Sausage and Kimchi Bao

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Yup. Sausage and kimchi because that’s what’s in it, not Char Siu (or Cha Siu, or Char Siew, or however you want to spell it). I got the idea off a food mag years ago, but I forgot where, and I’ve forgotten the details, so we kinda winged it.

Dough for the Bao:

1 tablespoon instant yeast or active dry yeast
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons lard, or coconut oil, or Spectrum or other vegetable shortening, or canola oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon baking powder

Filling:

1 pound sausage meat
1/4 cup kimchi, chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar

If using instant yeast, combine all ingredients except baking powder in bowl of electric mixer fitted with bread dough hook or other bread dough attachment. When adding water I withhold about 1/2 cup until the dough ingredients are almost thoroughly mixed, so I can judge better if less or more water is needed. I then add more water a tablespoon or so at a time. The dough needs to come together in a smooth ball and should not be tacky or stick to your fingers.

If using active dry yeast, dissolve in a bit of the water + a pinch of the sugar and let stand 10 minutes to proof before adding in the rest of the ingredients.

Knead dough in machine until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. (If kneading by hand, knead for about 15.)
Add baking powder and knead 3 more minutes to incorporate. Form into a ball and let rise, covered, in lightly-greased bowl, until doubled, approximately 2 hours depending on heat of your kitchen.

While dough is rising, combine filling ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Cut parchment/wax paper into 1 1/2 inch-squares.

Cut into half and form each into a log. Cut each log into 12 equal pieces and form into a ball. Flatten with your fingers or a rolling pin, making edges thinner than the center to facilitate closing. Fill with ~1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons sausage mixture and pleat edges together to enclose filling. Place on piece of parchment or wax paper and let rise on baking sheet or other flat surface, lightly greased and loosely covered with plastic wrap, about 45 minutes. Transfer to steamer and steam 15-20 minutes over medium heat.

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Hot and Sour Soup

Recipe adapted from Mrs. Chiang's Szechwan Cookbook
Recipe adapted from Mrs. Chiang’s Szechwan Cookbook

2 medium pork chops, or 2 chicken thighs, partially frozen (to facilitate slicing), de-boned and cut into slivers – divided use
1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari, if you need to be wheat-free) (see note)
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Bring 5 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add a couple of tablespoons of the sliced pork chops/chicken and lower heat to a simmer. Let cook ~20 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. In a bowl, coat the rest of the meat with soy sauce and cornstarch, and set aside.

Tree Ears, dried
Tree Ears, dried

1/4 cup dried tree ears
1/4 cup dried lily buds
5 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 dried Chinese red pepper (optional — for use later in the recipe)

Tree Ears after soaking
Tree Ears after soaking

Soak the above in separate bowls, in freshly-boiled water, about 20 minutes or until they have softened and expanded.
When soft, remove tough parts from tree ears and stems from mushrooms, and slice everything thinly.

Dried Lily Buds
Dried Lily Buds

1 12-oz package firm or extra-firm tofu, cut into 1-inch julienne, or 1/2-inch cubes (do not use if avoiding soy)
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
2 scallions, sliced thinly

Everything sliced up and ready to go.
Everything sliced up and ready to go.

Add tree ears, lily buds, mushrooms and tofu to the soup, along with seasonings. Cook gently for 5 minutes, then add scallions and the rest of the meat. Cook 10 minutes more.

2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional black pepper for serving

While soup is simmering, combine cornstarch and water in another bowl. Beat eggs gently.

Bring the soup to a boil over high heat. Add sliced hot red pepper if using. When boiling, add cornstarch and water mixture and stir until lightly thickened. Turn off heat and immediately pour in beaten eggs in a thin, slow stream, stirring with a fork in a clockwise direction. Stir in black pepper.

Serve hot, with additional vinegar and pepper on the side so diners can adjust the flavors to their taste.

As you can see, I have not mastered the art of pouring the eggs in as they don’t show up as silky, distinct threads in the soup. I know there *is* an art to doing it, because I was able to do it once before. I still need to figure out what I did right. 🙂

Note: Salt could be substituted any time soy sauce or tamari is called for in this blog, just realize that the color and flavor of the finished dish would be very different from the original.

This recipe can easily be converted to a vegetarian/meatless one, simply by omitting the pork/chicken.

Braised Fresh Ham, Szechwan Style

Feeds a family of 7, easy. For at least 2 meals. Perhaps more if you accompany with rice or steamed bread and LOTS of vegetables. In the Philippines we have a somewhat similar dish called Pata Tim, though that one’s made with pork knuckles or trotters or hocks. I prefer those for deep-frying, as in Filipino crispy pata, but for this I like using fresh ham, the part of the leg that hasn’t been cured or smoked.

