Saturday, July 14, 2007

Yum cha

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.


Tasters!

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.

Good times.



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!

29 comments:

M3 said...

It all looks fabulous!!! wow. Sesame seed balls are one of my favorites, I can't believe you know how to make them now. So cool!

Carolyn said...

Delicious. My mouth is watering!! It sounds like you had fun, too.

Millicent said...

What a cool thing to do! I've just never imagined being able to actually make those wonderful nummies. Leave it to you to figure it out...

Jenni said...

Sounds nummy. I may have to find a class like that.

rubyiscoming said...

YUM YUM YUM!!! I'm trying to convince our "Waiting Families" group in our local FCC chapter to start taking cooking classes together. I've taken 2 Chinese classes on my own and one Indian one. Would be fun!!! Cool that you and jzboy did it together :)

Joannah said...

I'm totally impressed! Next time we won't need to go out for dim sum? ;-)

And how cool is it to have a class like that offered in your area. Our parks and recreation department is really good, but they only ever offer Thai cooking classes. Sigh...

C.J. said...

That looks MARVY! Hey, any class where you get to 'feel each others dough' has to be good (I think ;0)

That is such a cool idea. I'm going to have to find a victim to accompany me to something similar around these parts. Somehow I think something may be lacking in O-Hi-Yer....but I'll try.

YUM!

walternatives said...

So now I'm wondering where we can get dim sum in our town on Sunday morning (besides making it ourselves). Looks like a fun class and, yes, nice legs jzboy.

"M" said...

Sounds like great fun! Especially the touching each others dough part. Makes me want to run to the nearest Chinese place for dinner tonight.

a&mg said...

Sounds like an awesome day! I've actually never had dim sum. Great cooking, Zs!

kris said...

Daaaannnnggg. You guys do some cool stuff around there. I LOVE Dim Sum. Anyone make sticky rice? My fave (or maybe it's just the novelty of eating it off of a steaming wet leaf that I find so intriguing).

Dim Sum. Yum.

new girl said...

WOW! I am so impressed and HUNGRY! We have a Chinese Cultural Institute here that offers something similiar only I have the feeling that it's not nearly as in-depth and amazing as your class. But still it might be worth a try!

Beth and Shayna said...

Wow, that looked yummy. And what a fun way to spend time together. Julio is really great at cooking, so I step aside in the name of yummy things. Hey, when are we going to see a picture of the new chefs? And not just Jzboy's legs!

steph said...

Call me a novice, but all that fried food! How does one eat that on a regular basis without having a coronary!
But my my, does it look tasty!
Nice job!!
And as usual, you never fail to impress with all the cool things you all find to do around there. You're daughter's gonna be busy (0:

Shannon S said...

Delish!! You are such the adventuress! Drumming, dim summing...You rock!

Mamacita said...

I am so hungry right now. Those look delicious! When are you going to try it at home and report back?

Stephanie said...

I just love dim sum! Everything looks great - glad to hear that you had a fun time making it.
Stephanie
forksandchopsticks.wordpress.com

Cavatica said...

Ooooooooh, sounds wonderful!

Tammy said...

OH MAN - HOW COOL! What a super way to connect with your baby's heritage. I'm so impressed. You're already proving yourself to be a great momma!

Thanks for sharing your fun and tasty day!

BTW, Jzboy does have great legs :0)

Doris & Dan said...

Looks like a mouth watering inducing good time! Num!

Keep smili!

tundrachica said...

Wish I could take a class like this but it is pretty limited in our area. You are lucky to live in a place that has so much to offer.
Love the idea of people touching each other's dough balls to "feel" the differences. :) Cooking with intimacy, right?

atomic mama said...

Too fun! We do dumplings, but have never tried the doughier things - I must try to make sesame seed balls!

Jonni & John said...

Fun, fun, fun! Any activity where you can feels each others dough has got to be fun. I keep trying to get John to attend a cooking class with me, maybe this will motivate him to do it. You guys made some awesome looking food and I can imagine how tasty it was. :)

Hugs,
Jonni
:)

K said...

Oh my gosh, this looks fantastic! Where do you find all these cool things to do? I think you're my long, long sister soul mate or something. I hope that our daughters will be friends and we can do super cool mother/daughter things together.

Project Ni Hao said...

Yum! What a great class - sounds like a lot of fun.

Salome's Mom said...

How beautiful! I envy your culinary skills. I can only boil water successfully at times.

Yoli

Mark & Michelle said...

How much fun does that look like!!

We should really look into doing something like that - not like we don't have the time...

Anonymous said...

looks good! here's some more Cantonese to add to your Yum Cha class: Jin Dui is what we call the Sesame Balls. Or in A.B.C. talk- we call them Grease Balls. Still yummy either way!

And the Steamed BBQ pork buns are called Char Siu (BBQ pork) Bow (bun).

jon(jntskid)

jk said...

This looks fun and I am soooo not into cooking. The photos bring me back to my 8th grade home economics kitchen - learned how to boil eggs and make snickerdoodles. No wonder I don't know how to cook.