Sunday, February 26, 2012

Potsticker Wrappers From Scratch

Kavitha and I made the wrapper dough using 2 cups of AP flour and 3/4 cup hot water with a pinch of salt. Combine and then knead until smooth. Let rest and cool. Break into small pieces and then roll out.

I attempted the typical dumpling shape that is crimped into a crescent shape, but the dough was a tad too soft and elastic. Instead, I opted for crimping them into the round shape more typical of Shanghai soup dumplings.

It worked!


The final product had a wrapper that was on the thicker side (about 1/8"), which was fine, but I'm curious to see what they would be like even thinner. The dough seemed pliable enough to be able to handle it. Next: Shanghai soup dumplings?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Scallion Pancakes

Chinese scallion pancakes are not your typical kind of pancake that comes from a viscous batter. It's more of a fried bread and starts with a simple hot water dough that is rolled flat, rolled up, then rolled into a spiral, and then rolled flat, again. It's what we call a laminated pastry, similar to puff pastry or even croissants. But it's pan-fried. It can be a breakfast food, but I think it's more of a street food type of snack than anything else. You can get a pile of them at a street cart in Flushing, Queens for something like a dollar.

Notice the flaky layers. I used a recipe from the always reliable Kenji Lopez-Alt on Serious Eats. His investigations and explanations are always a pleasure to read, so I'm not going to go into any of that, here. Read his.

The only thing I would add to his recipe is that you should use a cylindrical rolling pin, and not a tapered French pin (which I usually prefer). The reason is that the scallions embedded into the dough will do all sorts of crazy things as you're trying to roll the dough as thin as possible. A cylindrical rolling pin will ensure an evenly distributed pressure while you're flattening it out, and you won't have (as many) scallions poking out all over the place.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Claypot" Rice With Chicken, Chinese Sausage, Shitakes

I don't have a Chinese clay pot, but I so wanted one when I saw this recipe on 3 Hungry Tummies. I went ahead and made it without the pot, anyway, using a medium saucepan.

After some online research and consideration of what's currently in my pantry, I made some slight modifications. The common denominators in most recipes seem to be the clay pot, the rice and the sausage. Most everything else seems to be fair game.

I didn't use chiles. I also don't have salted fish, so I made do without that. For the egg, instead of mixing it into the rice at the end, I fried it separately and served it on top. I added shitakes and served it with some Chinese mustard greens. The specific sausage I used was a Taiwanese style sausage, which is shorter, thicker, a little sweeter and more fragrant. All smiles.

Marinating the Chicken

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2" pieces
  • 1 Chinese sausage, sliced
  • 2 dried shitakes, hydrated and sliced
  • 2 scallions, cut into 2" pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger (Microplane recommended)
  • 1 tbsp soy
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tsp corn starch

If the shitakes are not yet hydrated, begin to hydrate them first. Combine all the other ingredients in a bowl and let marinate for an hour. Add the shitakes when they are hydrated. It'll be fine.

Preparing the Rice

  • 1 cup rice (I used short grain sushi grade rice)
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp light soy
  • 1 tbsp dark mushroom soy (careful with this!)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 2 fried eggs

Start with only the rice and water in a medium saucepan, or more properly, a Chinese clay pot. Bring to a boil and then add the marinated chicken mixture to the top. Don't mix. Cover and let simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.

Mix the soy, dark soy, sugar and sesame oil. Drizzle evenly over the cooked rice and chicken. Again, don't stir. Cover and cook for another 5-10 minutes on low heat, making sure the rice is cooked through.

Remove from heat, add chopped scallions and stir to combine. Serve topped with a fried egg. Serves 2.

Great with unsweetened hot tea.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Coming Soon: Chairman Hu's Pork Belly

A friend and I are working on a competition entry for a local event. We're using the basis of my creation here and its near-winning entry here as a starting point. Probably not deviating much, but adjusting where necessary to WIN. With all the pork belly lying around, I've been playing with a new idea: Chairman Hu's Pork Belly. Ya know, as like a contemporary response to General Tso's Chicken.

These are red chiles I'm experimenting with in a sweet pickling process (candied version was too hard/crunchy/chewy). I didn't cook them long enough, so I decided to just chop them up, instead. Gives a good kick. But I need to retreat from this hoity-toity stuff below. Consider it a work in progress. Needs sauce. Needs rice.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mushroom Tofu Soup

I suck at Meatless Monday. Usually, I wake up completely forgetting about it and go straight to the fridge and nosh on some leftovers from the previous evening. Something meaty. And then I give up for the remainder of the day because I've already tainted my belly.

Today, I didn't forget. But I still screwed it up. I made a Korean Soon Dubu inspired soup/stew with all sorts of mushrooms (king, enoki, white beech, dried shitake), tofu and bean sprouts. I used a Better Than Bouillon mushroom  base and shiro miso paste to flavor the soup. I used a ton of minced garlic. And then I stirred in some eggs at the end. Vegetarian, no?

Sure, but then I opened the fridge (always regrettable) and took out a bag of fresh kimchi from H-Mart. Opened that sucker up and dug in. Damn. It has fish sauce in it. Whatever. I made the effort.

This was round two, reheating the leftovers with some Chinese broccoli and topping with some avocado and more kimchi, haha.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Playing with Pork Belly Ideas

I'm working on a new food-related project this week which suddenly cast a few packages of pork belly in my fridge. What to do?!  =D

I started playing with some ideas for an upcoming meal, this one using candied peppers. The product didn't end up what I was looking for, so I'm probably going to switch to recipes that are more along the lines of sweet pickled peppers. The candied ones aren't the right texture for this. Still tasty, though.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012