Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Sweet Mandarin Cookery School for 14-16 year olds – Irlam Youth Forum Centre

January 15, 2009
Teenage students are mesmerized by Lisa's knife skills as they watch the demonstration

Teenage students are mesmerized by Lisa’s knife skills as they watch the demonstration

 

Three teenagers learning to cook Chinese dim sum at the Sweet Mandarin Chinese Cookery School with Lisa Tse

Three teenagers learning to cook Chinese dim sum at the Sweet Mandarin Chinese Cookery School with Lisa Tse

Lisa teaching 14-16 year olds at Irlam Youth Forum Centre how to cook Chinese dim sum and cuisine.

Lisa teaching 14-16 year olds at Irlam Youth Forum Centre how to cook Chinese dim sum and cuisine.

SCHOOLS VISITS – FOOD TECHNOLOGY 
DIM SUM MASTERCLASS
Sweet  Mandarin Cookery Courses – Workshops / Demonstrations

Lisa Tse has been visiting schools around the North West, USA, Asia and Carribean teaching Year 7 – 13 the art of making dim sum and the history of dim sum during the food technology classes.

Explained Lisa Tse, co-owner of Sweet Mandarin with her sisters Helen and Janet: “We are really excited to be working with schools. We’ve put together a workshop that will give the students hands-on experience of how to make authentic dim sums and learn a bit about Chinese culture and food. The students will also end the workshop with a fruit origami.

Said Fay Flatt (Arts Officer at Irlam & Cadishead, Irlam Youth Forum Centre): “When my students heard about the opportunity to train with Lisa Tse from the Sweet Mandarin Cookery School they were so excited. Lisa is an excellent teacher and mesmerized the students”

One of the students reported that “learning how to cook dim sum and understanding about Chinese food was brilliant. I wish every food technology class was taught by Lisa.”

INVITE LISA TSE TO YOUR SCHOOL

– Learn the art of dim sum
– Learn Chinese Culture and food
– Learn Chinese New Year food and traditions
– Assembly Guest Speaker – Motivational Talk
– Prize Giving Guest Speaker – Motivational Talk

To book Lisa Tse please email lisa@sweetmandarin.com

COSTS

Email us for more details
Payment must be settled before or on the day. Please make cheques payable to Lisa Tse

– Maximum class size is 15.
– Ingredients need to be provided for the class ( full list will be provided)
– Expenses must be covered also.

Chinese Cooking School – How to turn an apple into a swan

January 15, 2009

Lisa’s love of cooking and of the creative process of her art keeps her always interested in giving demonstrations and teaching others. Lisa is the head chef of Sweet Mandarin and teaches fruit origami in her cooking series taught at the Sweet Mandarin Chinese Cooking School.

Mr Drake's swan (I'm very impressed with all my students and I bet your friends and family will be impressed too!)

Mr Drake's swan (I'm very impressed with all my students and I bet your friends and family will be impressed too!)

Mr Drake having a go at fruit origami at Sweet Mandarin's Chinese Cookery School (Mr Drake made a superb swan)
Mr Drake having a go at fruit origami at Sweet Mandarin’s Chinese Cookery School (Mr Drake made a superb swan)
More students learning the secrets of fruit origami with Lisa Tse's easy to follow instructions
More students learning the secrets of fruit origami with Lisa Tse’s easy to follow instructions
Students at the Sweet Mandarin Chinese Cooking School learning how to carve fruit origami
Students at the Sweet Mandarin Chinese Cooking School learning how to carve fruit origami

Have you ever wanted to create an amazing centre piece for a dish or for a birthday cake?  Lisa, the head chef and teacher at the Sweet Mandarin Chinese Cooking School is always creating new dishes and presentational displays, which she shares with her students. Lisa has represented the Sweet Mandarin Cooking School in the Caribbean, across the United Kingdom and in China and has recently been nominated by Hi-Life Diners 2009 in the Best Manchester Restaurant category. Lisa’s passion is teaching her students – adults and the youth how to carve amazing fruit origami – turning a cucumber into a cute frog, turning carrots into ornamental flowers and turning an apple into a breath-taking swan. Lisa teaches cooking schools and home economics the art of dim sum and fruit origami and has been giving demonstrations at local fairs, exhibitions and events in conjunction with local Governmental programmes and the Department of Cultural Affairs.

