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Dim Sum for Chinese New Year PDF Print E-mail

Chinese New Year

It's the year of the goat. . . and time for some kosher Dim Sum by guest columnist Lauren Stacy Berdy.

These recipes are excerpts from:

Remaining Kosher Volume Two: A Cookbook for All with a Hechsher in Their Heart
First Publication Volume One: July 2013 Publication
Volume Two: Summer 2015 UDJ Productions
©2015 Lauren Stacy Berdy, All photos © 2015 John White

I have a fondness for Chinese food. Perhaps it’s part of my DNA? These dim sum recipes continue the Kosher Chinese conversation that I started in Remaining Kosher Volume One: A Cookbook for All with a Hechsher in Their Heart.

The Chinese have a fondness for displaying their ingenuity in food making.
Small tastes were never more delightfully construed.
Dim sum are small, wise bites of food that can also accomplish the business of a meal.
We aren't talking complicated. These delicious tastes are all simple to master.
The recipes form some kind of divine duo.
Or, make one, then another time try one of the others.
The preparation of dim sum can easily slip into your kosher repertoire.
No authentic ingredients were forfeited in the making of these small wonders.

One Filling, Two Dim Sum
"Pearl Balls" and "Flower Dumplings"

This is a fun and easy recipe. The same meat filling is used to make a couple different, delicious Chinese dim sum.

The first dim sum is a classic named "Pearl Balls." A miniature meatball is formed by rolling, then rolled again in water-soaked rice. After the dumplings are steamed, the rice glistens pearl-like about the meatball's surface.
The second dim sum is a partially open face dumpling using a traditional dumpling skin. Rice is added into to the filling and placed in the middle of the dumpling skin. Before steaming, the filling is partially wrapped in the skin, but not fully enclosed on the top- a delightfully easy way to form a dumpling. I think this dim sum resemble flowers!

Both dumplings rapidly come together: we aren't talking complicated. If you can make a meatloaf, you can prepare these dumplings. Once learned, these techniques will become good friends. If you don't have a steamer, just follow the instructions below to improvise one using a disposable aluminum pie plate.

There are many varieties of rice. This recipe uses round rice (also known as short grain or pearl grain) that you might know as dessert rice. Round rice is a staple of many cultures: find it on most grocer's shelves. When cooked, the individual raw, rounded rice grain always remains whole and individual. These reasons and more are why the Chinese use round rice in many of their dim sum.

The filling does not ask for much of your time. Ground turkey is used with a few choice easy to find inclusions.

Dried shiitake mushrooms are not hard to find. While many specialty markets carry them, buying shiitakes in most oriental stores may net a better and less expensive mushroom. Look for caps that are bursting with cracks from being so fat. like any dry mushroom, these need a soaking. Then the soaking liquid is used during the braising. Once cooked, shiitakes yield a complicated, savory taste that is meatier than any mushroom. These mushrooms add not only taste but texture to the filling. Everything else in the recipe is within easy reach at the supermarket. I enjoy eating my dumplings dipped in rice vinegar mixed with soy sauce. This bright tasting dip will bring out all the flavors.

You can prepare and steam either dumpling a few hours before serving, when they can easily be re-steamed.

Pearl Balls


One_Filling_Two_Dim_Sum_photo_4_Mobile

Pearl Balls Ingredients
1½ cups raw round grained rice: water to cover, soaked for an hour
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Braised Mushroom Ingredients
4 large or 5 small dried shiitake mushrooms:
soaked in 2 cups baby-bottle-warm water for an hour
2 tablespoons dark soy
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon sugar

Dumpling Filling Ingredients
¾ lbs. ground turkey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
3 garlic clove, peeled
(1) one inch piece ginger: peeled and roughly chopped
10 celery leaves: washed and checked
2 stalks of celery (inner whiter stalks): washed, checked, roughly chopped
½ cup carrots, julienned (store bought for convenience)
2 green onions: washed, checked and sliced into thirds
⅓ cup sliced water chestnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Vinegar Dip Ingredients
½ cup rice vinegar
½ cup soy sauce

