Pork Dumplings – 猪肉饺子 – Zhūròu Jiǎozi

Steamed Pork Dumplings

Ingredients:

50 Dumpling or Wonton Wrappers
1 Nappa Cabbage (if steaming)
Safflower or Vegetable Oil (if frying)

Filling
1 lb ground Pork
2 Tbsp fresh Ginger, minced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2-3 red Chili Peppers, de-seeded and minced (include white ribs for more heat) or Jalapeño
3 Scallions, the white portion chopped (use the green portion in the sauce)
3 Tbsp Water Chestnuts, minced
1 tsp Sichuan Peppercorns, coarsely ground (optional)
1 tsp Soy Sauce

Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup Soy Sauce
1 tsp-1 Tbsp Hot Chili Oil
1 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Honey
1 tsp fresh Ginger, minced
1 tsp Sesame Seeds
Scallion Greens, chopped

Directions:

  • Prepare the Filling – Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl by hand. Let rest for 1 to 3 hours.
  • Fill the Dumplings – Line a baking sheet or table with parchment paper for Dumplings to sit on before they are steamed. Fill a bowl with cold water. Use a pastry brush or rolled paper towel to coat wrspper edges of a Wraper. Take a bite-size portion of the filling and put it in the center of the wrapper. Fold* the wrapper sealing along the wet edges, set on parchment, and repeat.
  • A. Steam the Dumplings – In preparation, put the steam basket in the pan or pot you are going to use. Add just enough water to be brlow the base of the basket. Remove the basket and line with leaves of Cabbage, not closing off all the holes. Place the dumplings on top of the cabbage, leaving space so they do not touch each other or the sides. Bring the water to a boil. Carefully set the basket in the water and cover. Cook for about 12 minutes. Remove and repeat. You can cover the cooked dumplings to retain moisture before serving. They should ideally be eaten immediately, while additional batches cook.
  • B. Fry the Dumplings – Heat a wok or large frying pan on medium heat. Add a little oil. Carefully add some dumplings, and cook, lightly tossing, until the side touching the pan is a dark golden brown. Remove to a paper towel lined rack to drain excess oil.
  • Prepare the Dipping Sauce – In a small bowl, mix all the liquid ingredients of the Sauce together with a fork or whisk. Adjust the taste to your liking between salty, sweet, hot, and bitter. Stir in the Dry ingredients.
  • Serve with dipping sauce on the side as soon as the Dumplings are done, especially if steaming. If you are serving later, frying is recommended over steaming.

* Folding. There are many ways tonfold dumplings, some requiring practice and skill. Round wrappers are either folded in half and crymped along the folded edge making a slight crescent shale, or the edge bunched up to the center making a tear drop.

If using square shaped or wonton wrappers, the easiest is to fold diagonally, then pull the opposing side corners together and press against the mound of stuffing–think of a person folding their arms. Another way is to pull the corners rogether resembling a hobo sack. As you work with dumplings, play with folds that you find online and feel comfortable with. The key thing is to not tear the wrapper and to make sure the insides are sealed.

Notes: These are a Chinese version known as Jiaozi 餃子 and are either boiled (水餃 water dumpling), steamed (蒸餃 steamed dumpling), or fried (煎餃 dry-fried dumpling or 鍋貼 pan-stick). They are traditionally circular wrappers folded in half and crymped along the edge to make a crescent shape.

When cooking, I do recommend using cooking chopsticks or tongs…this helps with transfering dumplings in and out of the cooking vessels…the fillings are damn hot if you try to use your fingers…so I’m told…

I should note thst dumpling dough is different than wonton dough, though you can use the more readily available wonton wrappers. Wontons are thinner whereas dumoling dough is more like ravioli pasta. The ingredients are different…maybe I will play with dough recipes, but for now, I will stick with store bought wrappers.

Stuffed dumplings are served all around the world with various fillings–perogies, empañadas, samosas, and ravioli are just a few examples that are not East Asian.

You can play with spices and fillings to suit your palate and needs. I’ve seen some with various ground meats and seafood, or all vegetables, with bean pastes, and even fusion hybrids such as stuffed with meatloaf! Often left over fillings make great snacks fried in patties or balls.


The limits are your imagination. I hope to add a few different fillings and dipping sauces as I experiment.