 Lisa has developed a special way of teaching this ancient art of fruit and vegetable carving based on her understanding of the particular problems students of all ages have when they begin to work with their knife. She believes that learning to carve fruit and vegetables info beautiful flowers and other forms is not difficult; but one must first understand the concept behind the basic forms and second, learn to use the knife correctly to cut away one part and leave the other parts.

For more information on how to book your place at the Sweet Mandarin Chinese Cookery School go to www.sweetmandarin.com

Chinese Cookery School – Sweet Mandarin Is Proud of Her Students and Vice Versa

January 15, 2009

group“As family meals seems to have become pushed aside by a barrage of ubiquitous fast food and drive-thru restaurants, Lisa Tse of Sweet Mandarin emerges with a welcoming food philosophy of cooking healthy delicious meals and gathering the family back to the table. Operating from her modern wok fired restaurant, Sweet Mandarin in the Northern Quarter, Manchester, Lisa Tse continues a popular series of cooking classes that seek inspiration from a bevy of local world-class producers. The masterclass may well begin a session with a literal and culinary trip to the Silk Road learning how dim sum was created before actually learning the secrets of making dim sum. There was also some delightful party tricks to take back to the home kitchen. From the hands-on task of preparing the produce, learning knife skills, calculating the food budget and wok technique, a number of succulent stir fries and Chinese dishes were miraculously russled up during the masterclass.”

Oprah’s Ten Weight Loss Recipes – No. 9 Finger Lickin Good Spare Ribs – By The Sweet Mandarin Cookery School

January 5, 2009

200901_omag_cover_2208This series of blogs is addressed to Oprah and all those out there battling the bulge and excess weight. I am often asked by my clients to prepare for them a special detox meal over a period of a week to a month. The following recipes are just a sample of our offerings and are unique to Sweet Mandarin (www.sweetmandarin.com). If you would like a one-to-one consultation, contact me, Lisa Tse on sweetmandarin@gmail.com .

spare-ribs

SPARERIBS WITH HOISIN SAUCE

Serves 4 to 6.

 

INGREDIENTS:

           2 pounds spareribs

           3 tablespoons light soy sauce

           3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

           3 tablespoons ketchup

           2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

           1 tablespoon brown sugar

           2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

           2 tablespoons honey

           1/4 cup boiling water

PREPARATION:

Cut the spareribs apart into 1-inch pieces. Place in a shallow glass baking dish.

 

Combine the light soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ketchup, rice wine or sherry, brown sugar, and the chopped garlic.

Pour over the spareribs. Cover and marinate overnight in the refrigerator, turning occasionally to make sure the ribs are thoroughly coated.

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius, set oven to either 175 degrees Celsius). Dissolve the honey in the boiling water.

 

Fill a shallow roasting pan with 1/2-inch of water and place in the bottom of the oven. Place the pork on a rack above the water. Roast the pork for 30 minutes, or until the ribs just begin shrinking and the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius). Brush the spareribs several times with the honey and water mixture during roasting. Remove and cool.

 

Spareribs can be cooked ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen. (Thaw frozen pork in the refrigerator or microwave. Use refrigerated pork within 4 days. Reheat frozen or refrigerated pork before serving).

 

Nutritional Breakdown per serving (based on 6 servings) – 328 calories (kcal), 22 g Total Fat (10 g monounsaturated, 8 g saturated , 2 g polyunsaturated), 17 g Protein, 13 g Carbohydrate, 73 mg Cholesterol, 805 mg Sodium

Note: Using low-sodium soy sauce reduces the sodium count to 590 mg (25 percent of daily total).

Best wishes and Sweet Dishes to You and Your Family

Lisa

Note to Oprah – I know you love your fried chicken – but try this as a healthy alternative – and as a treat for your diet.

