Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Chinese Dim Sum Mango Mousse for Tea

The closest I've been to China is Chinatown, but I do often have a surplus of mangoes often.  And ever since I was introduced to a tea tasting tradition during my singing lessons, I keep many tea varieties at home--ginger, jasmine green, lavender, rooibos, chamomile, and others to honor my Irish roots (the Irish drink the most tea per capita in the world)... It thus seemed appropriate to place both together in a Chinese tea-tasting meal called "Dim Sum". 

Dim Sum stands for "touch the heart", and it means bite-sized portions of food that are served with Chinese tea. The tradition originated when people travelling back and forth from China to buy silk (a Chinese trade secret at the time) needed to rest during their journey. Teahouses appeared on the route to offer tea tasting (the very appropriately named "yum cha") opportunities for farmers as well. When the Chinese discovered that tea would help rather than hinder digestion, they began including small portions of food on the platters as well. In the Southern region, the Cantonese turned the tradition into a boisterous but fun experience, and Hong Kong chefs have declared it brunch, as they serve it from 6:30 a.m. to mid-afternoon. Nowadays, you can find frozen dim sum in the supermarket, or street dim sum on a skewer. 

As for the beverage part of this custom, it was discovered accidentally in 2737 B.C., when an emperor smelled the aroma created after a tea leaf blew into a pot of boiling water. Whereas the Chinese don't have as elaborate a ceremony as the Japanese do, they view it as a symbol of respect and follow some etiquette rules. When tea is served, it is customary to thank the waiter by gently tapping the cup with the index finger. If you want him/her to refill your pot with more boiling water, you can do so by lifting the lid and leaving it open.

Recipe from (the book "Dim Sum" by Ellen Leong)
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons gelatin
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 cups pureed mango
1 ripe mango, peeled and sliced
1 cup whipping cream

Pour gelatin over 1/2 cup water. Add boiling water, then sugar. Mix in mango puree, then whipping cream. Place in ramekins or bowls and let set in the fridge. Decorate with mango slices. Cover the tops with saran wrap if you plan to leave them in the refrigerator for more than a day.

Coming up next:
Indian Mango Lassi for Republic Day, January 26th
Mauritian Banana Tart for February 1st
Chinese Fortune Cookies for the Chinese New Year in San Francisco, February 13th


No comments: