How to pan-fry frozen dumplings

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With frozen dumplings, either prepared or homemade, you can boil the dumplings by 1) adding the dumplings to the pot, waiting for the water to re-simmer, adding a cup of water, wait to re-simmer, repeat again with another cup of water, then serve immediately as they float to the surface.

But the tastier version is to fry-steam them. Following Amber’s methods, pour some vegetable oil in a non-stick pan, coating the bottom thinly. Add your dumplings (I usually eat seven at a time) and allow them to fry over medium heat until golden brown on the bottom. Get your lid ready. Add a couple spoonfuls of water per dumplings, or enough to cover the bottom of the pan, and cover immediately, as splattering will commence. Steam them until most of the water is gone, which you will be able to hear. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

Shou-wen’s Dipping Sauce
For the dipping sauce, I chop some garlic, boil some peanut oil until sizzling, then add the garlic to the oil. Pour the sizzling garlic oil on some dry chilli powder. Serve.

My dipping sauce
Slice thin some ginger, add some sesame oil, sliced scallions, and enough soy sauce.

~Jessica

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Kombucha tea

Best summed up by The Kitchn

Ingredients to brew Kombucha:
4 cups of filtered water, then 8 cups of cool filtered water
6 bags of black tea (6 grams of loose tea)
1 cup of sugar
2 cups of “starter tea” from last kombucha brew (if you have it)
1 active Kombucha SCOBY

Equipment:
Stock pot to sterilize bottles
1 gallon glass jar
organic cotton cloth / bag
six swing-top bottles w/ caps – 16.9oz, Amber Glass
glass measuring cup

Directions:

  1. Boil four cups of water.
  2. Add the cup of sugar and dissolve it in a glass receptacle.
  3. Steep the tea bags in the sugar water for 5-7 minutes.
  4. Measure out the eight cups of cool water into your gallon glass jar (emptied and cleaned and rinsed).
  5. Add the four cups of tea to the gallon jar.
  6. If you have two cups of “starter tea” from the last kombucha brew, add it to the gallon jar.
  7. Once the gallon jar is room temperature-cool, slip your scoby into the gallon jar.
  8. Cover the jar with an organic cotton cloth, secure with twine / rubber bands, and set aside in a warm place out of direct sunlight. Ferment for 7 to 10 days.
  9. After seven days, taste the kombucha daily until the sweet-tart flavor is balanced to your preference.

Ingredients to bottle brewed Kombucha:
orange, ginger, lemon, lime, berries, mint, etc.

Directions for second fermentation/bottling:

  1. Prepare fresh tea (as directed above) for your next batch.
  2. Take out the scoby with cleaned hands (rinsed well). Remove the bottom (momma) scoby layer to give away to a friend or toss or save for back-up. Set aside the top (baby) scoby carefully for your next batch in a glass receptacle.
  3. Set aside two cups of this kombucha homebrew as “starter tea” for your next batch.
  4. Pour the fermented kombucha into your sterilized (5 minutes boiled) bottles.
  5. Add sliced flavorings (see above) to bottles — experiment! Leave 1.5 cm. head space in the bottle before capping.
  6. Prep your next batch: clean the gallon jar after emptied. Combine the 4 cups tea, 8 cups cool water, 1 cup sugar, and 2 cups of “starter tea” in the gallon jar. Slip (newest) scoby carefully into jar.
  7. Store these bottles at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 2-4 days, and pop the cap open each day to release excess carbonation.
  8. Refrigerate to stop fermentation. Drink within a month.
  9. Repeat

I picked up a scoby from a kombucha-brewing friend (Amber) and used regular Lipton tea bags and white sugar (my grandma saves them from her senior community center in Queens). Avoid any teas that contain oils, like earl grey or flavored teas. Avoid touching metal, especially aluminum. Peel off the bottom (oldest) layer every few batches. Can’t wait to try a berries and mint combination, as recommended by a friend!

~Jessica

White-cut chicken with ginger-scallion oil

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(bái qie ji) Adapted from KQED Food and The Woks of Life

Ingredients:
One 3-4 lb. free-range chicken, at room temperature
2 whole scallions, cut into large pieces
5 slices ginger
6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons Kosher salt, plus more to season the chicken
1 tablespoon sesame oil

Sauce Ingredients:
3 tablespoons finely minced scallion (white and light green parts only)
2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt
soy sauce (optional)

Directions:
1. Clean the chicken inside and out, removing any innards, rinsing with cold water. Optional: Rub salt liberally inside and out and sit for 1 hour. I didn’t.

2. Fill a large pot with water full enough to cover at least ¾ of the chicken. Bring the water to a boil, and add the smashed ginger, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of salt. Place the chicken in breast side up, cover, and bring to a boil. Switch it to low heat and let simmer for 45 minutes.