Oprah’s Ten Weight Loss Recipes – No. 8 The Chicken Stock to Warm Your Heart – By The Sweet Mandarin Cookery School

January 5, 2009

200901_omag_cover_2207This series of blogs is addressed to Oprah and all those out there battling the bulge and excess weight. I am often asked by my clients to prepare for them a special detox meal over a period of a week to a month. The following recipes are just a sample of our offerings and are unique to Sweet Mandarin (www.sweetmandarin.com). If you would like a one-to-one consultation, contact me, Lisa Tse on sweetmandarin@gmail.com

 

Best wishes and Sweet Dishes to You and Your Family

Lisa

chicken-stock

CHICKEN STOCK

Makes about 10 cups.

 

INGREDIENTS:

           3 pounds chicken pieces (backs, necks, or wings)

           12 cups cold water

           3 slices fresh ginger

           Salt, to taste

PREPARATION:

Rinse the chicken pieces under running water. Place in a large pot with 12 cups water (or enough to cover).

Add the ginger. Bring to a boil over medium heat, occasionally skimming off the foam that rises to the top.

Add salt to taste.

Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours.

 

Chicken Stock is simple to prepare, relatively cheap, nutritious, and easily digested. Chicken stock can be used as a soup is a good food for winter convalescents. Sipping warm soup can also clear the sinuses because of the steam ventilating into the nasal passages, serving as a natural decongestant, which also relieves cold and flu symptoms. Last, but not least, scientists found that the particular blend of nutrients and vitamins in traditional chicken soup can slow the activity of certain white blood cells. This may have an anti-inflammatory effect that could hypothetically lead to temporary ease from symptoms of illness.

Oprah’s Ten Weight Loss Recipes – No. 4 Ginger Tea – By The Sweet Mandarin Cookery School

January 4, 2009

200901_omag_cover_2204This series of blogs is addressed to Oprah and all those out there battling the bulge and excess weight. I am often asked by my clients to prepare for them a special detox meal over a period of a week to a month. The following recipes are just a sample of our offerings and are unique to Sweet Mandarin (www.sweetmandarin.com). If you would like a one-to-one consultation, contact me, Lisa Tse on sweetmandarin@gmail.com .

Best wishes and Sweet Dishes to You and Your Family

Lisa

ginger-tea

Ginger Tea

 

Treat yourself to a cup of piping hot ginger tea, a healthy drink that’s great for digestion.

 

INGREDIENTS:

           2 thin slices raw ginger

           water

 

PREPARATION:

Boil enough water to fill your cup, remove from heat, and add the slices of ginger. Allow to steep to desired strength (3-5 minutes), strain and enjoy!

 

NUTRITIONAL VALUE 

Ginger – Besides being appreciated for its distinct flavor and ability to diffuse other strong odors, ginger has long been used as a digestive aid. Thought to get rid of air in the body, it is used to treat both stomach acidity and motion sickness. In China, women customarily drink a mixture of ginger cooked in wine and sesame oil shortly after giving birth.

Oprah’s Ten Weight Loss Recipes – No. 3 Egg Drop Soup – By The Sweet Mandarin Cookery School

January 4, 2009

200901_omag_cover_2203This series of blogs is addressed to Oprah and all those out there battling the bulge and excess weight. I am often asked by my clients to prepare for them a special detox meal over a period of a week to a month. The following recipes are just a sample of our offerings and are unique to Sweet Mandarin (www.sweetmandarin.com). If you would like a one-to-one consultation, contact me, Lisa Tse on sweetmandarin@gmail.com .

Best wishes and Sweet Dishes to You and Your Family

Lisa

egg-drop-soup

EGG DROP SOUP

 

The basic recipe for Egg Drop Soup (also called Egg Flower Soup) is very simple; I’ve included a few variations below. Serves 3 to 4.

Traditionally, the broth for Egg Drop Soup is rather bland, allowing the egg flavor to stand out.

 

INGREDIENTS:

           4 cups chicken broth or stock

           2 eggs, lightly beaten

           1 -2 spring onions finely sliced

           Salt to taste

           A few drops of sesame oil (optional)

PREPARATION:

In a wok or saucepan, bring the 4 cups of chicken broth to a boil. Add the salt, and the sesame oil if using. Cook for about another minute.

