Pork and Chive Dumplings

I learned how to make these a few weeks ago when I went to Chicago to visit my brother. We went out to a dumpling party organized by his girlfriend’s friend. In my family we always made wontons with square skins so that was the first time I’ve ever used round ones.

I’m still pretty bad at wrapping them… this video is decently helpful.

We tried doing the peapod, but the half moon works too if you don’t want to deal with the pleats.

Also, I was really paranoid about serving undercooked pork, so I decided to be cautious and overcooked them a little bit.

Important note: you really need a non-stick frying pan with a lid.

Ingredients
2 lbs ground pork
5-10 stalks of 韭菜 (jiu3cai4), Chinese chives
garlic powder
sesame oil
soy sauce
salt
round dumpling skins
canola oil

Preparation
In a large bowl, mix ground pork, garlic powder, sesame oil, soy sauce and salt. Using a pair of scissors, cut the chives into thin slices (a few millimeters wide) and mix them into the the meat.

Place a small spoonful of the meat mixture in the middle of a dumpling skin (see the video above to get an idea of how much meat to put) and seal it using the method of your preference.

In a non-stick frying pan, pour oil so a thin layer covers the bottom of the pan. After allowing it to heat on medium-high for a minute or two, add the dumplings in a single layer and allow to cook for another minute or two.

Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and cover immediately to avoid splattering. Turn stove down to low and allow to steam for 8-10 minutes.

Remove lid and allow any remaining water to evaporate. Once all the water has evaporated, cook until the bottoms are browned and crispy.

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Nutella and Banana Wontons

Today was a good day. I slept in until 9:30, played badminton for an hour and a half, cooked all afternoon and went to my church’s young adult potluck in the evening. And I’m currently watching Tangled (great movie) on Netflix (1 month free trial).

For the potluck my family group and I made a double recipe of baked ziti, pork and chive dumplings, and these nutella and banana dessert dumplings.

Last year I tried regular nutella wontons and they were a hit, but this time I wanted to do something a little different, so I added a slice of banana to each one and tried a different folding technique. I also actually deep fried them this time in an inch or two of oil.

Everyone at the potluck enjoyed them, although a certain someone (who after watching Ratatouille said he wanted to be like Anton Ego) said that he would have liked it if the banana to nutella ratio was higher. Oh sigh.

Ingredients
square wonton skins
Nutella
ripe bananas, sliced into 1/2 cm slices
canola oil (lots of it)
powdered sugar

** I didn’t include measurements for anything because it really depends on how many wonton skins come in one pack. Generally one regular jar of Nutella is enough, and I think I used 3 bananas.

Preparation
Place a spoonful of Nutella in the middle of a wonton skin. Add a slice of banana on top.

With your fingertip, wet the four edges of the wonton skin. Gather the middles of each edge together and press the edges together (see this picture for reference… it’s hard to explain how to do it). **Make sure to squeeze out all the extra air or they’ll puff up when fried.**

In a large frying pan or heavy-bottomed pot, pour enough oil so that you can completely submerge a wonton in it. Heat on medium-high heat. Toss a tiny piece of wonton skin into the oil to test the temperature. When the piece starts to bubble, add wontons in a single layer. Fry until golden and crispy.

Using a slotted spoon, remove from oil and place in a dish lined with paper towels. For best results, serve immediately with powdered sugar. If they need to be reheated, heat in the oven at 300 degrees until warm.

More Fake Asian Noodles

This is definitely not real Asian food. But it was tasty.

The last two weeks have been tiring and tedious. At work I spent everyday either sitting at my desk and studying or taking exams. I took 5 exams and 2 quizzes in the last 6 business days. PTL I passed them all… and my next exam isn’t until next Friday.

Being done with all that put me in a good mood, so I decided to make something better than canned tomato soup or ramen. It takes a little more time and is a little more complicated, but it’s still a pretty simple recipe.

Ingredients
1/4 lb macaroni, cooked
2 large shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 eggs
1/2 broccoli crown, cut into florets
soy sauce
garlic powder
cornstarch

In a frying pan, heat oil. Add mushrooms and broccoli and saute. Add salt, garlic powder, and a little bit of water and cook until broccoli is desired tenderness.