Sesame-Crusted Chicken with Bok Choy Salad

Sesame-Crusted Chicken with Bok Choy Salad</span>

Ingredients
2 Chicken Breasts, boneless, skinless, cut in strips
1-2 cups All-Purpose Flour (for dredging)
1 Egg, beaten (for dredging)
1 Tbsp Water (for dredging)
1 Tbsp Honey (for dredging)
1 cup Sesame Seeds (for dredging)
Salt and Pepper for seasoning the Chicken
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
2 cups Baby Spinach
2 cups Bok Choy 白菜, chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 Red Onion, diced
1 cup Broccoli, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 cup Snow Peas
1 Asian  Nashi Pear ナシ, diced
Water for steaming
1/2-1 cup Sesame-Ginger Dressing

Directions:

  • Prepare pot of water and steamer for steaming/
  • Steam the Broccoli for 2 minutes, just until the color of the Broccoli turns bright green. You do not want to cook it, just steam it to make it tender and colorful. Remove and run through cold water, set to the side.
  • Set up dredging stations: 1 tray with Flour; 1 tray with Egg, Water, and Honey; and one tray for Sesame Seeds. Do not put all the Sesame Seeds in the tray, as you can always add more, but after you’ve dredged, can’t use the left overs.
  • Pat the chicken slices dry with a paper towel, and season with Salt and Pepper.
  • Dredge the Chicken in the Flour on both sides; then the Egg mixture on both sides; and finally the Sesame Seeds. Set to the side.
  • Turn the Oven on to 200F, and cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a cooling rack over the pan. Set to the side.
  • Heat the Olive Oil in a skillet, and brown the Chicken pieces on both sides. Place the Chicken pieces on the cooling rack, and then in the Oven to keep warm.
  • Build the Salad (make the dressing now if you have not yet done so as well). You can do this as one big bowl, or in individual bowls–it is up to you.
  • Start with a bed of Spinach.
  • Top with the all the ingredients. You may choose to do this artistically–I like to use the Snow Peas as a frame around the side of the dish. It is completely up to you.
  • Remove the Chicken from the Oven, and slice into 1″ pieces across the strips of Chicken. Place on the top of the Salad.
  • The Salad is ready to serve. You may dress it now, or leave it on the side.

Makes about 4 servings.

NOTES: This salad can serve as a side dish, but also as a main course salad. Though it has “East Asian” flare to it, I would not necessarily call it an Asian salad… maybe East Asian inspired salad with the Bok Choy (白菜), with the Sesame Ginger Dressing are the most Asian aspect of the salad. Some folks may want to add Ramen-style noodles on top. Not a fan of them, I just can’t bring myself to add them to the recipe. So if you do that, please don’t tell me. Thanks.

Sesame-Ginger Dressing

Sesame-Ginger Dressing

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Sesame Oil
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp Honey
1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
2 Tbsp minced Ginger
1 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
1/2 cup Soy Sauce

Directions:

  • Whisk together all ingredients.

Makes a little over 1 cup

NOTES: If not served immediately, the dressing will separate. Just whisk together when ready to serve. To add an extra kick, you may choose to add some Wasabi to it…just be careful.

General Tso’s Chicken – 左宗棠雞

Ingredients:
3 lb Chicken Thighs, boneless, skinless, cut in bite-size chunks
1 cup & 2 Tbsp Corn Starch, divided
1-3 tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1/4 cup Shaoxing Rice Wine 绍兴酒
1/2 cup and 1 tsp Soy Sauce, divided
1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
1/2 cup Chicken Broth
3 Tbsp Honey
1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
4 cloves Garlic, slivered
1 Tbsp Ginger, minced
8-12 Dried Tiānjīn Red Chili Peppers 天津辣椒
2 Scallions, cut in pieces
4 cups Broccoli, cut in bite size pieces
2 cloves Garlic, minced
Juice of 1 Lemon

1 1/2-2 cups Brown Rice
3-4 cups Water (or more)

Directions:

  • Cook the Brown Rice according to the directions on the bag and set aside
  • In a seal-able plastic bag, combine 1 cup Corn Starch and the Cayenne Pepper, mixing well.
  • Pat the Chicken pieces dry with a paper towel, and add to the bag. Seal and shake, coating the chicken in the powder.
  • Bring a wok to high heat and add 1/2 of the Vegetable Oil.
  • Remove the chicken from the bag and saute in the oil until browned on all sides.
  • Drain the chicken on paper towels.
  • Blanch or Steam the Broccoli spears and set to the side.
  • In a glass, whisk together the Rice Wine and remaining Cornstarch.
  • Heat the wok again, and add the Rice Wine/Corn Starch mixture, 1/2 cup of Soy Sauce, Rice Wine Vinegar, the Honey, Chicken Broth, Ginger, slivered Garlic, and Crushed Red Pepper, mixing well.
  • Heat until the mixture begins to bubble.
  • Add the Scallions, Tiānjīn Red Chili Peppers, and Chicken and coat well.
  • Pour the Mixture into a serving dish.
  • In another sealed bag, combine the remaining Soy Sauce, minced Garlic, and Lemon Juice.
  • add the Broccoli Spears and mix well.
  • Garnish the Chicken with the Broccoli or serve in a separate dish.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: So I was inspired to make this dish because of a very awful version that I ordered in from the local take-away. This version should be more flavorful, slightly spicier, and not as unhealthy as the heavy batter, deep-fried kind.