Very slowly pour in the beaten eggs in a steady stream.

To make shreds, stir the egg rapidly in a clockwise direction for one minute. To make thin streams or ribbons, gently stir the eggs in a clockwise direction until they form.

  Garnish with spring onion and serve.

 

Nutritional Breakdown – 4 servings

Each serving contains: Calories 81, 2 g Carbohydrates, 8 g Protein, 4 g Total Fat, 1 g Saturated Fat, 106 mg Cholesterol, trace Fibre, 866 mg Sodium

 

Egg Drop Soup Variations

These would be added after the seasonings. After adding, let the soup cook for a few more minutes and then add the beaten egg.

**1/2 cup frozen peas (defrosted).

**1/2 cup sweetcorn and finely diced chicken breast meat (cooked) – this makes Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup.

**If you are preparing the soup for someone who is ill, try adding a slice of fresh, grated ginger. Among its many benefits, ginger is believed to be helpful in treating colds and flue.

 

Egg Drop Soup is frequently thickened with cornstarch in restaurants. To add a cornstarch thickener, mix 2 – 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/2 cup water. Just before adding the beaten egg, stir in the cornstarch/water mixture, remove the soup from the heat, and then add the beaten egg.

 

Oprah’s Ten Weight Loss Recipes – No.2 Garlic Butter Steamed Fish – By The Sweet Mandarin Cookery School

January 4, 2009

200901_omag_cover_2202This series of blogs is addressed to Oprah and all those out there battling the bulge and excess weight. I am often asked by my clients to prepare for them a special detox meal over a period of a week to a month. The following recipes are just a sample of our offerings and are unique to Sweet Mandarin (www.sweetmandarin.com). If you would like a one-to-one consultation, contact me, Lisa Tse on sweetmandarin@gmail.com .

Best wishes and Sweet Dishes to You and Your Family

Lisa

steamed-fish-garlic

STEAMED FISH WITH GARLIC BUTTER

 

Serves 3 – 4

 

INGREDIENTS:

           4 fish fillets, about 4 – 6 ounces each

           2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

           1/4 teaspoon salt

           2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

           2 tablespoons butter

 

PREPARATION:

Prepare the wok for steaming. Rinse the fish fillets and pat dry with paper towels. Cover and steam the fish over high heat until the fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork (10 – 15 minutes). 

Separately, in a small pan, melt the butter, adding the chopped garlic and salt –mix until garlic goes golden brown. Take off the heat.

Place the fish fillets on a deep, heat-proof plate that will fit inside the steamer basket. Pour the garlic butter mixture over the fish.

Serve hot with steamed leafy greens.

 

Nutritional Breakdown for Steamed Fish (based on 4 servings of 6 ounces fish each) Each serving contains: Calories 157, 3 g Carbohydrates, 31 g Protein, 2 g Total Fat, 73 mg Cholesterol, trace dietary Fibre, 232 mg Sodium, 774 mg Potassium.

 

Garlic is claimed to help prevent heart disease including atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and cancer. Garlic is also useful to treat a common cold, and help regulate blood levels

 

Butter in moderation is allowed.

Oprah’s Ten Weight Loss Recipes – No.1 – Mabel’s Claypot – By Sweet Mandarin Cookery School

January 4, 2009

200901_omag_cover_2201

 

This series of blogs is addressed to Oprah and all those out there battling the bulge and excess weight. I am often asked by my clients to prepare for them a special detox meal over a period of a week to a month. The following recipes are just a sample of our offerings and are unique to Sweet Mandarin (www.sweetmandarin.com). If you would like a one-to-one consultation, contact me, Lisa Tse on sweetmandarin@gmail.com .

Best wishes and Sweet Dishes to You and Your Family

Lisa

 

mae-claypot

Instead of meat try ordering the tofu – it is made of soybeans, high in protein and not too high in fat and calories – it soaks up the flavor of the foods that it is cooked with. Avoid dishes using fried tofu.

