Shanghai Dumplings

For those of you who don’t know it, today marks the beginning of a new year according to the Chinese calendar. The year of the dragon is over and leaves its place to the snake, who is to reign for another year of happiness, prosperity and love – or, at least, that’s what you would hope. Anyway, here is a favourite of mine. A very easy (I promise!) recipe for steamed dumplings. The idea originates from a recipe I found in an issue of the BBC Good Food Magazine. You’ll need a steamer or a Chinese bamboo steamer (with a lid) to make these, so be sure to have that ready!

Ingredients (for the dough & the dipping sauce)

  • 400g plain flour
  • 1tbsp sunflower oil (all-purpose vegetable oil is also good)
  • 2 cabbage leaves
  • 100ml black rice vinegar (I can never find this, so I use 90ml rice vinegar and 2 tbsp soy sauce instead)
  • 2 tbsp finely shredded fresh ginger
  • 2 chillies, deseeded and finely sliced

Method (to make the dough)

  1. Put 365g of the flour in a bowl, then add 60ml boiling water and slowly mix using a wooden spoon.
  2. Gradually, stir another 125ml of lukewarm water into the dough and keep on mixing with the wooden spoon until a dough starts to form.
  3. Add 60ml cold water together with the sunflower oil and get your hands in there to mix it and bring it together. If you feel the dough is too sticky, adjust it with the rest of the flour.
  4. Tip onto a floured working surface and knead by hand for about 10 minutes, then wrap in clingfilm and leave on the side to rest for about 30 minutes.

Ingredients (for the filling)

  • 450g pork mince
  • 125g raw king prawns, deveined and finely chopped
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger

Method (continued)

To make the filling, tip all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well using a spoon or with your hands.


  1. Once the dough is ready, divide it in 4 equal portions and roll each one out to a log about 3cm in diameter.
  2. Cut each log in two, then each of the two sections in two again, so as to get 8 small dough balls out of each log.
  3. Keeping your working surface floured, roll out each small ball until 2mm thick to make a small circle.
  4. Place 1 tbsp of the filling in the centre of the dumpling, then bring the seams together at the top and seal by giving it a small twist.
  5. Place on a floured tray and cover with a damp towel until ready to use.


  1. Place a pan of boiling water on medium heat and line the base of the steamer with the cabbage leaves, then place that on top of the pan.
  2. Cook the dumplings in batches of 6-7 for about 8-10 minutes, until becoming slightly translucent and the filling is thoroughly cooked.
  3. To make the dipping sauce, mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Dip the dumplings and ENJOY!

Salmon en papillote

A very nice and easy supper, steaming salmon (or any other fish to be honest) with plenty of spices and accompanying it with some boiled greens allows me to have a non-fuss healthy dinner with plenty of flavour. For more options, try adding other ingredients (red peppers, spinach, carrots to name a few) or varying the fish. Trout or cod would also be nice.



  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 2 red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • juice from half a lime
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • green beans, to serve with


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Cut two pieces of foil and lay each salmon fillet in the middle.
  3. Drizzle with the sesame oil, mirin, soy sauce and lime juice.
  4. Scatter the red chillies on top and add the spring onions and the celery slices.
  5. Wrap the foil around the filling so as to make a small parcel and make sure you crimp the edges and seal it properly.
  6. Lay on a baking tray and cook for about 15 minutes.
  7. Take them out of the oven and let them rest for another 5 minutes before opening on the plate and serving up with some freshly boiled greens.