General Tso’s Chicken is believed to have been created in New York City in the 1970s as an attempt to introduce the spicier Hunan cuisine to what was generally Cantonese cuisine in the city. There are two chefs who are attributed as possible inventors of this dish, Chef Peng Jia of Peng’s Restaurant formerly of E 44th St and Chef T. T. Wong of the Shun Lee Palace restaurants. I have also found claims of invention by a chef in Taiwan about the same time. As far as I can tell, the Peng Jia seems to be the most widely accepted, though no one seems to know for sure.

General Tso’s Chicken is named after Zuo Zongtang (左宗棠, 1812–1885), a Qing Dynasty general from Hunan Provence. I cannot find any reason or rational as to why the dish is named after him. Another source suggests that the name is really a mis-translation. Eileen Yin-Fei Lo states in her book The Chinese Kitchen that the dish originates from a simple Hunan chicken dish, and that the reference to “Zongtang” in “Zuo Zongtang chicken” was not a reference to Zuo Zongtang’s given name, but rather a reference to the homonym zōngtáng 宗堂, meaning “ancestral meeting hall”. As one who is completely ignorant to Chinese languages, I’ll have to take her word for it. Also regionally, in the US, there are various spellings of used…Gua, Tsao, Tsa, Cua, Zuo, etc… reflecting how poorly we Americans transliterate Chinese.

Huājiāo Chicken – 花椒鸡

Inspired by a Recipe From
Thom Chu, Bridgehampton, NY

Ingredients:
1 lb of Chicken Thighs, boneless, skinless, cut in cubes
2 Tbsp Shaoxing Rice Wine 绍兴酒
3-4 Serrano Peppers, cut in rings
3-4 Dried Tiānjīn Red Chili Peppers 天津辣椒, crushed
3 stalks Scallions, cut in 2″ pieces
3 Tbsp Douban 豆瓣, minced
5 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Tbsp Ginger, minced
1 Tbsp whole Sichuan/Huājiāo Peppercorns 花椒
2 whole Star Anise
1-2 Tbsp Soy Sauce, to taste
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil, divided
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper, ground

Directions:

  • Season the Chicken with the Salt and Pepper.
  • Place in a bowl and marinate with the Shaoxing Wine for 20 minutes.
  • Heat a wok on very high and add no more than a quarter cup of oil. Heat the oil until you just start to see it smoke.
  • Stir fry the Chicken in the wok until browned, then remove and set to the side in a bowl. This is done to prevent the chicken from getting too soggy.
  • Quickly rinse and dry the wok and heat it up again very high with more Vegetable Oil. Make sure the wok is completely dry before putting in the oil or it will spatter hot oil around the stove.
  • When the oil is hot, add the Douban and stir-fry for about 30 seconds.
  • Next add the Garlic and Ginger, and stir-fry for another 30 seconds.
  • Add the Tianjin Chili, Sichuan Chili, and Star Anise; stir-fry for another 30 seconds.
  • Return the Chicken to the wok adding the Soy Sauce and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  • Add the Serrano Chili Peppers and stir-fry for a minute.
  • Finally add the Scallions, and stir-fry for another 30 seconds.

NOTES: I have eaten this under the name “Ahi Zhou Chicken” at a local Chinese restaurant and spent a week trying to figure out the recipe. Thom knew exactly what I was looking for and provided this. I slightly modified the recipe for this post, trying to identify specific ingredients like the types of Chilis used.

This is a Sichuan dish that is typified by the Sichuan Peppercorns.  If you have not had them before, be warned they chemically numb your tongue and act with the other Chili pepper in an amazing way that is numbing and spicy at the same time–or a the Chinese say “Málà”.  Málà 麻辣, literally meaning “numbing and spicy”, is a flavoring common in Sichuan cooking that is derived from these two ingredients working together.

The fresh chili used can be a Jalapeño or Thai Chili if you prefer. I picked Serrano because it has a thinner membrane than the Jalapeño and not as hot as the Thai Chili. Big thanks to Thom for the base of this recipe, and I hope my modifications are not too off from authenticity.

