Chef NG Siew Choy says dimsums are both healthy and tasty
The dimsum basket arrives. He opens the lid. A cloud of steam emerges, a fragrant hazy miasma that lingers for an instance before dissipating and revealing the delicate little dumplings arranged neatly inside. The perfectly spiced morsels sheathed in its fine, almost translucent casing is the gastronomic equivalent of miniature art — intricate, convoluted, painstakingly executed and possessing hidden depths. With a flick of his chopsticks, he skilfully manoeuvres them onto our plates.
I bite into one — the outer layer dissolves in my mouth immediately. I continue to chew and encounter a heady melange of flavours and textures — crisp, partially-cooked vegetables in a sauce that is neither sweet nor spicy but somewhere in between. I lick my fingers and take another and yet another. Scallops, shrimp, chicken, pork, vegetables, herbs, combinations of them, even a sweet filling of coconut and rice paste. Every single dim sum is masterpiece of sorts — unique, distinctive and most importantly, undeniably yummy.
For Chef NG Siew Choy from Taipan, The Oberoi, New Delhi who has hand-crafted these delicious little objects it is a work of love — literally. “In Chinese dim sum means ‘touch the heart’,” he says. “It originated in China but it has found its unique style and identity across South East Asia. Each region has added their own touch and creativity to these dumplings,” he says. “So have I.”
Going by the endless repertoire of shapes, colours, textures and flavours that have been dished out to us, he is certainly in a league of his own. “Passion, passion and more passion is what makes my dimsums so special. I am artistic by nature and making dimsums always had a special draw for me during my early days as a chef. I found my calling in making these delicate yet powerfully tasty dumplings where you could let your creativity flow,” he says adding, “I have never looked back.”
The chef who is here as part of a dim sum promotion held at Szechwan Court, The Oberoi, Bangalore and has trained under several experienced dim sum specialty chefs from across South East Asia says that making a dim sum is an art, “You have to dedicate years of hard work, long hours of repeated training and never ending journey of practice and experimentation to make them It should be delicate, precise and exude artistry alongside taste.”
The dimsums served to us are certainly all that. And its not just delicious but extremely healthy, “It is mostly steamed, thus none of the nutritive values of either the vegetables, meat or seafood used in the filling are lost, it adds the right amount of moisture to make the filling and the casing succulent. The casing varies from potato starch and rice flour to tapioca and is infused with carrot juice, celery juice and even pumpkin extract.” He laughs and points to his undoubtedly slender waist “I eat them all the time and look at me.”
The dimsum promotion is held at Szechwan Court, The Oberoi till August 25. Call 25585858 for reservations.