo steamer baskets. But, you can certainly improvise. The key is to keep them moist and hot. Mrs. Yi served our dim sum dumplings we made in a tasty broth with chives. Super deeeelish!
Enjoy watching my two minutes of dim sum making!