The perfect food for a delicious lunch, a light dinner or just an appetizer to keep you going while you await the main deal, dumplings have kept China, Japan and other pockets of East Asia fed and content for centuries. They can be eaten with chopsticks, a fork or in many cases just popped into your mouth after being dipped in sauce with your fingers. The secret to an amazing dumpling, as any East Asian will tell you, is in the wrappers which can be deceptively easy to make. With the help of Head Chef Den Signey at Bamboo, Zen Garden on Lower Kabete road, we have compiled a brief guide to some of the most popular styles of dumplings out there.
This light soy sauce is infused with spring onions and a touch of lemon juice. It adds a savoury touch to dishes and should be used sparingly.
PRAWN AND CORIANDER DIM SUM
Beautifully delicate steamed pockets of seafood glory, these translucent, bite-sized Chinese pockets of fun, are wrapped in dumpling wrappers made with a special imported potato flour. They taste lovely on their own but even more divine when dipped in chili oil.
CRISPY PRAWN WONTON
As delightful on the eye as it is crunchy on the mouth, this dumpling is bound to please all lovers of fun fried snacks out there. The soft ginger filled prawn filling will be a well-deserved reward after crunching down on its tentacles. Dip it in soy sauce for a savoury touch.
This soft and spongy Chinese steamed bun, contains a spectacularly delicious barbecued pork filling known as “char siu” pork which Chef Den cooks three times in order to achieve the right balance of sweet and spicy flavour. You can dip this in any sauce you want, the truth though is that the inside is so lovely and moist you might not feel the need to.
Similar to the prawn dim sum this translucent dumpling comes steamed and with a a juicy prawn and bamboo shoot interior. Works best with a tangy soy and fresh lemon juice sauce with some fish sauce thrown in for added flavour.
Fried ginger matchsticks are combined with raw ones and sprinkled with white and black sesame seeds to add some kick to the delicate dumpling dishes. It can be mixed with soy sauce for added saltines
Chili Oil infused with coriander. If you are a spice lover this basically goes with absolutely everything. It can be argued that it’s better with some than others but when your mouth craves the heat it probably doesn’t really care. Just try and not put it on your ice cream.
Grilled Japanese-style dumplings have a light wrapping which crisps up on the grill. Chef Den uses cabbage and marinated chicken for the fillings and garnishes them with spring onions. Best eaten after dipping them in a light soy sauce (add chopped green chilis if you want to give it some bite)