Steamed Open Dumpling Dim Sum

Open Steamed Dumplings
I have tons of cookery books, a cupboard full of everything from £1.99 bargains through  TV chef spin-offs to the bible that is La Gastronomique and I can say that I under-use all of them. I tend browse for the basics and then go…freestyle. With mixed results its fair to say

Now, I make a fair bit of Chinese food during the week as it’s fast, and (providing you watch the oil) healthy. The only problem I have is that I can’t say I’ve nailed a recipe or particular dish in the same way I can make, for instance, specific pasta dishes, they tend to be concoctions of whatever I have in the fridge. This was different though – I got the iPad (other tablets are available…) edition of Ken Hom’s Complete Chinese Cookbook recently and was keen to try his recipes with the ingredients as instructed. Being a big fan of dim sum thought I’d try the relatively straightforward open steamed dumplings. Although the implementation probably wavered a bit, I used the ingredients as Mr Hom instructed and they were delicious.

I bought in the wanton cases as we were in the local Chinese supermarket recently. They keep brilliantly in the freezer but there’s nothing too hard about making them. The recipe quoted about 40, but I in fact made 20 presumably large versions. They didn’t seem so big, so who knows, but it didn’t seem to matter. I served them up with a dipping sauce made from soy sauce, chilli oil, dried chilli flakes, sugar and ginger. I kind of did it off the cuff, so don’t remember the proportions, but it was very much ‘to taste’ anyway!

I made my own mince using some good quality belly pork as Mr Hom specified fatty pork mince. I just blitzed it in the food processor and it worked nicely.

So, via Ken Hom’s Complete Chinese Cookbook:

  • 100g/4oz uncooked prawns
  • 350g/12oz pork belly, minced or food processed (or fatty pre-minced pork)
  • 2 tbsp bacon lardons
  • 100g/4oz water chestnuts, tinned. Well rinsed.
  • 2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped spring onion
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dry sherry.
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt and a twist of black pepper
  • 20 wanton skin

Defrost the wanton wrappers at room temperature if needed. This takes a surprisingly short amount of time.

Prepare the pork by mincing or blitzing the pork belly in a processor. Finely chop the prawns and bacon and vegetables.

Open dumplings vegetables

Then, simply place the the whole lot into a bowl and mix very thoroughly.

Spoon a couple of teaspoons of the mixture onto the middle of a wanton wrapper.

Dim Sum Preparation

Bring up the sides, pinching firmly and turning as you do to make the open wrapping. Tricky – I’m sure practise makes perfect!


Boil a little water in the bottom of a steamer. Use the bottom of the steamer insert and cut out some greaseproof paper to line the inside. I used a skewer to push though the holes to let the steam through.

Place the dumplings in, not too tightly packed, and steam for about 15 minutes. I used a probe to check the temperature in the middle and they were well done by this time, but may need longer – the recipe said about 20mins.

Open steamed dumplings in steamer

Repeat in batches until all done!


Singapore Style Noodles

South Asia meets East Asia in one of my favourite stir fry dishes. Rice noodles are cooked with curry spices and chilli for a kick.

Apparently, this dish originates out of Hong Kong and isn’t entirely accurate as Singapore has many noodle dishes and in any case is unknown in the country. I love it though and providing you don’t go mad with the oil, is healthier than its flavour suggests.

Serves 2. Prep and cooking time 15 minutes (Dan).


  • 150g Vermicelli rice noodles
  • 1 chicken breast, finely sliced
  • 50g lean cooked ham cut into thin batons
  • 100g prawns
  • 1 small (or half a larger) red pepper & green pepper, finely sliced
  • 1 small onion finely sliced
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp curry power
  • 1 red chill, finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • Soy sauce

Get your favourite knife out and prepare all the ingredients beforehand. You’ll need to do this as it cooks quickly!

Start by cooking the noodles as instructed. Once done, drain in a sieve and cool under a running tap until cold. Drain thoroughly and add a little oil (so they won’t stick)

Add the oil to the wok and heat until smoking. Put in the ham and brown for a minute followed by the onions, peppers, garlic, chilli and ginger for a minute more, with a good splash of soy sauce.

