This dish evolved from an eggplant recipe that we made from one of the Ottolenghi cookbooks. It basically called for steaming the crap out of a sliced eggplant, and then seasoning it with a Japanese-style dressing. We made it (or some variation of it) quite a few times because it was tasty, easy to put together. It made for a nice side dish for dinner (e.g. along with rice and pickled vegetables) and leftovers were a good addition to lunch the next day. Lately though, we’ve been using our oven a lot for meal prep and it only made sense to recreate this dish with roasted eggplant. We also ended up making some adjustments to the dressing to suit our preference and married it a Chinese-style ginger-scallion sauce.
Steamed buns — pillows of deliciousness that can be sweet or savoury, stuffed or plain. The same dough recipe can be used to make a bao or stuffed bun and lends itself to many different fillings. These are also great make-ahead items! They can be done in a large batch and frozen, then pulled out a few at a time and re-steamed (or microwaved) as needed.
This is one of my favourite desserts at dim sum. We came across a recipe when we were researching snacks for Chinese New Year, so of course we had to try it! The first recipe we found used only agar to set the jelly. It held the liquid, but the texture had way too much crunch and not enough of a softer jelly feel. We decided we needed a mix of gelatine and agar — it turned out that finding the right proportions were a lot harder than we thought. After numerous trials, this is the recipe we settled on! We are pretty happy with it, but I guess it all comes down to personal taste. If you like a bit more crunch, then you can add a little agar and take out some of the gelatine mass. If you don’t like any crunch at all, you could try using only gelatine (though we’ve been strongly cautioned that is not authentic). For a little more firmness, you could reduce the amount of tea (or simply simmer for a bit longer to reduce the water content). There are so many variables! We had these cute little silicone moulds that I thought were perfect for bite-sized jellies, but a square pan works just as well! Once the jelly is set you can simply cut them to size.