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May 19, 2008 12:16 PM

Dim Sum question

When I get beef meatballs at our local dim sum houses, the meat balls have some type of leaf or something under them that they are steamed with, does anyone know what this is? I made beef meatballs this weekend but was wondering about this other ingredient?

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  1. Do you mean the piece of nappa cabbage that is tucked under to prevent sticking with the bamboo steamer? Or something else ...

    I'm not sure this is an "ingredient" per se, but an accourtrement.

    1. It's usually a piece of napa cabbage. Think of it not as an ingredient (altho I usually eat it), but as an edible alternative to keeps the meatballs from sticking to the bowl.

      3 Replies
      1. re: ricepad

        yes, that's probably what I mean, I like the taste of it with the meatball.

        1. re: bakerboyz

          Traditionally Cantonese use dried bean curd sheet to put under the beef ball to avoid sticking to the plate and the bean curd will absorb juice from beef ball making it delicious.

          1. re: shir

            That sounds more like it, I didn't think it was a piece of cabbage. Thank you.

      2. i bet it might be a lotus leaf. I've seen those in steamer baskets as well.

        2 Replies
        1. re: bitsubeats

          Does anyone eat lotus leaf? I've only seen it used as a wrapper to flavor what was inside...but always discarded.

          1. re: akq

            Lotus leafs are pretty much inedible.

        2. With all due respect to the others who have answered this question thus far....

          In New York's Chinatown, if it is a leafy green vegetable with stem, it is usually watercress. I have also seen bean curd sheets used as well. for this Beef Meatball Dim Sum item.

          1. There are many items the meat balls rest on.

            Napa Cabbage (white leaf with some light green trim), water cress (dark green), yuba bean curb sheets (white to light brown) or whatever a well meaning chef can think of.

            Of all these I like water cress the best since it will add a light taste to the meat balls.