Dim Sum Yum

dim sum

/ˈdim ˈsəm/

A Chinese dish of small steamed or fried savory dumplings containing various fillings, served as a snack or main course.

Used to be one of my favorite things to do on a Sunday was head to Chinatown for dim sum. When Matthew was two we tried taking him. The only thing he would eat was the Jell-O because it came with a little umbrella. I was so grateful to that umbrella! Back then I always had a stale bagel or mushed up cereal bar at the bottom of the diaper bag so he certainly didn’t starve.

Now that all three boys know what a dumpling is I decided it was time to take the plunge again. I recruited Candice, my dim sum partner in crime, packed up the minivan and headed to the Silver Palace.

What a difference three years makes! As the carts laden with little plates of exotic food came rambling by our choices seemed endless. They ate it all, I didn’t even have to resort to the little umbrella. We dined almost an hour until the noise level at our table exceeded our waiters’ patience – signaling our exit.

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Last stop, a hole-in-the-wall bakery to indulge in some seriously large almond cookies. Then time to part ways – I packed the boys back in the minivan and headed back to the burbs and Candice headed home for some aspirin!

Shrimp Balls with Dipping Sauce (adapted from recipe by Anne Burrell)

Although most dim sum recipes call for deep-frying there are certainly several easy enough to make at home that can be baked or steamed instead. I opted for shrimp balls – the ones we had in Chinatown were fried, but this baked version came out almost as good, and were surprisingly simple.


Shrimp Balls:

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, grated

3 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

1 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce

1 Tbsp cornstarch

1 egg white

1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil

1 (12-ounce) cans sliced water chestnuts, drained and coarsely chopped

1/2 tsp Asian chile sauce (optional)

1/2-cup panko breadcrumbs


Dipping Sauce:

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4-cup rice wine vinegar

1 (1/2-inch) piece ginger, grated

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp Asian chile sauce (optional)



For the shrimp balls:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. To make life easier you can do most prep day before -just cover and refrigerate.


Combine all the shrimp ball ingredients in a large bowl, except the panko breadcrumbs. Stir to thoroughly combine. Working in 3 batches, pulse the mix in a food processor until it becomes a coarse paste. Transfer each batch to a bowl. Do not overcrowd the processor bowl. When all the shrimp has been pulsed and transferred to a bowl, stir in the panko breadcrumbs until thoroughly combined.


Working with wet hands, roll the mixture into 1-inch balls. Place the shrimp balls on the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes.

For the dipping sauce:

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together to combine. (can be made ahead and refrigerated in air-tight container)


And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 5): “Man, these balls are so good”

Liam (age 4): “These are not so special”

Dylan (age 4): “I like the ones in Chinatown better but sauce is good”



11 thoughts on “Dim Sum Yum

  1. These guys are such tough critics! It looks good – if they were so easy, you can make them again for me when I’m in NY this month 🙂

  2. This looks like my favorite recipe so far, and would make an excellent theme dish for mah jong! (I have gluten free panko bread crumbs) 😉

    I am very impressed with your successful Chinatown excursion. I am lucky if I can get both kids to the park!

  3. I couldn’t resist commenting. We love dim sum also and it was so brave of you to shlepp the kids. Chinese restaurants love kids so it was a great match. I love your recipe and one of these days I intend to make it. I have never made a shrimp ball in my life, time to try! I am constantly amazed at how eclectic your food recipes are and how many the kids really try and enjoy! My nutritionist friend to whom I send the blogs also appreciates.

    Much love, Judy

  4. Way to go! These sound delicious as does you dipping sauce. Ya know, as much as I love fried foods, baking these instead is a good thing. If I bake them, I won’t know what I’m missing. Thanks foe sharing.

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