The idea for this dish was sparked while I was enjoying Sunday yum cha with my family. One of my favourite dumplings, wu gok—which I have been eating in Chinese restaurants since I was a child—is a yam pastry with an external latticework of layered crispness encasing a mixture of moist savoury pork and seafood. I wanted to recreate the textural sensation of this dumpling: my first job was to find out how. I discovered that this traditional recipe relies on the combination of a small amount of ammonium bicarbonate and the natural starch of the yam. When fried at high temperature, the yam dough puffs and crisps giving a lacy effect. I decided to apply this technique to steamed walnuts and chestnuts instead of the traditional yam. I filled the dumpling with bitter chocolate black pudding then applied various shavings of fungi to enhance the organic nature and visual intricacies of the structure.
Reheat the roasted chestnut and mushroom cream. Finely shave the truffle.
Dust the walnut floss dumplings with the shiitake powder. Top with shaved truffle and mushroom gills. Place half a tablespoon of roasted chestnut and mushroom cream in the centre of each warmed serving plate. Place a garnished walnut floss dumpling on top of the purée. Serve.
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