Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wor tip / Potstickers ( And a blah video on how to pleat it )

So I tried making dumpling wrapper from scratch but alas , my first attempt turned out to be a disappointment . The dough is too sticky to handle even adding some much needed flour , I really hate to throw the dough away but I didn't have a patience to handle a temperamental ( meh ! ) dough that day . So I chucked it out , went out to buy the ready-made wrapper  . It cost me HK $ 8. for 1/2 pound , at least 40 pieces , 2 1/2-inch in diameter ( not really sure about the size , I always forget to measure it ) .  I may try to make it from scratch in the near future just in case I'll be marooned somewhere and I can't find some dumpling wrapper but for now , I'll rather buy it than making a mess in the kitchen .

They call it wor tip ( pronounced wo tip ) in Cantonese . Potstickers are pan-fried meat and vegetable-filled dumplings - shallow fried in oil first to make the bottom brown , a small amount of water is added and then covered . The dumplings are usually arranged in a platter , browned side up and served with ginger-vinegar dipping sauce . When I cook it , I always pan-fry each side before and after adding the water , the skin is a bit crispier that way .

You can customize the filling according to your preference , use more vegetable than pork , note that after blanching and squeezing water off the veggie , it'll weigh less than the pork . Or if you like a meatless version , try tofu , mushroom and pak choi filling .

I made a few seconds tutorial on how to pleat a potsticker . The video though is blah , it was a challenge to make a video when you're doing it for the first time and nobody will clue you that you need to move to the right lol

The filling is enough for 35-40 pieces ( 2 1/2-inch ) wrapper 

300 grams baby pak choi 
250 grams ground pork 
15 grams dried shrimps , soaked and finely chopped
15 grams chopped spring onions
5 grams finely chopped ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon raw sugar 
1/2 teaspoon chicken powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt 
a generous dash of ground white pepper 

* Blanch pak choi in a lightly salted boiling water , drain , rinse and squeezed out the liquid thoroughly or put the blanched pak choi in a clean tea towel and squeeze the dickens out of it . Chop blanched pak choi and set aside . 

* In a bowl , combine ground pork , shrimps , spring onions , ginger , rice wine , sesame oil , sugar . chicken powder , salt and pepper , mix thoroughly and adjust taste . Add in the chopped pak choi and mix well . 

* Take one wrapper , put a generous teaspoon ( cutlery ) of filling in the middle , moisten the upper half of the wrapper and fold the into half-moon . Starting from the left side , pleat the seam closed , making 5 to 7 or 8 pleats . Repeat with the rest until the filling are used up . You can pan-fry the dumplings right away . If you're planning to freeze it , lay dumplings in a baking sheet , spacing them evenly and put it in the freezer , uncovered until dumplings are hard . Take out from the freezer and drop the baking sheet to the kitchen counter or table to loosen the dumplings , transfer to the freezer-proof container or a Ziplock bag and freeze until needed . No need to defrost dumplings , you can either pan-fry or boil it straight from the freezer .  

* In a non-stick pan , over medium-high heat , add about 2 tablespoons of oil , when oil is hot , place 12 dumplings , spacing them apart , in the pan and pan-fry until bottom is lightly-browned ( fry all sides , if desired ) . Add 1/3 cup water ( if using frozen dumplings , add a bit more water )  and turn heat down to medium and cover the pan , cook until water evaporates . Reduce heat to low and cook until dumplings are golden brown on the bottom . Serve hot . 

For the spicy ginger-vinegar dipping sauce ( enough for 12 dumplings ) 

* In a small bowl , combine 2 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar , 1 teaspoon each of light and dark soy sauce , 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped ginger , 1 teaspoon chopped spring onion , 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic , 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon chilli-garlic sauce , mix well .  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ajitsuke tamago / Japanese marinated soft-boiled eggs

As promised , here's the recipe for the marinated soft-boiled eggs . Chashu will be posted sometime next month , hopefully ?!  Hey , it's Lent so , no meat until Sunday . Yeah right , this from somebody who is a lapsed Catholic .

With so many recipes for making soft-boiled eggs online , stay away for those overly complicated instructions , use a thermometer to boil water , steam the eggs instead of boiling ,  only use fresh eggs ( okay , I used fresh eggs ) use a thumbtack to poke a hole in the egg , yada yada ugh ! Making soft-boiled eggs don't have to be stressful !

