Over the last couple of years, I’ve become addicted to dumplings, dim-sums, and won-tons! Basically, any kind of petit Asian treats I can get my hands on and when I say addicted, I don’t mean it lightly! I get genuine cravings for these bite-sized treats and have even invested in my own (extra large) bamboo steamer. Stocking up regularly on frozen dumplings from my local Asian supermarkets, I just can’t get enough of them!
So when I saw that Wai Yee Hong and Bishopston Supper club were linking up for a Dumpling Workshop as part of Bristol Food Connections, I snapped up the £30 ticket in seconds and started counting down the days.
Wai Yee Hong is one of the biggest Asian supermarkets in Bristol. It’s huge; like, 427 different types of noodle huge! Bishopston Supper Club is a wonderfully casual supper club ran by Danielle from her own home. She regularly invites around a dozen people into her living room for 5-7 courses of locally and ethically sourced ingredients. So I was absolutely buzzing when I saw that they would be collaborating on this dumpling cookery session.
Luckily for me, Bishopston Supper Club is just a three-minute walk from my house. So, I wandered ’round with my Tupperware in-hand ready for some serious dumpling making. I was instantly welcomed into the, um… living room where everyone was sat around two large tables. Once everyone arrived, it was time to get down to business.
First up were two different types of dumplings ‘pork & black fungus & wild garlic jiaozi’ and ‘chicken & shiitake mushroom jiaozi’. We were taught three different methods of rolling the skins, with the secret of all of them neat pleating. My first few attempts were hilarious; I was a seriously weak pleater! But I soon got the hang of it and after my fourth or fifth attempt I would have given myself a C+ (the plus being for effort) We made sixteen each in total and gave four of them to Danielle to cook while we made some dipping sauces: chilli & soy sauce, black vinegar and another chilli and peanut.
The dumplings were cooked in two ways: fried and steamed and boiled. Fried and steamed might sound a bit odd, but it’s my favourite way of cooking dumplings. You basically fry one side in a frying pan on medium/high heat and when that side is nicely brown, pour in a two or three millimetres of water and cover with a lid. This allows the tops to steam and gives the dumplings really nice contrasting textures.
Our plates were cleared away and we were on to the won-tons. Won-tons have a completely different pastry to the dumpling and were a lot more delicate to handle. They were, however, much easier to fold. The filling for the won-tons was pork and prawn, and the prawn pieces were absolutely huge. Again, we made loads of them!
Danielle had actually made a chicken broth for some won-ton soup, so we gave her three won-tons each for her to cook for us. Five minutes later and we each had a small bowl of amazing won-ton soup. The broth was super clear and tasted so natural and nourishing that I could have eaten the whole saucepan full. I had only ever had deep fried won-tons before so it was great to try won-tons in a soup. I absolutely loved it!
Everybody in our group was really lovely and we had a real giggling throughout the workshop. The, just before we were about to leave we were given a goodie bag from Wai Yee Hong, which had all of the ingredients to make the 3 dipping sauces, some chop-sticks and some broth mix. It must have been about £15 worth of stuff, so as well as 20+ dumplings and won-tons, we definitely got our money’s worth.