These are one of my favourite dim sum. They are a great party food and are so easy to make. You can fill the wontons with any filling of your choice. I prefer using prawn as it makes the wontons light when fried up.
Dim sum mania spread to Hong Kong as the Guangzhou population immigrated to Hong Kong in the 1920s. Chinese restaurants grew exponentially in Hong Kong and soon dim sum was available from 6am through to late afternoon. Restaurants in Hong Kong and Guangzhou became filled mainly with the elderly population who often gathered to eat after the morning session of tai chi exercises, often enjoying the morning newspapers.
In the west, dim sum came about as a natural result of Chinese immigrants moving to the western world. When Europe started trading with the Orient, the seaport of Guangzhou became the gateway to the West. The Chinese readily absorbed these cosmopolitan influences, and being great travellers themselves, emigrated to the America and the United Kingdom. They were the first to make Chinese cooking known to the Western world and as a result dim sum has become the firm favourite across the Western world.
Go to a Chinese restaurant on a Sunday afternoon and you will be greeted by a sea of Chinese families spanning three generations. Dim sum is the Chinese equivalent of French hors d’oeuvres or Spanish tapas. It’s a colourful and loud dining experience starting with the rush for vacant seats and the hustle and bustle of the gesticulating waiters selling their dim sum specials from their trolleys. Bamboo containers filled with steamed dim sum are stacked high and quickly snapped up. Waiting staff ask what kind of tea we want to drink offering a vast array of jasmine tea, oolong tea, pu’er (or pu-erh) tea and green tea, which helps to wash down the dim sum. The noise of the chatter of the diners is deafening. It’s a busy, frantic affair and there is an air of organised panic in the restaurants, which adds to the excitement and entertainment. Dim sum is an overwhelming introduction to the Chinese nation’s love of food, gregariousness and cheerful chatter.
I love dim sum. There are over 200 dishes to choose from. One Cantonese saying goes that anything that walks, swims, crawls, or flies is edible. Another says that the only four-legged things that Cantonese people won’t eat are tables and chairs. The range of cooking skills required to make dim sum is vast. There is usually a dim sum master overseeing his section of the kitchen and there is a real art involved in making the dishes. Some dishes are steamed, others are fried. Some are baked. The variety of tastes is also mind boggling: sweet, sour, savoury and chilli.
A meal in a restaurant opens the taste buds, but cooking dim sum for my friends and family widens all the senses. I learnt the authentic recipes from Guangzhou and used them at Sweet Mandarin. Together with my sisters, Helen and Janet we made every dim sum from scratch. Stuffing and shaping wontons was the real family enterprise. We made the stuffing from a light prawn mince and wrapped the teaspoon of filling with a fine egg-based pastry. We all left our individual stamp on the wontons in the way we crimped the edges. I added a flamboyant tail on these wontons, which can then be dipped in the sweet and sour dip. My everyday rituals of properly selecting produce, cooking and presenting a meal, which I have inherited from my family, have given me an insight to see the meaning of my own cooking as a metaphor for life.
Serves 2/Makes approx. 20
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
200g minced king prawns
200g minced pork
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoons potato starch
20 wonton skins
vegetable oil, for frying
Sweet Mandarin’s Sweet and Sour dipping sauce, to serve
Put the prawns and minced pork in a bowl and season with salt, sugar, sesame oil and potato starch and water. Mash with a fork so the mixture is combined into a sticky paste but still retains some texture.
Place 1 teaspoon of the filling into the centre of the wonton skins. Using your index finger dampen one corner of the edge of the pastry and fold over into a triangle. The technique is to pleat the edges so they meet in the centre so you have a dumpling edge that is wavy (see photo opposite).
Fill a hot wok ¼ full with vegetable oil. Check the oil is hot by placing a wooden chopstick in it. If bubbles appear the oil is hot enough for deep frying. Drop in the wontons and cook for 5 minutes. When they turn golden brown scoop them out and place on a kitchen paper to drain.
Serve with Sweet Mandarin’s Sweet and Sour dipping sauce.
To book a table at Sweet Mandarin email email@example.com . Our opening times are Tuesday – Sunday 5-10pm.
Sweet Mandarin is a Chinese Restaurant in Manchester which serves delicious Chinese cuisine and exotic cocktails. We make our own sweet chilli sauce, bbq sauce, sweet & sour sauce which you can buy from Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Ocado, Booths, Wing Yip and Chi Yip. Sweet Mandarin Chinese Restaurant and Cookery Schoolcan cater for the gluten free, dairy free diners. We are a short 15 minute walk from the Manchester Arena. We are not based in Chinatown, but based in the trendy Northern Quarter near the Arndale Centre, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Debenhams and Primark. The nearest hotels to us are the Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn Express, Premier Apartments, Blue Rainbow Aparthotels, Light Hotel and Hatters Hostel.