Archive | January, 2012

Spa Splurge

26 Jan

Courtesy Seventeen magazine circa 1980-something:

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Curried Chicken Dumplings

24 Jan

Always on the lookout for shui mai with a twist. Confession: have not tried this yet, but fear losing the recipe if we don’t post it!

CURRIED CHICKEN FILLING WITH CARROTS AND BASIL
Makes about 11/2 cups, enough for 32 dumplings or 16 shao mai

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, minced (½ cup)
1 small celery stalk, minced (¼ cup)
1 small clove garlic, minced (at least
½ teaspoon)
2 medium carrots, shredded (about
1 cup)
½ teaspoon Thai red curry paste
3 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
6 ounces ground chicken
2 teaspoons fish sauce
½ teaspoon curry powder
2 tablespoons shredded fresh basil leaves
1. Heat oil in large skillet. Add onions, celery,
and garlic; sauté until almost softened, about 3 minutes. Add carrots; sauté until vegetables
soften, about 2 minutes longer. Add curry paste and coconut milk; cook over medium-
high heat, stirring to incorporate curry paste, until most of coconut milk has been absorbed.
Transfer vegetable mixture to a bowl; cool to room temperature.
2. Mix in remaining ingredients. Let stand about 30 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to make dumplings.

SOY-GINGER DIPPING SAUCEMakes 1 cup
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
2½ teaspoons sugar
½ medium scallion, minced
2 teaspoons finely shredded fresh
ginger
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon chile oil
Bring soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and ¼ cup water to boil over medium heat, stirring briefly, until sugar dissolves. Pour into bowl; stir in scallion, ginger, and sesame and chile oils. Can be covered and refrigerated overnight.

Gung Hay Fat Choy

23 Jan

Celebrate Chinese New Year circa 1985ish with these vintage pages from Seventeen magazine.

Year of the Dragon

20 Jan

Monday may be the start of the Year of the Dragon, but around here, it’s going to be Year of the Dumpling.

We love the colour and excitement of Chinatown during the lunar new year celebration. And as much as we adore the cacophany of packed restaurants and all the tastes, we’re always inspired to try our hand at home with some exotic recipes.
We’ve been making traditional shu mai and har gow at home for years. But the idea of using chopped boneless country-style pork ribs and combining with gelatin might be our most authentic shu mai yet.

And there are some exciting new wave recipes we’re dying to finally try. Cook’s Illustrated has an interesting curried chicken with carrots and basil.

And for those too lazy to fill another dumpling wrapper, we have some chicken balls combining colourful shredded carrot and green onion, and turkey scallion balls with soy-ginger glaze.

So to start, here is Cook’s Illustrated’s take using a food processor to grind boneless country-style ribs in two batches: one chunky and one fine. Once combined, the smaller pieces helped hold the larger bits together and add a pleasant textural contrast. A mixture of powdered gelatin and cornstarch keeps the filling moist.

Do not trim the excess fat from the ribs; it contributes flavor and moistness. Use any size shrimp except popcorn shrimp; there’s no need to halve shrimp smaller than 26 to 30 per pound before processing.
Makes about 40 dumplings, serving 6 to 8 as an appetizer

Steamed Chinese Dumplings (Shu Mai)
From Cook’s Illustrated September 1, 2010
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
1 pound boneless country-style pork ribs , cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled, tails removed and halved lengthwise
1/4 cup water chestnuts , chopped
4 dried shiitake mushroom caps (about 3/4 ounce), soaked in hot water 30 minutes, squeezed dry, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon Chinese rice cooking wine (Shaoxing) or dry sherry
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1(1 pound) package 5 1/2 inch square egg roll wrappers
1/4 cup carrot, finely grated

Combine soy sauce and gelatin in small bowl. Set aside to allow gelatin to bloom, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place half of pork in food processor and pulse until coarsely ground into approximate 1/8-inch pieces, about ten 1-second pulses; transfer to large bowl. Add shrimp and remaining pork to food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped into approximate ¼-inch pieces, about five 1-second pulses. Transfer to bowl with more finely ground pork. Stir in soy sauce mixture, water chestnuts, mushrooms, cornstarch, cilantro, sesame oil, wine, vinegar, sugar, ginger, salt, and pepper.

Divide egg roll wrappers into 3 stacks (6 to 7 per stack). Using 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut two 3-inch rounds from each stack of egg roll wrappers (you should have 40 to 42 rounds). Cover rounds with moist paper towels to prevent drying.

Working with 6 rounds at a time, brush edges of each round lightly with water. Place heaping tablespoon of filling into center of each round. Following illustrations below, form dumplings, crimping wrapper around sides of filling and leaving top exposed. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with damp kitchen towel, and repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. Top center of each dumpling with pinch of grated carrot.

Cut piece of parchment slightly smaller than diameter of steamer basket and place in basket. Poke about 20 small holes in parchment and lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray. Place batches of dumplings on parchment liner, making sure they are not touching. Set steamer over simmering water and cook, covered, until no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes.

Serve immediately with chili oil.

