Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Delicate Chinese Dumplings

Last week as I was still on holidays I had a girly day with my daughter. We went to see Up, the new Pixar film (and for those of you who have seen I wonder if your reaction to the first 10 minutes was the same as mine? (it made me cry)). We then went to have a manicure (my daughter wanted blue nails - we compromised with deep purple) and then we went to Ay Oriental Tea House in Prahran for a dumpling lunch.

I don't know what it is about Chinese food but I feel so pure and healthy when I eat it. Of course this is one of those generalisations, as I am sure there are many (maybe millions) of unhealthy Chinese people, but Chinese food seems very 'health giving' to me. And in terms of complex cuisine and technique I think they rank up there with the French.

I had prawn and baby pea leaf dumplings. Look at their quivering pearlescent beauty.

My daughter had 1.5 BBQ pork buns.

Eating my little dumplings I vowed to go on a bit of a health kick, as one does. To start I thought I would need some help detoxing. So on departure I bought some of their beautiful tea, including one which is basically dried up little rose buds, like the image below on the left:

I also bought a clear glass tea pot and little cup which is a double layer so you can hold it without your fingers burning.

Being quite into cooking, one of the things I look for in a restaurant is food I can't cook better at home. And quite a lot of Chinese dishes fall into that category. Like terrine, filo pastry, Chinese roast duck, bouillabaisse, prawn crackers, croquembouche and fruitcake I know that I am never going to even attempt most kinds of Chinese dumplings. But I am a bit partial to a very simple pork won ton. This is based on a Neil Perry recipe.


100g minced belly pork (note if you mince this yourself make sure your processor is strong. You could also probably use pork fillet).

1 finely chopped garlic clove

3/4 teaspoon of salt

freshly ground pepper

10 wonton wrappers. I use these:


Mix the pork, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl using a circular motion with your hand (this is to preserve the texture and not beat up the meat too much). Separate out wrappers. Put one teaspoon in the centre of a wrapper. Brush water around each edge. Fold the wrapper over into a triangle (which will have round edges if you are using round wrappers) and then fold the right side over to the left and gently pinch together. Continue until all are done. Drop into a pot of boiling water and simmer for two minutes.

Great with pre dinner drinks and you can also make a dipping sauce, simple soy will do or you can mix chilli oil (1 tbsp), minced garlic and shallot, Chinese red vinegar (1 tsp) and 2 tsp of kecap manis or normal soy.

Images: (1) Demand Studios (3)-(5) AY Oriental Tea House


Jacqueline @ HOME said...

What a lovely day you had with your daughter. Purple nails...cool !!
I'm feeling exactly like you...in need of detox and a healthy eating plan....thanks for the recipe... XXXX

Mise said...

It all sounds delicious (even at breakfast time), but particularly the rosebud tea. Meals are sometimes only tea in my rushed life but that would surely stop me with its scent and simplicity and make me notice life amid the work.

jane said...

great recipe! thanks! it´s funny, in spain, chinese restaurants are really cheap (an entire meal costs 5€) and really bad. i always try to convince people here that authentic chinese cooking is delicious... but there is no way... love the first shot. besos-jane

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Hi Jane
I just love that first image. That and the images of the herbal teas do invoke a feeling of good health!! I used to go to a Chinese Herbalist and really should go back!! The Traditional Chinese Medicine packs a stink when you boil it up.. [tastes about the same as the stink!! haha] but what a difference it makes!!

Funny I bought some Licorice Root tea recently and still haven't had any.. Your post is a timely reminder for me!! Have a great week.. x Julie

Millie said...

Sounds like a perfect day Jane. UP-3D is on our movie list for this w/end, so thanks for the warning, must remember to take Kleenex for MOTH, he's such a cry-baby!
Millie ^_^

Pinecone Camp said...

I'm definitely going to check out Ay Oriental Tea House when we go to Melbourne in November. Great tip!
haven't seen Up, but I want to. So I should bring tissues? Have a great day!

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