If you look at the labels to the bottom right, you can see that I clearly have a thing for Asian-influenced cuisine. Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese -- I love it all. This is mostly a product of growing up in Southern California, going to school in Northern California, and having a lot of Korean, Japanese and Chinese friends who would share homemade dumplings and buns during Middle and High School. Perhaps my favorite subdivision of this vast area of cuisine is Dim Sum. Finger foods with a punch of flavor are hard to beat. Plus, char siu bau (steamed bbq pork buns) are pretty much one of the best things in the entire world. While I opted to stop myself from eating crab rangoon a few times a week while living in San Francisco, I did not stop myself from indulging in pork buns. My only excuse for such behavior is that a certain friend whose name starts with J was (and continues to be) a bad influence.
But that's beside the point. I've looked into making pork buns at home because I can only drive 30-45 minutes to the San Gabriel Valley so often. The truth is that they use a lot of ingredients I don't own, and I hear working with the dough is a big pain. So I am currently saving them as a special treat and will just have to live with it. After a recent jaunt to Elite Restaurant in SGV, where I indulged in such a treat, shrimp dumplings solidified themselves as my second favorite type of dim sum. These, I thought, I could try at home. So, with leftover wonton wrappers from yesterday's extravaganza, I decided to put my theory to the test. And let me just say that these dumplings got thumbs up all around and were quickly devoured. My brother even got mad that I chose to save some for my dad when he returned for lunch. He should just be lucky I didn't make him wash dishes.Ingredients (Makes 16)
1/3 lbs deveined and peeled shrimp
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/8 cup finely grated carrot
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp freshly grated/minced garlic
1 tsp freshly grated ginger (or 1/2 tsp ginger powder)
1/2 tsp sugar
2 pinches of kosher salt
3 turns of a pepper grinder
2 tsp cornstarch
Wonton or Gyoza wrappers
1. Chop your shrimp into 3-4 pieces each. You want to taste your shrimp. Pat dry with a paper towel to get rid of excess water.
2. Mix all of the above ingredients together. You can add some water chestnuts if you want. I have textural issues with them.
3. Place a scant tablespoon of filling in a wonton wrapper, use water to seal the edges, and fold however you like. The internet has many instructions on the various ways to do so. The goal is to get approximately 1 shrimp in each wrapper.
4. You can boil the dumplings for 3-4 minutes until they rise, or you can steam them for 10 minutes. We have a vegetable steamer pot. You can also use a metal colander and stick it in a pot and place a lid over it. If you choose to steam, spray your dumpling holder with cooking spray so they don't stick.
Chillin' in the steamer insert while the water boils.
5. Serve with a sauce of your choice. I personally like soy sauce.