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A Few of My Favourite Things!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Chicken Dumplings

Dumplings are ubiquitous in Asian cuisine, from the dainty steamed morsels that we enjoy at dim sum lunches to the oversized tai pau filled with chicken, pork, mushrooms and egg. As I am starting to realise with a number of other food types though, dumplings are not unique to Asian cuisine. We found this out on our visit to Prague earlier this year whereupon ordering houskove knedlíky with our goulash, thinking that we were be tasting a unique Czech dish, we discovered much to our surprise that they tasted (& looked) exactly like mantou buns.

A quick search reveals that dumplings abound - there is the Russian perogi, German klöße, Austrian knödel, Japanese takoyaki and British dumplings just to name a few. Of course, this list does not even start to cover dumplings of the sweet variety. Chinese steamed paus filled with sweet red bean paste, lotus paste or egg custard (A's favourite!) are also popular, especially as a dessert following yum cha. In other cultures, sweet dumplings often consist of fruit wrapped in dough.

My personal favourite in the world of dumplings is char siew pau (also known as roast pork bun), both the steamed and baked variety. Whenever I walk past Nam Loong Restaurant on Russell Street, the stacks of bamboo steamers cradling warm fluffy char siew paus call out my name. My head turns to gaze in through the window as I move past and it takes real strength not to succumb.

I had some chicken fillets in the freezer to use up so I pulled out the trusty 'Making Dumplings' book to look up the dough recipe again. Last time, I made it with a mix of whoel wheat and white flour, but this time I followed the recipe straight - 500g flour, 40g sugar, 2 tsp dried yeast, 1/4 tsp dough improver, 260-280ml water and some oil. Knead and leave to prove until double in size. Meanwhile, I cooked and cooled the filling of chicken with corn and peas in char siew sauce.

The fun part is filling the dough! I remember watching mum expertly dollop a spoonful of filling before nimbly wrapping the dough around and pinching it together at the top. I guess it must have eventually sunk in because I don't think mine look half bad :-) They tasted pretty good too - nice meaty bits of real chicken.
I used the two pieces of left-over dough to make kaya paus - mmmm, these were great too, especially for dessert!

12 Comments:

  • Cin,

    Those are gorgeous! I'm starving!

    By Anonymous Ivonne, at Wed. Jul. 05, 12:36:00 am AEST  

  • So very professional Cin! My favourite buns are the peppery pork mince ones, with a slice of lup cheong, a quarter egg and a handful of peas. Mmm... a dying breed though. I did make them once. Perhaps I should have another go.

    Making these reminds me of Saturday mornings with Grandma. We used to make sweet buns with black bean paste (in a tin from the Asian grocery).

    By Anonymous helen, at Wed. Jul. 05, 12:48:00 am AEST  

  • ohh, I do have to remember not to check your wonderful blog in the mornings - i start craving tasty morsels like this far too early in the day

    By Blogger sharpatootha, at Wed. Jul. 05, 09:30:00 am AEST  

  • Those look yum! I make them once in a while too but I use the ready made Pau flour from asian supermarkets. Just add milk and sugar, voila snowy skin and fluffy dough.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed. Jul. 05, 05:24:00 pm AEST  

  • Ivonne: Thanks! I normally come away pretty hungry after looking your blog!

    Helen: Are you talking about tai pau? Mmm, don't think I've had black bean paste ones before...should try that some day. Are the canned pastes any good?

    shapatootha: Dumplings make a great breakfast! Serve it with a sweet white tea.

    Anonymous: I haven't seen the ready made ones before but I love kneading the dough. And it's not very difficult either.

    By Blogger cin, at Wed. Jul. 05, 06:48:00 pm AEST  

  • These look fantastic & must say I'm quite partial to the odd dumpling or 400, my favourite being Polish Pierogi or Japanese gyoza!

    By Blogger Ange, at Thu. Jul. 06, 10:55:00 am AEST  

  • Yum! May I enquire as to the Making Dumplings book? Sounds like a must have to add to the bookshelf.

    By Anonymous Sue, at Thu. Jul. 06, 03:17:00 pm AEST  

  • Ange: I will head to Vodka, Borscht and Tears soon to try their pierogi!

    sue: Sorry, I didn't include the author this time cos it's in a previous post. It's called 'Making Dumplings' by Amelia Liang.

    By Blogger cin, at Thu. Jul. 06, 09:51:00 pm AEST  

  • Cin, it's normally at the aisle where they have all sorts of flour including flour for pot stickers and etc. Costs about 2 dollars. You still need to knead the dough and wait for it to rise. The packet contains wheat flour and some raising agents. Do try it once, if you happen to see it. It produces very fluffy and white pau which our normal flour somehow can't produce. Here's a pic of the flour:

    http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b82/bb05live/Pau.jpg

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu. Jul. 06, 10:37:00 pm AEST  

  • Thanks for the tip, I will look out for it next time I'm at Victoria St.

    btw, is this Sarah?

    By Blogger cin, at Fri. Jul. 07, 05:16:00 pm AEST  

  • Cin,

    Yes you're right! Sorry, my absent minded self forgot to sign off. Cheers.

    Sarah.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri. Jul. 07, 10:00:00 pm AEST  

  • Yes I do mean tai pau.

    I've never seen black bean buns before. Only my grandma used to make 'em which is probably why I am so sentimental for them. It's just red bean paste with extra sugar I think. And the tins are great.

    By Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop), at Mon. Jul. 17, 10:02:00 am AEST  

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