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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Dimsum and Fresh Lumpia


I love Dim sum. We used to spend a leisurely lunch at a dim sum restaurant every Sunday, just after our weekly Sunday 11AM mass when we were still residing in Colesville, MD. But today, My wife and I had not visited a dim sum restaurant for almost a year now. I am suffering from hunger pangs and salivating just writing this post, because I remember the delicious dim sum dishes in the photo above as well as the one below this paragraph.

Dim sum is the Cantonese term for a type of Chinese dish that involves small individual portions of food, usually served in a small steamer basket or on a small plate.
Sweet Buns-yum,yum

History

Dim Sum is usually linked with the older tradition of yum cha (tea tasting), which has its roots in travellers on the ancient Silk Road needing a place to rest. Thus teahouses were established along the roadside. Rural farmers, exhausted after working hard in the fields, would also go to teahouses for a relaxing afternoon of tea. At first, it was considered inappropriate to combine tea with food, because people believed it would lead to excessive weight gain. People later discovered that tea can aid in digestion, so teahouse owners began adding various snacks.

The unique culinary art of Dim Sum originated with the Cantonese in southern China, who over the centuries transformed Yum Cha from a relaxing respite to a loud and happy dining experience. In Hong Kong, and in most cities and towns in Guangdong province, many Chinese restaurants start serving dim sum as early as five in the morning. It is a tradition for the elderly to gather to eat dim sum after morning exercises, often enjoying the morning newspapers. For many in southern China, yum cha is treated as a weekend family day. Consistent with this tradition, dim sum restaurants typically only serve dim sum until mid-afternoon (right around the time of a traditional Western 3 o'clock coffee break), and serve other kinds of Cantonese cuisine in the evening. Nowadays, various dim sum items are even sold as take-out for students and office workers on the go.


While dim sum (touch the heart) was originally not a main meal, only a snack, and therefore only meant to touch the heart, it is now a staple of Chinese dining culture, especially in Hong Kong. Health officials have recently criticized the high amount of saturated fat and sodium in some dim sum dishes, warning that steamed dim sum should not automatically be assumed to be healthy. Health officials recommend balancing fatty dishes with boiled vegetables, minus sauce.

Fresh Lumpia
My other favorite dish is the Philippines Fresh Lumpia- the one made from "ubod"-the heart of the coconut. Lumpia are among the most famous of all Filipino dishes. These are not the fried, eggroll-like lumpia you may have tried, but a lighter, home-style version, in which delicate egg pancakes are rolled around lettuce and a tasty chicken, shrimp, and vegetable filling. If you have adventurous guests, let everybody make their own lumpia right at the table-it's a great way to get a dinner party rolling!

Here's a recipe for the fresh wrappers and a typical filling. Instead of the coconut heart(ubod),the recipe below used jicama sometimes called the Mexican turnip or sincamas in the Philippines. In Marinduque, the availability of coconut heart ( ubod) is limitted since it is againts the law to cut a coconut tree without a permit. To get a permit requires so much documentation and time, it is not worth it. So we get only ubod after a big typhoon when a few coconut trees are uprooted by the typhoon.

Wrappers
2 large eggs
1-1/4 cups water
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
About 3 tablespoons cooking oil

Filling
1/2 cup julienned onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half, thinly sliced
1/4 pound medium raw shrimp, shelled, deveined, and halved
1-1/2 cups finely julienned jicama( or coconut heart(ubod) if available)
1/2 small carrot, finely julienned
2 green onions, finely julienned
2 teaspoons oyster-flavored sauce
1 teaspoon Filipino fish sauce (patis)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
5 tender lettuce leaves



Recipe: Fresh Lumpia (The Philippines) http://www.globalgourmet.com/food/special/1999/asia/lumpia.html

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