Saturday, 26 December 2009

Fu Qing Sweet Potato Dumpling

Today I'm going to talk about sweet potato. They're the survivor food during the World War II back in South East Asia. The price of basic necessities like rice increased drastically due to hyperinflation. The local can't afford these staple food anymore. Therefore root plant like tapioca, sweet potato, taro were replacing rice as staple food. Moreover these can be grown in the farm land or even in the backyard garden. I remembered, my grandad used to tell us the stories of how the people survived just on sweet potato, 3 meals a day during those war period back in Malaya. Thanks to this humble root plants that provide so much nutrients to stave off starvation back then.

Here is the Wiki explanation on the nutrients rich sweet potato:
Besides simple starches, sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, beta carotene (a vitamin A equivalent nutrient), vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Pink and yellow varieties are high in carotene, the precursor of vitamin A. In 1992, the Center for Science in the Public Interest compared the nutritional value of sweet potatoes to other vegetables. Considering fibre content, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium, the sweet potato ranked highest in nutritional value. According to these criteria, sweet potatoes earned 184 points, 100 points over the next on the list, the common potato.(NCSPC)
Sweet potato varieties with dark orange flesh have more beta carotene than those with light coloured flesh, and their increased cultivation is being encouraged in Africa, where vitamin A deficiency is a serious health problem. Despite the name "sweet", it may be a beneficial food for diabetics, as preliminary studies on animals have revealed that it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and to lower insulin resistance.[13] Some Americans, including television personality Oprah Winfrey, are advocating increased consumption of sweet potatoes both for their health benefits and because of their importance in traditional Southern cuisine.
A 100g root is reported to contain 108-121 calories, 68.5-72.3 g water, 1-1.7 g protein, 0.2-0.4 g fat, 25-31.0 total carbohydrate, 0.7-1.0 g ash, 21–36 mg Ca, 38–56 mg P, 0.7-2.0 mg Fe, 10–36 mg Na, 210–304 mg K, 35-5,280 µg beta-carotene equivalent, 0.09-0.14 mg thiamine, 0.04-0.06 mg riboflavin, 0.6-0.7 mg niacin, and 21–37 mg ascorbic acid.
The peptic substance (0.78 percent total, 0.43 percent soluble) present in fresh tubers contains uronic acid (60 percent) and methoxyl (4 to 5 percent). Other constituents include phytin (1.05 percent), two monoaminophosphatides (probably lecithin and cephalin), organic acids (oxalic acid), phytosterolin, phytosterol, resins, tannins, and colouring matter. Sweet potato contanins calcium, 30; magnesium, 24; potassium, 373; sodium, 13; phosphorus, 49; chlorine, 85; sulphur, 26; iron, 0.8 mg/100g; iodine, 4.5 µg/kg; manganese, copper and zinc are present in traces (Hug et al., 1983).
When buying sweet potatoes, select sound, firm roots. Handle them carefully to prevent bruising. Storage in a dry, unrefrigerated bin kept above 15deg Celcius is best. DO NOT REFRIGERATE, because temperatures below 15deg will chill this tropical vegetable giving it a hard core and an undesirable taste when cooked.Sweet potatoes add valuable, appetizing nutrients and color to any meal.
My mum used to make this little bite size sweet potato dumpling with fillings which is of 福清(Fu Qing-a clan in Foochow) origin. My mum is a person who make lovely food just with ''agak-agak'' (estimation) recipes. I made them today and will upload the recipes later. They tasted real good as they look......
I wander if these little delicacies can suitably call itself dim sum ? :-)

Fu Qing Sweet Potato Dumpling
Ingredients (make 20-24 pieces)

  • 300 gm sweet potato-cleaned, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 120 gm tapioca starch + additional 30 gm tapioca starch for dusting
  • 50 gm wheat starch
  • 1/2 tbsp lard/vegetable shortening/vegetable oil
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp icing sugar (optional-depend on the sweetness of your sweet potato)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil- for brushing after steaming
  • 250 gm mince meat-chicken/pork
  • 4 stalks of spring onion-finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp preserved sweet turnip/radish (Chai Po)-optional
  • 1 tsp of finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp shaoxing wine
  • 1 tbsp light soya sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbsp dark soya sauce
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 1 egg-only use the egg white
  • 1 tsp of corn flour
  1. Mix all the filling ingredients in a bowl and let it marinate over night.
  2. Next day, place the sweet potato into a pot, top up with water to cover them, boil for 15-20mins till soft. Use a fork to poke the potato, you should be able to poke through easily all the way through.
  3. While the sweet potato is boiling, in a mixing bowl seive 120gm tapioca starch and 50gm wheat starch. Add in the vegetable oil/lard/vegetable shortening , icing sugar and salt.
  4. Once the sweet potato is cook, drain immediately and add them into the tapioca, wheat starch mixture. Use a fork to mix and mesh the sweet potato with the starch. Continue to mix well. Once the dough is slightly workable with your hand, knead to combine well. If it's too sticky, dust with some additional tapioca starch so that it's workable. The dough should feel soft but not mushy. Let it rest for 15minutes or so covered with a damp towel.
  5. Divide the dough to 20-24 portions. Roll with your hand each of them into a small ball. Press using your palm to form a circular shape wrapper, about 4mm thickness. Scoop about 1 tbsp of filling onto it, wrap like you would as wrapping pao. Repeat until done.
  6. Prepare bamboo steamer, let it steam for 10-15minutes on high heat until cook. Remove from heat, brush the dumpling with some vegetable oil, this will ensure the skin will stay soft and glistening.
  7. Garnish with some black sesame seed. Served with some soya sauce mixed with pickled ginger.
Enjoy of course.


adel said...

Merry Christmas and Happy 2010 to you Christine!!
This dumpling is very unique and your mum sure knows the way to make good comfort food.
Any plan for this holiday season?

Christine Toh said...

Hi Adel,

You too. It's quite difficult to plan to go anywhere far at the moment due to icy conditions on road far north, and as you know transport system will come to standstill if there is major snow so rather stay put and wrapped up warm.
Indeed my mum unique recipes. She likes making traditional food.

Christine said...

Hi! I love this recipe and I've done it a number of times. Question though - can the dumplings be made in advance and frozen?