Dragon Bowls

9 Jan

In the dead of winter comes a rainbow of veggies and a sunny sesame ginger sauce to perk you up.

Dragon bowls come in all shapes and sizes, but the classic combination of warm brown rice and grilled tofo with cool crunchy fresh vegetables and dreamy sauce can’t be beat.

Here are some variations for inspiration.

Vancouver’s The Naam bottles their miso gravy, which is a delicious topper. But below are a few home variations.
Here is a clone:

4 Tbsp miso paste
2 cup veg bouillon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup honey or maple syrup
2 tsp sambal olek (chili paste)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup water

Mix all ingredients except flour and water in a small saucepan. Heat on medium until just before boiling. Turn the heat down, mix the flour and water together well until smooth, then slowly add to the gravy while whisking gently. Continue to stir until the gravy reaches a good thickness, then serve.

RICE BOWL WITH GRILLED TOFU, SWEET POTATOES AND PEANUT SAUCE
Bonnie Stern, National Post
1½ cups white or brown basmati rice
2 ½ cups cold water
Peanut sauce
¼ cup each peanut butter and coconut milk
3 tbsp each hoisin sauce and water
1 tbsp each roasted sesame oil and seasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp Thai curry paste
Tofu and vegetables
½ lb firm tofu, cut into pieces roughly 2-inch square and ½-inch thick
1 sweet potato, peeled and sliced ½-inch thick
1 small bunch broccoli or asparagus, trimmed
thin cucumber slices, grated carrots, sliced green onions, optional
Place rice in a sieve and rinse until water runs clear. Place in a medium saucepan and add cold water. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and cook gently 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat but let stand, covered, 10 minutes longer. (For brown rice, use 3 cups water and cook 45 minutes.)
Whisk peanut butter with coconut milk and add hoisin sauce, water, sesame oil, vinegar and curry paste.
Arrange tofu, sweet potato slices and broccoli on a roasting pan lined with parchment paper. Brush with a little peanut sauce. Roast 15 to 20 minutes in a preheated 425F oven until lightly browned and sweet potatoes are tender.
Top rice with tofu and vegetables. Drizzle with peanut sauce. Makes 3 to 4 servings
_______________________________
The Dragon Bowl
From Share Organics
This recipe makes a meal in a bowl. Serve it hot with the dressing below or with broth as soup. Try it cold as a salad. Choose your favourite vegetables and make it with long Chinese noodles, rice noodles or brown rice! Mix up the dressing as follows:
3/4 cup rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 cup flax or olive oil
4 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup tamari
5 Tbsp. lemon, Lime or orange juice
3 Tbsp. tahini (raw sesame butter)
2 Tbsp. grated ginger
2-3 cloves garlic
1 cup hot vegetable broth
Mix together well.
Layer your Dragon bowl as follows
Cooked long Chinese or rice noodles
Raw or steamed vegetable.
Grated Daiken
Shredded red cabbage
Grated carrots
OR
Steam:
Carrots
Broccoli
Zucchini
Tofu cubes
3. Shake on some of the sauce.
4. Garnish with parsley or green onion and a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds.

Detox Salad

2 Jan

Featuring broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, sunflower seeds, currants, parsley, lemon juice, raisins, kelp granules, salt and pepper

DETOX SALAD
Inspired by Whole Foods Detox Salad
2 cups cauliflower (about 1/3 of a medium-sized cauliflower)
2 cups broccoli
2 medium grated carrots
¼ cup dried currants
1/3 cup raisins
½ cup sunflower seeds
2 tsp kelp granules (NOTE: kelp granules do have a fairly distinct sea vegetable-like smell, so you definitely don’t need to use very much!)
½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/3 cup lemon juice
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Chop the broccoli and cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. In batches, transfer to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until small pieces form. (You can also do this with the broccoli stems instead of throwing them out or trying to find another use for them!)

In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, cauliflower, grated carrots, and all remaining ingredients. Toss very well to combine, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow flavours to blend.

New Year’s Detox

2 Jan

new years chix soup
No shortage of healthy, lo-cal ideas to ease into the new year.

We weaned ourselves off shortbread and eggnog New Year’s Day with black-eyed pea dip while a pot of soothing chicken soup bubbled away on the stovetop. Golden goodness. We forgot to add lemon, as this recipe does. Next time!

LEMONY CHICKEN SOUP
1 onion, whole
3 celery stalks, whole
3 carrots, sliced
1 3 lb. chicken, or chicken thighs with skin and bone in
10-12 cups of water
salt and pepper
2 tsp Lawrey’s seasoning salt
1 cup rice, uncooked
1 cup fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper chicken parts and fry in oil until browned. Remove pieces to a clean plate and drain excess oil. Add chicken in large stock pot. Add onion, celery, carrots, water and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until chicken falls off bone, 45 minutes to an hour.

Remove chicken to rest. When cool enough to handle, shred meat and set aside. Discard celery and onion. Strain carrots and set aside.

Return broth to stock pot. Bring to simmer. Add rice and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Return chicken and carrots to pot. Add lemon juice. Simmer for 5 minutes and serve.