Steamed Dim Sum

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steamed dim sum

The best dim sum I ever had were steamed, cabbage-filled dim sum that my husband and I had purchased from a street vendor in the Summer Palace in Beijing. The dim sum were hot, wrapped in a plastic bag, and as my husband and I took our first bite, the soft dough and the savory filling were so delicious, we quickly reached for more. But after having two, we became worried about possibly getting sick – after all, this was China of 1997 and our delicate Western stomachs were possibly not equipped to deal with Chinese street food. So we threw out the rest of them. To this day, we mourn that steaming bag of dumplings, and tell each other we should have eaten them all.

Makes 12 dumplings

Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Prep: 30 minutes
Inactive: 45 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes

1/3 cup warm water
1 envelope active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon light olive oil (not extra-virgin)
1 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups shredded cabbage
1 tablespoon light olive oil (not extra-virgin)
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar

Reduced-sodium soy sauce for dipping


1. Prepare a 2-tier bamboo steamer: place 6 wax paper circles (3-inches in diameter – use a drinking glass to mark, then cut with scissors) on the bottom of each level. This will help prevent the dumplings from sticking.

2. Prepare the dim sum filling: heat oil over medium-high heat, add cabbage and the rest of the filling ingredients. Stir-fry about 5 minutes, or until cabbage is tender. Set aside.

3. Dissolve the yeast in the water. Mix with the other dough ingredients and knead a few minutes, until smooth.

4. Divide dough into 12 equal portions (each should weigh about 20 grams) and roll each portion into a 3-inch round.

5. Place one tablespoon of filling in each round:

Gather the dough and close at the top to make a half-moon shape:

Then gather the edges towards the top to make a dim sum shape. Pinch to seal.

6. Place in steamer. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 45 minutes.

Here are the dumplings, filled and shaped and ready to rise:

And this is what they look like after 45 minutes:

7. 10 minutes before it’s time to steam the dumplings, fill a large, wide pan with water and bring to a boil.

8. Steam dim sum for 5 minutes over high heat.

Here they are, puffed and chewy and ready to eat. Biting into the soft dough is absolutely heavenly:

dim sum recipe

Serve these dim sum with soy sauce for dipping.

Nutrition for one dim sum
Calories 80.5
Total Fat 1.9 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 107.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 14.2 g
Dietary Fiber 0.6 g
Sugars 3.6 g
Protein 1.8 g
Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 2 points