Since last year, I’ve experienced 3 “Ahaa I wanna make dumplings!!” moments.
1. One Summer night, I watched “The Road Home“, a great love drama where Zhang Ziyi made yummy-looking dumplings for the man she loved, and that inspired me to try making dumplings. But I didn’t and eventually forgot about it.
2. In December, when I went back home to visit, my Mom made some great dumplings, and I made a mental note to myself that I would attempt making my own when I come back. But I still didn’t and again forgot about it.
3. Last Friday, I went to one of the best dumplings restaurants in town and I finally decided that I wasn’t going to wait and forget about it again. So I rushed to the Chinese store the next day and got all the ingredients.
Perhaps I always thought that making dumplings is complicated and takes a long time, but it’s actually easier than we think. But I also didn’t make my own dumpling wrappers. I just bought them at the store for $2. I’m not a big fan of using flour and making dough… and I don’t know if I will ever be. 😛
30 round dumpling wrappers
1 lb ground pork
1 pack pickled vegetables, finely chopped
1 cup mini Bok Choy, finely chopped (optional, for veggie lovers)
1/2 cup of green onions
1/2 tsp grated ginger, minced
3 gloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp soya sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp white and black pepper
Put ground pork in a big bowl with soya sauce, sesame oil, pickled vegetables, mini Bok Choy, green onion, ginger, garlic, cornstarch, pepper and mix all ingredients well together.
Place a dumpling wrapper in your palm and spoon about a teaspoon of filling in the middle. Dip one finger into a bowl of water and cornstarch mix and wet the edge of the wrapper.
Bring up the bottom side of the wrapper, fold up and press to seal the dumpling. This blog explains the folding process really well, with close up images for each step.
Place the dumpling on a plate and repeat the process until the filing is over.
There are 4 ways to cook the dumplings.
You can steam the dumplings for 20 minutes.
You can cook them for 8-10 minutes in hot boiling water.
You can pan-fry the dumplings in a pan with a little bit of oil for about 2 minutes per side, then pour 1 cup of water, cover and cook until tender, for about 5-7 minutes. Serve with soya sauce mixture, or hot chilli sauce.
You can also make a soup with the dumplings and add some green leaves or noodles in.
Note: The pickled vegetable adds a very nice flavour to the dumplings! Since it is quite salty in nature, be careful not to use too much soya sauce or salt in the dumpling mixture. Anyway you can dip the dumplings in soya sauce before eating if they lack a bit of taste.
On a nice Saturday morning, you wake up late, when the sun is so high in the sky and you feel unbelievably hungry. You open the fridge to see what good food you could have and realize there’s just nothing… You see a few eggs left, some mushrooms, a cucumber and some leftover plain rice from the night before. You open the freezer and see a little bit of frozen Edamame and corn. Then it all clicks in your head, and you know exactly what you should make for a comforting quick and easy brunch: STIR-FRIED RICE! 😉
Frozen Edamame beans
Salt and pepper
Fill a small pot of water and wait till it boils
Add the frozen Edamame beans with some salt and cook for 3-4 minutes
When done, let it cool a bit, then remove the beans from their pods(shells) and keep them in a bowl
Lightly beat the eggs with salt and pepper in a bowl
Heat your wok and add 2 tablespoons of oil, and when hot enough, pour the egg in to make an omelette
Tear the omelette with your spatula into small pieces and remove from wok
Turn the heat up on the stove; add oil again and fry your garlic until lightly brown (garlic is optional)
Toss the frozen corn, mushrooms, cucumber in the wok and stir fry for a few minutes
Add some salt and pepper
Add the cooked rice, preferably from the night before and mix everything thoroughly together with some soy sauce until all ingredients and rice are well blended
Add the omelette egg back into the pan. Mix again and spread some minced spring onions on the rice.
How to make good rice:
Bring 2 1/4 cups water to boil in medium saucepan. Add rice and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until water is absorbed, for about 20 minutes. It’s best to use rice that was made the day/night before because freshly cooked rice would be too hot, soft and sticky… unless you like your stir-fried rice mushy 😛
Well well well… Haven’t been cooking much lately because of my hectic schedule; and when I did, I didn’t spend time writing down the recipe or taking any pictures. So, to make up for it, here’s another simple and easy recipe. It’s called Ants Climbing a Tree in one of my recipe books, but it’s essentially stir-fried vermicelli with ground meat and chilli bean paste.
On another note, I’m going back home for a month in a few weeks, and I plan to learn a lot recipes from my Dad, who is a great Chef and my Mom who is a “health freak”! 😀 I definitely will be documenting everything in photos and in writing and hope to publish more posts in the next few months to share with the world!
4 oz/115 g ground pork
4oz/115 g ground beef
3 tsp light soy sauce
pinch of salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp chilli bean sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
3/4 cup hot chicken stock
5 oz/140 g thin rice noodles, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes and drained
2 scallions, finely chopped
Combine the ground meats with 1 teaspoon of the light soy sauce and the salt.
In a preheated wok or deep pan, heat the oil and cook the ground meats until they begin to brown.
Add the chilli bean paste and stir rapidly.
Stir in the dark soy sauce.
Pour in the chicken stock, noodles and remaining light soy sauce.
Cover the work or pan and simmer for about 5-8 minutes, or until the pan is dry.
You think Spring has settled in as the temperature goes higher and higher, but as soon as you store all your winter coats and boots away, the weather plays a joke on you and cools down drastically by a lot. So here I am, walking home from work on this chilly evening fighting against the wind, hoping to get home as fast as I can.
And since I don’t have any strong motivation to spend a lot of time cooking on this Monday evening, I opted for this quick and easy Noodle Soup for supper. To make it healthier, you could add lots of veggies of your choice.
What I did here is:
Boil 2 cups of water
Add the soup base/stock cube
Add the fish balls and tofu cubes
After 1-2 minutes, add the baby Bok Choy and Bean Sprouts
STEWS are wonderful, a comfort food that’s perfect for colder weathers! They are extremely flavourful with lots of nutrients conserved. Stews are healthy: you can add lots of vegetables but be careful not to add too much salt, they are easy to prepare and so appetizing. Plus you can do other things while you let it stew on the stove!