vendredi, novembre 13, 2009

Har Gow (Steamed Prawn Dumplings)

Har Gow (Steamed Prawn Dumplings)

I noticed that a number of food blogs have been doing their own David Letterman and Oprah shows inviting other bloggers to guest post on their blogs. It is interesting of course to discover another blog through this and see the host and guest compete to make each other the best compliments.

I toyed with the idea of searching through the African blogosphere to find myself one such guest, or to ask the Dutchess if she wouldn't want to guest star in my blog (but maybe not about food as she cooks way better than I do - a piece on her red bolero would do), but figured that it would cause her to trip on her new Ferragamo heels and roll on the parquet. And I can't afford to replace those heels especially not in these hard times.

Tham Yui Kai Cookbook

Then I thought of Tham Yui Kai and figured that I could post one of his recipes in my blog today. You wouldn't want him to write on my blog though, I do not know if the guy is still alive, he's probably as antique as the farmhouse I'm living in now. Well, for those of you who do not know him, while Hong Kong had their 4 Heavenly Canto-Pop Kings in the 1990s, Singapore had her 4 Heavenly Canto-Cuisine Kings in the 1960s/70s and he was one of them. Mom passed me his cookbook recently and I'm not surprised that she would have it - dad threw all his banquets and dinners at either the Lai Wah or Sin Leong restaurants in the days when he still had money and those restaurants were operated by one or more of the Heavenly Kings.

Having said that, I only inspired myself from his recipe because I think it needed updating. The cookbook was written in the 1980s and that's quite a while ago.


Har Gow (recipe adapted from "The Cookbook of Tham Yui Kai") :

The har gow skins :

100g Strong White Flour (if you cannot find Wheat Starch)
2 Tbsp Tapioca Starch
1 Tsp Salt
100ml Boiling water
1 Tbsp Lard or Oil

The filling :

300g Prawns (cooked and peeled)
70g Pork Fat (boiled and chopped)
50g Carrots, Bamboo Shoots or Water Chestnut (julienned or chopped)
1 Cabbage leaf (blanched and chopped)
1 Tbsp Spring Onions (chopped)
2 Tsp Sugar
2 Tsp Light Soy Sauce or 1/2 Tsp Salt
2 Tsp Sesame Oil
1 Tsp Ginger (minced)
2 Tbsp Chinese cooking wine or Dry Sherry
4 Tsp Cornstarch
1 Egg white
White Pepper

Mix the 2 starches and salt together and pour boiling water into the bowl. Mix quickly with a pair of chopsticks then form into a ball and start to knead. Finally add in the oil, knead again and pinch small balls from it to be flattened into round wrappers. I rolled out the dough as thinly as I could and used biscuit cutters to make my flat rounds.

The prawn meat can be used in small pieces or pounded/blended into a rough paste. Put all the ingredients together, mix well and leave in the fridge to set for a while before using.

I used organic strong white flour because I do not have wheat starch (tung mein fun), and I do not think that it is white enough and probably contained too much gluten and wouldn't allow the skin to be more transparent. I didn't bother to pinch the wrapper the traditional way, it is already painful enough that it takes so much time to make the dumplings and so little time to eat them. Wrapped them up as quickly as I could.

Before being steamed

Anyway, it takes about 8 minutes to steam the har gow. I added oil in the boiling water and on the cabbage leaves before putting the dumplings in for steaming. The result wasn't too bad and I will endeavour to find a packet of wheat starch and try to make a better skin.

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