Crispy Scallop Dumplings – it’s a dish that I hold a degree of fondness for. Not only through the virtue of how it tastes, but also the memories that I associate with it. Memories on the one hand that fills me with sense of happiness as a significant chapter in my life opens, whilst on the other hand, a bittersweet melancholy as a previous chapter closes for good.
Read on for my recipe for Crispy Scallop Dumplings and a stroll down memory lane.
The recipe for Crispy Scallop Dumpling is a variant on a recipe that originated from Billy Mok. He was the Executive Chef at Old Hong Kong restaurant in Northbridge (closed), skilled vegetable carver, occasional minor television personality (name that Australian celebrity chef with the boyish charms), martial artist and showman. One that would amaze the patrons of his restaurant with spectacular feats such as blowing out the bottom of a wine bottle with a strike from his palm, shattering chopsticks on his neck and abdomen, and even performing a dangerous stunt that presses the tip of a long spear into his neck as terracotta roof tiles are broken across his shoulders.
As spectacular as this may seem, and it was indeed spectacular, I was in some ways fortunate to possess a backstage pass to his life; participating in early morning tai chi classes that he instructed, working together on a multimedia project and sharing a number of meal at home with his partner. He was a mentor, business partner and a friend.
We’ve moved on since those times, going our separate ways some time ago and having since lost all contact. I look back on those days having wished that I’d found the passion for food blogging and photography sooner. To be able to capture the soul of showman and the spectacle of his martial arts feats, to uncover and share an interest in his food beyond its immediate consumption or just to be able to take better photos than these ones (these weren’t taken by me). These opportunities are, regretfully, forever lost to the ether.
As one chapter in life comes to a close, another one begins. This time, the passion for food blogging and photography is the very reason for the fond association to this recipe.
The Crispy Scallop Dumplings featured alongside the original prawn-based version as my contribution to a house warming/magical frootie/wig party hosted by Chocolatesuze. It was the first of many great food blogger party experiences that I’ve had with some great people I consider to be dear friends. For those of you that have been waiting for this recipe, sorry that it’s taken this long but you need not wait any longer.
I hope this recipe serves you well and forms the basis of some of your own fond memories, or it just tastes good in lieu of that.
Crispy Scallop Dumplings (approx. 20 dumplings)
2 tbsp corn flour (2 tsp for prawn version)
1 tbsp finely chopped carrot
1 tsp chopped spring onion
1 tsp chopped onion
2 tsp finely chopped coriander
2 tsp finely chopped parsley
24 sheets Wonton pastry wrappers
Salt to taste
Neutral flavoured oil for deep frying
1 tsp tomato sauce
1 tsp hoisin sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp vinegar
1 tsp corn flour, mixed with water
- Pat the scallops dry of moisture with a kitchen towel and squeeze gently to remove additional fluid.
- Mince scallops either by hand using a knife or in a food processor until it forms a loose paste.
- Place the scallop paste into a bowl along with the carrots, spring onions, onions, coriander & parsley and mix to combine.
- Add salt to taste. To test the seasoning, cook off a little of the scallop mixture on a frying pan.
- Add 1 tbsp of corn flour to the scallop mixture and combine. Then gradually the other tbsp of corn flour in small portions until a sticky, cohesive paste is formed.
- Using a knife, shred the stack of 24 wonton wrappers into thin strips a few millimetres in thickness so they form short, noodle-like strands.
- Scoop out a teaspoon of scallop mixture and form into a small ball.
- Place a small amount of wonton strips flat into the palm of one hand as a base and place the ball of scallop mix on top.
- Layer another small amount of wonton strips on top of the scallop ball and use both hands to loosely coat the outside of the scallop ball with the wonton strips to form the dumpling. Allow any loose strips to fall away.
- Repeat steps 7 & 8 until all the scallop dumplings have been formed.
- Preheat frying oil to 170C and cook dumplings for approx. 3 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on wire rack or paper towels.
- For the sauce, combine all the ingredients into a small saucepan and warm through on a medium heat until it thickens slightly.
- For the prawn version, replace the scallops with an equivalent weight of prawn meat and reduce the amount of corn flour from 2 tbsp to 2 tsp.