 

MABEL’S CLAYPOT TOFU

 

This is a family favourite of my mother, Mabel. It evokes home cooking at its best and will draw you to the warmth of the family table after tasting this delicious and nutritious dish. The story behind this dish stems from when my mother was only a child of seven and immigrated to the UK. She felt so home sick and hated the rainy cold weather, the fact that she couldn’t speak of word of English and had no friends. Her mother made her this dish, and it immediately transported her back to the warm climate of Hong Kong to a place where she felt safe and secure. This claypot was her comfort dish – her comfort food – and helped her transition to a new world.

 

INGREDIENTS:

•           1 packet of firm Tofu

•           1 1/2 teaspoons (7 mL) dark soy sauce

•           1 ½  teaspoons (7 mL) Chinese rice vinegar

•           1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) salt

•           ¼ teaspoon (1 mL) sugar

•           3/4 cup (187.5 mL) chicken or vegetable stock

•           1 teaspoon (5 mL) cornstarch mixed

•           2 tablespoons (25 mL) water

•           1 tablespoon (15 mL) vegetable oil

•           1 tablespoon (15 mL) sesame oil

•           2 spring onions sliced in one inch pieces

•           2 baby bok choy, cut into rough squares

•           Quarter Chinese sausage (lap cheung) finely sliced – or replace with salami (optional – don’t add if vegetarian)

•           1/2 onion, sliced.

•           1 tablespoon (15 mL) grated ginger

•           1 teaspoon (5 mL) garlic

•           1 large shallot, chopped

•           5 Chinese mushrooms from can or if dried, soak until soft

•           2 sprigs cilantro

•           2 cups (500 mL) jasmine rice

 

PREPARATION:

 

1. Pre-heat oven to 360–375˚F

(180–190˚C or Gas Mark 4–5).

2. Soak mushrooms in hot water for one hour (alternatively use ready-to-cook tinned

Chinese mushrooms).

3. Cut tofu into bite-sized pieces.

4. Mix the marinade ingredients (salt, sugar, Chinese rice wine and corn starch) in a large

bowl, add the tofu pieces and stir gently.

5. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

6. Place wok on high heat. Add the oil, stir in the ginger and garlic, and cook until golden.

7. Drain the tofu (reserve the marinade). Stir-fry the tofu until it’s cooked through.

8. Add spring onions, mushrooms, lap cheung and bok choy. Stir-fry for three minutes until the vegetables soften slightly.

9. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and salt.

10. Add chicken /vegetable broth and marinade and bring to a boil.

11. Add cornstarch mixture and mix well until consistency thickens.

12. Switch off heat. Pour the tofu, vegetables and stock into a clay pot.

13. Cover and place the pot in the oven.

14. Bake for 5-10 mins until mixture is bubbling.

15. Serve with fragrant jasmine rice.

 

NUTRITIONAL VALUE 

Each serving includes:  Calories 269, 26 g Carbohydrates, 21 g Protein, 10 g Fat, 1 g Saturated Fat, 50 mg Cholesterol, 4 g Fibre, 330 mg Sodium, 420 mg Potassium. An excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and niacin. A good source of fibre, vitamin E, vitamin B-6 and folacin.

 

Chinese Black Mushrooms – No need to visit the Chinese pharmacist for these – you’ll find bins of Chinese black mushrooms packed to overflowing in any Chinese grocery store. Used in soups stir-fries and braised dishes, they are thought to be helpful in lowering blood pressure.

 

Ginger – Besides being appreciated for its distinct flavor and ability to diffuse other strong odors, ginger has long been used as a digestive aid. Thought to get rid of air in the body, it is used to treat both stomach acidity and motion sickness. In China, women customarily drink a mixture of ginger cooked in wine and sesame oil shortly after giving birth.


To learn more about the Sweet Mandarin Cookery School – www.sweetmandarin.com To book your place on the course or to order specific detox menus – email Lisa Tse on sweetmandarin@gmail.com

Six Degrees of Separation – Dim Sum, Silk Road, Guangzhou China, Britain, Cuppa Tea and me….

