Tag Archives: Asian

Homemade Chinese Dumplings And Potstickers

Just another beautiful Sunday afternoon and we are sitting in the apartment with nothing planned… such a luxury to have some relaxing time like this after a busy week of work. We randomly watched a video clip my mother sent me, a video introducing traditional Chinese food and the making of some famous dishes. As we watch them make all the doughy delicacies with all different kinds of fillings, we started to crave something similar. We want to make some dough, too!! We didn’t even finish the clip before we decided to take the challenge and make some Chinese dumplings for dinner, from scratch!

I remember making dumplings with my aunties and grandma in Taiwan when I was still a little kid. The adults would prepare the meat filling and dough wrappers and I would help filling, pinching and, of course, eating! It was easy, fun, and satisfying!

Well, nobody is around to prepare the fillings and wrappers for me but I crave for that old experience, so I am stepping up to recreate this fun and delicious recipe. Base on some memories and some research, this is our Eat.F.G. recipe.

Chinese Pork Dumplings

Makes about 40 dumplings / prep: about an hour, cook time: 10 min

Ingredients:

For the dumpling wrappers:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup cold water
  • pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 1 lb ground pork (pork is what they use for traditional chinese dumplings, and we like to honor that!)
  • 1/4 head (about 1 pound) of  cabbage
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 green onions, minced (both white and green parts)
  • 1 tb fresh ginger root, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 3 tb soy sauce
  • 1 tb Chinese rice wine or sake
  • 1 tb toasted sesame oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the dipping sauce:

  • 3 tb soy sauce
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar ( or Chinese black vinegar if you can find it)
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (optional)
  • 2 tsp hot chili oil (optional, but have I mentioned that we like it spicy?!)

Instructions:

To make the dumpling wrappers: put the flour in a mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup of water and a pinch of salt into the flour. Slowly mix it with your hands, add the remaining water if it gets too dry. Knead the mixture until it forms a soft dough, place the dough on a lightly floured counter and knead nut ill smooth. Set the dough on the side and let it stand for 10 minutes, (perfect time to prep the filling here). Roll the dough into a long baton-like roll and cut it into 40 small pieces. Use a rolling pin to roll each piece to a thin circle, about 3 to 4 inches in diameter.

Flour + Water, pre-kneading!

Roll the dough into a baton-like roll, and cut into small pieces

Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into small circles

To make the filling: finely chop the cabbage into very small pieces, sprinkle the 1 tsp salt and mix well to dehydrate the cabbage. Give it a few minutes and then squeeze out the excess water (it should look like the picture below). Combine the cabbage with ground pork, green onion and the rest of the seasoning and mix well.

Fresh cabbage, finely chopped and squeezed!!

Filling with all ingredients mixed in.

To make the dumplings: get a small dish with water. Place about a tablespoonful of filling in the center of a dough circle. Dip your finger in the water and moist the edge of the dough, fold the circle in half, and use index finger and thumb to pinch the edges of the dough on one side of the dumpling into “pleats”, pressing each pleat against the flat side of the dough to seal the dumpling as you go. I usually start from the center to the corner and make about 3 pleats on each side, but any direction would work. Firmly pressed the pleaded side of the of the wrapper against the flat side and make sure the dumpling is completely sealed (we don’t want the dumpling to burst open or have any leakage during cooking). Line up the finished dumplings on a floured surface to prevent them from sticking together.

There are so many ways to cook the dumplings. Most of the time they are either steamed, boiled or  pan fried. Pan fried dumplings are also known as pot stickers, it is definitely the most popular kind. Tonight, we are having dumplings, TWO ways!! For the first kind, we’ve decided to make some pot stickers, and for the second kind, instead of boiling the dumplings in plain water, we are making some Chinese Dumpling Soup as we like to take things to the next level!

To make the pot stickers, drizzle about 1 tb oil in a pan and heat it up. Place the desired amount of dumplings flat-side-down in the pan, turn the heat low and fry the dumplings for about a minute, or until golden brown. Add 1/2 a cup of hot water and cover, let it steam for about 6 minutes or until all water has evaporated. Remove the dumplings, now pot stickers, serve hot with dipping sauce!

Dumplings sitting flat-side-down in the hot pan!

I know it looks very complicated with the long lists of ingredients and instructions, but it really is not hard. The first few dumplings we made looked a bit funny, but they soon started to look better and almost professional as we got into the rhythm.  I must say it is VERY rewarding when we finished and had a whole army of fresh dumplings lined up in front of us.  All we needed to do was to decide which way to cook them so we could eat them all up. The dumplings store very well too if you’er not planning on eating all of them immediately. Just separate the dumplings with wax paper so they don’t stick together in the container and tuck it in the freezer. The dumplings should store up to a month or so.

