Waz and I LOVE dumplings. Pretty much wherever we travel, we try to experience the local yum cha – or dim sum as itâ€™s called throughout much of the world. So we often find ourselves traipsing through Chinatown in various far-flung cities sampling the lovely little morsels in their steaming wooden baskets that make up the dim sum experience.
London has a surprisingly small Chinatown, and, sad to say, weâ€™ve had some very dodgy yum cha on Gerrard Street, which is this Chinatownâ€™s main drag. I would say the variety and quality of dishes is better in such establishments as China House and King of Kings in Brisneyland (thatâ€™s Brisbane in Queensland for you non-locals). Even good old Edmonton in Canada had some very fine dim sum establishments.
Having said that, weâ€™ve found a few places in London that put up a reasonable effort. We still havenâ€™t found anywhere that delivers it on trolleys to your table, though. And letâ€™s face it: having those brusque and sometimes pushy Chinese ladies wheeling the trolleys round and calling out the names of unpronounceable (by me, anyway) dishes is more than half the fun. Almost as fun as accidentally ordering chickenâ€™s feet (it has been done!). There certainly was no shortage of trolley-wheelers in Torontoâ€™s dim sum establishments, or, of course, in the massive banquet-hall sized rooms of Hong Kong.
But making the perfect, steaming prawn dumpling encased in a paper-thin layer of glassy dumpling wrapper is a culinary task requiring no small amount of skill. So when we tried to bring a little of that yum cha experience into our own home, we opted for one of the easier-to-make varieties.
In Japan theyâ€™re called gyÅza, in Tibet theyâ€™re called momos and in China theyâ€™re called jiaozi. And in North America I think theyâ€™re called pot stickers. ‘Cause they stick to the pot? Whatever you call them, theyâ€™re probably one of the easiest dumplings to make and, to my mind, one of the yummiest.
As long as you put in plenty of ginger for flavour and Chinese cabbage for crunchy texture, youâ€™ll get a juicy mouthful of lovely, fresh flavours. And watch out for the special fry-steam method of cooking â€“ the secret to the perfect jiaozi. GyÅza. Momo. Pot Sticker. Whatever.