Birthday! Yum Cha!

December 22, 2011 § 6 Comments

It’s my vegan birthday!  One year vegan and going strong! Speaking of strong, did you know that lions, which are strong, can get their requirements of vegetables met through eating their prey’s stomach and intestines, which often contains undigested green matter.

Anyways, for my vegan birthday I planned to make myself a cake, but all I wanted was vegan dim-sum.

For those of you who have never experienced the wonders of dim sum before, I can only describe it as being as close to Belle’s experience when Lumiere and Cogsworth present her with millions delectable dancing dishes. Let me paint the setting for you: You sit down in a deafening din of a place, then immediately, shiny metal carts of fragrant steaming hot plates zoom past you. Your left eye tries to follow the siu mai while your right eye fixates on the dan taht but oohh, don’t those lo mai gai in the corner look good too? And when you flag down enough of the dim sum to your table, they sit in a roly-poly thing in the middle that you get to spin! Whee! It’s clearly the best thing to do ever!

Except of course, to have dim sum for DINNER! Which I can do because I’m a grown-up and I can do anything I want. So tonight I had bean curd rolls, siu mai, lo mai gai, and choy sum. Wanted to have xiao long bao but I was full because my metabolism is slowing down in my old age.

I only managed to grab a picture of the siu mai, so that’s what we’re going to learn how to make today!

Siu Mai (燒賣)
makes 16 | cook time: 5 minutes | prep time: 20 minutes
The lovely orange color of these fellows are due to grated carrots on top, which are part of your daily requirements of vegetables. Unlike lions, you shouldn’t get vegetables from eating someone else’s innards. If you can find vegan wonton wrappers, that should be fine instead of making my dough, but I couldn’t find any.

Ingredients
– 1 cup flour
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1/3 cup water
– 1 bag vegan shrimp (found at your local Asian grocery store) OR 1 box of extra firm tofu
– 4 shiitake mushrooms
– 2 strands of green onion, chopped finely
– 1/2 inch piece of ginger, minced
– 1 tablespoon rice wine
– 2 tablespoon soy sauce
– 2 tablespoon tapioca starch
– 3 tablespoons sesame oil
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/4 tsp white pepper
– 1/2 carrot, microplaned

1. To make the dough, mix the flour, 1/4 tsp salt, and water together in a small bowl. Once it comes into a ball, knead by hand for 2 minutes, until the ball seems smooth. Place the dough ball on the counter and turn the bowl over onto the ball so that it doesn’t dry out while you make the rest of the siu mai.
2. To make the rest, blitz everything else except the carrot in a food processor on pulse. You’re looking to make small pieces of everything, not a gloopy puree. If you don’t have a food processor, just chop it by hand. I did that. I was tired.
3. To thicken up the mixture and make sure it sticks together, cook the mixture on medium for about 5 minutes, stirring often. The tapioca starch should start to make the mixture stickier.
4. Divide the dough in half, roll out into a sheet about a millimeter thick, and cut into 3″ by 3″ squares. Each half should produce about 8 squares. If you want to stack them on top of each other, dust cornstarch between them to keep them from sticking.
5. To form the siu mai, place 1 1/2 tablespoons of the filling in the middle of one of the squares. Bring up one of the sides of the squares, and pleat until you reach the next side,  then continue pleating until all the sides are covered. Try to keep the top exposed because it’s pretty.
6. Top with some microplaned carrots.
7. Steam in a bamboo steamer over a pot of boiling water for five minutes, or until the wrapper seems firm and the insides are heated throughout. Enjoy steaming hot with some soy sauce on the side! Not traditional, but they’re also amazing with some kimchi.

ps. This blog is slowly turning into “Random Days With Wanda” …oops.

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