Wednesday, January 25, 2012
New Year's Dumplings and Wok Fried Noodles and a Guest Post from Gastronome Tart
I'm so excited to share this guest post today from my friend Amy over at the beautiful blog Gastronome Tart. Amy is such a talented cook and baker and I feel like I learn so much from her about organic cooking and foreign cuisine since Amy is such an avid traveler! Amy lives close to me so we and our friend Courtney from the food blog Cook Like a Champion have a ball getting together periodically to find a new little restaurant or bakery haunt and talk about life and food blogging.
In case you're wondering where I am this week, it's my 5th anniversary and my husband and I are having a little anniversary trip to New York City. It was great being there for the Chinese New Year and when Amy told me she wanted to make dumplings to celebrate I thought that was a fantastic idea. They are one of my all-time favorite foods and I told Amy that one of the things I was looking forward to most was eating basically my weight in dumplings (yes, I'll just go ahead and admit that) since there are so many fantastic dumpling bars and spots in New York that are like nothing we can get back home-- so her post was a perfect choice!
So, enjoy these delicious recipes from Amy and while you're at it, go on over to her blog and say Hey!
Guest Post: A Chinese New Years Celebration
Hello to all you Ryan Bakes readers! Or shall I say Ni Hao (Chinese for Hello)? What an honor to be asked by Ryan to provide a guest post while she is away. Ryan sure has some talent in the kitchen and I can attest to that not only by reading all of her wonderful posts, but by tasting some of her delicious goodies as well (remember those delicious Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Bars? To die for. Literally!) She has become a great blogging friend whom I have been able to toss ideas back and forth with not only through the online world, but in person as we live not that far away from each other. So, when she asked me if I wanted to do a post while she was away, I didn't hesitate. Of course!
As many of you know, January 23rd, marks the Chinese New Year's and if you any of you follow my blog (or even if you do not. Welcome!) I am a complete sucker for travel and new food experiences. Having been to Beijing in April of 2010, I have always made it a point to celebrate this beautiful holiday.
Chinese New Year is completely different from Westernized versions of a new year's. It is more about family and friends and ushering in a new year with new and renewed hope for all thing's good in the coming year. The Chinese also take this holiday very seriously. Almost to the same degree that we take Christmas and Hanukkah.
This year, we will be ushering in the year of the dragon. The dragon symbolizes power, benevolence, graciousness and wisdom. Other symbols that you may see is the color red which symbolizes prosperity due to the fact that many years ago, it was made from carnelian which was a very important and valuable mineral. As well as a full moon because the new year always is the first day of the lunar new year. Which is why you may notice a lot of round shapes which are thought to bring luck.
Whichever symbolism you may take into your home for the holiday, nothing says Chinese New Year more than the meal and as any gastronome can attest to, that is the best part right? I was in search of many ingredients for this meal that could not be found at our regular grocery store. Due to this, I made my first trip to an Asian super market and I absolutely LOVED it. As I scavenged the shelves of the market trying to make sense of this bottle of sauce from that (English? Forget it!) it transported me back to my time in China. A beautiful country with excellent food and traditions.
I have been holding onto these two recipes for the past couple of years in anticipation to make for Chinese New Year's. Not only did they live up to the idea of what I thought they would taste like, they were surprisingly easy to make. Although I must admit that the prep was a bit time consuming, it cooked up very fast.
A few items from the Asian Market: Mushrooms, dumpling skins, lotus root, Chinese celery, oyster sauce & Shao Hsing Wine)
For this celebration I chose to make New Year's Dumplings because round dumplings signify family reunion. Northern Chinese families traditionally spend New Year's Eve preparing the dumplings which are then eaten at midnight. Crescent- shaped dumplings are a symbol of wealth and prosperity.This dumpling was prepared with garlic chives which symbolize eternity.The noodle recipe was chosen because long noodles symbolize a long life so do not cut them and as the Chinese would say on this day: Gong Xi Fa Tsai! Which means congratulations and be prosperous!
New Year's Dumpling
Makes about 40 dumplings
Recipe adapted by: Martha Stewart
1 small head Napa cabbage (about 1.5 pounds) trimmed and finely chopped
1 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 ground pork
1/3 pound garlic chives, trimmed and minced
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, plus more for sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine or sake
2 tablespoons peeled and minced ginger
1 tablespoon cornstarch, plus more for dusting
40 round dumpling or gyoza skins
2 tablespoons safflower oil, plus more if needed
2 1/4 cups water
1. In a medium bowl, combine cabbage and 1 teaspoon salt. Toss to combine. Let stand, at room temperature for about 1 hour. Squeeze liquid from cabbage and transfer to a large bowl.
2. Add pork, chives, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, ginger, cornstarch, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Combine thoroughly using your hands or a wooden spoon. The mixture should be rather thick and sticky.
3. Lightly dust a baking sheet with cornstarch. Place about 1 1/2 teaspoons of filling in the center of the dumpling skin. Use your finger or a pastry brush to moisten the edge of the dumpling skin with water. Fold skin over filling to form a half-moon shape. Press edges to seal. Place on a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining filling and dumpling sauce.
4. To make the dumpling sauce; In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup water and remaining 1/2 cup soy sauce. If desired, add a little sesame oil; set aside.
5. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of safflower oil over medium-high heat. Add half of the dumplings, folded edge down, placing close together so they stand up and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a moderate boil, and cook until skins are translucent and filling is cooked through 7-10 minutes.
6. Uncover and allow liquid to evaporate. Loosen dumplings from the pan with a spatula, adding a small amount of safflower oil, if necessary. Continue cooking until bottoms of dumplings re-crisp about 1 minute more. Turn out onto a serving platter. Repeat with remaining oil, dumplings and water. Serve hot with dipping sauce.
Wok-Fried Long Life Noodles with New Year Vegetables
Recipe from Jo Ng of Chinatown Brasserie in NYC
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for frying
6-8 (1/8 inch thick) slices lotus root
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
2.5 ounces Chinese Celery, julienned into 1.5 inch long pieces
2 ounces yellow leeks, julienned into 1.5 inch pieces
2 ounces shiitake mushroom caps
2 ounces black trumpet mushrooms
2 ounces snow peas, julienned
1 tablespoon Shao Hsing wine
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons chicken broth
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounce E-Fu noodles, reconstituted according to directions
3 drops white truffle oil
8-10 scallions, white and light-green parts only, julienned
1. Heat a large skillet with high heat filled with 1/2 inch high vegetable oil until it reaches 250 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer. Add lotus root and fry until golden brown; transfer to paper towel lined plates to drain.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring until golden brown. Add celery, leeks, broth, both mushrooms, snow peas, and wine; cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl; set vegetable mixture aside.
3. Add chicken broth, oyster sauce, sugar and salt to pan. Add noodles and cook, tossing constantly, until liquid is absorbed,about 1 minute. Return vegetable mixture to pan and cook, stirring, until liquid is absorbed, add truffle oil and remove from heat.
4. Serve noodles immediately, garnished with fried lotus root and scallions.