Sunday, January 25, 2009

Shrimp and Pork Dumplings Steamed in Banana Leaves

(Chuc Mung Nam Moi !)

Starting this weekend until January 28th, most Asians around the world, with friends and families are celebrating the year of the Ox .

It’s my favourite time of the year because during those festive times, we feast like there is no tomorrow. We feast on Vietnamese food, food that I haven’t had in a long time, unless I visit my parents and relatives. Not to say the least, at this time, Asian grocery stores are packed with the traditional Vietnamese Têt goodies. So if I’m not in the mood to spend hours to make these gourmets foods, I can easily get them at the store. It’s just as good, but of course, homemade is always 10 times better.

These dumplings are quite easy and fun to make with friends and family when you throw a kitchen party. This means, everyone cooks with the host or hostess. It’s a great way to keep the festive spirit alive and to break the ice.

These little Asian raviolis, as our friends from France would call them, are plump and moist, and absolutely amazing especially when cooked with a bamboo steamer lined with fragrant banana leaves.

Preparation : 30 minutes, Steaming time : 15-20 minutes

Recipe “au pif”:
½ lb (250grams) ground pork
10 medium-sized fresh shrimps (shells removed and deveined), coarsely chopped
4 black Chanterelle mushrooms
, chopped and soaked in warm water (discard water afterwards)
1 egg, beaten
3 sprigs of scallions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely minced
2 tbsp fish sauce
Pinch salt
½ tsp ground white pepper
Banana leaves to line the bamboo steamer
Small bowl of water
Tamarind (found in most Asian grocery stores) or light soya sauce for dipping

Prepare bamboo steamers (x2, will be set one on top of the other), if you have any, by setting over a large wok or large pot of water about 1/3 full. Set aside until the dumplings are ready to be steamed. If you don’t have a bamboo steamer, you can use a colander with a lid.

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except for the banana leaves. Mix with your hands to make sure that all ingredients all well mixed together.

Line the bamboo steamer with the banana leaves. This will give a delicious exotic fragrance to the dumplings.

Preparing the dumplings:Although I prefer using round dumpling wrappers for esthetic reasons, creates appealing and nicer looking dumplings than using the square dumpling wrappers, either one will work as the end result is what counts. They both end up tasting yummy.

Using a large cutting board, lay 8 dumpling wrappers lined up one next to the other, making two rows of 4. You can make as 6 or 8 at a time, whichever way you feel more comfortable with.

Lay about 1 tsp of the pork-shrimp filling in the center of each wrapper. Dip your fingers in the bowl of water and moisten the outside edge of each wrapper. This will allow the edges of the wrappers to stick together when sealing the dumplings.

Bring the sides of the wrapper up over the filling and press together, and make little pleats to create a decorative seal. Repeat until you run out of filling.

When all dumplings are ready, place them on a large plate and dust them with cornstarch, using a fine strainer. Place the dumplings in the steamers. Close the lid.

Set on medium-high heat to boil the water in the wok and steam-cook the dumplings for about 15-20 minutes.

When cooked, dumplings can be served with tamarind sauce or light soya sauce as a main course or as appetizers.

Makes 25-30 dumplings.


1 comment:

Maya said...

Happy Year of the Ox!