Chef Rolf Knecht takes us behind the scenes of the “world’s highest hotel” in Shanghai and offers Food Trend readers his famed Steamed Crab Roe Dumpling recipe.
There are hotels and then there’s the Grand Hyatt Shanghai housed in the Jin Mao Tower located in the city’s Pudong district- an architectural marvel that is the highest hotel in the world. The lobby of this stunning structure is on the forty-second floor and every floor is beautifully appointed with marble tiles, floor-to-ceiling views of the city and every possible modern amenity imaginable.
Multi-Million Dollar Food and Beverage Operations
Swiss-born Rolf Knecht is the hotel’s Executive Sous-Chef- a gargantuan task in itself as the hotel has a multi-million dollar food and beverage operation that it takes very, very seriously. On a recent tour through the hotel, Chef Knecht took the group from the receiving rooms where a meticulous staff break down whole sides of beef and entire pigs to crates of fresh produce in separate areas. The hotel also boasts its own in-house bakery, which explains the buttery breads and pastries enjoyed at that morning’s brunch.
The Ins and Outs of Training Local Cooks
Chef Knecht shared some of the intricacies of running the F&B operation for such a huge hotel that includes almost a dozen restaurants and lounges. For one thing, training local Chinese cooks poses some challenges given the local populace isn’t used to cooking with salt or Western seasonings (they add soy sauce as their major salt component in Chinese cooking).
“Once I train a chef to cook in our Italian restaurant for example, I can’t ever put him back in our Chinese kitchens. His palate is forever changed. And believe me, I have heard about it from angry wives who say that their husbands come home and can’t cook food properly anymore!” explains Chef Knecht. A fascinating point this writer had never considered. “It’s like their palates are corrupted,” he says.
In keeping with the Asian theme of the hotel, Chef Knecht has generously offered a recipe for Food Trend readers- Steamed Crab Roe Dumpling- it’s a keeper and while a bit laborious, worth every second of effort!
Steamed Crab Roe Dumpling Recipe – Compliments of Chef Rolf Knecht of the Grand Hyatt Shanghai
Ingredients for Filling
- Minced pork 700 gm
- White pepper 500 gm
- Corn starch 15 gm
- Sesame oil 5 ml
- Sugar 15 gm
- Ginger 10 gm
- Salt 10 gm
- Water 150ml
- Chicken powder 15gm
- Dark soy sauce 20ml
- Crab meat and roe 100gr
- Pork skin jelly 700gr
Mix all Ingredients together
Ingredients for Dough
- Cake Flour 1500gr
- Bread Flour 400gr
- Cold Water 1lt
- Mix all the Flour and Water together and knead well.
- Let rest for 30min at room temperature before using.
Chef Rolf’s Note and Tip:
This is enough dough for 380pcs of dumplings. But you can freeze the leftover dough for your next batch of dumplings. If you make it in smaller batches it does not work nearly as well.
Ingredients for Pork Skin Jelly
- Pork Skin Minced 500gr
- Ginger chopped 50gr
- Chive 50gr
- Chinese cooking wine 20gr
- Water 1lt
- Ask your butcher for minced Pork Skin.
- Bring all Ingredients to a boil and then reduce heat
- Let simmer until the liquid becomes Gelatinous
- Strain and set aside
To prepare the Dumpling
- Roll the Dough very thin
- Cut the dough into 4 by 4 cm pieces and place the meat in the middle while folding the dough around
- Pour the cold Jelly inside and close the dough on top of it.
- Steam in a dumpling basket over boiling water or in the best food steamer for around 10 minutes.
- Serve with Chinese Rice Wine Vinegar and a few Ginger Juliennes
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