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

Budget Meals: Day 5

Ingredients:
6 eggs $0.99
1 medium carrot $0.25
1 medium green zucchini $0.82
4 red onions $0.98
1 small yellow squash $0.40
Ginger $0.54
Total: $3.98
2 packages udon noodles
roasted peanut oil / sesame oil + vegetable oil
Kosher salt + freshly ground pepper
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced diagonally
3 tablespoons soy sauce

Directions
Thinly slice red onions, ginger. Slice thinly into sticks 1/2 carrot, 1/2 yellow squash, 1/4 zucchini. Saute onions and ginger and carrots in vegetable oil. Add the two squash, and cook, stirring.

In a separate pot, boil water and cook the udon for 1-2 minutes. Drain and add to the vegetables. Mix thoroughly. Season with soy sauce, rice wine, and sesame oil. Add a spoonful of cornstarch mixed with cold water, to form a slurry. Set aside

Scramble two eggs with chopsticks in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in some green scallions. Fry separately in a little oil in a pan. Add to the rest of the stir fry. Serve immediately. Serves 3-4.

Redoing my sister’s udon with tofu and bok choy, this is my budget version. I had a bag of frozen edamame lying around, so I tossed that in the stir fry. My kingdom for some crushed red pepper flakes!

~Jessica

Budget Meals: Day 3

Ingredients:
GOYA Pink Beans in sauce $1.50
4 small red potatoes $1.34
1 head of garlic $0.39
1 red bell pepper $1.32
Ginger $0.54
3 red onions $0.67
1 bunch of scallions $0.67
5-6 Brussels sprouts $0.98
Total: $7.41

Directions
Chop finely the small red onion, 1/3 the red bell pepper, two of the potatoes. Mince two cloves of garlic, and a thumb of ginger. Cut off the Brussels sprout stems and slice each in half. Saute the onion, ginger, then garlic in olive oil. Cook until fragrant. Add the bell pepper, then the potatoes. Season with salt, cracked pepper, turmeric, oregano, thyme. Add the the Brussels sprouts last (mine were slightly overcooked in the stew/soup). Add the can of pink beans (Rosadas guisadas — preparados con aceite de oliva, cilantro, y cebolla). Again, I threw in a handful of pasta for extra carbs. Top with some sliced scallions, and serve. Serves 3-4.

~Jessica

Budget Meals: Day 2

Ingredients
425 g GOYA white beans in sauce $1.50
3 small red potatoes $0.76
1 carrot $0.26
Ginger $0.54
1 head of garlic $0.42
3 red onions $0.67
1 red bell pepper $0.78
1 bunch of scallions $0.67
Total: $5.60

Directions
Chop finely 1 red potato, 1/2 the carrot, 1 red onion, the bell pepper. Mince a thumb of peeled ginger and all the head of garlic (it was going bad). Saute the onion, then ginger, then garlic in olive oil. Add the carrot, potato, and bell pepper in that order, cooking each a few minutes. Season with salt, black pepper, oregano, and thyme. Add the white beans (Blancas guisadas – preparadas con Aceite de Oliva, Cilantro, y Tomate). Rinse the can with water and add that too. I had some De Cecco elbow pasta lying around so I threw a handful of that in, along with a pinch of organic ground turmeric. Divide into bowls, top with sliced scallions. Serves 3-4.

~Jessica

Budget Meals: Day 1

Ingredients
737 g Iodized salt $1.59
425 g black bean soup $1.59
3 small red potatoes $0.76
1 carrot $0.26
Ginger $0.54
1 head of garlic $0.42
3 red onions $0.67
2 plum tomatoes $0.46
1 bunch of scallions $0.67
Total: $6.96

Directions
Chop finely 2 potatoes, 1/2 the carrot, 1 red onion, the tomatoes. Mince a thumb of peeled ginger, 1 clove of garlic. Saute onions, then ginger, then garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Saute carrot, then potatoes for 5-10 minutes. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, thyme, and oregano. Add the tomatoes and can of GOYA black bean soup (Frijoles negros – preparados con aceite de oliva, pimiento, y cebolla). Stir frequently, cook a little longer and serve. Top with sliced scallions. Serves 3 (on a diet).

I recently moved off my friend Amber’s couch and got my own place. Rent is $1100/month, including all utilities. My training stipend of a “modest” $2500 is to cover four months of NYC living. The GRE exam costs $205.00, the Educating All Students (EAS) exam is $92.00, the Content Speciality Test costs $134.00 (I’m taking the Biology CST, of course), Fingerprinting is $99.00. This means budgeting. A lot.

At least the GOYA black bean soup is the bomb-diggity! (Even though it has MSG and added sugar.)

~Jessica