Half of a fresh ham (got one from my local farmer, about 6.5 pounds)
4 scallions
5-inch piece ginger
10 large dried shiitake mushrooms
water
3 whole star anise
4 dried cayenne peppers
1 tablespoon Szechwan peppercorns
3/4 cup soy sauce (use wheat-free tamari if you want wheat- or gluten-free)
1/2 cup xiao xing wine
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons salt

Put ham in a large pot and add water to cover by 2 inches. I really would have covered mine with water, but the ham was BIG and came up to about 1 inch from the top of my 7.25-qt. Le Creuset, so I added however much water I could, keeping in mind that as the water boils it will tend to splatter and overflow. I simply turned the meat over a couple of times during cooking to make sure the whole thing cooked evenly.

Add scallions, ginger, mushrooms, star anise, dried cayennes, and Szechwan peppercorns.

Bring to a boil, then skim off whatever scum rises to the surface. Bring down heat to medium and cook 2 hours, turning meat a couple of times as necessary.

Add soy sauce, wine and sugar. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 2 hours more.

Add sesame oil (I forgot to include it in the pic) and salt, give the liquid a good stir and cook over medium heat to reduce liquid to about 1/3 of original amount.

Serve with rice or huajuan (Chinese steamed scallion rolls, recipe coming) and lots of veggies. We like steamed or blanched spinach or bok choy, or anything that’s sprightly green.

It’s a dish that can be easily adapted to a crock pot. You’ll just need smaller pieces of meat.

Chop Suey, a repost

A recipe I originally posted in 2005 at b5media’s Noodles and Rice (now Blisstree).

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Chop Suey has long been rumored to be an American creation rather than a Chinese one. A search around the ‘net will show you just how much this story has spread. From tales of an angry restaurateur trying to get back at some customers and serving them leftover veggies meant for the garbage, calling the dish “chopped sewage”, to a Chinese diplomat visiting the White House and not finding anything suitable to eat, prompting him to commandeer the kitchen and whip up a stir-fry for himself from whatever he found there. These stories can be found even in cookbooks written by Chinese-Americans, such as Calvin Lee’s. Giving credence to the legend is the absence of “chop suey” in the more traditional Chinese cookbooks, such as Irene Kuo’s and Eileen Yin Fei Lo’s books. However, when the book The Food of China came out in 1988, the question of chop suey’s origins finally had an answer. In it, Eugene Anderson reveals that in fact, Chop Suey is from Toisan, a district south of Canton, from which early immigrants to America came. The words chop suey come from tsap seui, meaning miscellaneous scraps. Mr. Anderson further reports that the dish usually has noodles and bean sprouts included.

This particular chop suey has neither. It is how chop suey is usually prepared in the Philippines — a little pork, a little shrimp, sometimes a little chicken, a whole bunch of veggies. Whether or not you use leftovers is up to you. (What intrigues me is how this dish got to the Philippines — was it brought over by the Chinese, or by the Americans?)

You start out with a basic Filipino saute of garlic and onions, then add the meats and seasoning, then the veggies, then a bit of thickening sauce at the end. It is fast, delicious, and lends itself to endless experimentation. The amounts given here are approximations. Vary according to what you have in the refrigerator or freezer.

This dish can be made without any meat, so it’s very adaptable for Lent and for vegetarians/vegans.

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup sliced onions
1/4 cup chopped shrimp
1/4 cup shredded pork (I like using lean pork, but you may use just about any cut of pork you like)
1/4 cup shredded chicken (you may also use cooked chicken)
salt or fish sauce to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
6-8 cups chopped vegetables (e.g., broccoli, sweet bell peppers, cauliflower, carrots, sliced cabbage or Napa cabbage, bok choy, frenched green beans, spinach, celery, etc. — it’s always nice to have a mix so your dish ends up colorful)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon sugar

Mix oyster sauce, soy sauce, cornstarch, chicken stock and sugar together in a small bowl. Set aside until needed.

Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions when hot but not smoking. Saute/stir-fry until onions are limp. Add shrimp, pork and chicken. Season with salt or fish sauce and black pepper to taste. Cover and let cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir, then cover again and cook another 5 minutes, until pork is cooked through. (If using a lean cut such as tenderloin, reduce cooking time to the first 5 minutes only.) Add vegetables and stir-fry, adding first those that take longer to cook, such as carrots and green beans, cooking them for a few minutes, then adding those that take less time, such as cabbage and other leafy vegetables. When veggies are almost completely cooked, return to high heat. Give the oyster sauce mixture a final stir and pour into the pan. Quickly fold sauce into vegetables to coat and thicken. Remove from heat.

