Almost every Sunday I wake up craving squid, shrimps, pork, hot sauce and of course crab. Dim Sum! Most would think these are bizarre breakfast cravings, to me it's the perfect wake up.
On this rainy Sunday morning, I happen to call my parents just as they were about to sneak out for Dim Sum at Tong Por in Ville Saint Laurent. They decided they wanted a quiet breakfast alone without inviting my 3 younger sisters and I. Since I don't live at home, I was able to force an invitation out of them considering we hardly have brunch together and hadn't had dinner together in a few weeks. I arrived first at the restaurant and was seated at a table immediately. Before I could even get my coat off the waitresses and their carts began flocking my way. I quickly told them I was waiting for my parents who should be here in a minute or two. Five long minutes later my parents stroll into the restaurant ready to eat.
As the food slowly but surely crept its way over to our table, I couldn't help but think about who thought up cooking simple ingredients in such creative and challenging ways. I have been eating Dim Sum for many years and each time the flavors and techniques amaze me, it's like I'm eating for the first time all over again.
Every time I bite into the Octopus or a pork dumpling it reminds me of my earliest memory eating Dim Sum in China town. I must have been 5 years old and I remember looking around and noticing all the waitresses pushing carts of food. I was used to eating at Chinese restaurants, it's kind of a Friday night ritual in our house, however I had never seen carts of food being pushed around. I remember I was excited yet a bit concerned at what exactly we were going to eat from those mysterious carts.
This Sunday my parents and I quickly filled our tables with pork dumplings, har gow dumplings which are shrimps wrapped in a rice dumpling wrapper, fried octopus, Chinese broccoli, sticky rice wrapped in a Lotus leaf, shrimp vermicelli rolls and maybe a couple more. We sat and ate and truly enjoyed each and every bite.
When we finally couldn't eat anymore, my parents and I quickly decided we still had room for dessert. Our favorite dessert made from sweet glutinous rice flour, Sesame balls, Jin Deui, are sweet, soft, sticky and chewy. A real must. The sweet red bean paste filling is the hidden gem rolled inside the rice flour and sugar dough.
Sesame seed balls
6 cups oil for deep-frying, vegetable, canola or peanut oil.
1/2 cup white sesame seeds
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
3 cups glutinous rice flour
1 can red bean paste (so much easier this way!)
Bring water to boil and dissolve the brown sugar carefully. Once the sugar is completely dissolved remove from heat and set aside to cool, cooling over night is best. Once the sugar water has cooled, using a mixer slowly blend the rice flour and sugar water forming a sticky caramel-coloured dough. If need be, more water can be added to the flour to form the sticky texture but only if needed. I like to cut the dough in half and roll each half into cylinders with a little bigger than a 1 inch diameter. This is when I also take the can of red bean paste and roll that as well into cylinders with a diameter half the size of the dough. Cut the cylinders into approximately golf ball size pieces and press flat with the palm of your hand. Cut the red bean paste into smaller balls and roll small enough balls to fit in the center of the flattened dough. Take the flattened dough circle in the palm of your hand and place the red bean paste ball in center. Gently pinch the dough around the paste making sure to seal any possible seams, then gently roll the dough to smooth out the pinch marks into a circle. Repeat until all balls are made. place sesame seeds into a flat dish and prepare a separate dish of water. Gently wet each ball before rolling in the sesame seeds. Make sure to firmly roll seeds into the dough with your hands, do not be shy to push seeds into the dough to stick better.
Heat oil in a wok or deep fryer or big pot to around 335 - 340 degrees F and watch the temperature closely as you do not want it to reach 350!!!
Place a few balls in the wok at a time constantly turning them making sure the oil does not over heat and that you do not burn the sesame seeds, they get a bitter burnt taste.
Drain the hot sesame balls on paper towel for a few minutes before serving.