January 3, 2009

As a British Born Chinese, I have lived a very British way of life being educated in Manchester and Australia. However, throughout my life, I grew up with the backdrop of serving and cooking in the family restaurant and continue my involvement in the catering empire as a co-owner of Sweet Mandarin Restaurant (www.sweetmandarin.com).

emperor-people-food-quote 

(Illustration by Lisa Tse “To The Ruler, the People are Heaven, to the People Food is Heaven”)

Chinese food has had an overwhelming presence in my life and been the catalyst for my hunger for understanding China and the significance of food in its culture. This series explores the cities where I stayed, the lives that crossed my path and the amazing food with a story to tell. China is a captivating and vivacious collection of diverse cities, provinces and regions. In the south, Guangdong, the Cantonese speaking region is renowned for its steaming, boiling and stir frying and dim sum feasts which we have become accustomed to and love in the western world. Beijing in the coldest area of China boasts the Emperor’s banquet, the world famous Peking Duck and hot pot. In the east, Shanghai offers its famous Shanghai Dumplings, whilst the Sichuan provinces easily provide the hottest and spiciest cuisine.

I finally arrived at Guangzhou which is famous for its “dim sum”. Literally translated, “dim sum” means “to touch your heart”. Guangzhou is north of the Pearl River Delta, adjacent to Hong Kong and holds a special place in my heart as the place where my family originates from. The nickname for this province is “Flower City” because flowers keep blossoming all year round.

five_rams 

(Five Ram Statute in Guangzhou)

It also holds the myth that there were five celestials riding five rams with rice in their mouth. The celestials gave the rice to the residents of Guangzhou and blessed the province with good harvests and an abundance of food. Today, the celestials have flown away but the five rams have been turned into stone sculptures in the Yuexiu Park area. The blessings have seemingly been fulfilled and the city is brimming with masses of people, bicycles and restaurants.

To date, there are over 10,000 restaurants in the city, with seats for over 500,000. The people of Guangzhou are natural born gourmets. Food in Guangzhou is famous worldwide. Indeed in 1927, Chiang Kai-Shek, the leader of the nationalist party responsible for unifying China, set up his headquarters in Guangzhou and enjoyed dining at the many restaurants serving dim sum.

dim-sum 

(Dim Sum Mania on Sunday Mornings)

Dim sum is often referred to as “yum cha” (饮茶) which means “drinking tea”. This interchangeable expression originated from the teahouses which set up along the Silk Road. The Silk Road linked China to Syria and was travelled by merchants and farmers trading their silk, gold, ivory, spices, exotic animals and plants. Travellers and rural farmers, exhausted after working hard, would also go to teahouses for a relaxing afternoon of tea. At first, it was considered inappropriate to combine tea with food, because people believed it would lead to excessive weight gain. However, people later discovered that tea can aid in digestion. Therefore, teahouse owners began adding more variety of snacks, so the tradition of dim sum evolved.

 restaurant-filled-with-people

(Dim Sum Restaurant – Old Hong Kong)

Dim sum mania spread to Hong Kong as the Guangzhou population immigrated to Hong Kong in the 1920s. Chinese restaurants grew exponentially in Hong Kong and soon dim sum was available from 6am through to late afternoon. Restaurants in Hong Kong and Guangzhou became filled mainly with the elderly population who often gathered to eat after the morning session of tai chi exercises, often enjoying the morning newspapers.

In the west, dim sum came about as a natural result of Chinese immigrants moving to the western world. When Europe started trading with the Orient, the seaport of Guangzhou became the gateway to the West. The Chinese readily absorbed these cosmopolitan influences, and being great travellers themselves, emigrated to the United States of America and the United Kingdom. They were the first to make Chinese cooking known to the Western world and as a result dim sum has become the firm favourite of the Western world.

dimsumrestaurant 

(A Packed Dim Sum Session)

Go to a Chinese restaurant on a Sunday afternoon and you will be greeted by a sea of Chinese families spanning three generations. Dim sum is the Chinese equivalent of French hors d’oeuvres or Spanish tapas. It’s a colourful and loud dining experience starting with the rush for vacant seats and the hustle and bustle of the gesticulating waiters selling their dim sum specials from their trolleys. Bamboo containers filled with steamed dim sum are stacked high and quickly snapped up. Waiting on staff ask what kind of tea we want to drink offering a vast array of jasmine tea, oolong tea, pu-er tea and green tea which helps to wash down the dim sum. The noise of the chatter of the diners is deafening. It’s a busy, frantic affair and there is an air of organized panic in the restaurants, which adds to the excitement and entertainment. Dim sum is an overwhelming introduction to the Chinese nation’s love of food, gregariousness and cheerful chatter.