Add the chicken and prawns and stir until cooked, keeping the heat on.

Once done, sprinkle over the curry powder and the oyster sauce. Stir in the noodles and continue for a minute or two more to heat through.

Serve it up with the chopped spring onions on top. Taste and add a little more soy sauce if necessary.

Great with a Tiger Beer!

Singapore Style Noodles

Fish, Prawns & Risotto

I fancied trying something a bit different tonight. I’ve been up in Scotland today and popped into a farm shop on the way back down where I picked up some some haddock fillets landed in Eyemouth. I’m a huge fan of fresh fish, but it has to be fresh. We’re lucky enough to have the North Shields Fish Quays nearby and I get over there whenever I can.

For this dish, I had four pans on the go but it was worth it. The haddock was simply grilled with a leek risotto, whole prawns and a a sauce made from their shells. I finished it off which some pickled mushrooms, an idea I got from a local occasional TV chef called Kenny Atkinson after I saw a cooking demo by him. They really finish it off and contrast the richness of the other flavors.

I was pretty pleased with the results, as was Helen, and from someone who is normally fairly indifferent to fish, that’s praise indeed!

(Serves 2)

For the fish:

  • Oil – I used rapeseed
  • Salt and Pepper

For the Risotto:

  • 1 tbsp oil & 10g butter (optional, health fans!)
  • 150g Arborio Rive
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • Glass of white wine
  • 1 medium leek, finely sliced.
  • Handful of grated parmesan cheese (or to taste)
  • Salt and pepper

For the prawns/sauce:

  • 6 whole prawns
  • About 300ml chicken stock
  • Dash of Brandy or Cognac
  • 1 tbsp double cream
  • 15 g butter (to finish)
  • 1 heaped tbsp chopped parsley

For the pickled mushrooms:

  • 100g button mushrooms cleaned and trimmed
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp stock
  • 2 tsp sugar (or to taste)
  • Salt

Start the prawns/sauce: Add the prawns and stock to a small pan, bring gently to the boil and poach for a few minutes until cooked. Remove the prawns with a slotted spoon and peel them -apart from the tail, it just looks better… Return the peeled shells to the pan for a while to extract more flavour for 10 minutes (or as long as possible). Keep the cooked prawns to one side, they’ll be warmed through later.

Ge the risotto started: Unless you have any homemade, get the kettle on and make up some stock (I often use the little pots made up with boiling water). Put the stock in a pan/Pyrex bowl and place on a small burner on your hob to keep hot.

Add the oil to a large pan, heat, and fry the celery,  garlic and leeks. Tip in the rice and coat well in the oil. Pour in a glass of wine and stir well until absorbed. Add a ladle of the stock and stir well until nearly absorbed. Keep adding ladle-fulls and stir in the same way  for about 15-20 minutes.

Whilst doing this, prepare the pickled mushrooms: fry the mushrooms in a little oil with some salt for a minute, add the vinegars, stock and sugar. Heat until boiling then leave to simmer very gently to reduce whilst you crack on with the rest.

Keep stirring the risotto and adding the stock! You need to keep an eye on this one!

Finish the sauce off. Strain the prawn shells using a fine sieve (or muslin cloth for a clearer liquor) and discard, keeping the liquid in the pan. Add the cognac/brandy, double cream and reduce for a few minutes. Add salt to taste and the chopped parsley. Finish with the butter by whisking it in until melted away. Add the prawns to warm through gently.

Finally! Cook the fish. Heat  the grill and put the fish under, seasoned with salt and pepper and brushed with oil. They will only take a few minutes to cook. I confess, I took my eye off them and slightly over did it, but it was still good!

I served it up with the prawns on the risotto, and the sauce on the fish, with a few of the pickled mushrooms scattered round the edge.

Phew! Bit of a balancing act, this one, but well worth sticking with! Lovely with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.