Recipe

Make your own Big Mac-inspired dumplings

The family-owned Roku Bar and Bites on Somerset Street serves up Asian street food that's both traditional and not-so-traditional.

Family-owned Roku Bar and Bites on Somerset Street offers Asian street treat with a fast food twist

Roku Bar and Bites on Somerset Big Mak dumplings, one of the new Somerset Street restaurant's most popular menu items. (Peter Mak)

A new restaurant on Somerset Street is offering traditional Asian street food with a uncommon twist — including beef-stuffed dumplings topped with Big Mac sauce. 

Robert Sayaphet and his brother-in-law Peter Mak launched Roku Bar and Bites to share their traditional family recipes from Cambodia and Laos. 

"Our family would always sit around and eat and enjoy together," Sayaphet told CBC Radio's All In A Day earlier this week. "Food is something meant to be shared and enjoyed." 

Sayaphet and Mak began serving their creations at pop-up shops around Ottawa. Over time, some of their recipes evolved and took on new flavours.

"The theme we wanted to go for is street food," Sayaphet. "Street food is quality food at an affordable price that all walks of life can enjoy, no matter if you are poor or rich."

At their new location, everything on the menu is under $15. Their dumplings are served by the half-dozen. 

Sayaphet and Mak shared their most popular dumpling — a Big Mac-inspired recipe — with All In A Day​'s Giacomo Panico for the show's weekly D is for Dinner segment.


Big Mak dumplings 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef.
  • 1 tbsp fresh garlic. 
  • 2 tbsp Worstershire sauce.
  • 2 tbsp BBQ sauce.
  • 1 tsp salt, sugar, garlic powder, white pepper, dried thyme and rosemary.
  • 1½ tsp mushroom powder.
  • 1 pound napa cabbage, finely chopped. 
  • 2 green onions. 
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped.
  • 2 tbsp olive oil. 
  • 1 package dumpling wrappers.
  • Iceberg lettuce, dill pickles, fried onion and Big Mac sauce for garnish.

Directions:

 Preparing filling

  1. Combine all ingredients into a large bowl.
  2. Stir with a spatula or hands until the ingredients are well combined and form a sticky paste. Thorough mixing is essential so that your filling will stay together when you wrap dumplings.
  3. Cover with a plastic wrap and marinate in fridge for an hour or up to two days.
  4. Freeze if necessary.

Wrapping

  1. Work on the dumplings individually. 
  2. Scoop one tablespoon, depending on the size of the dumpling wrapper you use, of filling and place it in the centre of the wrapper.
  3. Dip your finger into a small bowl of water and wet the outer edge of the dumpling wrapper.
  4. Fold both sides into a half-moon shape and pinch the middle points together.
  5. Hold the dumpling with one hand and start sealing the edges into pleats with the other hand.
  6. Once the dumpling is sealed, firmly press the pleated side with your fingers to make sure the dumpling is well-sealed.
  7. If you put too much filling inside and have trouble sealing the dumpling, remove the extra filling and fold the dumpling again.
  8. If you plan to cook the dumplings immediately, place dumplings onto a well-floured cutting board about a finger-width apart.
  9. If you plan to freeze the dumplings, line a baking sheet with wax paper and place dumplings on top.

Cooking

  1. Heat frying pan with a drizzle of vegetable oil.
  2. Place dumplings, finger width apart, on the pan (6 to 8 pieces).
  3. Add 1 inch of water or enough to cover the dumplings halfway and place lid on top of the pan to steam.
  4. Cooks at a medium-high temperature, usually takes about 5 to 10 minutes or until the water evaporates.
  5. Once cooked sear until golden brown on one side and then flip the dumplings and turn off heat.
  6. Garnish with proper garnishing and sauce. Serve immediately.
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