Dim sum is the southern Chinese ritual of drinking tea and eating sweet and savoury snacks of all sorts.
Although some snacks exist elsewhere in China, it is the Cantonese who have elevated them to a true art. Steaming is a favourite technique of the Cantonese, cooking food gently so that subtle flavours are not masked by the ferocity of frying in hot oil, for example. These delectable sui mai dumplings are easy to make at home and make a terrific beginning to any meal.
225g wonton skins, thawed if frozen
Fresh coriander leaves
For the filling
250g raw tiger prawns, peeled, deveined and coarsely chopped
250g minced fatty pork
1 teaspoon salt
Half a teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
100g fresh or tinned water chestnuts, peeled if fresh, drained if tinned, and finely minced
One and a half tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons finely chopped spring onions
1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Dipping sauces of your choice
Put the prawns and pork into a large bowl or a food processor, add the salt and pepper and mix well, either by kneading with your hand, stirring with a wooden spoon, or pulsing. Then add all the other filling ingredients and stir them well into the prawn and pork mixture. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and chill for at least 20 minutes.
Place a portion of filling on to each wonton skin. Bring up the sides and press them around the filling mixture. Tap the dumpling on the bottom to make a flat base. The top should be wide open, exposing the meat filling. Now place a coriander leaf on top. Repeat this process until you have used up all the filling.
Place the dumplings in a bamboo steamer lined with damp cheesecloth. Place the steamer over water in a wok or pot, cover tightly and steam over high heat for 15 minutes. Serve immediately with dipping sauces of your choice.