Saturday, 27 December 2014

Chinese Dumpling Soup (Sui Kow) 水餃


This dish really needs no introduction. I bet every Chinese (and many non Chinese) around the world knows what this is. In fact, it is so popular that it has become part of the Chinese culture. Go to any Chinese restaurants overseas and most likely you would find something like this in the menu.




To me sui kow is a very personal thing. It does not have a fixed rule as to what ingredient you should put in and cook with as long as it tasted awesome. The sky is the limit. Pork and prawn is my favourite ingredient. Coupled with a steamy bowl of delicious soup, the combination is to die for.


All being said, there is one thing that I wouldn't compromise. The outlook or appearance of the dumpling. I know it will eventually go into our stomach but least you could do is to instill a little bit of artistry into it. The prerequisite for a good Chinese dish - 色香味俱全. It basically means a perfect combination of appearance (colour), aroma and taste. I like my dumplings sealed in the middle top with pleats rather than the normal flat mini crescent. It gives the appearance of an erected robustly filled dumpling. Really appetising and professional looking. The pleats will take up some time but I assure you it is time well-spent.

Ingredients

Makes 16 large dumplings

1 packet of dumpling skin
cabbage or choy sum, washed and cut
cooked starch for gluing or lightly whisked egg

Filling
300gm finely minced pork (30% fats)
50 gm prawns, shelled and deveined and cut into small chunks
1 sprig of coriander, chopped finely
1 small piece of wood ear (also known as cloud ear), soaked and juliened
80 g water chestnut, diced finely
2 tbsp cornstarch
6 tsp water

Seasoning
1 1/2  tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
3 tsp sugar
1 tbsp oil
pepper

Broth
100 gm pig's bone
1 bone of dried halibut 大比目鱼( or 15 gm of anchovies)
2 1/2 litre water
2 slices ginger
10 gm rock sugar (optional)
salt and pepper to taste


Cooking method

1. Prepare soup. Throw everything in a pot and simmer in a very low fire for 35 mins to 45 mins. Fire must be kept to the lowest if you want a clear broth (also a prerequisite of a good broth). Remove bones after boiling. Dump in the vegetables to boil five minutes before serving.

2. Prepare filling. Shell, devein and cut prawns. Wash, drain and set aside. Mince pork finely. Chop coriander, julienne wood ear and dice water chestnut. Add all ingredients and seasoning together. Mix thoroughly. Lift and throw filling back to the bowl until filling becomes springy and sticky 起胶 .

3. Wrapping the dumpling. Scoop a suitable amount of filling onto dumpling wrapper. Brush a little starch on the sides and fold wrapper in half until it becomes a crescent. Make sure all sides are tightly sealed. Pleat dumpling. Press the pleats so that the shape holds. Repeat until all fillings are used.

4. Cooking the dumpling. Boil a pot of hot water. Once water is boiled, slowly put in dumpling. Lightly stir the dumpling so that it does not stick to the bottom. Reduce fire to medium. Dumplings will float but it is not cooked yet. This is caused by the expansion of air inside the tightly sealed dumpling making it float. Cook for about 8 mins (depending on size), stirring occasionally, so that both sides get cooked.  Transfer to a bowl of hot soup and serve immediately.

Notes:
1. For better taste, fillet 1 dried halibut (leave bones for stock), deep-fry it and grind it finely to be added to the filling. 
2. If you are not serving immediately, transfer dumplings to a bowl of cooled soup instead. This will stop the dumplings from further cooking and become soggy. 
3. Choose dumpling wrappers that are thin and do not have a lot of starch (powder) in between. Those wrappers are hard to seal and the skin will occasionally crack. 
4. Water chestnuts are hard to get in some places. You can substitute with yam beans if really cannot find. 
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