Serves 4-6.

A recipe I originally posted in 2005 at b5media’s Noodles and Rice (now Blisstree).

Cambodian Eggplant and Pork Stir-Fry (Cha Traop Dot)

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For 4-6 servings

1 pound eggplants
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 pound ground pork
1 pound shrimp, shelled, deveined and minced
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 green onions, sliced thin

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prick eggplants all over with a fork and place on a baking sheet in one layer. Bake 30 minutes or until cooked through. Remove skins and discard. Mash pulp in a bowl and set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute until just beginning to turn color, about 15 seconds. Add ground pork and shrimp, breaking up any clumps; stir-fry for 5 minutes. Add the fish sauce, sugar and freshly ground black pepper. Cook for 3 minutes more, then add the mashed eggplant and continue stir-frying until eggplant is evenly distributed, about 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in green onions.
Serve hot over rice.

Making Jiaozi (A Repost), Part 2: Dumpling Wrappers

This is a continuation of Part 1, where I showed you how to make dumpling wrappers using a pasta machine. The technique shown in this post is more rustic, but works just as well.

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Mix dough ingredients in a bowl or food processor. Flour a platter or line with wax paper. Knead dough lightly on floured surface until elastic, then divide into 80 pieces or so, each about the size of a regular gumball.

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Roll out each piece into a round about 3 inches in diameter.

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Follow instructions for filling and pleating the dumplings in Part 1.

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Now that they’re cooked, there’s nothing left to do but to chow down.


This is a basic dumpling wrapper that contains nothing but flour and water. A more enriched dumpling wrapper is available containing egg. If you want, you can add an egg yolk into your dough to replace some of the water.

Ground Meat Recipes

One of the moms at 4Real asked for ground beef recipes, so I thought I’d put several simple ones here — not really recipes but more like guides. We’ve been having more ground meat lately because they made up the bulk of the grass-fed beef we had ordered from Grass Fed Farms — which was surprising, but not altogether unwelcome; there’s so much you could do with it besides the basic meatloaf or meat sauce! I think I still have a shelf-full in the freezer.

Let’s start out with a simple saute:

extra virgin olive oil
minced garlic
chopped onions
chopped tomatoes
a pound or two of ground beef
freshly ground black pepper
salt and/or soy sauce and/or fish sauce to taste

Heat up the olive oil in a large skillet, over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until just beginning to color. Add the onions and saute until limp. Add tomatoes and saute until tender. Add the ground meat, breaking it up, and continue to saute. Cover for 5 minutes, stir again, and add seasonings. Cook 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently and adding water if necessary to prevent drying up.

THAT’S THE BASIC SAUTE.

Here’s where you have some fun: Continue reading “Ground Meat Recipes”

Making Jiaozi (A Repost)

I’ve had it on my list for a while to repost this N&R entry here — next to brazo de mercedes and puto, it seems like siomai is the #3 request on this blog. The recipe here isn’t exactly for siomai, however, you can adapt it just by changing the way you wrap the dumpling. I’ll still post a siomai recipe sometime, but this is for those who have been asking — at least something to try in the meantime. If you want it more siomai-ish, don’t use cabbage, add some shrimp if you like and some finely chopped carrots to the mix, plus some chopped shiitake mushrooms (fresh or rehydrated).

When you wrap the siomai, have a bit of the meat peeking on top — best way to do this (I’ll have pics at some point) is to lay the dumpling wrapper over the side of your hand while you form an “O” with your fingers. Make an indentation in the middle and start stuffing it with the meat mixture. As you stuff it, apply a bit of pressure to push down the meat into the wrapper — this will push the dumpling down into your “O” and create natural pleats. When you’re almost at the top put the dumpling down on the counter to flatten the bottom and squeeze the pleats lightly to adhere and hold its shape.


This recipe is from the book Mrs. Chiang’s Szechwan Cookbook, a favorite of mine for many years. I know the Chinese are very particular about how to make this recipe, and some recipes for jiaozi specify how to stir the filling, what to add first, etc. However, in the interest of simplicity (and because my taste buds, though probably more refined than some, are not refined enough to distinguish results made different by the use of a stirring technique), I’ve chosen to vary the instructions here a bit — I sure hope the Chinese purists won’t mind too much. This should enable the beginner as well as the advanced cook to prepare something that’s very basic in Chinese cuisine.

