Australia’s Iconic Dim Sim : A Marathon Quest

Any search of the Internet for “Dim Sims” – an Australian Classic; will pull up no end of recipe suggestions, and lamentations from Expat Australian’s wanting to recreate a little taste of home.

That being said, many an arm chair expert frequently chime in to correct those poor Aussie Expats, telling them that what they’re searching for is, “Dim Sum,” not, “Dim Sim.”

To add insult to injury, the one person (Elizabeth Chong) known to have provided an authentic recipe via a TV Interview Series –  a recipe said to be the basis for Melbourne’s once epic South Melbourne Market Dim Sims.

[Addendum 04.2016 – at a guess, based on what was talked about by Elizabeth above, try: 500g meat, 75g prawns, 50g water chestnuts, 40g spring onion, 2 tspn light soy sauce.

Depending on the State they come from, every Aussie Expat will have a different opinion on what constitutes a “great” Aussie Dim Sim. My search is for something, known to almost every Melbourne School Child: that is, how to make at home, Marathon-style Dim Sims – a classic Aussie staple in Supermarkets, Service Stations and every Victorian Chippie out there.

After exhaustive searching and testing here is my current recipe (based on this ingredients list.)

Classic Australian Marathon Dim Sims Recipe 


130g diced Cabbage

97g Pre-made Wrappers (flour, water)

78g cooked Ground Beef (this should be approx. 23% of the total mix)

2 tspn Water (approx. 21.0g)

2 tspn Wheat flour(starch) (approx. 4.1g)

1/4 tspn free flowing Table Salt (approx. 1.0g)

1/2 tspn Onion Powder (approx. 0.7g)

1/8 tspn granulated white Table Sugar (approx. 0.4g)

1/8 tspn granulated MSG (Flavour Enhancer E621) (approx. 0.3g)

1/8 tspn Chinese 5 Spice Powder* (0.2g)

 * According to Australian Food Standards, “All the ingredients which make up a compound ingredient must be declared in the ingredient list, except when the compound ingredient is used in amounts of less than 5% of the final food.”

*Chinese 5 Spice is only a guess on my part as it is a compound ingredient, and at the bottom of the ingredients list is the listing, “Spices.” Note, this implies more than one spice. 5 Spice, or Mixed Spice are options, but then so too are proprietary blends. I don’t think this’ll ever be know, but this is my best guess.


  1. Combine all Ingredients into a bowl and mix well
  2. Fill a Food Processor with the mix and pulse until the mixture combines
  3. Empty Food Processor contents into a clean bowl and continue to process the rest of the ingredients
  4. Set mixture aside to rest and meld for 30-60 minutes before using
  5. Take a fresh wrapper, place it on your open, non-dominant hand and put 1-2 tablespoons of mixture in the center
  6. Fold the corners up over the mixtureso that they come together, then flute and fold the sides up s well
  7. Carefully form the Dim Sim into a rectangular parcel and stand on its end until read to steam or fry, or freeze.
  8. When ready, cook the Dim Sims in your prefered way. If deep frying ensure that the oil is maintained between 180°C and 190°C It is the heat that causes the blistering effect on the wrappers.

Dim Sim Wrappers This is also a contentious area, so here’s my take. There is no egg listed in the ingredients list on Marathon Dim Sims, nor is there any oil! Its just flour and water, with perhaps, a little salt. Given the above recipe the combined weight should be around 97g give or take. In the above links it is mentioned that the “Original Recipe” used a custom siu mai wrapper. If you’ve looked at this kind of wrapper you can clearly see that Dim Sim wrappers are by neccessity thicker – this is the, “Custom” aspect. Dim Sim Pastry Dough Recipe Ingredients:1 cup of plain white flour (dip and shake method) 1/4 cup water (a tspn or two more if the dough is a little dry) 1/8 – 1/4 tspn free flowing table salt (optional) Method:

  1. Season the flour if using salt (optional) and mix well
  2. Add water to flour and combine until it forms a dough, add a scant more water, if neccessary, to produce a soft, non-sticky dough
  3. Cover in cling wrap and set aside to rest for 30 minutes
  4. Either by hand, or with a pasta press, roll the dough into a 12cm wide strip, and approx. 1-2mm thick.
  5. Cut the dough strip into 12cm squares and keep covered until ready to use
  6. Dough can be frozen in stacks if you place a square of non-stick baking paper between each dough wrapper

So there you have it, my take on the Australian Classic Marathon Dim Sim.