Method to make Pearl Balls
Soak the rice. Adding enough water to cover for at least an hour. Set aside.
To prepare the braised mushrooms: take the mushrooms out of the soaking liquid. Squeeze each mushroom over and into the soaking water. Cut the mushroom stems off with kitchen scissors or a knife. Cut each mushroom into ¼" slices.
Pour all the soaking liquid into a small saucepan. Add in the sliced mushrooms, soy, sesame oil and sugar.
Braise the mushrooms uncovered on a low simmer for 25 minutes or until 1 tablespoon of liquid remains.
Scrape out the mushrooms and remaining liquid into a small bowl. Cool.
Once the braised mushrooms are room temperature, you may begin assembling the dumpling filling.
Put the ground turkey in a mixing bowl. Pour the soy sauce over the turkey. Refrigerate.
Prime all the other ingredients.
Prepare the vegetables for the food processor.
Pull off at least 10 celery leaves: wash and check.
Use two of the interior, whiter, shorter celery pieces with leaves attached. Roughly chop the tender celery stalk.
Measure out the julienned carrots.
Slice the green onions into thirds.
Place the following ingredients into the food processor bowl: the sliced braised mushrooms and any liquid, garlic cloves, roughly chopped ginger, celery leaves, celery stalks and leaves, carrots and green onion. Process for 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides. Process for another 5 seconds.
Add in the water chestnuts. Process just until they are mostly broken up.
Scrape the minced ingredients over the ground turkey and soy sauce.
Add in the rice wine vinegar and sesame oil.
For at least 15 seconds, use wet hands to knead the ingredients into the ground turkey.
Refrigerate for 15 minutes or overnight.
Wash hands with soap and water.

Finishing
To make a pearl ball:
Line a cookie sheet with plastic wrap or foil.
Drain the rice. Discard the rice water.
Put the rice in a meat mixing bowl. Mix the rice with the cornstarch.
Take out the seasoned meat. Roll the meat into walnut size meatballs.

Put a single rolled meatball into the bowl of rice. Roll and rock the bowl about until rice grains cling to all sides of the meatball.

Use your hands to gently reshape the ball into rounds. Place ¼" apart into the steamer basket (pie plate). Continue until the baskets (pie plates) are full.
Place the remaining Pearl Balls on a lined cookie sheet and refrigerate.


Steaming
Dim_Sum_Steaming_MobileFill a steamer pot with water and bring to boil.
Or if making a steamer: punch 8 evenly spaced holes in the bottom of the disposable pie plate. Place the pie plate so it fits snugly atop a pot of boiling water. Wet and wring out a non-lint kitchen towel. Set aside.

Brush the streamer tray/pie plate with vegetable oil. Repeat with each steaming.
Place the steamer tray (or pie plate and damp kitchen towel covering the dumplings) over the boiling water. Steam for 30 minutes.
Have a plate or pan ready to receive steamed dumplings.

Remove cooked pearl balls out of the steamer.
Prepare more pearl balls and steam, as needed.
Once cool, all steamed rice balls can stored "flat," sealed and refrigerated.
Reheat by steaming for 2 minutes over boiling water.
Dipping Sauce
Combine the vinegar and soy. Stir. Divide and place in small bowls for each diner.
Serving
Place the dumplings on a warm plate- or just serve from the steamer.
Make sure a small bowl of dip is at each place setting.
Note: If the cooked dumplings are cold from the refrigerator: reheat by steaming for 2 minutes.

Yield: 8 servings
Special Equipment: sauce pan, bowls, ½ sheet pan or cookie sheet, foil, steamer (or a disposable aluminum pie plate to improvise a steamer), a clean non-lint kitchen towel for the disposable steamer

**********************************************
"Flower" Dumplings

One_Filling_Two_Dim_Sum_photo_5_Mobile

Ingredients
½ cup raw round grained rice: soaked for an hour, water to cover

Braised Mushroom Ingredients
4 large or 5 small dried shiitake mushrooms: soaked for an hour
in 2 cups baby-bottle-warm water
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon sugar

Dumpling Filling Ingredients
¾ lb. ground turkey
½ tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
3 garlic cloves, peeled
(1) one inch piece ginger: peeled and roughly chopped
10 celery leaves: washed and checked
2 stalks of celery (inner whiter stalks) washed and checked, roughly chopped
½ cup carrots, julienned (store bought for convenience)
2 green onions: washed, checked and sliced
¼ cup sliced water chestnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Vinegar Dip Ingredients
½ cup rice vinegar
½ cup soy sauce

