If you have ever had Chinese food, you may know that each region of China is famous for its own local delicacy – Sichuan for its spicy and numbing hot pot, Zhejiang for its Ningbo salty crab, Beijing for its crispy and juicy Peking roast duck, and the list could go on and on. And if you are a big fan of Cantonese cuisine, there’s no way you wouldn’t know what it is best known for: yes, its dim sum – the little dishes with different varieties that are well liked by people of all ages.
Dim sum is a Cantonese local specialty that is served in bite-sized portions in steamer baskets or on small plates. It is very popular in the Guangdong province of China, especially in Hong Kong. It is usually available from early morning, for elders to have their breakfast after morning exercises, to mid-afternoon, for families to enjoy their get-together time on the weekends. With its versatile cooking methods, from steaming and sautéing to deep-frying, dim sum might seem like the kind of dish that you would never think of making at home. But with the following five easy and crowd-pleasing dim sum recipes, you don’t have to go out to Chinese restaurants to satisfy your dim sum cravings!
1. Cheung Fun Recipe (homemade rice noodles), Two Ways
Cheung fun, a.k.a. rice noodles, is a very common dim sum that you can have at Chinese restaurants. They come with fillings of different kinds – beef, barbecue pork, shrimp, mushrooms, and sometimes even just plain cheung fun! In this recipe, you’ll learn two ways to make this hearty dim sum at home.
The first one uses dried shrimp and scallions as the ingredients wrapped inside, while the second one entails rolling together with Chinese crullers, a form of Chinese fried dough, to make a nice side dish to go with congee. As for the rice noodles, you can either make them at home using a wok and a pan for the steaming, or if you are feeling a little lazy (as we all do sometimes), store-bought ones work just fine! To make the dipping sauce, just mix together some raw sugar, water, dark soy sauce, and oyster sauce (all of which are available at your local Asian grocery stores) and this silky smooth cheung fun dim sum is ready to be served.
2. Pan-Seared Egg Tofu “Scallops” with Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe
This dim sum recipe calls for a special type of tofu – not your usual soybean tofu, but egg tofu. Egg tofu is originally from Japan but is now very popular among people in Hong Kong and Taiwan. It is often used for dim sum in Chinese restaurants as well. Unlike the regular soybean tofu that we all have tried, egg tofu has a firmer silken texture. Since it usually comes in a tube, each piece of tofu resembles a scallop when you slice it, hence the name of this recipe.
Simply pan sear the egg tofu for 1 to 2 minutes per side or until they turn golden brown, then serve them with sweet chili sauce (which can be homemade or store-bought). This pan-fried egg tofu is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Perfect as a snack for summer days.
3. Steamed “Longevity” Peach-shaped Buns
If you have ever been to a Chinese banquet for someone’s birthday, you must have tried these peach-shaped buns for dessert. Embedded with wishes of “longevity,” these cute little steamed buns are usually stuffed with red bean paste, lotus paste, or custard, which are very traditional fillings for Chinese desserts. Although people usually had them only for ritual events or birthdays in the old days, you can pretty much find them on any restaurant dim sum order sheet nowadays.
Don’t be fooled by the appearance of the buns, they look adorable and they are easy to make! Prepare the dough and let it rest for around 30-40 minutes. At the same time, heat a Chinese steamer (if you don’t have one, a large pot with a steaming rack also does the trick) and steam the buns until they are done. A plus point for this recipe: if you have extra red bean paste or lotus paste left, you can save it for making other Chinese desserts, like moon cakes and sesame balls!
4. Dim Sum Spare Ribs with Black Beans
This dim sum may look complicated at first glance, but if you take a look at this recipe, you will be blown away by how effortless it is to make these flavorful spare ribs with black beans. Being a classic dim sum, it uses Chinese fermented black beans, which are enriched with flavors, and Shaoxing wine, which is a common kind of wine used in Chinese cuisine to spice up the dish.
There might be quite a lot of seasonings going on in this recipe, but all you need to do is marinate your pork ribs (which are cut into 1-inch pieces) with them for at least 30 minutes. If you’ve got the time, marinating them in the fridge overnight will yield the best results! Once they are ready, put them on small plates, like how Chinese restaurants would do, and steam them for around 10 minutes. You can have them alone or you can put them on rice!
5. Shrimp Wrapped in Tofu Skin
Yes, finally a recipe for a crunchy dim sum that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser! Tofu skin (a.k.a. bean curd sheet) is used as the wrapper for this crunchy, savory snack. As the name suggests, tofu skin is actually the skin that forms at the top of fresh soy milk. It is a very popular ingredient in Chinese dim sum dishes. Again, lots of different fillings can be wrapped inside, such as chicken, pork, bamboo shoots, carrots — you name it!
In this recipe, shrimp is mixed with seasonings like chicken bouillon powder, Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, and white pepper powder. The pieces are wrapped with both ends twisted so that the oil won’t seep in when you deep fry them. Once they turn golden brown, take them out and absorb the excess oil with paper towels. Now you can sit back, take a sip of pu-erh tea, and enjoy this crunchy dim sum at home!
Featured photo credit: CNN via i2.cdn.turner.com