Vegan Mofo 2015 #17: Make Or Eat A Traditional Local Dish

When I think of a Melbourne dish, the first thing that comes to mind is a dim sim. From Wikipedia:

A dim sim is a Chinese-inspired meat or vegetable dumpling-style snack food, popular in Australia and to a lesser extent in New Zealand. The meat variety dish normally consists of small amounts of pork or lamb, cabbage and flavourings, encased in a wrapper similar to that of a traditional shumaidumpling. They are usually deep-fried, though can be served steamed. Vegetarian-style dim sim normally contains cabbage, carrot, vermicelli, or other vegetable fillings, along with spices. Dim sims differ from typical Chinese dumplings in that they are often much larger, have a thicker doughier skin and are shaped more robustly.[1] They are primarily sold in fish and chip shops, service stations, corner stores and some Chinese restaurants and takeaway outlets in Australia. Chinese Yum Cha wholesale outlets and Asian frozen food companies also commonly sell this snack frozen for home cooking. They can also be found at Chinese food outlets in New Zealand.

Chinese diners view dim sims as Westernized food, however many Australians see the snack as being primarily Chinese in nature, due to its origins in local Chinese restaurants. The term dim sim dates as far back as 1928,[2] although it is widely believed[citation needed] the modern recipe of the dish was developed in Melbourne’s Chinatown in 1945 by chef William Wing Young (father of TV chef Elizabeth Chong) for his restaurant “Wing Lee”.

A dim sim, or ‘dimmy’ can be found in any fish and chip shop where they can be ordered steamed or fried but unfortunately they’re not vegan. I used to have a love-hate relationship with dim sims because the fried versions made me feel a bit sick but the steamed versions seemed to lack oomph. Word on Melbourne vegan street is that we will have some vegan dim sims available to us soon courtesy of a new business called Woking Amazing– I can’t wait to see what they serve up! I believe there are also vegan dim sims available at a restaurant or two somewhere in Melbourne (or may have been in the past).

And after all that explanation, I’m not actually going to present a dim sim for today’s Mofo.

Sausage rolls will always be found in bakeries across Australia and at many a party. They’re sold in individual size, jumbo size and party size. Pre-vegan I was a bit mehhh about sausage rolls and all those processed pies because of the whole gristle ‘n’ gravy factor, or as my friend used to call sausage rolls, high fat offal tubes. But sausage rolls really are part of our culture here and veganising them is really easy. I have two favourite recipes to share. One is from the Melbourne blog Where’s The Beef? I’ve had a lot of success with these and switch up the recipe a little, using oats instead of breadcrumbs and throwing in some cauliflower. Here’s a pic I took ages ago:

vegan sausage rolls

My other favourite recipe is from Australian vegan cookbook author Leigh Drew. I’ve been recipe testing for Leigh’s latest book so I can’t share the exact details of the recipe here, but there’s a very unique combination of flavourings here that are fantastic. I made them for a family lunch and my relatives loved them. Unfortunately they got a bit burnt…

vegan sausage rolls

Happy halfway-through-Mofo!

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12 thoughts on “Vegan Mofo 2015 #17: Make Or Eat A Traditional Local Dish

  1. I only recently realised that dim sims were an Australian thing after having to explain them to Americans.
    I am not really a big fan of them, the only Dim Sim I need in my life is my kitty. 😀
    I also did sausage rolls. I haven’t tried the Where’s the beef ones, but Leigh’s recipes are so amazing I don’t think I’d bother making any other sort.

  2. I never realised sausage rolls were an Australian thing til I read yours and Susan’s blogs this morning. They are very popular in the North of England and are always found in a party buffet. I love the idea of getting vegan Dim Sim from a chippy, hopefully that day is not too far away!

    • I’d love a vegan dim sim that is exactly (or better!) than the original dimmies, only to show people how awesome the vegan versions can be!

  3. Big round dim sums and hot jelly donuts totally make me think and smell Australia. Also of course pies. My sister wanted aussie pies for a party -this is ages ago- and I found a vegan recipe on GGGiraffe, it worked out really well and my mom approved. And a proper vanilla slice, that’s a dessert mom misses all the time. Mom is going to Australia in a few weeks I’m going to ask her to bring me back a Leigh Drew cook book 🙂

  4. Monash uni used to have excellent vegetarian dim sim – don’t know if they were vegan – it used to cheer up my visits there! I loved the meat ones when I was little and when it was lent I missed them because we didn’t eat meat on fridays (and what other day would we have fish and chips). So will be v excited if there are some veg dim sims available again – and also v happy to have discovered Cindy and Michael’s sausage roll recipe – I really enjoyed Leigh’s sausage roll recipe too – how amazing is it to have lots of good recipes for them!

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