Flower Dumplings Method
Soak the rice. Adding enough water to cover for at least an hour. Set aside.
Prepare the braised mushrooms: take the mushrooms out of the soaking liquid. Squeeze each mushroom over and into the soaking water. Cut the mushroom stems off with kitchen scissors or a knife. Cut each mushroom into ¼" slices.
Pour all the soaking liquid into a small saucepan. Add in the sliced mushrooms, soy, sesame oil and sugar.
Braise the mushrooms uncovered on a low simmer for 25 minutes or until 1 tablespoon of liquid remains.
Scrape out the mushrooms and remaining liquid into a small bowl. Cool.
Put the ground turkey in a mixing bowl. Pour the soy sauce over the turkey. Refrigerate.
Prime all the other ingredients.
Prepare the vegetables for the food processor.
Pull off at least 10 celery leaves: wash and check.
Use two of the interior whiter, shorter celery stalks with leaves attached. Cut each tender celery stalk in three.
Measure out the julienned carrots
Slice the green onions into thirds.
Place the following ingredients into the food processor bowl: the sliced braised mushrooms and all liquid, garlic cloves, roughly chopped ginger, celery leaves, celery stalks and leaves, carrots, and green onion. Process for 15 seconds. Scrape the sides. Process for another 5 seconds.
Add in the water chestnuts and carefully process until they are mostly broken up.
Scrape out the minced ingredients and spread over the ground turkey and soy sauce.
Add in the rice wine vinegar and sesame oil.
For at least 15 seconds, use wet hands to knead the ingredients into the ground turkey.
Refrigerate for 15 minutes (or overnight for later use).
Wash hands with soap and water.

Finishing
Cover the surface of a ½ sheet pan with foil.
On a flat working surface, lay out 10 dumpling skins whiter side down (if using traditional made skins).

Place a well-rounded tablespoon of filling into the middle of each dumpling by pushing the filling off the spoon with one finger.

Gather the edges of the skin around the filling, surrounding it but leaving the top open.

Place each dumpling onto the foiled surface of the sheet pan.
Prepare more flower dumplings as needed.

Use the back of a fork that has been freshly dipped in water to smooth, press and level the fillings surface.
The dumplings are ready to be cooked or refrigerated.
To refrigerate: Cover the dumplings with a damp kitchen towel, then seal with plastic wrap. Refrigerate up to 8 hours.
To freeze: place raw dumpling on the sheet pan. Freeze. Once frozen, place into zip locks.
Any remaining dumpling skin(s) and filling can be separately sealed and frozen.
If cooking now, proceed with the steaming.

Steaming
Fill a steamer pot with water and bring to boil.
Or if making a steamer: punch 8 evenly spaced holes in the bottom of the disposable pie plate. Place the pie plate so it fits snugly a top a pot of boiling water. Wet and wring out a non-lint kitchen towel. Set aside.
Brush the streamer tray with vegetable oil. Repeat for each all steaming.
Place the steamer tray(s) (or pie plate covered with a damp non-lint kitchen towel covering the dumplings) over the boiling water. Steam for 30 minutes.

Dipping Sauce
Combine the vinegar and soy. Stir. Divide and place in small bowls for each diner.

Serving
Place the dumplings on a warm plate- or just serve from the steamer.
Make sure a small bowl of dip is at each place setting.
If cooked dumplings are cold from the refrigerator: reheat by steaming for 2 minutes. Yield: 8 servings

 

Mushroom Peanut Rice Dumplings
& Chinese Turnip Cake

Vegetarian Mushroom Peanut & Rice DumplingsMushroom_Peanut_Rice_Dumpling_photo_5_Mobile

The crafting of dumplings clearly comes into the Dim Sum picture, front and center.
Most dumplings are simple to reproduce, and that's the point. The idea is to make many of these babies, so there will be many to eat!
This particular dumpling has coloring book sensibility. However, these dumplings need your willingness to get crafted.
Hands are the tools here: I am committed to getting you to use yours.
These particular dumplings are vegetarian and the recipe has been in my repertoire for many years.
This filling does not resemble the familiar ground "meatloaf" formula. But it still tastes mighty savory, flavorful and meaty.
This is due in large part to a few dried shitake mushrooms. They provide the meaty mouth feel resulting in a gloriously rich texture that you finally bite into.
Chinese dried mushrooms first get soaked, then simmered in their soaking water along with other off the shelf ingredients.
The raw peanuts cook inside the same pot and will lose their crunch, becoming a tender vegetable.
Round rice (also known as dessert rice) is a starchier rice. You will find it on the same shelf as the rice you already buy. It is a staple in many parts of the world.
These vegetarian dumplings can either be steamed or pan-fried.
Here what I know: dumplings are happy food anyway they get cooked.
How very nice of you to make them! Any extra filling and dumpling skins can be frozen. See method below.
Note: my preferred kosher dumpling wrappers are Twin Marquis brand. Look for them in the frozen section in your neighborhood kosher markets.
Dried Chinese mushrooms are ubiquitous in Asian cooking. Find them wherever Asian foods are sold. Look for the fat one with cracks on their caps. Buy the small ones they are cheap and cheerful.

