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Chinese Recipes
Dim Sum or Small Snacks
Chinese snacks are known the world over as 'dim sum'. They are an integral part of 'Chinese Tea' which is called 'yeurm cha'. There are literally thousands of these, and some western versions may not be known on China Mainland. We intend to explain what the popular ones are - and as I am writing this, I will begin with my personal favourites:

Let's Get Started - Dim Sum
Image: Dim Sum served for Chinese Tea or yeurm cha - Click to Enlarge
Gao Zhi are crescent shaped and a couple of inches long. They are the flash-fried version of many similar dishes, and delicious with a temperate chilli sauce for dipping - such as chilli and garlic.

They are also vegetarian - which came as a surprise to me, but apparently they cannot be eaten by Buddhists because they contain garlic and water chestnuts. Weird?
Gao Zhi
• 50% chopped Chinese mustard leaves, such as cheung choi or similar. You could use spinach as a western substitute, but this may be too strong a flavour.
• 20% Water Chestnuts cooked and chopped into small chunks
• 10% garlic, peeled and diced
• 10% fresh ginger, very finely diced
• 5% carrots finely diced
• 5% Spring onions and/or shallots
• A hint of salt and white pepper

For the Wrappers:
Image: Typical Gao Zhi - Click to Enlarge
Wheat flour pastry or Rice flour pastry are both good, but for frying choose wheat flour. For the non-fried versions use rice flour. Buy these ready-made from the supermarket - they should be similar in many respects to cheese slices and ready to use - but should be round and about four inches in diameter. They will probably be somewhere in the freezer section of any good supermarket.
Image: Making Gao Zhi - Click to Enlarge Image: Steamed Gao Zhi ready to be fried - Click to Enlarge Image: Gao Zhi - Click to Enlarge

To a mixing bowl add all the ingredients and stir thoroughly so they become a slight paste. Take a pastry round in one hand and add a generous amount of the filling. Moisten the pastry rim with water to make for a good seal. Fold over and crimp the edges using thumb and fingers. You would be best to nip the centre near the edge first, and then work from one end to the other. Ensure the seal is good and no filling is coming out.

Cantonese chef's actually steam these first for a couple of minutes to ensure the they are cooked through. Shallow fry in a wok with oil on high heat tossing continuously until golden brown.
Steamed Gao Zhi
These are very similar to above, but are not fried. Therefore use rice pastry only. Sometimes these are made the same size as above, and are virtually identical except the mustard leaves are increased to 80%, and the other ingredients reduced accordingly, with no garlic being simply left out. I'm not a fan of these, but they remain popular.
Siu Gao
These are smaller versions of above about half the size and use waffer thin rice wrappers. They come in many forms the most common of which are: Shrimps with sweetcorn, Vegetarian Delight, and Ground Fish Surprise.
Apart from the ingredients, the rest of the recipe is identical to above. To cook simply put about nine on a small dish and steam in a wok for up to 5-minutes. Serve to table with a suitable sauce such as a mild chilli, soy sauce, plum or oyster sauce - or whatever you prefer.
Shrimp Siu Zhi Vegetarian Delight Fish Surprise
4 oz Shrimps or small Prawns
2 oz mustard leaves (Cheung Choi)
1 oz tinned sweetcorn
1 oz finely diced spring onions (Scallions)
1 oz mixed water chestnuts and carrots, diced into small chunks
1/2 oz fresh ginger finely diced into 1 inch strips
1/2 oz finely diced garlic if you prefer?
Salt and Pepper to taste - not used by Cantonese chef's, but we recommend a little of both.
1 Dozen Rice flour wrappers
3 oz mustard leaves (Cheung Choi)
1 oz tinned sweetcorn
1 oz small chunks of mango or pineapple, or 1 oz of both?
1 oz small chunks of sweet carrot
1 oz finely diced spring onions (Scallions)
1 oz mixed water chestnuts diced into small chunks
1/2 oz fresh ginger finely diced into 1 inch strips
1/2 oz finely diced garlic if you prefer?
Salt and Pepper to taste - not used by Cantonese chef's, but we recommend a little of both.
1 Dozen Rice flour wrappers
4 oz fish paté from the wet market - ready mixed
Add flakes of fresh left-over fish if you have any?
2 oz mustard leaves (Cheung Choi)
1 oz finely diced spring onions (Scallions)
1 oz mixed water chestnuts diced into small chunks
1/2 oz fresh ginger finely diced into 1 inch strips
1/2 oz finely diced garlic if you prefer?
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 oz finely diced fresh coriander leaves
1 small drip Hoisin or fish sauce
1 Dozen Rice flour wrappers
When wrapping, place a small shrimp inside the paste before closing
Replace above with a pickled shrimp, cockle or barnacle for something entirely unusual and delicious = Chinese usually marinade in sour soy sauce instead.
Siu Mai
This entree is pretty standard all over China, but varies considerably with establishments. When you get good ones they are totally delicious! There is also a chicken version.

