Is that a rabbit covering the Lo Pet Ban?!
Lorraine has this recipe for these traditional Hakka dumplings. I helped her to make them and it took us about 6 hours from grating the daikon to steaming the little buns. In the village, she says, the women would get together to make these in a day. But the Hakka diaspora is gradually losing their culinary heritage as few women today have the time to make these delicious dumplings. This recipe is worth sharing if only to preserve something unique in the Jamaican-Hakka Chinese culture. Below this are pictures showing the step-by-step process for making Lo Pet Ban.
6 lb daikon, washed, scraped with a potato peeler, and grated
1 cup dried shrimp, washed, picked over, and coarsely chopped
1 bunch scallion, diced finely.
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons black pepper
1/3-1/2 cup oil
***If desired, add a pound of cooked ground pork, or 1 cup of chopped fresh shrimp, or 1 cup soaked and chopped Chinese dried mushrooms, and/or 1 country pepper, seeded and chopped (scotch bonnet or habañero)
Grate the daikon. Throw off the water that springs from the grated radish. Put half or one-third of grated daikon in a large dutch pot and add 1-2 cups water to cook it down. Reduce heat to medium and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. After 15-20 minutes, when the daikon is soft and translucent, remove to a colander and squeeze out 1 cup liquid with a potato masher or with your hands. Repeat with the remaining grated daikon.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet. Fry shrimp and scallion. Add meat or shrimp or mushrooms, if using. Add cooked and drained daikon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add 1/3-1/2 cup oil to thoroughly coat the daikon mixture. Add country pepper, if using. Set aside in a colander to drain excess liquid. [Cook's note: do not worry if the filling is strong tasting, too spicy, and salty because the flavors will be absorbed by the wrapper on steaming.]
454g (1 lb) rice flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups boiling water plus 2 tablespoons
24 parchment squares 4"x4"
In a large bowl, add the rice flour and 1 cup of the hot water. Stir with wooden chopsticks or a wooden spoon. Add the second up of hot water and stir to combine. Add the all purpose flour one tablespoon at a time and continue mixing. The texture should be soft, velvety, and elastic. While making dumplings, cover the dough with a wet paper towel.
Prepare steamer and bring water to a boil on high heat.
Pinch off a 2 inch ball of dough. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to a 6" round. Fill, tamping down the filling with the back of a teaspoon, and leaving a 1 1/2 inch border. Fold up, making accordion pleats. Twist gently and pinch off the excess dough as close to the bun as possible. Return excess dough to the bowl to reuse. Place the bun, seam-side down on a parchment square and place in the steamer. Reduce heat to medium high. Steam buns for 1/2 hour. The dough will turn translucent when cooked. Lo pet ban can be stored frozen for up to 6 months. [Cook's note: what to do with leftover filling or dough. Eat the filling with steamed rice and fill the remaining dough with any chopped leftover meat and vegetables. Steam as usual.]
...into the pot to cook down.
Kneading the dough for the dumpling skins
Rolling out the dough into a 6" circle
Folding the dumpling closed with accordion pleats
Twist gently and pinch off the excess dough
Place dumplings seam side down on a square of parchment. Put dumplings in steamer.