Ingredients
½ cup "round" rice: soaked in water to cover for at last 1 hour, drained
8 large (or 12 small) dried black mushrooms, soaked in 3 cups
of baby bottle warm water for 1 hour
½ cup dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup raw peanuts (no skins): soaked overnight in water to cover, drained
½ cup sliced water chestnuts, coarsely chopped
(1) 2"piece of ginger, peeled and grated
3 tablespoons cilantro: washed, checked and chopped
3 green onions: washed, checked and thinly sliced
Romaine lettuce leaves for steaming: washed and checked (see cooking section)

Garnish
cilantro leaves for sprinkling: washed and checked
Yield: about 48 dumplings
Special Equipment: small mixing bowl, paring knife or kitchen scissors, saucepan with cover, food processor, medium mixing bowl, baking sheet, non-lint kitchen towel, skillet and cover (non-stick if available), cooking spatula, baking sheet

Method
Lift and squeeze out the mushrooms from their soaking water. Use a small knife or scissors to remove the tough stems and discard.
Drain the rice and discard its water. Drain the peanuts and discard its water.
Put the mushroom caps into a sauce pan; add in all the mushroom soaking liquid, rice, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and peanuts.

Cover and simmer on low for at least 50 minutes (or until about ¼ cup of liquid is left). Scrape cooked ingredients and liquid into a bowl. Set aside for ½ hour.
Use a food processor to chop the cooked mushroom-rice-peanut mixture and all remaining cooking liquid. Blend until all is ground into smaller pieces.
Remove and scrape into a mixing bowl.
Add in the chopped water chestnuts, grated ginger, cilantro and sliced green onion. Mix well.
At this point the filling can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
or
For now, leave out the cilantro and the green onions. The mixture can then stay refrigerated for about ten days.
Don't forget (to add) the cilantro and the green onions when doing the finishing!

Finishing
Line a sheet pan with a non-lint kitchen towel. Combine the cornstarch and water in a bowl and mix until blended: this will be the dumpling's glue. Unseal dumpling wrappers and remove 10 of them.Wet a paper towel and then wring it out. Lay over all the other dumpling skins.
Lay the 10 dumpling skins "white" (cornstarch) side down on your work surface.
Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the edges of each dumpling skin with the cornstarch "glue."
Place a well-rounded teaspoon of filling in each center. After cleaning your hands, fold one wet edge over to the other.
Pick the dumpling up from the folded center and place in the palm of your non-working hand.

Using your working hand, grasp the open edges between your work thumb and index finger. Firmly pinch the dumpling, almost pulling up the edges as you seal. The dumpling skin is elastic, but not a rubber band. Treat them firmly but kindly.
Place the sealed dumplings on the lined baking sheet. Repeat.
To freeze all the other dumpling skins: seal any remaining dumpling skins in plastic wrap, then place into a zip lock. Freeze. You will need to thaw the dumpling skins in the refrigerator the night before using.
Filled dumpling are best cooked and eaten the same day they are made.
The prepared dumplings can be made up to 8 hours before cooking if refrigerated uncovered.
But uncooked dumplings can be frozen, if necessary or convenient. Place on a kitchen towel lined cookie sheet, freeze, then one by one place the dumplings into zip lock bags. Do not thaw before cooking.
Cook the un-thawed dumplings using the following methods. Increase the cooking time as needed.

Steam Cooking the Dumplings
To steam: prepare a baking sheet lined with a non-lint kitchen towel. Prepare a steaming pot: add water and bring to a simmer.
Line the steamer basket with lettuce leaves: this prevents the dumplings from sticking.
Cut the rib of the lettuce leaves. Line the inside the bottom of the steamer with the soft green leaves. It doesn't have to be perfect
You don't want the dumplings to touch while steaming, so place accordingly.
Steam the dumplings for 20 minutes.
Remove steamed dumplings and place onto prepared sheet pan.
Cover with plastic wrap. Repeat, reusing the same lettuce leaves.
To reheat: steam for 3 minutes

Serving Steamed Dumplings
Assemble the dumplings on platter. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
My husband eats at least 6, I eat 4...
You can plop the cooked dumplings into the chicken soup, too!

