Home Steamed Dim Sum

Char siu bao (bbq pork bun) is also dim sum!

There’s nothing like steaming your own dim sum 點心 in your own home. It’s just like being in a restaurant but without the bamboo baskets and steaming trolleys that pass by for you to pick on the foods that you want to try and eat. Dim sum means “little heart” and is originated from Southern China. It is is a Cantonese cuisine and is mainly eaten from breakfast time to around 5 o’clock in the afternoon. Dim sum can range from small buns to fried dough with fillings to Chinese style “cakes” to glutinous rice wrapped in lotus leaves to little “meatballs”. There’s a wide range of it and I could go on for a very long time, but I seriously do not want to bore you!

In London China Town there are still a couple of restaurants that use trolleys to serve their dim sum. Unfortunately all of this restaurant business can be a bit pricey for a Chinese Londoner like me. So the obvious option is to buy ready made frozen or refrigerated dim sum – you’re paying less for more! If you go into any Chinese supermarket you will always find a frozen section.

Inside a char siu bao

You will see either small or large packs of siu maai 燒賣 (pork and prawn meatball wrapped in a wonton wrapper), which can range in price and ingredients. I advise that you should carefully look at the ingredients before buying. There are other frozen options like ha gaau 蝦餃 (a prawn mixture covered in a wrap made of tapioca starch), lo mai gai 糯米雞 (small parcels of glutinous rice with chicken filling wrapped in lotus leaves), buns of all kinds and many more…

Siu mai – pork and prawn dumplings in a wanton wrapper

Instructions to steaming dim sum at home…
Then what do you do with these? 

First, you start off with a large pan that has a lid, place some water into it (about halfway), take a large plate where the edges curve upwards (similar to a bowl, but the middle is flat). Depending on what you’ve got i.e. siu maai or ha gaau, place a little oil into the plate and spread all over so that the dim sum doesn’t stick too much to the plate. 

If you have buns or lo mai gai, you do not need to put any oil into the plate. Place the plate into the pan, cover with a lid and steam for about 15 minutes (or whatever it says on the package).

Yummy siu mai!

The best thing to do if you are not sure about what dim sum is, is to try them in a restaurant. 

Here’s a news article to show you where you should go in London, check out these dim sum restaurants

From personal experience (when I used to go) I recommend New World 新世界 – although expensive, it is one of the biggest Chinese restaurants in London China Town.

Update 28/12/2012
Check out my second post…