A must-have Chinese ingredient.
There used to be a little dim sum shop in my home city that I liked going to after work sometimes. I was young and too self conscious to eat on my own in restaurants, so I’d drag whoever I could get to come with me from the office and order a basket of the spicy beef dumplings and scoff them down, trying to remember to share them.
The flavours really tickled my tastebuds and I enjoyed trying to recreate them over the years, but with varying levels of success. Sure, I could make them taste good, but not quite like those ones I used to eat in Nottingham.
It seems that adding some Chinese roasted chilli paste – known as chilli oil, is the key ingredient. You’ll get it in an Asian supermarket, it’s roasted chillies and garlic in oil – the mixture separates, chillies and garlic on the bottom and their hot oil on the top. The mixture is hot, salty and really rich.
On trying it for the first time at what’s now my fave dim sum place in Soho I ate it off the spoon I loved it so much. And I still do, even if I’m in there eating on my own, which I now rather enjoy :–)
For the wontons
- 300g minced beef
- 1 packet shop bought wonton skins – I used square ones)
- A small bunch coriander, finely chopped
- A large piece of ginger, peeled and grated
- A large clove of garlic, peeled and grated
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp five spice powder
- 2 tbsp chilli oil – the mixture from the bottom of the pot. If you can’t get hold of it substitute it for your favourite chilli sauce – Sriracha works well.
For the broth
- 2 tins Baxters beef consommé
- 400ml light chicken stock
- 1 large piece ginger cut in to rounds
- 2 star anise
- Mushrooms – I chose enoki
- Greens – I used corn tops, but watercress or spinach would work really well
- Chilli oil to serve
- Mix together the soy sauce, ginger, garlic, five spice, chilli oil and coriander to form a paste, then mix in to the minced beef until thoroughly combined (do this with a spoon, not a food processor), place in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours.
- An hour before you want to make the wontons, take the pastry out of the fridge, leave it in its packet.
- Decant all the broth mixture apart from the mushrooms and greens in to a saucepan and put on a very low heat for the flavours to mull together.
- Make the wontons, placing a teaspoon of filling on to the centre of each skin, then using your finger to wet the edge of the pastry with water, fold the wonton over to form a triangle and smooth the air pockets out, trapping the filling inside. Bring the two edges together around one side of the dumpling and join together. Repeat until you’ve used up all the filling. Remember to cover the pastry with a damp cloth while making the wontons up.
- When you’re ready to eat them, bring the broth up to simmer and add the mushrooms while you bring a pan of water to the boil and place the dumplings in to cook for around 3 to 4 minutes – until they float and their pastry has turned wrinkled.
- Drain them carefully and place in to a bowl, top with the hot broth and mushrooms and top with the greens and more chilli oil.