I don't know about the rest of you but my favourite item in a dim sum feast is the siew mai (pork and mushroom dumplings). I loved it when I ate meat and I love it now that I've discovered many ways to make it vegetarianly. Ha ha Did I just maim the English Language again? Oh dear, there must be some other way I can show my patriotisme right?
Never mind, back to the siew mai. Firstly, it's steamed and you always feel healthier when you eat steamed food (never mind the corn starch that goes into it). Next the medley of flavours in each small steamed packet is truly unbelievable: there's the subtle sweet taste of cabbage (a vegetable I usually deem as bland and avoid), the strong succulent shitake mushrooms (which serve a dual role in vegetarian siew mais cos they have a sort of meaty taste) and of course the mock (gluten) pork. I added some scallions (not just as dressing) cos I think they add something to the little lovelies.
OK. I know my little siew mais look quite miserable compared to what you'd get at any coffeeshop here. Having made these only a couple of times before, I have yet to master the art of shaoping the wanton wrappers into pretty little cup like thingys (oops: language offence no 2) after stuffing it tight with the filling. But I do say I have, to my satisfaction, found a good vegetarian siew mai flavour. Its really yum. And since it's not ever going to be authentic (vegetarians cant eat real pork, people!), you can afford to play around with the ingredients: add a little yam, perhaps? Some leek? Ummmmmmm.
Vegetarian Siew Mai
Wanton wrrappers. If you've got square ones, cut rounds out of them with a biscuit cutter (see pix right). Wrap them in a damp towel to keep them moist.
For the filling: 1/2 cup vegetarian pork (either the veg char siu or veg ham), minced; 1/2 cup dry shitake mushroom, soaked and then minced; 2 cabbage leaves, shredded thin and cut; spring onions, cut small; yam, diced small; carrot, diced small.
Seasoning: 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp rice wine vinegar, splash of sesame oil, pinch of salt, dash of pepper, 1 egg, beaten (keep some aside to brush/rub on wanton cases) , 1 tbsp corn flour.
Mix seasoning with filling ingredients and let it sit for 10 mins. Fill the centre of the wanton wrappers with 1 tsp of the filling and fold sides up to form a cup. Wash with beated egg to keep it together and keep it moist.
Steam for 10 - 12 mins. Remove and eat it "hot hot".