Crab Meat Sui Mei with Red Pepper Sauce
This very pretty appetizer is also very, very tasty: plump dumplings are filled with crab meat, shrimp, crunchy water chestnut bits, and seasonings, then served in a pool of red pepper sauce. The dumplings and sauce could be prepared ahead of time and kept refrigerated. Warm the sauce gently over low heat; let the dumplings warm slightly before steaming.
- Red Pepper Sauce
- Red Bell Peppers - 1 pound
- Peanut Oil - 4 tablespoons
- Chicken Stock - 1 cup
- Salt - 1 teaspoon
- Pinch of freshly ground white pepper
- Egg White - 1
- Vodka or Gin - 2 tablespoons
- Salt - 1 tablespoon
- Freshly ground white pepper - 1/4 teaspoon
- Pork fat - 2 ounces ,finely chopped (optional)
- Sesame Oil - 1 tablespoon
- Fresh Ginger - 1 teaspoon, finely grated
- Scallions - 2, white parts only, finely chopped
- Shrimp - 8 ounces, medium, peeled, cleaned, and chopped fine
- Water Chestnuts - 6, finely chopped
- Fresh Crab Meat - 8 ounces, picked over
- Coriander Stems - 2 tablespoons, minced
- Wonton wrappers - 1 pound, very thin
- Red Pepper - 1/4 cup, finely chopped
- Coriander leaves - 1/4 cup, chopped
- Pea shoots - 1/2 pound
To prepare the sauce; Seed and derib the peppers and cut into large slices. Heat the oil until hot in a medium sauce pan or skillet. Add the peppers and saute for 4 to 5 minutes. Cover, adjust the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Puree the cooked peppers with the stock in a food processor or blender. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve and return to a saucepan over low heat. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes and season to taste with salt and pepper.
To prepare the sui mei: In a bowl, beat the egg white until foamy. Blend in the vodka or gin, salt, pepper, and pork fat. Mix in the sesame oil, ginger, and scallions. Add the shrimp, water chestnuts, and coriander. When blended, gently stir in the crab meat.
Cut the wonton wrappers into 3-inch rounds with a cookie cutter. Place 2 tablespoons of the crab filling in the center of each. Pull the wrappers up and around the filling, and give a light squeeze to the middles; leave the filling exposed at the top. Tap the bottoms against a flat surface so that the dumplings will stand upright. Put a pinch of chopped red pepper and coriander on the exposed filling for decoration.
Place the dumplings in a steamer, cover, and steam for 10 minutes.
To serve: Pool warm red pepper sauce in the center of each plate. Arrange the steamed sui mei on the plates and garnish with raw or blanched pea shoots.