We're at it again.
Yes, the ZFamily contines to seek new and improved ways to connect with China. To feel a closeness, embrace a specialness, and maybe just to "touch base" a little more intimately with the place that has become such an integral part of our lives as we wait to adopt our daughter. This time? Dim Sum. Not just for noshing - nope, this time we got our hands dirty!
I roped Jzboy into taking this adult school class with me in the name of an anniversary gift of sorts. July is a special month for us. He was game because not only does he love Dim Sum but because it afforded him a "get-out-of-painting-free" card this morning. C'mon now...really?....who doesn't enjoy eating yummy stuff on a Saturday morning?
Call time - 10:30am. Are you serious? Yes, we were late.
When the teacher asked for volunteers for the variety of dishes we were cooking, I raised my hand for the sesame seed balls. Jzboy decided to work at the station next to mine and tended to the Chinese Broccoli.
Here's a pic of some of the lovely ingredients. I can't wait to go to the Asian market next week. Supreme Oyster Sauce - top of the list!
Our teacher was EXCELLENT and really taught us how to get the sesame seed ball dough to the perfect consistency. This dough is like nothing I've worked with before - that was fun! I got to use a combination of rice flour and wheat starch - two ingredients that are unfamiliar to me. We all went around to each others stations to, of course, feel each others dough. (It was all very friendly and educational, I promise you). There were also Siu Mai (steamed pork/shrimp dumplings), Ha Gow (steamed shrimp dumplings) and Siu Bao (steamed BBQ pork buns) doughs to test out - each one very different. Our fingerprints ended up on every one of those little savory treats. Getting to know the texture - the feel of the little pastries - left us with such an appreciation for those that mass produce at the Dim Sum restaurants that we frequent.
Yes, a lot of work.
Here is the first wee batch of sesame balls taking shape. AND, Jzboy's Chinese Broccoli all steamed & shocked with ice!
The sesame balls are stuffed with red bean paste...in case you were wondering.
The gals across the counter from us worked together on "Crunchy Noodle Balls". I couldn't help calling them (to myself) Bird's Nests. Once fried? Damn, were they tasty!!
Here they are in oil:
Isn't it great frying stuff in someone elses kitchen??
Pretty little Sui Mai - the weensy piece of cilantro really made it for me.
Here's the Ha Gow station:
We all kinda shyed away from this one. It is HARD. Like, really hard. You have to roll the dough out super nice and thin. Then you've got to pinch it together in just this certain sort of way. Much easier to order up at the restaurant vs. create at home. We did our best, though.
Pork Buns a-steamin':
Here is Jzboy with his sesame seed balls in oil:
Nice legs, Jzboy!
I'll be the first to tell you - they were divine - the sesame seed ball treats, that is. One Chinese woman - well versed in Dim Sum - said that we made one of the best crusts that she'd EVER had. Yeah baby!
Fun morning that turned into afternoon.
New friends, new flours, and new China-based skills embraced.
Yum Cha is the Chinese tradition of "taking tea". In Cantonese, it literally means "drinking tea" and refers to the custom of eating small servings of different foods while sipping Chinese tea in Cantonese speaking areas of southern China. It happens to be a weekend morning tradition both here and there. Sounds like Dim Sum, yes?????
Sounds pretty darn good to me!