If you ask anyone who knows me to describe me in three words, those words would definitely be Dim Sum Aficionado. Because, I’m not saying that I’m a dim sum expert or anything, but let’s just say that I am for sure one. I’ve been steeped in the art of rolling carts and bamboo pots since I can remember, with parents who would drive clear across town for the best shu mai. Some of my earliest restaurant memories are of eating dim sum. My college graduation party? Dim sum. My brunch of choice? With apologies to pancakes, dim sum. New Year’s Day tradition? Deep regret. But also dim sum! You get the idea.
I’m sure, then, that you can imagine my excitement upon learning that Sur La Table would be offering a class all about dim sum— Delicious Dim Sum, to be specific (good thing, too- who wants to take a “I guess It’s OK Dim Sum” class?). I immediately invited my brother/witness to amazing bacon, Max, and started thinking about which stretch-waistband pants I would wear to class.
I’ll admit, and am in fact admitting right now, that it wasn’t just the topic that hooked me. It was the fact that, although I’ve worked for Sur La Table for a few years now, I’ve never been to one of our cooking classes. I know. I feel you judging me and I accept it.
So: the class! It was, as those of us in the dim-sum-know say, great. Informative, hands-on, and fun. Our Chef Instructor, Marian, was part task master, part wisecracker (“Don’t stab Max!” she said of knife safety), and all dim sum enabler. She kept the class moving along at a good pace, demonstrated techniques, and answered everyone’s questions. She also offered pro tips, including a few hacks for common kitchen tools. I now know six weird ways to use a dough scraper.
And then there was the cooking! And the eating! Here’s what we made:
- Pork & Shitake Dumplings (Shu Mai)
- A dipping sauce that I could drink out of a bucket
- Crystal Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gow). I don’t want to get too emotional here, but these had bacon in them. I KNOW
- Wok-Fried Broccoli with Garlic & Oyster Sauce
- Mini Hong Kong Custard Egg Tarts, or, as I like to call them, The Reason Why I Had to Hit an Extra Spin Class This Week
Speaking of the menu and its consumption, a great aspect of the class was that we didn’t cook all the dishes before getting to see how everything tasted. We enjoyed them one at a time, between making new ones, which was probably a good idea since I don’t think I could have handled the wait. I can picture the headline now: AREA WOMAN IN SOFT PANTS RUINS COOKING CLASS BY EATING ALL THE EVERYTHING.
Another pleasant surprise: the class worked well for people of different skills levels. The couple that my brother and I were paired with (hi Nick and Cora!) clearly knew their way around a cutting board; the cilantro that I chopped, on the other hand, looked like someone with a blindfold on had taken a bat to it. But, together, we managed to make dumplings that looked good and tasted incredible; fresh, garlicky broccoli cooked just how we like it; and tarts worthy of any dim sum cart. All said and sautéed, it was a cooking class experience that was, as promised, delicious. I can’t wait for the next one.
Did you know that Sur La Table offers cooking classes in over 50 cities across the U.S.? It’s true! Click here to find one in your area.
Thanks to Jacob and his team at our Kirkland store for hosting an excellent class! Confidential to our Chef Instructor, Marian: See? I didn’t post our shu mai selfie. You’re welcome.