On Friday the 2nd of August a dim sum making workshop and lunch was organized for the Gurgaon Moms group at the Dimsum Bros. restaurant in Ambience Mall. Twenty- four of us eager beavers landed up at this well designed, warm and rather cosy establishment.
Once introductions were over and pleasantries exchanged, we got down to business rather quickly. The staff had done all our prep work and each of us were facing a beautifully arranged plate of all the ingredients we needed for making dim sum. Now I know how those top chefs feel with their sous chefs running around and getting the work done! We were introduced to the owner of the restaurant, Ajay Saini, who described dim sums as little parcels of deliciousness and very clearly stated that momos are a far cry from these Chinese delicacies! Momos are the poor cousins, if you will. So do yourself a favour and never call dim sums, momos. Saying “dumplings” is usually an acceptable alternative!
Chefs Michael quickly started rolling out the small balls of white flour dough into mini chappattis. They used a rolling pin very similar to a “dhandiya” stick, to roll out tiny, circle-shaped flour sheets. One of the ladies aptly remarked “We could break into a celebratory dance after we learn how to make dim sums” . Needless to say their speed at rolling and stuffing dim sums left most of us spell bound and in sheer awe. Apparently each chef prepares up to 4000 dim sums a day! Is Guinness listening?
However, our enterprising bunch wasn’t going to be left behind. We got our hands dirty and did everything we could to get those perfect little circles and guess what?? We were praised for our end results. Chef Michael said it took him three whole months to perfect the art of rolling and he couldn’t believe how good we got in just an hour! Of course he was probably being generous with his compliments but we were lapping them up .
The we learnt to stuff the dim sums and fold them in three styles with three different kinds of stuffing: 1) Original Chicken dim sum – in the shape of a fortune cookie 2) Chicken Beijing dim sum – in the shape of a “potli” 3) Vegetarian sui mai dim sum – in the shape of a flower pot
The last one was made using store bought dim sum sheets that were green in colour. Then we dusted off the flour from our aprons and moved to the open kitchen area to learn how to make: 1) Stir Fried asparagus and mushroom in black bean sauce. 2) Stir fried chicken udon noodles
Ajay explained Chinese cooking is all about the “prep” work. You could spend six hours getting everything ready for your dish but the cooking time for most Chinese dishes is no more than ten to fifteen minutes. We “ooooohed” and “aaaahed” as the chef tossed oil, vegetables, soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine and many other ingredients in a wok. He stirred with the precision of a Shaolin master on a very high flame. And voila in less than ten minutes we had two mouth-watering and eye pleasing dishes just waiting to unite with our grumbling tummies.
The staff patiently answered our gazillion questions and even shared some very useful tips. Then we got down to satiating our appetites with a lunch that included an array of dim sums, stir fried dishes, rice, noodles and pots of green tea. To be honest most of us were pretty full after our appetizers but greed got the better of us when we attacked the main course with a vengeance. Gluttony is often pardoned when such a tempting feast is beckoning. Some of the GurgaonMoms opted to indulge in some refreshing mocktails. Our dessert was a sweet dumpling stuffed with chocolate and coated with sesame seeds. What a perfect end to a truly enjoyable afternoon.
I think it is safe to speak for everyone when I say that more than learning about the beautiful art of making dim sum and learning to cook stir fry (which isn’t that difficult, so don’t be scared to try), it was lovely to share an afternoon with ladies from this forum. The camaraderie, laughter, informative discussions and genuine good will shared was heart-warming. Each of us walked away making new friends and were the better for it .To top it all we were awarded certificates for taking our first steps towards the craft of making dim sum. A memento to cherish our unforgettable afternoon, for years to come. Could it be any better? I think not!
Special thanks to the entire staff of Dimsum Bros. Ajay Saini, Chefs Michael and Rashi Monga and the managers, waiters and sous chefs. This experience was made memorable by your attention to detail and warm hospitality.
A super-duper gigantic hug and gratitude to Neela and Upasana, for conceptualizing and organizing this event. It must have taken some serious planning skills to get this very affordable show on the road. And we loved it, ladies! Can’t wait for the next one!
And finally, to the GurgaonMoms who couldn't make it this time, we missed you sorely on our culinary journey to the Far East. But please don’t despair; there will be many other workshops that you can be a part of in the not too distant future. Till we meet again, Zai Jian/ Good bye!