I admit that I did poke a hole in the egg but after nearly a minute of doing it and the pin couldn't get through the egg shell so , I nixed the idea . The reason for that according to some , so that you can easily peel off the egg shell . Well , I used fresh eggs and the shells peeled off easily , no snag whatsoever !

I did get some pointers at Cookpad , check out that Japanese food recipe community . Loads of amazing and easy to cook Japanese dish !

The marinade is the same ingredients as the one that I used last time for both chashu and the eggs . I scaled down the recipe this time .

Fancy only a soft-boiled egg ? Don't use the marinade - no fuss , no muss  ^___^

Makes 1 1/2 cups 

150 ml water
50 ml light soy sauce
75 ml cooking sake
50 ml mirin 
35 grams Chinese slab sugar ( or rock sugar / light brown sugar / granulated sugar )
2 cloves garlic , skin on 
1 shallot , skin on and cut in half
1 x 1/2-inch ginger , skin on 
1 stalk spring onion , cut into sections

* Put all ingredients in a small saucepan , let boil then simmer over low heat for 5 minutes . Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely . 

* Boil water , take out 5 eggs ( or depending how many you want to cook ) ) from the fridge , wash them ( if prefer ) . Put eggs in  a large slotted ladle and gently drop them to the boiling water , turn down heat to medium and cook , for 6 1/2 minutes , ( don't cover the pot ) stirring from time to time . 

* Meanwhile prepare a bowl with cold water ( use tap water if it is cold or use an ice water bath ) . Transfer eggs to the cold water and let stand for 3 minutes . Pour the marinade into a plastic food bag , use a deep bowl to hold it . Crack egg then gently peel off the shell and into the marinade , repeat with the rest of the eggs . Tie plastic , remove as much air as you can so that all eggs are evenly submerged into the marinade ) . Let them sit for several hours or overnight . 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Thai-style chicken wings

Sometimes all you need is some good ol' fried chicken to get through the day .

It's the time of the month .....

Nah , that's my usual spiel whenever I have this urge to eat unhealthy food lol

I carted several new cookbooks from the library few day ago and the cover of one of the book caught my greedy eye . Yeah , fried chicken wings in all its glory ! 

I give myself a good talking to that I need bake a cake or cupcakes so that I can practice my piping skills , it leaves a lot to be desired *sigh* 

The decision is a no-brainer ! 

The recipe is quiet simple and without batter or coating . I want some crispy and crunchy wings so I stole this batter recipe from She Simmers . She used limestone water for her chicken batter and rice flour for coating , and that makes fried chicken stays crisp for a longer time . I don't even knew what limestone is nor where to buy it but combining baking soda and water as a sub will work as well . 

These wings are even better than the Vietnamese wings that I made last time ! The flavor is much more lighter , I think the coriander roots and lime juice balances the strong taste of Thai fish sauce . 

Seriously appetizing with a delightful crispy crunch and not recommended by doctors these wings made my day  ^___^''

Recipe adapted from A Celebration of Food

 1 kg chicken wings , wing tips removed I used mid-joint wings only
2 garlic cloves , peeled I used 5 cloves 
2 red bird's-eye chillies , finely minced 
The roots of several sprigs of fresh coriander roots , finely chopped 6 coriander roots
80 ml Thai fish sauce
20 grams granulated sugar raw sugar
20 ml fresh lime juice 25 ml 
a pinch of ground white pepper
Cooking oil , for frying 

For the batter ( Please check full recipe here )

3/4 cup rice flour
scant 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon chicken powder
1/2 cup water mix with 1 teaspoon baking soda 

Dry coating : 1 cup rice flour

*  Place garlic , chilli(es) and coriander roots  in a mortar and grind to a paste . Mix this paste with the fish sauce , sugar , lime juice and pepper . Add wings and stir to combine . Cover with plastic wrap and chill for several hours , mixing occasionally . 

* Take out chicken from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking .  

* Whisk batter ingredients together , the batter will be thin . Drop each piece of wings into the batter ( no need to wipe off marinade ) and coat battered chicken with rice flour , shake off excess flour . Lay each piece in a baking sheet to dry out , 15-20 minutes , before frying . 

* Meanwhile , heat oil , when oil is hot , drop each wings gently . Cook in batches ( but not too many at the same time ; this will lower the oil's temperature and will result in soggy coating ) until wings are cooked through . When all wings are done , turn up heat and gently drop the wings to the oil , again in batches , until crisp and golden brown , drain on paper towel . Serve hot with either Thai fish sauce or a drizzle of fresh lime juice .