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Ginger
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 cup Vegetable Oil
4 Eggs
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 cups Carrots, Shredded
1 cup Raisins
1 cup chopped Pecans
2-3 cups Cream Cheese Frosting
Pecans for decoration

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt, Sugar, Brown Sugar, and Spices.
  • Slowly incorporate the Eggs, Vegetable Oil, and Vanilla Extract.
  • Mix in the Carrots, Raisins, and Pecans.
  • Grease 2 8″ round cake pans and coat with flour.
  • Divide the Batter between the two pans.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Remove from the pans and cool on a rack.
  • Place one cake on a plate or cake plate, and spread frosting on the top.
  • Place the second cake on top and frost the top.
  • Carefully add frosting to the side and rotate the plate to spread the frosting along the sides.
  • Decorate the top with Pecans. If you prefer you can crush the Pecans and place along the sides of the Cake.

Makes 1 cake

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:Vegetarian
2 cups prepared Pumpkin pulp
4 Eggs, beaten
1 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Water
3 1/2 cups all purpose Flour
2 cups Granulated Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon, powder
1 tsp Nutmeg, powder
1/2 tsp Cloves, powder
1/2 tsp Allspice, powder
1/2 tsp Ginger, powderDirections:

  • Preheat Oven to 350° F
  • In a large bowl combine Pumpkin, Eggs, Oil, Water, and both Sugars, mixing well.
  • In a second bowl combine all dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Carefully add the Dry Ingredients to the Wet Pumpkin Mixture, mixing as you go. Do this in portions and mix well before adding the next portion.
  • Grease two loaf pans.
  • Pour the batter into the pans.
  • Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 2 loaves.

Scotch Eggs

Ingredients:
8 Eggs, hard boiled and peeled
1/2 cup Corn Starch
1 lb Pork Sausage
1/4 tsp Paprika
1/4 tsp Sage, dried
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1 Egg, beaten
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs
4-6 cups Vegetable Oil (for frying)

Directions:

  • Roll the hard boiled Eggs in the Corn Starch
  • In a bowl, combine the Pork Sausage, Sage, Paprika, and Black Pepper.
  • Form 3-4″ patties out of the Sausage
  • Place the Egg in the center and carefully work the Sausage around the Egg like a shell. If too much sausage, remove; if not enough, use more.
  • Dip the Sausage-coated Egg in the beaten egg, then roll in the Bread Crumbs.
  • Cook – Fry or Bake
    • Fry:
      • Heat the Vegetable Oil to 360° in a Sauce pan.
      • Fry each egg for 5-7 minutes.
    • Bake:
      • On a cookie sheet at 375° for 25 minutes
  • Serve warm or cold.

NOTES: Though named Scotch Eggs, these treats were actually created in London in 1851 at the Fortnum & Mason department store.

Hungarian Sauerkraut – Székelygulyás

Ingredients:Vegan Vegetarian Variation
2 lbs Pork Loin, cubed 1/2 inch
1 1/2 lbs Sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup White Onion, minced
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
4 Tbsp Sweet Paprika (Hungarian preferred)
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tsp Caraway Seeds
2 cups Tomatoes, crushed
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 Bay Leaves
1 cup Barley
1 1/2 cups Water
1/2 cup Sour Cream
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • In a large pot, brown the Pork, Onion, and Garlic in the Vegetable Oil.
  • Add the Paprika and Caraway Seeds and saute for 3 minutes.
  • Add all other ingredients except the Sour Cream and mix well in the pot so that everything is incorporated.
  • Pour into a deep baking dish and bake for 30-45 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, and stir in the Sour Cream.

NOTES: This style of Sauerkraut is inherited from my family. I’ve heard about it being done with Ketchup instead of Stewed Tomatoes, but I just can’t bring myself to do that. The recipe came verbally from my paternal grandmother’s maternal grandmother Elisabeth Stefani Schwarz Lanser. The use of Tomatoes is a Hungarian/Slovak influence. She was from the town of Metzenseifen, now Medzev in Slovakia on the Hungarian border. The town consisted of Germans who had moved there in the 13th century. One can see the influence of the three cultures in this dish. The Hungarian name Székelygulyás signifies that this is thick cabbage goulash.

Variations:
Substitute sliced Kielbasa or Roast Duck for the Pork
Spice it Up: Add 1/2 tsp Hot Paprika or Cayenne Pepper

M›Ɣ – Leaving out the Pork Loin, will still yield a very tasty Sauerkraut.