Are You Cooking for the Chinese New Year?
If you are, I'd love to know what you're making, and if you can provide a recipe or a link to one, all the better. I'm looking inspiration and maybe even a bit of a culinary challenge. Thanks!
On New Year Day itself, I'll probably be eating vegetarian dishes. I've got some vegan minestrone in the fridge and will probably make some pasta dish in the evening. I'll be out for NYE. But I don't think that's what you had in mind. Maybe this link would help.
If you're a dumpling fan, you should make the Guotie (beef-scallion pot stickers) posted on this site by Andrea Nguyen. I made them yesterday--homemade dough and all--and they were very, very good. Definitely a "culinary challenge" to shape the dough and fill each one properly, and definitely something you want to do with a group. I'd even double the batch, or at least double the dumpling dough, and make half beef-scallion and half some other recipe (vegetarian, shrimp-chive, or pork-nappa). When you make dumplings it makes sense to make alot .
Be sure to use Gold Medal Brand flour, which is low in gluten and will produce soft dumplings. It is CRUCIAL. They also freeze beautifully, which is nice.
You can make scallion pancakes with the same dough and just go carb-crazy, that's what I did.
I'm not cooking - my mom is. However, I'm making some traditional Malay cookies to bring over. Kueh Bangkit are tapioca flour cookies flavoured with coconut and pandan. I'm glad they turned out so well (my parents were actually impressed) considering I'd never made it before. My mother was going on about how difficult they are to make (I didn't think so), and how some auntie's version was too hard, etc.. Dad just rolled his eyes when he heard what I was up to.
Not to mention the scolding for spending so much on a wooden mold, can get one so cheap back home, blah blah blah...! hehehehe... Asian parents!
Well, it was WONDERFUL. I can't report in detail because my knowledge of Chinese food doesn't extend past the Americanized buffet stuff. The Chinese lady sitting next to me said that everybody had prepared their best dishes. I believe it. Yes, we are fortunate. We share several meals throughout the year. Including a typical American Thanksgiving spread the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
Tomorrow we commence my annual potsticker challenge. The challenge is eating as many as we can : )
I buy the pre-made dough from the Asian supermarket (1 lb packets contain roughly 40 wrappers), and will be making at least three different kinds of fillings. I use the fine shredder blade on the mandolin for the hard vegetables (carrot, daikon, ginger) and use a lot of aromatics (one whole bunch of fresh herbs per mix).
The general proportion for each filling mix is:
1 lb protein (ground raw meat or diced raw seafood or mushrooms)
2 cups of greens, composed of one whole bunch of minced herbs (such as chives or coriander) + a small amount finely shredded carrot/ Chinese celery/Napa cabbage/Chinese mushroom and or daikon
(1 egg optional)
2 Tb finely minced raw yellow or white onion
1 tsp+ of grated fresh ginger (approx half inch knob)
1 clove garlic finely minced
1 tsp of light soy sauce and/or Lea & Perrins
dash of white pepper
dash of sesame oil
pinch of salt
FAVORITE STUFFING MIXES
BEEF + CHINESE CHIVES with Chinese mushroom
CHICKEN + CORIANDER with Chinese celery
SHRIMP + CORIANDER with snowpea shoots
BAY SCALLOPS + THAI BASIL with carrot
For my vegetarian friends,
SUPER TRIPLE MUSHROOM MIX:
CHINESE BLACK MUSHROOM, BLACK WOOD EAR, WHITE SNOW FUNGUS, COOKED BOK CHOY OR SPINACH (squeezed dry), HARD SMOKED TOFU + CORIANDER
Raw egg binder is very beneficial to make the stuffing easier to handle. If the mix is slimy or too wet, add 2Tb of crumbled uncooked dry bean thread vermicelli or dry wakame seaweed. This will help the final texture. Throw it into the raw mix, let sit 10 minutes and allow it to absorb the excess moisture.
When I make a lot, they can get mixed up, so I give each dumpling type a unique shape.
Simple half moon = vegetable
Pleated half moon = seafood
Simple triangle = chicken
Pleated triangle = meat
light soy sauce + Chinese red or black vinegar + 1 finely sliced tiny fresh chili + drop of sesame oil