A long time ago I lived in a galaxy far, far away. That’s right, I spent several years living in the Bay Area of California, the cereal bowl of America (land of the fruits, nuts, and flakes). It wasn’t a totally horrible experience, and I do go back from time to time if for no other reason than to remind myself that there were some advantages to living in such a place.
One of those was the availability of good (actually great) places to get dim sum. Chinatown in San Francisco had several restaurants with wonderful dim sum; unfortunately there are only a couple up here in this part of the Pacific NorthWet and they are neither convenient nor memorable.
By now you’re probably wondering why I’m babbling on about dim sum, but for those of you that have been paying attention lately you know that a lot of recent cooks have featured MOINK incorporated into other meals as I work my way up to a dish worthy of the 2010 MOINK Ball Challenge. During the brainstorming process, it occurred to me that MOINK balls could be incorporated into dim sum, and my hope was that this would be the dish that I could submit. Unfortunately, things don’t always work out as planned…
As with the rest of the MOINK ball dishes, the first thing to do is to make a batch of MOINK. Unlike previous efforts, these were a complete departure from the normal recipe in that Chinese 5 Spice powder was used for the rub, and they were glazed in a mixture of hoisin and teriyaki sauce.
As you can see, this batch turned out a lot darker than usual. They were also a bit on the salty side; the combination of sauces for the glaze should have been cut with something else to lessen the impact of all the sodium. Undaunted, I prepped Bubba Ho-Keg with the cast iron wok in preparation for some bamboo steaming. Notice this time I dispense with setting the wok on the grill and instead got it down closer to the coals.
First up was the attempt at MOINK buns, a vain attempt to replicate the nice, fluffy, steamed pork buns you can get in quality dim sum restaurants. Lets just say that the dough was a big disappointment, and the end result even more so. I won’t bother including the source recipe here; it’s been since relegated to the burn pile out back where it will decompose until winter when the burn ban is lifted again. I’ll even spare you the assembly pictures even though they are more pleasing to the eye than the final product, shown here.
The MOINK buns were not fluffy. The outside was sticky, not a very pleasant color, and not even the additional of some honey and sesame seeds helped the appearance much. The consistency was, well, rubbery, and the taste was, well, not good. The additional cooking time had dried out the MOINK on the inside, and the although the dough didn’t suck outright, it wasn’t something I would serve to guests. Oldest Daughter was over to witness this debacle, and although she tried to be nice by saying it was still better than anything she would have fixed for dinner, I’ve had her cooking and know that this was not a compliment.
Next up was an attempt to make MOINK dumplings. Two varieties were attempted; one was simply MOINK wrapped in a wonton skin, the other MOINK with chopped Chinese cabbage, green onions, and water chestnuts originally intended to be wrapped in wonton skins but instead wrapped in egg roll wrappers due to their size. Again, I’ll spare you the assembly process and show the finished result.
Once again, these didn’t turn out as planned; the wrappings were rubbery and not pleasing to the eye. The flavor wasn’t horrible, but again the additional cooking dried out the MOINK balls.
In closing, a lot of lessons were learned on the grill yesterday. After all, this is how experience is gained. And we reinforce that by eating our mistakes here. We won’t be doing this again, and now I have to go back to the list to figure out what the next likely candidate is for the MOINK Challenge. As a final note, kids, don’t try this at home…