That’s the project of our Sunday, and I’m pretty proud of our end product. And I am also very happy to announce that after all these years, the experience of making dumpling remains the same: it’s easy, fun and very satisfying!

Asian Spiced Roasted Peanuts

These are some yummy spicy peanuts that totally deserve a post on their own. The first time we made these peanuts is when we were recreating a Thai Salad we had from a restaurant. We’re so obsessed with spicing everything up and decided to spice up the peanuts, too. Since we used some soy sauce in the mix to spice things up, and we mostly used them to top off our Thai dishes, I decided to name these delicious delights Asian Spiced Roasted Peanuts. They’re awesome as a snack too, it’s great to make a little extra and save it for later (if you can manage to not finish it all). The savory and spicy combo is just perfect with some ice cold beer in a hot summer day!

We didn’t do a precise measurement when we’re making it, but the flavor is very simple, you can’t go wrong with these ingredients. Here’s the recipe:

Asian Spiced Roasted Peanuts

  • 2 cups  Unsalted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup  Soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Brown sugar
  • Sprinkles of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Sprinkles of hot sauce or oil of your choice (we used this Mongolian Fire Oil as shown in the picture)
  • Salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 350F.  Mix soy sauce, sugar, and all the hot sauces in a big bowl, add the peanuts in and toss them around to coat evenly. Roast the peanuts (stir occasionally) for 15-20 minutes or until it’s golden brown.

Look at these good looking peanuts. The glaze comes from the sugar and the soy sauce; the redness comes from the hot oil and chili flakes, since we usually like to crank up the spice meter. Chop them in the salads, or eat them just like that. They’re addictive, too…. just giving you a heads up.

Spicy Thai Salad

I don’t think I’ve seen this many Thai restaurants before I moved to New York. Walking down 9th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen, you can find almost one (or more) on each block. Of course we have our favorite ones ,(there will be posts about them, too), but on a lazy Sunday like today, we decided to create our own Thai Salad at home instead of eating out.

I remember feeling intimidated by Thai recipes years ago when I first started to cook. Not only because it’s usually a long list of exotic ingredients, some of the items (such as tamarind and galangal), I didn’t even know how to pronounce the names correctly, and they were only available in specialty stores. Although all these foreign herbs and spices are now more common and are definitely easier to find in regular markets, we still decided to go with a more approachable route and only use the ingredients we can find in the neighborhood markets…. We might hold off on some of the unpronounceable exotic ingredients, but we are definitely not holding off on the flavors in any sort.

Spice Thai Salad:

Serves 2/ Prep time: 30 min

For the Salad:

  • 1 head of lettuce
  • Cherry Tomatoes, cut into halves
  • Red Onions, thinly sliced
  • Asian Spiced Roasted Peanuts
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • extra toppings such as cucumbers, carrots, or bean sprouts

For the dressing:

  • 2Tb      Fish Sauce
  • 2Tb.     Lime juice
  • 1 ts.      Soy sauce
  • 1 tb.      Garlic
  • 1 tb.       Ginger
  • 1-2ts.    Sugar
  • 1 ts.       Chili oil (We like it hot!)
  • 1 ts.       Sesame oil (optional)
  • 1 tb.       Green onion, thinly sliced (optional)

Toss all the salad greens, tomatoes and the extra toppings in a big bowl. Loosely chop the peanuts and set aside, so they don’t lose the crunch before we eat it.

Blend all the dressing ingredients (besides green onions) together. I usually use a spice grater and grate the garlic and ginger into a paste, but it’s easy to just throw everything in a food processor to blend it up, too.  Take half of the dressing and marinate the red onions, too. It only takes about 5 minutes, the onions turn translucent and it simply adds an extra punch to the flavor. Throw in the green onions if you’re using it in the remaining dressing. Let it sit for a few minutes for the flavors to settle in.

Now it’s time to put everything together.  Pour the dressing over the salad and toss it till everything is evenly coated, top it off with with the marinated onions, roasted peanuts, and sprinkle on the cilantro leaves, and that’s your delicious Spicy Thai Salad right there. As flavorful as it is, it’s actually very light and refreshing. It is fulfilling too as a perfect summer salad. For those who wants something heartier, top the salad with some shredded chicken, sliced steak, or grilled tofu for vegetarians to upgrade the salad into a main dish. It doesn’t require anything overly seasoned, there’s already a lot going on in the salad… Easy like that!

The last time we made it, we top it off with some grilled steak, medium rare. And I’m just saying, THAT, is one delicious meal!!!

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