I'm no master dumpling maker so my secret to serving dim sum at home is to buy them frozen and make my own dipping sauces and fresh condiments. Excellent frozen dim sum is available at Asian markets such as T&T and, increasingly, at mainstream markets as well.
Shrimp dumplings (a.k.a. har gow) are one of the most popular dim sum dumplings. Available frozen, they are best steamed from the frozen state but can also be microwaved. If you don't have a bamboo steamer basket, steam them on an oiled plate.
Place one or two cabbage leaves in a steamer basket set in a wok. Add water to wok for steaming. Place dumplings in basket and cover and steam for 10 to 12 minutes. Serve in the basket.
Frozen pork dumplings are available in most supermarkets. This cooking method makes a pretty presentation. Serve them with the outstanding dipping sauce below.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a small non-stick skillet. Arrange dumplings in a circular pattern like spokes on a wheel. Place on medium heat and fry for 2 minutes or until the bottoms of the dumplings are browned. Add 1 cup water mixed with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and a pinch of salt to reach half way up the sides of the dumplings.
Cover and cook 7 minutes. Remove cover and cook until all liquid has disappeared. Loosen edges with a rubber spatula and turn on to a serving dish and serve with Ginger Vinegar Dipping Sauce.
Ginger Vinegar Dipping Sauce
2 tablespoons shredded ginger root
1/3 cup red-wine vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon chili sauce (optional)
Combine all ingredients and stir together.