I Joined SSA Culinary Cooking Course To Learn How To Make Dim Sum From Scratch


Syahirah Mazlan •  Feb 23, 2023

In Singapore, we’re blessed with lots of halal abundance of food delivery options. Personally, I would order in my meals since it is convenient. But lately, I’ve been meaning to start learning how to cook - especially my favourite dishes! ? For a while now, I’ve been meaning to learn how to cook my favourite foods so that I can make them for my loved ones but I’m a real cooking noob and don’t know where to start. So, I decided to join one of the many SSA Culinary Institute’s cooking class for beginners to learn how to make dim sum from scratch and this was how it went!

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SSA Culinary Institute

If you’re not familiar with SSA Culinary Institute, they’re a culinary school in Singapore that offers cooking and baking courses for beginners of all ages regardless of their gender! ? Currently, one of the biggest Muslim-owned culinary schools in the city, you can expect professional facilities and expert guidance when you’re here. The best part is that SSA Culinary Institute is conveniently located right beside Tai Seng MRT station, making it easily accessible by public transport! 

I personally, had chosen to sign up for the Delicious Dim Sum Course which is a 3-Day course to learn a total of 6 iconic dim sum recipes. On Day 1, we’ll be learning two beginner-friendly recipes while on Days 2 and 3 we’ll be set up for more of a challenge to make the classic dim sum favourites such as Prawn & Chicken Siew Mai, Jade Crystal Dumpling, Xiao Long Bao, and Zong Zi (or also known as Kue Chang). ?

Day 1

When you talk about dim sum, you can’t shy away from the iconic baozi and snowskin mooncake! ? They’re both local favourites regardless of race or religion but do you actually know how it’s made? Upon entering the large and fully equipped kitchen, we’re introduced to Chef Sam, a professional chef with over 20 years of both local and overseas experience. She was very friendly and made us all feel welcomed!

As it was a weekday, the class was an intimate one, consisting of four people including myself. This means that Chef Sam can pay more attention to each of us and attend to our questions better! Personally, I learn better in a small group so I didn’t mind that I had a WHOLE section to myself (the biggest kitchen can host up to 60 people at once!). ? I was given an apron, hair cap and a recipe book for my personal note taking. 

First, we learnt how to make some Snowskin Mooncakes. It was a rather interesting experience, because never in my life had I thought that mooncakes were made that way! We learnt the proper techniques of kneading, rolling and shaping the mooncakes. We even got a chance to choose what colour, design and shape we wanted our mooncakes to have. The options and combinations were endless! ?

P.S. There’s a prayer room available for you to do your daily prayers during the classes. All you have to do is approach the friendly staff at the reception desk to ask for directions!

Afterwards, we learnt how to make Giant Chicken Baozi completely from scratch including the filling! To ensure the class was easy to follow, the recipe and measurements were written on the white board at the front of the kitchen so you don’t have to keep referring to your recipe book. ? Chef Sam called us over to her counter and we watched as she pleated the dough seamlessly to seal it properly (when can I be that skilled ?). I was told that this method of pleating baozi dough was beginner-friendly and serves as the foundation for what we’ll be learning on Days 2 and 3!

Fun fact: Did you know that Baozi bread is made with milk and vinegar?

Day 2 & 3

Credit: Courtesy of SSA Culinary Institute

On Day 2, we learned how to make Xiao Long Bao and Jade Crystal Dumplings. Everyone was most excited about this class (we’ve been discussing it since Day 1). Of course, these two recipes are intricate so learning and making them from scratch is a whole day affair from 9am to 6pm but food is provided so you can focus on the class without worries! 

Credit: Courtesy of SSA Culinary Institute

First, we learned how to make Jade Crystal Dumplings, it was fascinating to see how the fillings were made. Chef Sam taught us three different ways to seal the dumplings - a flower and a classic leaf shape! Each shape makes use of its own crimping and folding technique, so you’ll learn multiple ways of folding dim sum by the end of the class.

