I’m a domestic goddess.
I officially announce myself so after having recently learnt how to make Wontons and a Dim Sum Basket. I am extremely proud of myself I have to say. I have been hugely inspired by our well known British fashion stylist and Chinese cooking writer, Gok Wan from his recent Gok’s Chinese Takeaway trip to Barcelona, to follow in his footsteps, embrace my Asian heritage and create my own Dim Sum buffet, Nicci style.
Tucked away in Chandos Place just around the corner from the hustle and bustle of Charring Cross Station is where you will find the School of Wok. Here they hold various Asian and Oriental cooking classes from Japanese to Vietnamese and Thai and of course my ultimate favourite, the one I have patiently been waiting for…Make Your Own Dim Sum Basket.
For a three hour class costing £95 you learn the tricky part of basic folding and rolling techniques followed by menu balancing and various filling options.
Our Dim Sum basket included:
- BBQ Chicken Wings with Chilli Dip
- Sui Mai
- Har Gau
So what is Dim Sum?
In Mandarin it is called dian xin which means ‘touch the heart.’ It’s Chinese cuisine served in bite-sized portions, commonly served in steamed baskets or small plates, it’s all about sharing (similar to tapas). These little delights can be steamed, fried or boiled and are usually eaten for breakfast or lunch.
So after a welcome glass of red wine, introductions complete, a class of 16 was split into four tables and we were ready to begin.
Each dish began with a bit of history followed by a demo from our tutor then it was off for us to have a go and make our own little Dim Sum gems.
BBQ CHICKEN WINGS
They eased us in gently, prepared chicken wings were presented in a bowl and all we needed to do was create the sauce and massage in to the chicken. Easy peasy.
Ingredients: garlic, ginger, ketchup, Hoi Sin sauce, honey, black rice vinegar, dark soy sauce, sesame and chilli oil.
Once prepared off it went to be baked in the oven…no cooking required for us!
MOMO (Nepalese Dumpling)
These were a little trickier to make. Awesome news, the filling and dumpling wrappers were provided so we could focus on the actual folding.
Filling: ground meat, red onion, spring onion, tomatoes, coriander, garlic, ginger, turmeric powder, curry powder, red chilli, vegetable oil and salt and pepper.
A teaspoon of filling is placed into the middle of the pastry, you fold it over and seal then pull both ends towards you and seal again. Hey presto! Then off to the steamer for 8-10 minutes. I swear they started with the easy ones first on purpose!
SUI MAI (Open Wontons)
I thought Momo’s were tricky but these little buggers were more difficult to make. There is however, something extremely therapeutic about playing with pastry. I think it may become a new thing for me, time to buy a rolling pin.
The filling and wrappers were provided once again, we would have been making dough all day otherwise.
Filling: minced pork or chicken, peeled and deveined prawns, Chinese mushrooms, potato starch, sesame oil, egg white, sugar and salt and pepper to taste.
This time using a teaspoon, grab a decent amount of filling and spread it to the edges of the dough. Then cup your hand and place the filling and dough on top, pushing down to form a small egg cup and using your thumb and index finger keep circling the dough around whilst pushing down the filling until it is flat and level on the top.
Then place it on the counter to give the bottom a flat surface, add a pea or goji berry for garnish then it’s ready to go in the steamer for 10-12 minutes.
HAR GAU (Crystal Prawn Dumplings)
This was our final and most difficult dish to make, this time we were making our own dough. It is a delicate and difficult almost problematic shape to get right. Thank god the filling was provided again is all I can say.
Filling: peeled and deveined prawns, bamboo shoots, spring onion, ginger, salt, oyster sauce, sugar, white pepper, sesame oil.
Preparing the dough meant mixing together wheat starch, potato starch and cornflour and beating in boiling water. Then roll those sleeves up because a lot of elbow grease is required, you need to knead the dough well (it took four of us to get it into the desired consistency!) then cover and rest for 5 minutes.
Time to divide the dough into small portions, flatten with your hand, roll out into circle shapes using the edge of the rolling pin whilst continually circling the pastry and only rolling to the middle of the pastry so a lump forms in the centre.
Place a heaped teaspoon of filling into each circle of dough, then push the filling inside with your thumb and use your other hand to begin folding/pleating from one edge to the other ensuring all parts are sealed.
My first go was a complete disaster…
But then ta-da!
Off they go into a steamer for 8-10 minutes.
The three hours went really quickly, chatting to an awesome group of people and playing with dough was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. I recommend this kind of event for parties, it’s a real fun thing to do and your welcome drink becomes drinks!
THE BEST BIT…TASTING!
Then it was time to eat, the finished dishes were presented for tasting…
I even got to take some home!
For me learning how to manage and fold the dough was key as I am no longer going to be grabbing Dim Sum bites from my local supermarket. As most of these dishes were made using pre-packed dough, you may be looking for a class which teaches you how to make all of the various dough so do check out School of Wok’s Full Day Introduction to Dim Sum class.
This is the first cooking class I have attended and I would most definitely join another. It is a rewarding and satisfying experience.
I am now looking forward to putting everything I have learnt into practice with my first attempt at my home-made Dim Sum basket. Watch this space.
Have you been to any cooking classes and have any to recommend? I would love to hear about them!
So hey you, yes you..I want to thank you for reading my post. Whether you’ve stuck around since the beginning of my journey or whether you’re new to my blog, thank you for reading and supporting. I genuinely appreciate it.