Black bean and chilli-pork spare ribs / Jonathan Gregson
Chinese food that won't leave you feeling hungry: three dishes and a generous serving of bok choi is plenty when it comes to these dim sum, says Bill Granger

I'm convinced that one of the things that helped smooth our family's transition from living in Sydney to living in London was the good dim sum restaurants we found in our adopted city.

In Australia, it's a really regular weekend ritual to go for dim sum in one of those enormous restaurants in Chinatown. Waiters will be pushing food trolleys piled high with bamboo steamers full of delicious things. It's a tradition we've always enjoyed and have continued to indulge in whichever hemisphere we might find ourselves in.

To recreate that buzz at home, I make dim sum as an alternative to a traditional family Sunday lunch. It's a bit more involved, but nothing is really tricky, it just needs more of your time. It's about the process of cooking, not just the end result. And most of the work gets done ahead of time, before anyone arrives.

To keep the workload manageable, I'll limit myself to making no more than three dishes, a simple cucumber pickle, then steaming a generous quantity of bok choi or choi sum to serve them with.

To drink, I like jasmine or chrysanthemum tea: cleansing and soothing and, to the Chinese, central to the meal.

Bill's restaurant, Granger & Co, is at 175 Westbourne Grove, London W11, tel: 020 7229 9111, and 50 Sekforde Street, London EC1, tel: 020 7251 9032, Follow Bill on Instagram at bill.granger

Black bean and chilli-pork spare ribs

Chinese supermarkets sell cut-up pork ribs, but any butcher should be able to cut them to size for you.

Serves 4


2 tbsp black-bean sauce

2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine

2 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tsp sugar

125ml pork or vegetable hot stock

1 tbsp vegetable oil

750g pork spare ribs, cut into 2½cm pieces

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 red chilli, finely chopped, plus extra to serve

2 spring onions, chopped, plus extra to serve

1 small leek, thinly sliced

Combine the black-bean sauce, rice wine, soy, sugar and stock and set aside.

In a wok or frying pan, heat the oil over a medium-high heat. Add the ribs and stir-fry until golden-brown – this will take about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chilli, spring onions and leek and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the black-bean sauce mixture and mix well. Place a lid over the pan and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for a further 5 minutes until the sauce is thick. Garnish with extra spring onions and red chilli.

Quick cucumber pickle

There's quite a bit of heat in these recipes. These chilled cucumbers will help cool your palate and make it ready for your next bite.


3 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp caster sugar

3 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

5cm ginger, julienned

4 Lebanese cucumbers (or 1 regular cucumber), cut into chunks

Combine the vinegar, sugar, soy, sesame oil and ginger in a large bowl. Add the cucumbers and toss to mix. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. k

Minced lamb pot stickers and ginger-vinegar sauce (Jonathan Gregson)

Minced lamb pot sticker

The trick with these is to let the base of the dumplings crisp up enough to get a nice brown colour until they unstick from the pan.

Makes 18-20


2 tbsp light-flavoured oil

½ onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

250g lamb mince

½ green chilli, finely chopped

4 spring onions, finely chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp Shaoxing rice wine

18-20 round gyoza wrappers

1 tbsp cornflour

For the dipping sauce

2 tbsp light soy

4 tbsp Chinese black vinegar

2 tsp ginger, finely chopped

1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped

½ tsp chilli flakes

For the dipping sauce, stir all the ingredients together in a bowl and set aside until needed.

For the pot stickers, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and sweat for 5 minutes, add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Use your hands to combine the meat, chilli, spring onions, cumin, soy, rice wine and cooled onion mixture in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and squeeze with your hands to bring the mixture together to form a ball.

Place 1 tsp of filling into the centre of a dumpling wrapper. Mix the cornflour with 2 tbsp of water, brush around the wonton wrapper and fold in half to enclose the filling. Starting at one end, join the two sides together with a series of pinches. Place the finished dumpling on your work surface, pushing slightly to give a flat base. Repeat with the remaining mixture and wrappers.

Heat a heavy, flat-bottomed frying pan over a medium heat. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil and, when hot, arrange the dumplings in neat rows. Drizzle them with 150ml of warm water.

Cover the pan with a lid and steam over a medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the lid to allow the steam to escape and cook for a further 4 to 5 minutes or until the bottoms of the dumplings are golden. Serve immediately with the ginger-vinegar dipping sauce.

Bill's tortellini-shaped prawn and spring onion dumplings (Jonathan Gregson)

Prawn and spring onion dumplings with chilli vinegar

To avoid leaking during cooking, make sure the edges are sealed tightly and that the dumplings are not over-filled.

Makes 20


200g raw medium prawns, peeled and finely chopped

2 spring onions, finely chopped

1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tsp grated ginger

1 tsp sesame oil

Pinch white pepper

20 square wonton skins

1 tbsp cornflour

Julienned spring onions, to serve

For the chilli vinegar

3 tbsp Szechuan chilli oil or chilli oil

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp Chinese black vinegar

1 tbsp garlic, crushed

1 tsp ground Szechuan pepper

1 tsp brown sugar

For the chilli vinegar, mix the chilli oil, soy sauce, black vinegar, garlic, Szechuan pepper and sugar together in a bowl. Set aside.

To make the dumplings, mix the chopped prawns, spring onions, oyster sauce, ginger, sesame oil and salt and pepper together in a bowl. Taking one wonton skin at a time, put 1 tsp of the filling in the middle. Mix the cornflour with 2 tbsp of water then run a wet finger around the edge of the skin and fold it in half to form a triangle, pushing all the air out. Seal the edges, then bring the two outside corners of the triangle together, add a dab of cornflour mix then pinch them so they stick. The dumplings will look similar to tortellini.

Cook the dumplings in a pan of boiling water for 3 minutes or till they float to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon, place in a serving bowl, pour over the chilli vinegar and sprinkle with extra julienned spring onions.