In the lead up to National Dumpling Day on 26 September, we spoke to our very own dumpling expert – Executive Chef of Uncle Su at The Star Gold Coast, Song Yau Su on the secrets behind his menu’s selection, and how when it comes to recreating his dumplings at home – it’s the simpler the better.
From piping hot prawn har gow and fluffy steamed buns bursting with delicious Chinese BBQ pork, to siu mai filled with soft pork and sweet abalone, there is little more satisfying than a plate full of dumplings. So much so that they have created a day to celebrate them!
Coming up next week, Monday 26 September is officially National Dumpling Day. But for The Star Gold Coast’s signature Cantonese restaurant – Uncle Su, National Dumpling Day falls 365 days a year with the team of chefs, led by Executive Chef Song Yao Su, hand making a vast range of the delicious traditional Chinese bites every lunch and dinner service.
“Just as I grew up eating and cooking dumplings with my own family, my team has been making dim sum for over 20 or even 30 years. Countless times repeating the filling and folding process has meant we’ve perfected the skill. No matter the materials, ingredients and proportion you throw at us, we can adapt.”
For those at the beginning of their dumpling making journey, Chef Song recommends you start out with a well-seasoned filling.
“If it tastes bland before you stuff it into the wrapper, it will be even more tasteless as a dumpling, as the wrappers will mute the flavour slightly. Depending on what your filling is, and if you don’t want to taste it raw, you can perform a “spot test” and cook a tablespoon of filling to test the seasoning.”
From there, it’s all about the wrapping technique – where Chef Song says, it’s the simpler the better.
The most basic and versatile homemade dumpling wrappers consist of just flour and water, making them incredibly pantry friendly. I’d always recommend beginners start with this type of dough, made with boiling water as it ensures the dough is more malleable and requires minimal resting time. This style is also really easy to roll out into thin wrappers, and best suit dumplings like potstickers that you steam or fry rather than boil.”
The best bit? You can also make these dumpling wrappers ahead of time as the dough can be used straight out of the fridge.
From there, practice makes perfect.
“Don’t get too wrapped up in appearances. Treat each batch of dumplings as practice. Even though they may not look perfect, they will still taste great.”
To help you nail your first go, Chef Song has shared his recipe for the classic Chinese Har Gow prawn dumplings.
Prawn Har Gow
- 500g uncooked prawns, peeled, de-veined and chopped finely
- 2 tbsp bamboo shoots, minced
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp chicken stock powder
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 4 tbsp cornstarch
- 3 pinches ground white pepper
- 240g wheat starch
- 200g corn starch
- 480ml boiling water
- To make your prawn mixture, stir all filling ingredients together in a large bowl until combined well and a sticky paste forms. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour.
- To make your dough, combine the wheat starch and cornstarch together on a clean, dry working surface. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and slowly add in your boiling water. Knead the mixture together until you get a smooth dough. If needed, dush more wheat starch on your surface to avoid the dough sticking.
- Divide the dough into three portions and form each into a long snake-like shape, about 2.5 cm thick. Cover the dough in a damp towel and let rest for five minutes.
- Cut each of the dough snake cylinder into rounds about 1cm thick. Roll each round out using a rolling pin to form a smooth round circle.
- Carefully spoon 1 teaspoon of your prawn filling into the centre of each dough wrapper. Fold p to form a half moon shape and fold over the edges from one end to the other in a pleat-style formation. Dab your fingertips in water if moisture is needed tof the dough to stick.
- To cook your dumplings, steam them lightly over boiling water for 5 minutes. Serve hot.