It was one-of-its-kind experience when my blogger friend Rutavi Mehta invited ten food bloggers in Mumbai for an awesome learning and hands-on experience on how to make dimsums. The ever-smiling Chinese Chef Huang Tesing (and his Sous Chef), at The Oriental Blossom, Marine Plaza, was kind enough to share his expertise and tricks in a live demo on making the perfect dimsums from scratch. Although I make dimsums often and by now I think I make good dimsums, I do believe that the process of learning never ends. So at the dimsum-making masterclass by Chef Huang, I thoroughly followed his instructions on making dimsums. Till today, my dimsum wrappers were always made with all-purpose flour, as it is easily available anywhere in India and is cheap. But here I learnt about making the wrapper traditionally, using a mixture of potato starch, tapioca starch and water. The resulting dough was very elastic and hence, we got the perfectly transparent (on steaming) and super-thin wrappers out of this perfect dimsum dough.
As I watched each step of the chef, I noted that he used simple ingredients as filling. He made sure that the vegetables were finely chopped. The chef made two kinds of fillings: the first was the vegetarian one and the second was the non-vegetarian one. He added a hint of sugar in his fillings, which balanced the acidity from the vinegar and soy sauce. The dumpling fillings were extremely comforting, light and tasty. As far as cooking is concerned, Chef Huang, although from China, adjusted with Indian culture, taste and traditions very well. He makes sure that his vegetarian dumplings are well suited to the vegetarian Jain community as well. As we watched the Chef and his Sous chef making dimsums with precision, we understood how much perfection is needed in every step of dimsum-making.
At the end of the class, we were surprised and excited to discover that there was a dimsum-making challenge waiting for us. We were divided into three groups. My group was assigned to make vegetarian dimsums. All the participants in all the groups were very enthusiastic and made wonderful dimsums. My team won the challenge! We not only made the most number of dimsums, but the chef declared that ours was the neatest. I made a fish-shaped dimsum, which was well-appreciated! Each member in my team won a sinful dessert voucher. 🙂
We ate unlimited dimsums. A hearty lunch was waiting for us, as soon as the challenge got over. We headed to The Oriental Blossom at Marine Plaza, where we were greeted with Jasmine tea.
As we chatted away with each other, a delicious lunch wowed us. Among the appetisers, the Eight treasure vegetable nest was spectacular. With a crispy covering, this appetiser was yum, though I thought that for an elaborate meal like this, the portion size for this appetizer should have been smaller.
The Crispy aubergine in coriander and chilli sauce was spot on, whereas the Steamed jade rolls topped with hot garlic sauce was okayish. But the Pork spare ribs in barbeque sauce were heavenly. Though all the pork ribs were perfectly fall-off-the-bone, it seemed to me that these were not barbecued uniformly: so some ribs were much darker than the others. But still, this dish was the star.
The Chicken-wrapped prawns in Schezwan sauce was too oily and heavy for me. As far as all the appetisers are concerned, all were flavourful, but I guess a little more planning would have helped. Too many fried elements in generous quantities and a bit too much old-school recipes, made me full already. And yes, hope I told you before that before these appetisers, we ate countless dimsums.
I can’t tell you how much I loved the soups. The Vegetable chimney soup made in a Mongolian hotpot was light and so good to slurp: loved eating those crunchy fungus in that soup. I did not taste the Chicken chimney soup, so no comments on that.
Among the main course dishes, the Wok-tossed oriental vegetable with burnt garlic in superior soy sauce and Stir-fry water chestnuts in red and green bell pepper, babycorn and snow peas in chilli black sauce pleased us a lot. Other vegetarian dishes included Wok-grilled stuffed aubergine in Cantonese sauce, assorted mushrooms in preserved vegetable claypot rice and Wok-tossed vegetable ho-fun / hakka noodles.
The Roast Cantonese chicken was great. It had a crispy and well-browned outer covering and juicy interior. The spicy Kung pao lamb was perfectly cooked and I really enjoyed this dish. The Sauteed prawns in chilli oyster sauce looked gorgeous and the flavour was fantastic too!
I admit, I don’t like Chinese desserts. But there was this dessert, called Crispy date pancake / Toffee banana with vanilla ice cream. I love this combination here. Though I have tasted similar combination in other restaurants before, I felt, the chef really did justice to the dish.I literally ate every morsel of it.
I would love to come to The Oriental Blossom at Marine Plaza again. This was the day when I really brushed up my dimsum-making skills from a professional Chinese Chef! The day when I made new friends, and got inspired from each one of them in some way or the other, the #DimsumAtMarinePlaza experience was truly unique in every respect.
Happy Indian Independence Day to all!
The Oriental Blossom, Marine Plaza, Mumbai
29, Marine Drive, Churchgate, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400020