Credit: Courtesy of SSA Culinary Institute

Learning how to make Xiao Long Bao was very exciting! For us Muslims, this type of dim sum is a rare find in Singapore, mainly because there are very few eateries that sell halal ones. ? But at SSA Culinary Institute’s kitchen, you’ll learn exactly how they make these in Chinese restaurants down to the authentic flavours! Chef Sam helped us every step of the way by checking up on our handiwork and giving feedback and tips throughout the class.

Credit: Courtesy of SSA Culinary Institute

Day 3 was our final lesson and we learned how to make Zongzi (aka Kue Chang) and Chicken and Prawn Siew Mai! This lesson was going to be more challenging because we’ll be using all the techniques we’ve learnt throughout the 3 days and applying them. ?? Everyone seemed to be more skilled at this point, perhaps it was from all the beginner-friendly tips we learnt during the first two days! I found the Zongzi to be one of the most interesting dishes to make. It ended up looking like the ones you’d see being sold in stores!

Credit: Courtesy of SSA Culinary Institute

When the class ended, we were all so sad. ? Regardless of age, race and gender, everyone had grown close to each other and bonded through cooking. It was a fruitful and enjoyable experience! And now I can even tell people that I can make dim sum from scratch! #AchievementUnlocked

How to sign up

Credit: Courtesy of SSA Culinary Institute

The best thing about this experience was that I didn’t need to fork out a single cent for this class! You may be wondering how I signed up in the first place. ? I signed up using used my SkillsFuture Credits to pay for the course fees! If you’re not familiar with what it is, let me tell you about it. SkillsFuture was set up to help promote lifelong learning by raising awareness and every Singaporean above the age of 25 would have been given $1000 SkillsFuture Credit. Most of the courses at SSA Culinary Institute are SkillsFuture Credit eligible. For instance, the entire Dim Sum Course is SGD247 but you can get up to 70% subsidy and the remaining 30% can be paid using your SkillsFuture Credit!  

More cooking and baking courses available

I had so much fun at my first class! With the remaining funds in my SkillsFuture Credit account, I’m planning to take up more courses too. ? I’ve got my eyes on these highly sought after courses at SSA Culinary Institute: 

Recipes include: Pulut Kuning with Rendang Ayam, Sambal Telur Belado, Udang Lemak Cili Api Nenas, Asam Pedas Ikan Pari

Recipes include: Hokkaido Cheese Tart, Salted Egg Lava Cheese Tart, Lemon Meringue Tart, Chocolate Ganache Tart, Smoked Salmon and Spinach Quiche, Cheesy Onion Potato Pasties

Recipes include: Cranberry Walnut Sourdough, Rosemary Garlic Pleated Bread, Focaccia Art, Chocolate Marble Brioche, Garlic Parmesan Rolls

Recipes include: Kek Lapis Rempah, Kek Gula Hangus, Tapak Kuda Nutella, Kuih Keria, Kuih Bakar Pandan, Kuih Bakar Lauk, Pisang Goreng Coklat Keju, Bubur Pulut Hitam

French Baguette, Multigrain Loaf, Fruity Brioche, Garlic Butter Knots, Nutella Bomboloni

I heard that SSA Culinary Institute will also be launching 7 exciting new courses this coming March:

  1. Delectable Dim Sum (3-day course)
  2. Luscious La Mien (2-day course) 
  3. Exotic Thai & Vietnamese Dishes (2-day course)
  4. Trendy Asian Breads (2-day course)
  5. Uniquely Singapore Dishes (1-day course)
  6. Fluffy Yeast-raised Pastries (2-day course) 
  7. Kampong Favourites: Malay Noodles (1.5-day course) 

If you want to level up your cooking skills and learn from professionals in a class setting, be sure to check out SSA Culinary Institute for their cooking and baking courses! You’ll learn restaurant-grade recipes, and insider techniques made simple for beginners. ? Not to mention, your class fees can be heavily subsidised too so don’t wait!

SSA Culinary Institute Pte Ltd

Address: 3 Irving Rd, #02-07, #02-05, #02-04, #01-22 Tai Seng Centre, Singapore 369522

Opening hours: 8am – 6pm; daily

Check out the courses available here!

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This article was brought to you by SSA Culinary Institute.