I love dim sum. There are over 200 dishes to choose from. One Cantonese saying goes that anything that walks, swims, crawls, or flies is edible. Another says that the only four-legged things that Cantonese people won’t eat are tables and chairs.

The range of cooking skills required to make dim sum is vast. There is usually a dim sum master overseeing his section of the kitchen and there is a real art involved in making the dishes. Some dishes are steamed, others are fried. Some are baked. The variety of tastes is also mind boggling – sweet, sour, savoury and chilli.

har-gow-siu-mi 

(Left: Har Gow, Right: Siu Mi)

There are firm favourites such as “har gow” (prawn dumplings wrapped in translucent rice paper), “siu mi” (pork dumplings) and “char siu bow” (pork buns in a white fluffy dough). If you are feeling more adventurous, an eye opening experience with a stronger flavour is “fung jow” (chickens feet in yellow bean sauce and chillis). One caveat – this particular dish is not for the faint hearted. The sweet dishes for dessert range from the egg custard tarts which are extremely delicious to sago pudding or mango pudding which are refreshing and a great ending to the dim sum experience.

youngsters-making-dim-sum1 

(Me (Left) learning how to make dim sum with my sister (centre) and mother, Mabel (Right))

A meal in a restaurant opens the taste buds, but cooking dim sum for my friends and family widens all the senses. I learnt the authentic recipes from Guangzhou and used them at Sweet Mandarin. Together with my sisters, Helen and Janet we made every dim sum from fresh. Stuffing and shaping wontons was the real family enterprise. We made the stuffing from a light prawn mince and wrapped the teaspoon of filling with a fine egg based pastry. We all left our individual stamp on the won tons in the way we crimped the edges. I added a flamboyant tail on these wontons, which can then be dipped in the sweet and sour dip. My everyday rituals of properly selecting produce, cooking and presenting a meal, which I have inherited from my family, have given me an insight to see the meaning of my own cooking as a metaphor for life.

I would love to share with you our recipe on making this exquisite dim sum.
won-tons
Ingredients
For the Prawn Filling
250g pack shrimps
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp potato starch
1 egg white
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Hot vegetable oil to lightly fry the wontons
Ingredients for the Wonton Wrappers
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
1 tsp potato starch
1/4 cup of water
2 cups of plain flour
Dressing for the wontons
Serve with Sweet Mandarin’s The General Tse’s Sweet and Sour Sauce
Method to make the wonton pastry
1. Kneed the ingredients together into a ball. The consistency is dough like.
2. Leave in the fridge for half an hour.
3. Roll out into a very thin sheet (as thick as a piece of paper) with a rolling pin ensuring there is plenty of flour to avoid sticking.
4. Cut into squares 3inches squared.
Method to make delicious and easy wontons
1. Put all the prawn mixture into a food processor and mix thoroughly.
2. Shape into balls the size of walnuts.
3. Place the filling balls into the centre of the wonton wrappers. To make the tail, gather the four edges and twist together.
4. Heat oil
5. Place wontons in hot oil for 5-6 minutes or until cooked through.
6. Drain from oil.
7. Serve the wontons with the Sweet Mandarin’s General Tse’s Sweet and Sour Sauce.

Sweet Mandarin offers a brunch special on Saturdays and Sundays – Eat all you can Dim Sum for 10 pounds per head. Match with Jasmine Tea and it makes for a wonderful relaxing weekend with friends and family.  For more information, go to www.sweetmandarin.com To book a table email sweetmandarin@gmail.com