Today I’m excited to show you how the School of Wok demystifies dim sum in their all-day dim sum class, including a video on how to make rose-shaped jiaozi (dumplings). Not only that, but School of Wok is offering Grits & Chopsticks readers a discount when booking a class. For readers who can’t make it to London, I have a giveaway for a copy of I Love My Wok by Nicola Graimes so that you can cook along with us. Keep reading for details!
One of the world’s greatest answered mysteries is how dim sum manages to work without causing an epic meltdown. Anyone who’s been to dim sum at a Cantonese restaurant knows it’s not exactly a peaceful scene — there’s a thousand little plates of dumplings, noodles, cakes and other small treats crammed onto stainless steel rolling carts and served, piping hot, to ravenous diners using pointed fingers to order multiple plates at a time. Most of the time, one or more of the diners is standing and yelling their orders, and the volume inside the restaurant is just north of a dull roar at all times.
I’ve often wondered how whoever is in the back of the kitchen isn’t dying of anxiety and stress trying to put together so many little dishes. I imagine that there’s probably a guy in the back whose sole job is just to fan the head chef and bring him cool towels and water. Is dim sum service the most dreaded service for the waitstaff, who draw straws to see who loses and has to deal with the throbbing masses who descend for their fair share of shu mai (steamed pork dumplings) and luo buo gao (turnip cakes)? It boggles the mind.
The School of Wok experience is nothing near that chaotic. Our full-day class moved at a relaxed but steady pace. We started our morning with prep work — chopping vegetables for our spring rolls, mincing garlic and ginger to flavor the ground pork for our jiaozi (dumpling) stuffing, and learning tips from our knowledgeable, approachable teacher.
A full-day dim sum class means that you get to delve more in-depth into making a variety of dishes. Besides classical jiaozi dumplings, you’ll also get to try your hand at shaping and decorating shu mai, crinkly pork dumplings wrapped with an egg-based noodle wrapper and steamed on top of glossy banana leaves in a bamboo steamer. It doesn’t get much more traditional than that.
You’ll also try your hand at wrapping spring rolls filled with slices of golden omelette, crispy bean sprouts, bell peppers and Chinese chives. I’ve tried my hand unsuccessfully at wrapping spring rolls and keeping the roll tight enough from falling apart when the roll hits hot oil, so I was delighted to learn that using a peeled banana to “seal” the edges of the spring roll together actually keeps it from falling apart. Who knew?
The most impressive recipe, though, has to be glutinous (sticky) rice stuffed with sausage and chicken and wrapped in lotus leaves. We made our little packets and placed them in a steamer. I love unwrapping a good sticky rice like it’s my birthday, and School of Wok’s method of teaching newbies how to make these savory packets was so easy and straightforward.
Best of all, though, was learning how to make these gorgeous rose-shaped jiaozi, which is actually four jiaozi wound together. Take a look at the hubby mastering this skill in this little video I made below:
So, what are you waiting for? Book your dim sum class here (or take a look at all of School of Wok’s Asian cooking class offerings). School of Wok is offering a 15% discount to Grits & Chopsticks readers who book before the end of August! Just enter code BG17 at checkout.
In addition, for those of you who can’t make it to a School of Wok class here in London, today I’m offering one FREE copy of I Love My Wok: More than 100 Fresh, Fast and Healthy Recipes by Nicola Graimes. This cookbook has a gorgeous variety of Asian recipes using a wok, and they’re simple and beautifully photographed. Just leave a comment below!
Rules for the I Love My Wok Giveaway:
- U.S. or U.K. winners only; must be age 18 or older to be eligible.
- To enter, please leave a comment below.
- Giveaway ends September 1, 2017; an entry will be selected at random. Winners must provide their US or UK mailing address within 48 hours of being contacted; if he or she does not respond, a new winner will be selected.
- Grits & Chopsticks assumes no liability for prizes not received by the winner.
- 2 packages (approximately 48) dumpling wrappers
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ½ bunch of cilantro
- 2 spring onions
- 1 1-inch sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water and minced
- ½ pound ground pork
- 1 bunch finely chopped Chinese chives (if you can't find these, just leave them out)
- Mince the cilantro, spring onions, garlic and shiitake mushrooms. Squeeze any excess water out of the soaked mushrooms, destem and mince them as well.
- Add all of your finely chopped ingredients in a large bowl. Add the ground pork and stir with a spatula to combine. Add the soy sauce, sugar, salt and sesame oil.
- Get a small bowl of cold water to help "seal" the dumpling wrappers as you are wrapping them.
- Drop tablespoons of the pork mixture onto the center of wrappers. Dip one finger into the cold water and trace along the edge of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper upwards to make a half-circle shape with the pork filling inside. Press firmly on the edges of the wrapper to crimp the edges together. Place the dumplings on a plate covered loosely with a damp paper towel while you finish making the other dumplings. Repeat until you have used all of the filling.
- Heat a large pot of salted water to boil. Gently swirl the water with a wooden spoon and drop 8-10 dumplings into the pot. Boil for 7-9 minutes until the wrappers are crinkly and translucent. Keep cooking the dumplings in batches (note: you can also freeze uncooked dumplings in the freezer for later use). Remove from the boiling water and serve immediately.