Monday, May 30, 2011

Homemade Chinese Dumplings

I got to spend the afternoon with my neighbor Shea, who is from Taiwan...and she taught me how to make homemade Chinese the REAL deal! :) They were so easy and fun to make, and I can't wait til the kids are old enough to sit around the kitchen making dumplings with me! :) OH, and they are amazingly good!!!!!


4 cups flour
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups ICE COLD water

2 cups bok choi
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound lean ground pork
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined and finely chopped (optional)
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons cooking wine (preferably rice cooking wine)
2 Tablespoons green onions, chopped
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, shredded or chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

3 Tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 cups water
1 Tablespoon flour
1 Tablespoon cornstarch

Dipping Sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
2-3 Tablespoons sweet chili sauce

1. In large mixer bowl, combine flour and water to make dumpling dough. Knead dough (by hand or with dough hook in mixer) until it forms a nice dough. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let sit for about 20-30 minutes. While waiting, prepare filling.
1. Sprinkle salt over shredded cabbage and let stand for about 5 minutes. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible. (this softens the cabbage!)
2. If using shrimp, squeeze out any extra liquid.
3. In small saute pan, heat ginger, garlic, and green onions in sesame oil for just a few minutes to combine the flavors.
4. In large bowl, combine pork, shrimp (if desired), cabbage, ginger/green onion/garlic mixture, soy sauce, white pepper, and rice cooking wine. Using hands, mix all ingredients until well combined.
5. Pull off about half of the dumpling dough. Roll out dough until thin like cookie dough (use flour on your rolling surface to keep from sticking!). Cut out large circles from dough (about 3-4 inch circles).
6. Pick up one cut dumpling and put a teaspoon of filling inside. Using both hands, seal the two sides in the center, then make one or two seams on either side and finish the end. (I will post pics of this at some point!!!). Really you just need to seal the edges. You can even do that by just folding over one side and just pushing together. OR, you can seal it just in the center and leave the ends open. There is great freedom here...just make them however you want! :)
7. After filling and sealing the dumpling, place on a floured cookie sheet. Continue making dumplings until you have finished using up the first half of the dough.
8. When you finish making half of the dumplings, you can start cooking them. First you are going to fry/saute lightly, then steam. In a large skillet heat about 1-2 Tablspoons of canola oil over high heat. It does NOT need to cover the bottom of the pan! Add as many dumplings as you can fit into the pan. Cover with lid and cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until bottoms of dumplings are just starting to get crispy. Meanwhile, combine water, flour and cornstarch, whisk together to combine.

9. After they start to get crispy on the bottom, open lid and add about 1/3 of the water/cornstarch/flour mixture. Add enough of the water mixture to cover the bottom 1/8 - 1/4 inch of the dumplings. Cover and turn temperature down to medium-low. Continue cooking for about 10-15 minutes, until all the water has just evaporated and bottom of dumplings are just crisp. When it's done you should see the cornstarch and flour as a crispy coating on the bottom of the pan and dumplings.

10. Repeat dumpling process with other half of the dough.
11. Whisk together soy sauce and sweet chili sauce for dipping sauce.

**Note: If you don't add flour and cornstarch to the water when steaming, the dumplings will not crisp up and will be soggy. Will still taste GREAT, but won't have a nice firm texture.

**Note: You can use any veggies you want in this...if you don't like bok choi, you can use any cabbage or spinach.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cherry Almond Cupcakes

Thai Drunken Noodle - Attempt 1

This is our absolute favorite meal we eat out! And it seems that no matter where we've eaten it, it is always amazing! Although, just like Spaghetti with sauce, every restaurant and cook has their own version of this dish. So, we're working on trying to make it taste exactly like the dish they serve at our new favorite restaurant, the Blue Koi in Hanover!

I was a bit intimidated (not sure why), but I thought it was going to be difficult to make...I was so wrong! SUPER quick and easy!

One note though, definitely chop all the peppers and onions, and cut up the chicken FIRST, and set aside. Also, if you make the sauce up at the very beginning, it makes the whole dish come together very quickly.

Although it's called "Drunken" Noodle, there is no alcohol in this dish. It got it's name because in Thailand after a late night of drinking, men would go to the street vendors and order this spicy filling dish before going home to get sober...

Thai Drunken Noodle - Attempt 1

2-3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 shallot, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 egg, whisked
generous sprinkling of white pepper
14 oz Thai rice noodles (I used ones in a packet that were NOT dry, so no soaking required - I
bought these at Giant Hanover/Martins' Maryland)

2 Tablespoons Oyster sauce
1 Tablespoon white rice vinegar
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon coconut palm sugar (I bought at Wegman's)
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon red chili paste (I bought at Wegman's)

Large Handful of thai basil (very different flavor, but could use regular sweet basil)
1 jalapeno, diced into very tiny pieces
1-4 Tablespoons Chili Oil

1. In small skillet, scramble egg. Chop into tiny pieces.
2. In small bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients; set aside.
3. Heat wok til hot, add vegetable oil and swirl around pan.
4. Add shallots and garlic, cook over medium-high heat for about a minute, then add chicken and brown chicken. Add onions, red bell pepper, and scrambled egg. Mix thoroughly over the heat. Add noodles and sauce that you made in step 2. Continue mixing until noodles break apart.
5. Add jalapeno and thai basil at the very end, allowing to get warm, but not cook. The thai basil will lose a lot of it's flavor if cooked through. And you want that flavor to come through!!!
6. If you want some additional heat, add chili oil til it's your liking.