DIM SUM MONTH STILL CONTINUES…
OK, I know it’s not February anymore, but there’s still a couple more dim sum I want to share so DIM SUM MONTH is oozing into March a bit…
WHAT: Glass-like translucent dumplings stuffed with caramelized mushrooms and a soft-hearted center of smoked gouda cheese, all in a beautiful tear-drop shape.
WHY: Because the only tears you’re gonna cry are happy ones when you try this.
HOW: This wrapper is actually my favorite not only because it’s so beautiful, but it actually freezes well, or should I say better than the more common and popular crystal shrimp dumplings. It has a pleasantly bouncy and chewy mouth-feel, and it gives the audience a preview to whatever fillings you put inside! In this case, we’re doing deeply oven-caramelized mushrooms that are bound together by a bit of ground pork and parmigiano-regiano cheese (and a hint of truffle oil if you can splurge), creating an earthy, warm and aromatic cradle that rocks a soft and temperate center of smoked gouda cheese. Nothing is going to shout “funk!” in this flavor-profile here, only modest but confident display of a well-tolerated harmony. The only accessory it likes is a brightening dab of heat from this chili sambal romesco sauce. But the sky’s the limit here. How about grassy colored spinach filling with a stronger punch of blue cheese, or sweet and red-cheeked carrots or beets and funky goat’s cheese? Dream wild.
* I believe that the next post will be the final chapter of dim sum month, and I’m going to list out a complete game-plan on what, how and when to prepare certain items ahead of time, and throwing then all together at our virtual dim sum party :)
- 17.6 oz (500 grams) assorted mushrooms (see note)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- 1 garlic, finely minced
- 1/4 cup (15 grams) grated parmigiano-regiano cheese
- 3 tbsp (50 grams) ground pork
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 2 tsp truffle oil, optional
- 5 oz (140 grams) smoked gouda cheese
- 1 1/4 cup (170 grams) potato starch, (not cornstarch)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (120 grams) boiling water
- 1 tbsp (14 grams) canola oil
- PREPARE FILLING: Preheat oven on 500 F/ 250 C. Clean the mushrooms and cut into 1/2" (1.5 cm) dices. Scatter in one single layer on a baking sheet and toss evenly with olive oil. Bake in the oven for 25~35 min, tossing and turning a couple times in between, until the mushrooms are deeply caramelized on all edges, shrunken, shriveled and intense. Remove the sheet from the oven and stir in the shallot and garlic, letting the residual heat bring out the fragrance and let cool for 10 min.
- Transfer to a food-processor, along with parmigiano-regiano cheese, ground pork, fish sauce, and truffle oil if using. Pulse and run the processor until the mixture is ground to a coarse paste consistency, then set aside. Trim the tough rind off of the smoked gouda cheese, and cut into 1/2" (1.3 cm) cubes. Use a melon-scoop or a teaspoon, scoop a small ball of mushroom-mixture then stuff a cube of cheese in the middle. Try to pack it into a ball as tightly as you can (but it would be a bit loose). Each ball should be about 1" plus in size. Arrange on a sheet-tray and set aside.
- MAKE DOUGH: In a large bowl, mix potato starch and salt together. Pour the boiling water over the mixture and stir into a lumpy mess with a fork. Cover with plastic-wrap and let sit for 10 min. Add the canola oil, and knead until a soft, pliable and smooth dough has formed. The dough should be a bit bouncy and springy, just SLIGHTLY sticky but it shouldn't stick to the surface while you knead. If it's too stiff and dry, knead in 1/2 tsp of water at a time to adjust. If it's too sticky, add more potato starch.
- MAKE DUMPLING (watch video): Tear off a small piece of dough and loosely cover the rest with plastic-wrap. Press the piece of dough into a disk with your hand, then rub the top side that's going to be in contact with the rolling-pin with a bit of potato starch, so it doesn't stick. Then roll the dough out, letting the bottom/stickier side form a friction against the counter to help it spread out (stone counter would actually work better than wood counter). The shape doesn't have to be perfect because it doesn't matter. Now place a filling in the middle, then bring the sides of the wrapper upwards to enclose. Twist the tighten the wrapper on top, trying to form a firm and tapered tip, then simply twist the tip off with your fingers until it breaks away. Gather the scrap-dough and repeat with the rest.
- STEAM THE DUMPLING: You can now freeze the dumpling until hard, then keep in an air-tight bag for up to 1 week in the freezer. Place each dumpling on top of a thinly sliced carrot to avoid sticking, then steam on high heat inside a steamer for 5 min for unfrozen dumplings, and 8 min for frozen dumplings. Serve immediately with this chili sambal romesco (the wrapper will toughen when it's cold).
Among common mushrooms, I would stay AWAY from button mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, and enoki that tends to be flavorless. I would choose shiitaki mushrooms (used in this recipe), crimini, or other types of dark-colored variety.