They look like little bites with a deep yellow and circular pasty encasing pork meat with fat, and prawns, and some form of caviar sprinkled onto the exposed top - this should actually be small red prawn eggs.

• 8 oz pork with fat - just like good Butchers sausages
• 2 oz shrimps, 1oz chopped the other whole
• Prawn eggs for dusting
• A packet of wrappers - must be the deep yellow ones
Image: Siu Mai, one of the very best dim sum - if you get a good one - Click to Enlarge
Chop the meat and fat so that it has no pieces bigger than 1/4 inch square with most being smaller. I use pork loin for this in China, but you may find pork shoulder better in the west. You need a mix of about 70% meat to fat, which is one reason why I find the pork loin so useful as the proportions are about right and the fat is good and hard.

Put into a mixing bowl and add the shrimps, chopped as necessary to the same size or less. The juice will be enough to slightly bind the mixture. I would add a hint of salt and pepper at this stage, but Chinese chef's do not.

Prepare by taking the bought wrappers and folding into the shape pictured. The diameter should be no greater than 1 inch and they should be fractionally taller than this. All should be the same size. The wrappers are about 3 inches across and made specially for this dish. Fill with the mixture and ensure one shrimp is placed whole on top. Often another prawn/shrimp is added inside. Sprinkle with prawn eggs and place in a bamboo steaming basket on a piece of paper. Greaseproof paper is best, but this is not used in China.

You will find it a lot easier to use a mold such as a small sized strip light starter and crimp the sides first before adding the filling.

Cooking is very simple. Place basket in a wok or saucepan with spacer and add water for steaming. Cover and steam for 10 minutes maximum. The pork fat should turn translucent, which tells you they are cooked through. Serve to table in the bamboo basket with a side dish of sweet or tangy chilli sauce.
English Lesson: Mold vs Mould

Mold means to shape or form something, perhaps using a prefabrication. It comes from the Latin modulus
Mould means a discolouration or fungal infection and comes from the Scandinavian original version of (Northern English) mowlde
Some English speakers get these two words confused. (Source: DicDotCom)
Min Bao - or steamed rice breads
Min Bao is a collective name meaning rice bread in Cantonese. In Mandarin these may be known as Bao Zhi. There are hundreds of versions of these things, most of which are either full of sugar, laced with sugar, or dipped in sugary dips.

This would be ok I guess if there were not plain version, custard and lemon curd versions, mixed nut versions, and some pork versions.

You really want to know what the filling is before you try these things!
Image: Min Bao, Bao Zhi or rice bread - Click to Enlarge
Street versions are round and come in small and large sizes. My wife buys the large ones pictured and eats the bread only - handing me the good bit inside to which I add salt and black pepper. It works for us, so don't knock it.
Posh versions are sort-of rectangular  with a convex top like a very small loaf, and have a smooth exterior + are either white or brown + there are wholemeal versions. These come with a selection of dips, of which a very white and bland lemon curd thingymagig is very popular.The sweet Chinese Red Date dip is a lot better, if still sweet enough.
I have never known Chinese people make these at home, as they are sold everywhere in China and the large pork filled ones cost Y1 RMB each.
Image: Min Bao with savoury sweet pork and veg filling - Click to Enlarge
If you want to make these at home in UK or USA, then first you should be a competent bread maker? Given you can make bread, then you need to use rice flour to make these, and the dough is made in the same way as any other bread.
To make them light add sparkling water to make the dough, or add a little Bicarbonate of Soda (Cooking Soda), or both. Leave to rest for 30 minutes whilst they at least double in size, and three times is the goal.

Once the dough has risen enough, take a lump and treat very delicately. If not serving plain, simply prize open and insert the filling. For lemon curd you may prefer to simply inject it into the centre - which can be used as a feature = yellow marks the spot. However, this may overflow, so don't do it this way and add a drop to the outside once the bun is completed.
Image: Min Bao or Chinese rice bread - Click to Enlarge
Lightly mould the breads back into the desired shape securing the treat inside. Small breads can be a couple of inches in diameter, whilst larger types can reach 6 inches across. The important thing is that they are all the same size, or that all of the same type are the same size and shape at least.

Place buns on some paper, and rice-paper is excellent. These breads are steamed in a wok above water using the spacer, and traditionally done using a bamboo version of a 'Bain Marie'. They take about 50 minutes to cook through and for the yeast to finish working. You can leave them in a little longer with no detrimental effects.

Many Chinese cheat by using a rice cooker as a sort of pressure-cooker, but this is not advised as the slight extra pressure limits the dough rising and makes for a stodgier result. However, it does reduce cooking time down to 15 minutes; so if the dough was proved for a very long time, this can be very useful.
Image: Chinese street version style Bamboo Bain Marie - Click to Enlarge
This is the beginning of a very long page -
which in turn will become an new and seemingly endless section.
Our plan is to separate out the larger recipes once enough are in place, and create a reference page - so a work in progress
Please call back later for more Dim Sum recipes and Chinese culinary delights

This information is as supplied by ourselves, and ably supported by our friends and various internet portals.
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