Sunday, February 7, 2010

Recipe Monday

....and since it will be Chinese New Years in a few days, I thought I'd share some hors d'oeuvres that I made to bring to a Chinese New Years party. Everyone brings a dish and this year I made Deep-Fried Sweet Sesame Balls and Dim Sum Fish cakes with sauce.
I often cook Chinese (no, really?!) and my favorite recipes come from a little book that is falling apart, I've used it so much. It's "Dim Sum - Fast and Festive Chinese Cooking" by Ruth Law. One of the things I love about this book is so many of the recipes have variations on how to make dishes ahead of time and then re-heat. I love to entertain but I really enjoy being at my own party too so I love having everything that can be done ahead done so I can enjoy my guests.

Fish Cakes

3/4 pound fish fillets (sea bass or any white-fleshed fish)
2 tbs. scallions, minced
1 tbs dried shrimps, soaked in water til soft, finely minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
2 tbs dry sherry
2 tsp water
2 tsp Chinese sesame oil
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 tsp cornstarch
3 cups oil
  1. Mince the fish and put it through a food mill to remove any filaments.
  2. Combine the fish with the remaining ingredients, except3 cups oil, to form a smooth past. Mix the fish paste vigorously in o direction only for about 5 minutes until stiff.
  3. Moisten the hands with oil to keep the paste from sticking. Form the paste into patties 3/4 inch thick and 3 inches across.
  4. Heat 3 cups of oil in wok to 375. Deep-fry the cakes in the hot oil
  5. When the cakes are cool enough to handle, slice them into1/2 inch pieces.
  6. Serve cakes as a hot hors d'oeuvre with Chili Soy Dipping Sauce.

Tip: The Fish Cakes may be fried ahead and reheated in a 350 oven til heated through. (This is the part I love - cook ahead, serve later so I can enjoy the party too....yeah!)

Deep-Fried Sweet Sesame Balls

These are traditional sweet dim sum served during Chinese New Year. They are sometimes referred to as "open-mouthed laughs" as they pop into an open-mouthed smile. (Umm....mine didn't exactly because my oil wasn't deep or hot enough - because, umm like, I'm a bit of a whuss - a bit scared of deep-fryers and fire.) They can be made in advance. (yippee)

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup hot water

1 tbs baking powder

1 tbsp oil

1 small egg, beaten well

1/2 tbsp finely grated lemon rind (I usually put a whole lot more)

12 ounces cake flour, sifted

1/2 cup white sesame seeds (I used blk & wh)

3 cups oil

  1. Dissolve the sugar in the hot water. Cool. Add the baking powder, 1 tbsp oil, egg and lemon rind. Mix well with a whisk. Stir in the flour. Use both hands to toss the flour and liquid together. Do not knead. Press the loose dough lightly with your fists. Fold the dough gently and press it lightly again.
  2. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Fold the dough very gently and press it lightly several times until the dough is combined.
    Wrap in plastic wrap; let dough rest for 1 hour. The dough will be slightly crumbly.
  3. Press the dough gently into 1 inch-thick squares. Cut the dough into 1-inch cubes. Roll each cube into a round ball. Wet your hands and moisten each ball by rolling it between your hands gently. Dry your hands and roll the balls in the sesame seeds again to allow the seeds to adhere firmly.
  4. Dust the cleaver with flour. With the dull edge, cut a slit in each ball in the center.
  5. Deep-fry balls, cut side down, in 3 cups oil over medium-low heat. When the balls begin to float, deep-fry until they double in size and turn golden brown. Drain on paper towel. Cool.

(Tip: These balls can be stored in a tight container for several days. If they loose their crispness, heat in a 350 oven or until they are crisp.)

(oops....too late...busted, I forgot to edit this picture so now you can see my mess. Dahlia's lunch box, scrunched up cup towel , etc. BUT 1 perfectly round little ball. Oh well.....)

I made both these hors d'oeuvres for our annual Chinese New Years party that we attend every year with 4 couples who travelled to China together for our first kids. Now, we are all back with our second ones and whenever we get together now - it's sheer bedlam.
But, we still manage to eat, drink and be merry. And the kids have a total blast.

These Sesame Balls were party ready to go.

Join Colleen here at The Crazy Eight site for more recipes.

Wishing everyone a Happy Monday (post Super-Bowl) and a great week!


Buckeroomama said...

We do the fish cakes sometimes, but have never tried the sesame balls. Hmmm, maybe it's time to try them. :)

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

These recipes look good..... I am going to have to give them a try!! I thought this weekend I would throw caution to the wind and try to cook some asian cuisine in honor of CNY..... I have never attempted it before, but I am game to try!!

Enjoy your day!



Love Letters To China said...

Oh Wanda these look delicious. I've never gone as far as you have with Chinese cooking. I think I might just give these a try. Thanks so much for sharing.

Marla said...

Yummmm! These look great, especially the sesame balls, my girls love those! Thanks for sharing!

Colleen said...

oh my gosh you always have the best recipes and just in time for CNY!!!

Mister Linky site is down..not sure if you linked before it went down but when it is up and running I will link you if your not on there...thanks for playing a long with me : )

the greek chinese connection said...

I had first hand experience with those sesame balls...mmm good!!!

Wanda, you are such an amazing cook, my taste buds love you.


Gail said...

Wanda, You seriously inspire me to try some Chinese cooking. These look amazing and so good!

Laura L. said...

Both of the recipes do look good and I will try to branch out and give them a try. I don't know why I'm not very experimental with Chinese cooking. You may have inspired me to get brave. LOL
Thanks for the cook book suggestion too.

a Tonggu Momma said...

I am a wuss when it comes to experimenting with Chinese recipes, but these look simple enough for even ME to try. Thank you!

M3 said...


Domestic Goddess..Diva sometimes said...

I've never done fish cakes. Only crabcakes. I'm sure my kids will like that. Thanks for sharing! :)

Alyson and Ford said...

These look great! I have sent them to my SAHD to see if he is willing to cook them up...Yummy!! Thanks!

Alyzabeth's Mommy