Add macaroni and mix well. In a cup, mix around 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, 3 tablespoons of water and 2 teaspoons of cornstarch (these are all approximate… I didn’t actually measure) then pour into the pan. Mix well. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a bowl, beat the two eggs and add salt and soy sauce to season. Fry/scramble the eggs then add the pasta back in.

Garlic Chicken Katsu – an adventure in deep frying

These days the only time I cook anything new is for church things. My last post was when it was my turn to make snacks for my family group (church small group). Yesterday I made dinner for my family group and tried out a recipe for garlic chicken katsu, and I suspect my next post will come sometime this weekend after my church’s young adult potluck.

It’s dinnertime right now and guess what I’m having? Canned tomato basil bisque from Costco and white cheddar Cheez-its. It’s not that I don’t want to try new things… it’s just that I’m usually too tired/hungry to try anything time consuming and most of these recipes can’t be scaled down for one person.

So last night was the first time I’ve deep-fried anything… it was an experience. I started with a pan of oil, but wasn’t sure how to tell if the oil was hot enough. I don’t know what I was thinking because I know that hot oil and water are a horrible combination, but I sprinkled a drop of water in the pan. BIG MISTAKE. Hot oil flying. Everywhere. Apologies to the hostess of our family group for getting oil all over the floor. Lesson learned… again.

So we moved the oil from the pan to a deeper pot and this time I dropped a panko crumb in to test the oil. Much better idea. So I fried the chicken until “golden brown and crispy” like the recipe said to, but I guess the chicken thighs were too thick so they weren’t cooked all the way through. But we stuck ’em in the oven for a bit and it all turned out ok in the end! 🙂

The mashed potatoes were loosely based off this recipe, but I pretty much free-handed it… and added a ton of garlic powder. Fun fact: I used a potato masher for the first time! It made the mashing part go soooo much faster (I usually do it with a fork)!!

Well the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the actual recipe! (As opposed to reading my endless rambling)…

Recipe adapted from Chef Jenn

Ingredients
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut in half
3-4 eggs, beaten
1 8oz package of Panko
salt
black pepper
flour
garlic powder
canola oil for frying

Preparation
Prepare three large bowls/plates: one with the beaten eggs, one with flour, and one with the panko. Season the panko liberally with salt and pepper.

Coat each half chicken thigh first with flour, then egg, then panko.

Fill a pan/pot with about 1″ of oil. Add a panko crumb to test the oil. When it starts sizzling, add as many chicken thighs that will fit. Fry until golden brown and crispy, then turn and fry the other side.

Remove from oil with metal tongs and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Cut a piece open to see if the meat is cooked through. If it is, you’re done! If not, transfer to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Cinna-bites

So it’s been a while since my last post. Things have been busy so I haven’t had the energy/motivation to try new things… I’ve been sticking mostly with broccoli and rice. I also bought bread and cheese from Costco, so I spent the last 2 weeks or so working on that (roasted garlic bread + cheddar = pretty darn delicious).

I also spent a weekend in Chicago. Tried legit deep dish pizza for the first time (personally I didn’t think it was mind blowing, but it was good), and learned how to make homemade dumplings from some international Chinese students there… maybe I’ll try to recreate those sometime for this blog.

Anyhow, this week it was my turn to provide snacks for my church family group so I decided it was a good opportunity to try something new. I also happened to have a package of crescent rolls in the fridge so I decided to try these mini/simplified cinnamon rolls.

The recipe is pretty simple and they turned out to be quite delicious… although mine were not very pretty– haha, I purposefully picked out the three prettiest for the picture.

Hopefully I’ll get back to trying more new recipes soon…

Recipe from You Made That?

Ingredients
2 packages of Pillsbury crescent rolls
2 Tbsp butter, softened
2 tsp cinnamon
8 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preparation
Roll out half a package of crescent roll dough into a rectangle and press the seams together. Place the rest of the dough in the fridge to keep it cool.

Spread around 1/4 of the cinnamon/sugar/butter/flour mixture across the dough and roll up along the short side to form a log.

Using a sharp knife (the original recipe said to use dental floss but that didn’t work out so well for me), cut into 1-1.5″ slices.

Repeat for the rest of the dough.

Place slices on a baking sheet (I used 2) and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar with ~3 tablespoons of water to make frosting. Drizzle over cinna-bites and serve warm.