My One Little Word (OLW) for 2016 is TRY. I haven’t done a very good job of documenting my OLW so far this year, so I wanted to share what I tried this weekend: making dim sum!
A few years ago, my friend Iris and I took a sushi making class and we loved it. I bought her a gift certificate for Hipcooks Orange County, a local place that hosts a cooking classes, for her birthday and we decided to take the Dim Sum and Then Sum! class together. There are a bunch of classes available and it was hard to narrow down which one we wanted to do. We figured we would be able to learn a ton from this class that we could recreate the items on our own for dinner, parties, and potlucks at work.
We didn’t know this going in, but Hipcooks isn’t about measuring every little thing and mindlessly following recipes…we could do that on our own at home! Instead, Suzana (our teacher) emphasized working together, building flavors, and being inspired by smell and taste tests. We adjusted the spiciness of different dishes, added sweetness to others, and mixed sauces to our own taste throughout the class.
My favorite dish was the Lotus Flower Pork Puff Pastry. We used puff pastry in a mini-cupcake pan and filled them with cha shu (Chinese BBQ sauce) pork. It was incredibly delicious and I cannot wait to make something similar with mushrooms. After we pulled the pastries out of the oven, I was tasked with brushing them with a bit of honey to add to the sweetness.
Honestly, I could eat a hundred of these. My cousin makes a similar appetizer whenever she is in town and Alex and I go crazy for them. I hope she’s impressed when I make these the next time I see her!
In all, we made:
- Steamed shrimp wontons
- Chicken cabbage dumplings
- Scallion pancakes with shitake mushrooms
- Chinese-style green beans
- Seared sesame beef in rice paper
- Lotus Flower Pork Puff Pastry
- Seared scallop Lo Mein
- Sweet Wontons with orange, walnut and dates
The sweet wontons were incredible! They’re way better than the fried nutella wontons I made when I first started Campfire Chic (honestly, it’s a very early post so the formatting and photos are awful, but the instructions are there!). These wontons didn’t need any added sugar, the dates did all the work! I brought one home for Alex and he wanted to know what we needed to do to make more as soon as possible.
The scallion pancakes were a lot of fun to make, too! They’re essentially savory crepes and we got to perfect our pan flip! I had to make a few attempts because I was too worried about splashing the boiling butter on myself than actually flipping the crepe over. Suzana wouldn’t let me get away from the skill and encouraged me to make another pancake since we had extra time and supplies because our class was so small. I got it after that! We practiced our flips a little while Iris and I toasted the cashews for the green beans, too.
Iris and I were all smiles as we left the class and already talking about the next one we want to take (the pasta class!). One of the assistants today is from Portland and she’ll be heading up the Portland Hipcooks, so the next time I visit Angela, I bet we’ll be signing up for a class!
Hipcooks is located in: East Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, San Diego, and Orange County.