In some dim sum parlors in Hong Kong, where ingredients
are prime and innovation is encouraged, the dim sum are
extraordinarily diverse. The chef might experiment with
the traditional recipe, creating a new variation on an old theme,
or even a completely new type. There are, however, a number of
standard classics, and the following glossary covers the most traditional
forms which will be found in all fine dim sum restaurants – in any country.
CHA SHAO BAO (Barbecued Pork Buns) airy, globular buns with a
yeast dough skin stuffed with slices of barbecued pork coated in oyster sauce.
CHANG FEN ( Stuffed Sweet Rice Rolls) squat steamed rolls made with
a slippery, white sweet-rice skin and stuffed with a shrimp, beef, or scallop filling.
CHUN JUAN ( Spring Rolls) slender, deep-fried rolls stuffed with pork,
bamboo shoots, and shrimp and wrapped in thin skins made of flour and water.
DAN TA (Custard Tarts) flaky tarts with a rich and eggy custard center.
DOU SHI PAI GU (Steamed Spareribs in Black Bean Sauce) bite-sized
spareribs coated with a fermented black bean sauce.
LO PO GAO ( Fried Turnip Cake) slices of a steamed pudding-like cake
made with shredded daikon radish, chopped Chinese sausage, and rice powder
that are pan-fried until golden brown and crisp.
LUO MI JI (Stuffed Lotus Leaves) steamed packages of lotus leaves stuffed
with glutinous rice, chicken, diced shrimp, and black mushrooms.
(The lotus leaf merely provides flavor and is not eaten.)
SHAO MAI (Steamed Pork Dumplings) open-faced dumplings with a thin
flour and water skin, stuffed with ground pork and garnished with a variety of
ingredients, including peas, chopped ham, and crab roe.
XIA JAO (Steamed Shrimp Dumplings or HAR GAO) delicate dumplings with
translucent wheat-starch skins stuffed with chopped shrimp and water chestnuts.
Soy sauce and mustard are often mixed and used as a dipping sauce.
XING REN DOUFU (Almond Bean Curd) a refreshing almond-flavored jelly
usually cut into squares or diamond shapes and mixed with fresh or canned fruit salad.
JIAO YU (Stuffed Taro Balls) deep-fried balls made with a mashed,
steamed taro skin and a pork, shrimp, and black mushroom filling.
GUO TIEH (Pan-Fried Dumplings) crusty pan-seared dumplings stuffed with ground pork and cabbage
Six to Eight Servings
Star anise, with its pungent licoricey flavor, is a wonderful complement to
beef and red wine, and adds another dimension of flavor to this dish. Use it
carefully as it can easily overpower. You may serve this dish over a crisp-cooked
green vegetable or slices of fennel with steamed rice.
2 pounds beef stewing meat such as chuck or bottom round, trimmed of fat and gristle
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed lightly with the flat side of a knife or cleaver
6 small onions, weighing about 1 pound, peeled and cut into 6 wedges
1 ½ whole stars anise, smashed lightly with the flat side of a cleaver
1 cup rice wine or sake
1 cup red wine
½ cup unsalted chicken broth
1pound baby carrots, or large carrots, peeled and cut into half, lengthwise, then cut into 1 ½-inch lengths
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the meat into 1 ½-inch cubes. On a plate or in a paper bag, mix together the flour, salt, and pepper. Coat the meat with the seasoned flour, either by rolling the pieces on a plate or dropping into the bag and shaking. Lightly squeeze the meat pieces to adhere the flour to the surface. Discard the excess flour.
2. Heat a 4-quart casserole or a Dutch oven, add 1 ½ tablespoons of the oil, and heat until very hot. Add a batch of the beef and brown on all sides, over medium-high heat. Remove with a slotted spoon. Heat the remaining oil, and continue frying the remaining beef. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the oil and add the garlic, onions, and star anise. Fry briefly over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the rice wine, red wine, and chicken broth and stir to mix together. Add the beef cubes, carrots, salt, and pepper, and bring the liquid to a boil. Cover tightly and place in the middle shelf of the preheated oven. Bake about 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally, or until the beef and vegetables are very tender. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary, and skim any impurities from the surface. Serve with steamed rice or crusty bread.