Pork & Prawn Dumplings with Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce

My sushi - not bad for a beginner, eh? And
yes, it's not dumplings. Read the text.
A few weeks ago, I joined the chaps at Miele UK headquarters for a Dim Sum & Sushi Steam course. They’d asked me to pick something and to be honest, I went for dim sum & sushi because I’ve never made either before! If I’m being properly honest, I should also admit that while I do like dim sum, in the past I haven’t really gotten the buzz around sushi. However, I absolutely love to try stuff, and I’m always very open to the possibility that if I haven’t liked something before, I just haven’t had the proper version, so I was excited to learn a few tricks and eat plenty of delicious stuff.

If you’re not familiar with Miele (pronounced Mila as in Kunis), they’re a kitchen equipment giant – but there are no plastic toasters to be found in their hushed showroom. Instead, we’re talking kitchen defcon one. It's everything a poor foodie could possibly dream of, in glossy chrome and gleaming white, spotlit like a fashion showcase. Their cookery classes are intended to initiate you into this culinary high-rollers’ club and show you how to get the best out of your gadgets.

On this occasion we were to learn the secrets of the steam oven, something I’ve never used before. I had worried beforehand that the whole day might be an extended sales pitch, but the two ladies who took the class were both former chefs with plenty of expertise under their belts, and loads of great tips for getting the best out of the recipes whether using the steam oven or not (do check out the full range of Miele's delicious cookery courses).

In the morning, we made a fabulous spread of sushi (using the steam oven to prepare the notoriously tricky sushi rice), and then moved on to steamed dumplings and buns in the afternoon. I was completely won over by all the dishes, especially the sushi, and I came away with a notebook full of recipes, one of which I’m delighted to share with you now. Pork & prawn is a sumptuous match made in heaven, and combined with the fresh, zingy flavours of ginger, chilli and coriander, and the soft dumpling wrappers, makes for a platter of fabulous Saturday night sharing food. Obviously, I don’t have a Miele steam oven, but I’ve got a great homemade solution that anyone with a fine sieve can recreate!

Dim sum yum
For the filling:
150g pork mince
110g raw prawns
Fresh coriander
1 medium-sized clove of garlic
1 tsp chopped ginger
1 fresh lime
2 tsp sweet chilli sauce
For the wrappers:
300g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
200ml boiling water
½ tsp salt
For the dipping sauce:
Sweet chilli sauce
Fresh coriander
Fresh ginger

Makes about 18 dumplings

First up, I must say that on the Miele course, we were shown a dumpling wrapper recipe that used wheat starch, and I think it was probably a little bit lighter than this version. However, wheat starch is not easy to come by unless you have a really big Asian supermarket near you, so I think the strong white flour version is more accessible. This dough is much easier to use when it’s warm, so make the filling first, then make the dough and use straightaway.

To make the filling, you first need to mince the prawns – I used my Cuisinart mini-processor for this. Then tip into a bowl with the pork mince, garlic, ginger, sweet chilli sauce, a good handful of chopped coriander and half the lime zest and juice (keep the other half for your dipping sauce). Mix really well, to make sure that the pork and prawns are fully combined, then set aside.

Next, measure out your flour and salt into a large bowl, then add about two thirds of the boiling water and mix immediately until it comes together as a dough. You might need the rest of the water, but don’t add it unless you need to. The dough should be springy and ever so slightly tacky, but not wet.

Sprinkle more flour on a clean worktop, then break the dough into two pieces, wrap one up (to keep it warm) and start rolling the other one out as thinly as you can – it needs to be no more than 2mm thick. Use a large round cookie-cutter to cut as many circles as you can from the first sheet, then quickly scrunch up the odds & ends, roll out again, and cut out more circles. Only do this once, so you’re not losing too much heat from the dough.

Dim sum is intended for afternoon tea, so I like to serve it on
pretty china, with dipping sauce in a teacup!
In the picture you’ll see that I’ve made three different styles, all of which are pretty simple and self-explanatory. To make what I think of as the ‘tricorn hat style’ (technical term), simply lift up the edge of the circle in three equidistant places and join together (dampen the edge a little first to help it stick). Fill all the circles, then repeat with the other half of the dough.

To steam your dumplings, you need to wedge your sieve in the top of a saucepan – find one where the sieve won’t be sitting too high, with its bottom a couple of inches above the bottom of the pan. Pour an inch of boiling water into the bottom of the pan and place on a high heat. Use a pastry brush and a little olive oil to grease the inside of the sieve (so that the dumplings don’t stick), then pop the sieve on the saucepan and put the lid on top. Get the water boiling so that the sieve is full of steam, then use tongs to place your dumplings inside – you’ll probably have to do several batches. Steam each batch for four minutes.

Finally, make your dipping sauce – simply mix together a few good slugs of sweet chilli sauce, plenty of chopped coriander and a little chopped ginger, and a good squeeze of lime juice. Bring to the table with a big platter of dumplings and let everyone tuck in with their fingers. Yum!