Luckily enough, I was invited along to an Introduction to Dim Sum Class at School of Wok in Covent Garden. They have heaps of classes on for all different types of Chinese cooking and different lengths.
This class was just an Introduction, so it was 3 hours. 3 hours of cooking fun.
Once I’d declared my work station, I moved swiftly towards the refreshments before class started.
Each of us was given a little recipe pack to take home which told us exactly what we made today and how we made it.
Thank goodness – I would have probably forgotten heaps of the ingredients by the time I walked out. What was the Chinese name of that sausage again?
Mel was our teacher (I like to call her Head Chef) and she was fantastic.
She handled that knife like a wizard. The wizard of knives.
I stared in awe.
Oh how I aspired to be like her one day.
She taught us how to use it and the methods to cut different things efficiently.
When she taught us an efficient way to cut peppers it literally blew my mind (cutting out the inside and it’s just one big line of pepper!).
The first part of the lesson was spent chopping up our ingredients that we were going to use later on. It was good because it meant we could have practise chopping up all different kinds of things.
I was terrible with my knife. No photos as I was in full concentration mode the whole time. One day I’ll buy one and practise until I can impress all my guests cooking with it. Or just end up in the emergency room.
Once we were all done with our chopping, the first thing we prepared was the marinade for the BBQ ribs. Check out the secret ingredient – ketchup – who would’ve thought? It’s an old Chinese tradition, you know.
We rolled up our sleeves and got down and dirty with it.
Once we had washed up our sticky hands and the knives had been removed (far, far away from me), we cracked out the drinks.
I went for a white wine, oddly enough – it was because I didn’t want to get red wine teeth for the rest of the lesson! It always makes me happy and homesick when I see a tiger beer. But it takes some underaged drinking in hawker centres to find out what you really do and don’t like, eh?
Next was the Spring Rolls.
We prepared the fillings (admiring our knife work on these vegetables) with the sauces.
You could use one pastry or two if you wanted it extra crispy. Yeah, most of us put two. I tried to do only one for a few so they’d be a little more healthier. Whatever minimal difference that makes.
My wrapping was a bit of a hit-and-miss. It progressively got better, oh, then worse. Too cocky?
I’ve tried to disguise mine amongst the pile of greatness.
Then, my favourite new dinner party dish. Glutenous Rice in Lotus Leaf.
I was drooling over the rice. By this point, everyone was starving having surrounded ourselves in freaking amazing food.
I was actually not too bad in stuffing the meat in the rice and making a little cover of rice on top.
Wrapping it in the leaf, however, was another story.
Our last dim sum we made was Jiaozi – a kind of Chinese dumplings.
Finally something I was confident in making! If you’ve read my dumpling recipe, you know I love to whip these out all the time.
The filling was more or less the same, since they both used pork.
The crimping style was different though. I told her how I crimped my dumplings usually (like a pro) and then she taught us a few different ways to crimp.
I’m now a crimp master. Don’t worry about it.
After we’d piled up a plate of dumplings, we got into pairs and headed into their kitchen at the back with their stoves etc.
The cooking process was different to how I made mine.
It was a lot quicker. A lot.
We boiled them and waited till they floated up like gnocchi before frying off the bottoms.
What was the result? Plates of dumpling heaven.
Everything else turned out amazingly as well.
They’d deep fried the spring rolls for us, cooked the ribs and steamed the rice leaves.
Everyone couldn’t be happier. We lunged into our pride and joys.
We were surprised how the ribs weren’t even in the oven for a huge amount of time, yet they were so tender.
Everything was delicious, as you’d expect, and I’m not just biased because we made it ourselves. I can only hope I make it the same when I’m home.
Oh well, if not, at least I have the leftovers!