3. Flip the chicken, cover it and cook on low heat for some more time. Test if the chicken is done, insert a chopstick near the thigh. If the juices run clear, the chicken is done. To lift the bird out of the pot, slip 2 chopsticks beneath the wings and lift up. Let cold water run over the chicken for a minute or so “to cool the skin off quickly to give the chicken skin a “crunchy” texture.”

5. Pat the bird dry and rub with the sesame oil. Allow it to cool for 30 minutes before cutting — I started cooking late, so I just let it cool as long as it took to make the dipping sauce and boil some potatoes (my carbs for the meal, because I didn’t have a rice cooker).

6. Prepare the dipping sauce by heating the vegetable oil just until it starts to smoke. Pour it over the scallion, ginger, and salt, and mix together. Serve with the chicken immediately.

My friend Peggy highly recommends this recipe for times of sickness — I saved the broth afterwards, and it made a pretty tasty soup! I boiled some rainbow potatoes from Trader Joe’s for 10 minutes in the broth, to make the meal a bit heartier. Stay warm!

~Jessica

Stir-fried snow pea leaves

IMG_2691.JPGAdapted from The Woks of Life and Viet World Kitchen

Ingredients:
1 lb snow pea leaves
3 tablespoons duck fat or canola or peanut oil
3-5 cloves of finely chopped fresh garlic (depending on how much you like)
½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon sesame oil
a bit of chicken stock, or warm water if you have not
1 teaspoon cornstarch
oyster sauce

Directions:
Oil the wok, season it with some salt. Add garlic and ginger to the wok on medium-high. Stir fry the greens rapidly, not allowing any to burn, but just to wilt. Flavor with a few splashes of stock if you have on hand. Mix the pepper, sesame oil, more stock, and cornstarch until you have a nice slurry. Pour this into the wok, coat the leaves, then cover for a couple of minutes, to evaporate and thicken the sauce. Plate the greens and top with oyster sauce. Serve hot.

~Jessica

P.S. Same vegetable as my Garlic pea shoots post.

Chinese scallion pancakes, part II

IMG_2701.JPGAdapted from Sichuan Food, repeat of part I

Ingredients:
300g all-purpose flour
150g hot water
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 bunch of scallions thinly chopped
½ teaspoon salt
sesame oil

Directions:
Melt the salt in the hot water. Make the dough with this water, set it aside for around 10-25 minutes. Roll out the dough into a large round cylinder. Brush some sesame oil on the surface of the circle. Sprinkle the chopped scallions evenly on the surface. Roll the dough round into a cylinder. Make sure that the chopped scallions are inside the cylinder! Wrap the cylinder around into the shape of a snail shell. Roll out and flatten the snail into another big circle. Brush some cooking oil on a pan and then fry the pancakes until each side is lightly browned.

Amber had brought back three bunches of green scallions from Flushing, on her weekly visit to her parents’. So time to use that up! Delicious fresh dough.

~Jessica

Chinese broccoli with garlic

IMG_2674Adapted from steamy kitchen Gai Lan

Ingredients:
400 g Chinese broccoli (Gai Lan)
cooking (vegetable) oil
3-4 whole garlic cloves, peeled and gently smashed but left intact
1/2 thumb of fresh ginger, cut into coins and smashed
Chinese rice wine, sugar, oyster sauce, sesame oil
cornstarch mixed with cool water (1:2)

Directions:
Rinse the greens. Trim the ends. Cut diagonally, approximately splitting the leaves and (edible!) stems. Mince the garlic, grate the ginger if you prefer that. Add the oil to your wok and heat on medium-high. Saute the garlic, then ginger, until fragrant, without burning. Add the gai lan but watch out for oil splatters! Wield the wok lid as a shield if need be. I added diluted soy sauce to substitute vegetable stock, and steam covered for 3-4 minutes. Heat the oyster sauce and sesame oil and cornstarch water, all mixed together for 1 minute to thicken a brown sauce.

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Amber’s Method:
Soak the greens in cool water for 10 minutes, several times. Trim the end but don’t cut them in half. Smash the garlic cloves, slice the ginger. Add enough vegetable oil to coat the pan (proportionate to the amount of greens) and a pinch of salt to the wok. Saute the garlic, then ginger, then add the green and stir and toss constantly, quickly. Stir-fry, basically. Do not steam covered. After a few minutes, plate the greens. Drizzle the oyster sauce and serve immediately.

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Asian greens are great. I think it would have been nice to make this with mushrooms, although I hadn’t any in the fridge at the time. Next time perhaps!

~Jessica

Stir-fried cabbage, Chinese style

imag0899Adapted from The Woks of Life

vegetable oil
a bit of pork belly (optional)
5 cloves garlic, smashed and cut in half
5 dried red chilies, deseeded and very roughly chopped
1/2 head of cabbage, sliced for slaw
Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, sugar, water, Chinese black vinegar (didn’t have this one)
2 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths

Heat oil and sear meat, if including. Add garlic and chilies, cook until fragrant. Add the cabbage and sauce ingredients. Cook until softened and cabbage edges are searing. Stir in the scallions and a pinch of salt.

~Jessica