Monday, 2 November 2015

Wor Tip Dumplings with pork and Chinese leaf by Ekachai

Ekachai is a small group of four restaurants, three in London (Wandsworth, Selfridges and Liverpool Street) and Birmingham, founded in 1999.

Ekachai was founded by two friends, Thomas Tjong and Sidney Tsang. They came to the UK in 1975. Thomas was born in Indonesia to Chinese parents, moving to Hong Kong to study as a young boy. Sidney was working in restaurants in Hong Kong before moving to the UK.

On arriving in the UK, they found that the food they loved was not available anywhere. They wanted the simple, tasty, cheap and fun street food rice and noodle dishes that they could get back home.

Sidney found he was craving beef hor fun, wide gloopy rice noodles cooked at intense heat in a wok, stir fried with beef, beansprouts, egg and vegetables. Thomas, having grown up in Indonesia had a hankering for nasi goring, cooked rice stir fried with prawns in a strong, spicy and pungent spice paste mix.

The friends therefore decided they’d have to open a restaurant to fill the gap, which sells pan-asian street food classics. They are not at all worried that British diners will be daunted by these dishes. British diners crave authentic food these days. They are well travelled; many have visited South East Asia where they have tasted and loved the food.

Oriental food has been popular in this country for a long time, but travel and exposure to new dishes is helping make people much more adventurous. Ekachai wants to offer some less well known dishes alongside South East Asian staples reaonably priced, which is hoped appeals to many people.

They told me “our philosophy is to be honest, authentic and affordable. We aim to make great tasting food, cooked to honest and traditional recipes that are great value for money to our customers.”

Dim Sum is a style of traditional Cantonese cuisine. Prepared as small bite-sized portions, dim sum is traditionally served in small steamer baskets or on small plates and accompanied by tea.

This is a recipe for Ekachai’s popular Wor Tip Dumplings with pork and Chinese leaf. The dumpling pastry can be found in a Chinese/Oriental supermarket. Forming the dumplings needs a little practice, but they taste great even if your crimping isn’t up to scratch and they look a little misshapen!

Wor Tip Dumplings
with pork and Chinese leaf

Makes 18 dumplings


Wheat dumpling pastry sheets
About 1tbsp vegetable oil
75ml water
Flour for dusting
Soy sauce for dipping

For the filling:
110g minced pork
1 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
2 tsp rice wine
1 tbsp finely chopped spring onions 
½ tsp salt
2 tsp light soy sauce
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
75g Chinese leaves (or spinach)

Mixing bowl
Two lightly floured trays
Non-stick large frying pan with a lid
Slotted spoon
Dipping bowl


Arrange the pastry sheets on a lightly floured tray.

Mix up all of the filling ingredients thoroughly in a mixing bowl. 

Place about two teaspoons of filling in the centre of each 'pancake’ and moisten the edges with water. Fold the dough in half and pinch together with your fingers. 

Pleat around the edge, pinching with your fingers to seal well. The dumpling should look like a small Cornish pasty with a flat base and rounded top. 

Transfer each finished dumpling to the floured tray.

To cook, heat a large lidded frying pan (preferably a non-stick pan) until it is very hot. Add the vegetable oil and place the dumplings flat-side down into the pan. 

Reduce the heat and cook for about two minutes until the dumplings are lightly browned. Add the water, cover the pan tightly and simmer gently for about 12 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Check the water half-way through and add more if necessary.

Uncover the pan and continue to cook for a further two minutes. 

To serve, remove the dumplings from the pan with a large slotted spoon. 

Dip in the soy sauce, using your chopsticks and enjoy!

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