*****************************************
Pan Frying the Dumplings

Set the oven to 200 ºF. Get out a non-stick (if available) frying pan with a cover. Have a sheet pan ready to receive the cooked dumplings.
Measure out ¼ cup of tap water. Get out the vegetable shortening.
You will need a cooking spatula.
Use a paper towel to wipe the skillet with a film of vegetable shortening.
Heat the frying pan to moderate.
The dumpling should make a noise when they hit the hot surface. Arrange so the dumplings so that they don't touch.
Cook until the dumplings are golden brown underneath- about 45 seconds.

Use the spatula to flip them over. Immediately pour in ¼ cup water onto the surface of the pan and cover.
Cook on moderate heat until all the liquid is practically absorbed: about 2 minutes. Remove the lid and cook 30 seconds more (or until crisp).
Remove the skillet from heat. Use the spatula to place the cooked dumplings on the baking sheet. Keep warm in oven (200 ºF) while you continue cooking. Repeat (as needed).

Serving
Arrange the dumplings on a serving platter. Sprinkle with coriander leaves and serve.
As mentioned before, my husband eats at least 6, I eat 4...

 

Chinese Turnip Cake

Chinese_Turnip_Cake_7_Mobile

This is my own interpretation of this classic Dim sum. You won't believe what a turnip can become! I bow lowly to those ancient Chinese cooks who made this combination of tastes and textures possible.

Turnips are given a star turn here and shine under the spotlight. Shredded raw turnips are partnered with round starchy rice that has been soaked. They will get ground and then mixed with a small cast of easy to find inclusions.

The corn beef can easily be justified as a solid credible player though not essential it lends another note to this unusual troupe of ingredients.

The recipe can easily be recast in the vegetarian role. The combined elements are steamed in a loaf pan, cooled, unmolded and sliced.

A final cooking in a lightly greased pan allows the famous crusty exterior to appear.

Ingredients
1½ short grained (round) rice: soaked overnight in water to cover
1½ cups of peeled turnips, finely shredded
2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
5 scallions, thinly sliced
2 sandwich slices of corn beef (such as Aaron's), chopped
option: leave out to keep vegetarian
½ cup chopped, raw, skinless peanuts
option: leave out if allergic

2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
2 teaspoons sesame oil (more vegetable oil if excluding)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

for cooking:
vegetable shortening

Garnish:
1 green onion: washed checked and sliced

Yield: 6 servings
Special Equipment: standing blender or food processor, rubber spatula, mixing bowl, wax paper or parchment paper, plastic wrap, steamer, disposable loaf pan, paper towels, frying pan (non-stick if available)

Method
Keep a ¼ cup of rice water. Drain (and discard) the remaining water. Scrape into a standing blender or a food processor. Add the ¼ cup of water and grind rice until it is almost a paste. Stop the machine as needed to stir.

Add in the grated turnips to the rice paste.

Process and blend for thirty seconds. Stop the machine to stir as needed. The rice and turnips needs to be pasty, but not smooth.

Scrape contents into a mixing bowl.

Cook the scallions until wilted in 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.

Combine and stir the scallions and all its cooking oil in with the ground rice and turnips. Stir in the optional peanuts.

Cooking the Turnip Cake
Cut a piece wax or parchment paper so it is long enough to extend end to end inside the loaf pan. Brush the entire inside (paper and all) with the vegetable and sesame oil. Scrape in the blended rice and turnip mixture. The mixture is ready for steaming.

Seal the cake tightly with saran wrap. Set on a rack of a steamer.

Steam tightly lidded for an hour and a half over gently boiling water.

As in baking a cake, the mixture is finished when a toothpick comes out clean. Cool to room temperature.

Refrigerate for at least 5 hours. This turnip cake can stay refrigerated for 1 week.

Finishing
Slip the cake from its mold. Slice finger-thick slices.
Get out a frying pan.
This technique is called a shallow fry. Add in enough vegetable shortening so it just about pools in the pan.
Get the skillet hot.
The turnip cakes should make noise as they slip in. Do not crowd the pan.

Cook until crisp and brown- about 1½ minutes. Turn and repeat.

Serve immediately.
or
To reheat
: get a dry skillet hot. Place a few sliced cakes back into the pan. Heat on one side, then the other to re-crisp.

Serving
Shingle the turnip cake slices on a platter.
Sprinkle the slices with the green onions.

Notes:
This steamed cake can be made five days beforehand, then browned the day of your event.
Corn beef can be excluded to make a vegetarian cake.
Peanuts can also be excluded due to allergies.

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