You will recognize this as the pork dumpling which comes in many different shapes and guises at dimsum houses and other Chinese restaurants. You can make your own dough, or use store-bought dumpling wrappers at Asian stores. At any rate, it’s a dish worth making in the home because it’s fun, especially when you get your kids to help. You can freeze some for future use (emergency stash, for a party, etc.). You can steam, deep-fry, or cook it the traditional way (the boiling method posted here). Or, you can cook it “pot-sticker” way (see instructions below), which is how you will usually find this at most restaurants, where it shows up on menus as “Peking ravioli”, “wraplings”, and “crescents”, among other things.

The filling is so versatile that you can also use it to make siu mai, the steamed pork dumpling with an open top (with a little piece of shrimp or a sliver of shiitake mushroom on the top), or spring rolls (wrap in spring rolls and fry, that’s all there is to it), and as the meat and flavoring component for a vegetable stir-fry.

Ingredients for filling:

15 scallions, finely minced
1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, finely minced
1 lb. ground pork
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon ground roasted Szechwan peppercorns (available at Asian stores, whole and unroasted)
1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Here’s what szechwan peppercorns look like:

szechwanpeppercorns.JPG

Ingredients for dough:

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup water

Or, use store-bought dumpling wrappers

I’ll let you in on my secret. This is somewhat tedious work. I’ve found that a pasta machine, while not traditional, is very handy for making and rolling the dough, and I’ve been making my dumpling wrappers using this for years (purists may frown on the method, but hey, it works!

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Cutting the dumpling wrappers:

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You can either roll everything out, then fill, or alternate between filling and rolling to break the monotony.

Fill each dough circle with 1 1/2 teaspoons meat mixture. Put the filling in the center, then fold the dough over the filling (but do not seal). Holding the jiaoz in one hand, start on one end of the folded circle, pleating the top half-circle with your other hand and pressing both halves to seal with the other as you pleat. You should end up with a little crescent-shaped pouch. This can get a little tricky, but it gets easier with practice.

Lay the filled jiaozi on the floured or lined platter, making sure they don’t touch as they tend to stick together. [You can freeze the dumplings at this point, then put them in a resealable plastic bag when they’re completely frozen.]

Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Cook jiaozi in batches, making sure they don’t crowd. The traditional way is to add jiaoz to the boiling water, then wait for the water to boil again, then add cold water to stop the process. Repeat boiling and adding cold water three times more, for a total of four times. The fourth time, remove jiaozi to a colander. Drain and serve hot.

If you would like to try cooking it “pot-sticker” style, pan-fry in a large skillet filmed with a bit of oil, in batches over medium heat. When the bottom is crusty, add water and simmer until completely cooked, about 15 minutes.

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Jiaozi can be served plain, or with a simple sauce of just soy sauce and vinegar mixed together, or if you prefer, with this Szechwanese sauce:

4 cloves garlic, mashed to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes in oil (Heat oil in a saucepan until hot and just beginning to smoke, then add red pepper flakes and remove from heat; let stand for 1 minute before using.)
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.

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A vegetable and meat filling can also be made by adding 2 cups of chopped cabbage or Chinese cabbage (salt lightly, set aside for 15 minutes, then squeeze out the excess moisture before using).

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Green beans can also be used, pre-cooked for about 7 minutes before chopping and adding to bowl.

Spinach can also be used, but do not salt it; just chop and add to meat mixture.

You can also make vegetarian jiaoz by using a combination of green beans, cabbage, shiitake mushrooms and carrots, all chopped finely.

The finished product, ready for consumption:):

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Adapted from:

Part 2, doing the dumpling wrappers a bit differently.

Got Leftover Ham? (Links to Recipes)

We’ve got some, and don’t really want to do another fried rice version. PLEASE.

However, these sound good:

Ham Biscuits — but dh can’t have these, so it’s not going to happen.

But these sound REALLY GOOD!

Corn Soup with Potatoes and Smoked Ham
Rice Noodle Soup with Ham and Lettuce which reminds me of one of my favorite soups, Filipino Hototai/Hototay, but no noodles and lots more goodies to really flavor that soup — I may adapt, or go totally with my own version
Ham with Bourbon, Molasses and Pecan Glaze — if I go with this the pecans will have to go because of allergies, but I’m thinking some pomegranate molasses will have to go in there since I still have that bottle that needs using….

What are you doing with your leftover ham?