For most Chinese families, yum cha is a well established and well loved ritual. Yum cha is a traditional gathering of Chinese people, normally on Sunday mornings, where we can congregate together, talk very loudly and eat delectable dim sums in proper Chinese restaurants. I have always been obsessed with Ham Sui Gok; they were the food equivalent of crack for me. As a child I never used to know the actual name for them, but when Mama Wok saw me manically making the egg shape with my hands she knew what to do.

ham sui gok, ham sui kok, crescent dumpling

The making of dim sum is a magical art. They say dim sum chefs are the highest paid staff in Chinese restaurants and it apparently takes years to hone the skills necessary to create perfect dim sum. However, I am too old to start dim sum chef training, and I'm too impatient to wait until Sunday for my Ham Sui Gok, so I began to seek out and experiment with many recipes.

ham sui gok, ham sui kok, fried pork dumpling, dim sum

It's taken me a long time to hone the perfect recipe. An aunt makes the dumplings using actual potatoes, a recipe I will share one day, but this recipe, using tang flour and glutinous rice flour, is the only one I've found that tastes the same as the ham sui gok you get in restaurants, with that delicious balance of sweet and savoury, the wrapping both crunchy and chewy.

*Watch the Fried Pork Dumpling recipe video*

Makes 15-18 dumplings
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Filling ingredients
150 grams pork fillet 
60 grams diced carrots
80 grams diced water chestnuts
20 grams Chinese chives
5-7 shiitake mushrooms
1 clove crushed garlic
Salt, sugar, oyster sauce, sesame oil, pepper to season
Corn flour to thicken if necessary

Dough ingredients
40 grams tang flour (same as wheat starch)
160 grams glutinous rice flour
60 grams sugar
40 grams lard
1/4 cup of boiling water
125ml cold water

A few notes...
  • You can substitute normal chives for Chinese chives in this recipe, but I highly recommend that you use Chinese chives where possible as it really makes a difference to the taste.
  • I've burnt more ham sui gok than I care to remember. Without a doubt the most important factor in getting this dish right is in the cooking. Fry them in oil at a lower temperature than you probably think is necessary (I use a medium ring on very low). They should take around 10 and maybe a bit more minutes to cook, otherwise you will end up with blackened, over crispy dumplings.
Method
1. Marinate the pork with a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar, half a tablespoon of oyster sauce, half a tablespoon of soy sauce, half a tablespoon of olive or vegetable oil and half a tablespoon of corn flour. Mix and leave to marinate in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.

2. Heat some oil in a pan and add the crushed garlic, then the pork. Once the meat is half cooked add the carrots, water chestnuts and shiitake mushrooms. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, half a tablespoon of oyster sauce, a teaspoon of sesame oil and a tablespoon of soy sauce. Add the chives and fry for a few minutes until the meat is cooked. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool

3. Add the boiling water to the tang flour and stir until it forms a sticky dough. Set aside.

4. Add the sugar, lard and cold water to the glutinous rice flour. Stir until the dough is sticky, add the tang flour dough and combine together. Knead on a floured surface for around 10 minutes until you have a soft dough.

5. Take a ball of dough (roughly enough to fit into the palm of your hand), smooth into a ball and then shape into a flat circle by hand (the dough is a weird mixture of smooth but also delicate so it's best to work by hand). Place a spoonful of the filling in the centre and fold in half and gently pinch the edges together.

6. Heat a saucepan or wok with enough oil to fry the dumplings. Keep the temperature low and fry the dumplings for around 10 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove once cooked and place on kitchen paper to soak up the excess oil.

7. Enjoy! These dumplings are best eaten hot but you can store the cooked dumplings in the fridge for a day or so and reheat by frying in very shallow oil. I prefer to store the uncooked dumplings in the fridge and cook as per the instructions above as they maintain their shape better.