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Recipe – Crispy Scallop Dumplings

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)

Ingredients

250g scallops
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

Dipping Sauce:
1 tsp tomato sauce
1 tsp hoisin sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp vinegar
40ml water
1 tsp corn flour, mixed with water

Method

  1. Pat the scallops dry of moisture with a kitchen towel and squeeze gently to remove additional fluid.
  2. Mince scallops either by hand using a knife or in a food processor until it forms a loose paste.
  3. Place the scallop paste into a bowl along with the carrots, spring onions, onions, coriander & parsley and mix to combine.
  4. Add salt to taste. To test the seasoning, cook off a little of the scallop mixture on a frying pan.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Scoop out a teaspoon of scallop mixture and form into a small ball.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Repeat steps 7 & 8 until all the scallop dumplings have been formed.
  11. Preheat frying oil to 170C and cook dumplings for approx. 3 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on wire rack or paper towels.
  12. For the sauce, combine all the ingredients into a small saucepan and warm through on a medium heat until it thickens slightly.

Notes

  • 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.
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{ 27 comments… add one }
  • muppy June 27, 2011, 8:08 am

    Wow, this looks very impressive. I am sure it is delicious, I try to avoid deep frying but i think this recipe would be worth getting over my fear :)

    • Simon July 5, 2011, 1:47 pm

      Deep frying isn’t really a big deal if done right. I’m more concerned about the clean-up and smell than any issues to do with safety.

  • Tina@foodboozeshoes June 27, 2011, 9:27 am

    Jason Roberts?
    I love most anything with scallops in it – these look fab!

  • Keely aka The Richest Girl in Bondi June 27, 2011, 4:21 pm

    Thank you Simon – this recipe looks amazing! I’m a big fan of anything featuring scallops but tend to just order them when I’m out for a meal. But this looks like a fantastic dish to recreate at home. It’ll be interesting to try the tomato and hoisin dipping sauce as well. Can you tell I’m excited?

    • Simon July 5, 2011, 1:45 pm

      Yeah, somewhat :)

      Hope you enjoy the recipe if you do decide to make it.

  • mademoiselle délicieuse June 27, 2011, 6:51 pm

    You are one person I know who is consistently not afraid of deep-frying!

    • Simon July 5, 2011, 1:44 pm

      I don’t get why so many people have an issue with it, treating it like a bomb on the verge of detonation. It can be rather tame if done correctly.

  • Helen (grabyourfork) June 27, 2011, 9:34 pm

    I remember these dumplings. Our first insight into your deep-fried repetoire!

    • Simon July 5, 2011, 1:42 pm

      The birth of the deep fryer king :P

  • Sara @ Belly Rumbles June 28, 2011, 12:50 pm

    Life is a funny old lady, you may be happily surprised in the future if/when your paths cross again. The dumplings look delicious.

    • Simon July 5, 2011, 1:42 pm

      Who know, anything is possible I guess :)

  • Dumpling Girl June 28, 2011, 12:54 pm

    What a lovely recipe, they look fantastic. Love the play on texture with the shredded wonton wrappers.

    • Simon July 5, 2011, 1:41 pm

      The interesting crispy/crumbly texture makes it fun to eat, which is why I love it :)

  • Ellie @ Kitchen Wench June 28, 2011, 3:18 pm

    Isn’t it sad when we lose touch with people who we admire or even just appreciate? It happens all the time, I guess people just grow apart as life takes them in different directions. Even though you don’t have him in your life anymore, it’s still good that you remembered this recipe and get to cherish that old friendship in this way :)

    • Simon July 5, 2011, 1:40 pm

      I guess you make the most of what you have. Thanks for the comment :)

  • sugarpuffi June 29, 2011, 11:56 pm

    whoa those scallop dumplings look so delicious!! i thought they were noodles but was wonton pastry! doh! *facepalm*

    • Simon July 5, 2011, 1:37 pm

      I’ve tried actually using noodles instead. Doesn’t work out to be as crispy though.

  • betty June 30, 2011, 1:32 pm

    yum they look delish!

  • shaun@everybodylovesramen July 4, 2011, 5:19 pm

    Great memories & story Simon. We alL have our regrets & lost time but it’s what we do with now hey?

    Those look soooo delicious. I love dumplings. I love crispy-fried things. I love scallops. Looks like a winner & I can’t wait to try the recipe! XD

  • Freyja April 29, 2012, 2:51 pm

    Hi there! We used to be Billy’s number 1 customers, traveling from balgowlah most weekends to get take away or eat in. In fact he even went sailing with us too! We have Been desperately trying to find him since the closure of his north bridge restaurant. In particular his XO sauce!!!
    Are you in the position to find out if he still makes it or has a restaurant elsewhere these days?

    Thanks Freya

    • Simon May 3, 2012, 10:18 pm

      Hi Freya! Thanks for leaving a comment.

      I unfortunately lost contact with Billy a number of years ago, a little while after he closed down his restaurant. As to whether he’s started up another restaurant or whatever else he’s doing, I wish I had an answer to give you.

      If I ever get in touch with him again, I’ll make sure to pass on your details.

  • Martin September 18, 2012, 7:41 am

    This guy (Billy) used to teach me Kung Fu (Wushu) in London back in the early 90’s and was also a chef here. Good to see he’s doing well and keeping up the good work.

    Martin

    • Simon September 18, 2012, 4:54 pm

      Thanks for sharing your tidbit of info regarding Billy. I’m not sure where he is now but where ever he is and whatever he’s doing, I hope all is well :)

  • Sabrina November 20, 2012, 1:24 am

    I was brought to this website/page when I was talking about the carrot centrepieces with a friend. and i told her about how my old boss used to do them when i worked for him. but yeah i unfortunately have lost touch with Billy since i used to work for him around 7 yrs ago. northbridge hasnt really been the same without Old Hong Kong. now i wanna try this recipe :)

    • Simon November 28, 2012, 9:03 pm

      Hi Sabrina. Thanks for the comment.

      I do miss the Old Hong Kong. Not just for Billy’s showboating antics, whether as grandiose as feats of martial arts prowess or a simple trick with a coin and glass, but also for the food. Have yet to find a salt and pepper flounder with crispy deep fried bone “chips” that’s compared since then.

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