Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sick Day Siomai and Sweet and Sour Sauce

I like alliterations too.

All productivity has been ground to a halt today since I am nursing a bad cough and cold. I taught with virtually no voice yesterday (out of dedication to my students, my neurosis for making up missed classes, or my irrational commitment to commitments?) only to feel worse this morning. A trip to my doctor yielded a z-pack prescription, including a cocktail of other over the counter medications that will hopefully abate my symptoms and make me sound less like Gollum:
Gollum, like me, enjoys fresh seafood. 
Today's post will be considerably more complex than the the ones I've posted yesterday. Siomai is, I believe, a completely underrated "side dish" in many Japanese meals. You know what they are: those little fried or steam rice paper bags sitting in your bento box that can taste slightly fishy. My mom's recipe punches your face with flavor, in contrast, and is totally worth the trouble.


½ kilo ground pork (1 lb.)
1/3 kilo shrimp, diced (3/4 lb.)
¼ c. chopped dried Chinese mushrooms (Soak in water before slicing. These are called "cloud ear mushrooms" and are difficult to find fresh, but can be found shredded and dried)
½ c. singkamas chopped (Soak in water after cutting. These are called "Jicamas" in English.)
¼ c. chopped spring onions
2 egg yolks
3 tbsp. soy sauce
3 tsp. sesame oil
Salt and pepper
Sweet and sour sauce
Lumpia wrapper (spring roll wrappers are fine)

Combine pork, shrimp, mushrooms, singkamas, spring onions, egg yolks, soy sauce, vetsin, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Wrap into thin rolls in lumpia wrapper and fry in deep fat/oil. Cut into 1 inch pieces. Serve with sweet and sour sauce.

Sweet and sour sauce

2 tbsp. vinegar
1 c. water
5 tbsp sugar (caramelized)
1/3 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. ketchup
1 tsp. oyster sauce
1 tbsp. cornstarch
3 tbsp. water for dissolving cornstarch

Mix vinegar, water, sugar and salt, in saucepan then add ketchup, and oyster sauce. Bring to a boil. Dissolve cornstarch in water and add to the boiling mixture stirring until thickened. 

These are my mother's original directions, of which I've added some notes for clarification (these metric conversions are a chore, so thank goodness for Google) These will look considerably different from the siomai you've probably eaten because you cut the fried rolls into serving sizes rather than before frying. There's also the option to steam them, but why would you? 
I asked my mother while I was typing out this recipe what "deep fat" meant in her recipes. Vegetable oil (or any oil) was scarce, so for the most part, people used pork lard for all their frying. (The sesame oil is a modification I made.)

"This is why many people died from heart attacks. But you can't compare the flavor with the other oil." 

Nope. Can't argue with the world of difference pork lard made for the dish either, mom. 

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