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Thursday, 16 September 2010
Dim Sum Cooking and a Recipe for Spiced Pork and Water Chestnut Siu Mai Dumplings
When I first moved to London as a 19-year old, I quickly realised that keeping up with my eating-out aspirations was going to cost me a small fortune. Learning how to cook was the solution I found to continue eating the foods I loved, and thanks to cookery schools like Angela's, this has been possible for me.
Opened in the Autumn of 2009, Angela Malik Cookery School in Acton is proving to be a major destination for foodies across town wanting to learn more about Asian cooking. I was fortunate enough to be one of these foodies recently, attending Angela's "Dim Sum at Home" class.
A former chartered accountant, Angela decided to leave years of training, a well paid job and a secure future to pursue her passion in life. After retraining at Leith's School of Food and Wine and gaining some experience at Bibendum, Vong, and with chef Tom Kime, she decided to open her own cookery school.
The emphasis of her teaching is on the five tastes - salt, sweet, bitter, hot and umami, and how to balance these elements in the meals we prepare daily. This is at the core of most Asian cooking, particularly Thai and Japanese, and it is refreshing to see this being addressed for the Western palate.
At the entrance to the cookery school is Angela's delicatessen where she sells some of the goodies made in-house including her signature Indian and Thai pestos, a range of sauces, chutneys, and a variety of cakes and breads.
Classes vary from 1 to 5 hours and cost between £25 and £145 - for a full list of classes, click here. The "Dim Sum at Home" class was a two hour affair which was just enough time for us to learn how to make a couple of different types of dumplings - "Steamed Spiced Pork and Water Chestnut Siu Mai" (see recipe below) and "Japanese Gyoza".
Angela was a confident and charismatic teacher, and her recipes were detailed and easy to follow. I enjoyed her straight-forward, unfussy teaching style and was glad to learn some interesting folding techniques, something that no book can satisfactorily do.
I paired up with the lovely Rebecca, a fellow food blogger who writes Bon Appetit (see my foodie blog list). Rebecca and I clicked from the word go, and it was not long before we were both coming up with some delicious dumplings in all manner of interesting shapes and sizes.
"Spiced Pork and Water Chestnut Siu Mai Dumplings" (makes about 50)
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 can water chestnuts, rinsed and finely chopped
1 kg minced pork
handful of coriander stalks
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp shao hsing wine or dry sherry
2 tsp sesame oil
generous pinch of caster sugar
salt and pepper
about 50 wonton wrappers each 7.5 cm square
Dipping sauce and to serve:
Dark soy sauce and vinegar for dipping
Roast garlic oil
1. To make the stuffing, add spring onions, water chestnuts, pork, coriander roots, soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, sugar, salt and pepper, mix well in a food processor. Set aside and refrigerate.
2. Set one wonton wrapper on a work surface. Place a heaped teaspoon of the filling in the centre of the wrapper.
3. Lift the wrapper up around the filling, gathering to form a purse. Squeeze the wrapper firmly around the middle, then tap on the bottom to make a flat base. The top should be open. Place the wonton on a tray and cover with a damp dish towel.
4. Line the steamer with grease proof paper and steam the dumplings for 12-15 minutes until tender. Remove each batch from the steamer as soon as they are cooked, cover with foil to keep warm. Serve hot with soy sauce, garlic oil and top each dumpling with a coriander leaf.
I thoroughly enjoyed my introduction to Angela Malik, and look forward to returning to her school for another class, or purchasing some of her fine produce in some of London's farmers' markets, or Borough Market where she is a current stall-holder.