Tuesday, February 23, 2016
My Teochew family often makes a hot pot using pork broth, vegetables, pork balls, shrimp balls, fish balls, etc. on birthdays, holidays, family reunions and other special occasions. My mother gave me an electric Korean party cooker and it's perfect for two people. Today I decided to make a special hot pot using a blend of Teochew and shabu shabu style. Use any kind of vegetables you prefer to put inside the pot. I listed the ones I used below. If you can obtain Kobe beef that would be good. However, if you do not have access to this then use any good beef and thinly slice it. I find it is easier to slice meat paper thin when the meat is partially frozen, by putting it in a freezer for about 25-30 minutes.
When eating, just add a little of the vegetables, meat, tofu, and noodles into the pot at a time. This way the food is cooking while you are eating. The beauty about using an electric pot is that you can adjust the heat. I find that it is useful to have a little strainer to scoop up some of the fragile items such as tofu. I prefer eating a hot pot among family and friends and not strangers. Once I attended a wedding and one of the many dishes served at that event was a hot pot. I find it a bit awkward since I did not know everyone at the table and not everyone has the same eating etiquette. Here are a few tips when eating from a communal pot: Anyone can add food to the pot not just one person. This way everyone gets to eat. When sharing a pot among people it is good to use a separate chopstick to scoop out the contents and not use your own eating utensils that you put in your mouth and now use to dip in the same pot. This is a shared meal so try to refrain from eating all the best items yourself. Perhaps there are others sitting at the same table who may like all the items that you like.
My Hot Pot (serves 2)
Pork and Kelp Broth
3.5 lbs pork (leg) bones
70 grams dried kelp (you can use less but I want a strong taste), washed in cold water
4 quarts water
1 1/2 Tbsp miso paste
Use a large pot (preferably 8 quart pot), add the bones and just enough water to cover. Boil for about 5-7 minutes. Remove the bones and wash each of them under cold water. Wash the pot well. Return the cleaned bones to the cleaned pot and add 4 quart water. Once the water boils turn the heat to medium and let the bones simmer for about 1 hour. Occasionally skim the impurities that float to the top and discard. Next add the kelp. Cook for about 1/2 hour. Skim and discard any impurities that float to the top. Remove and discard the kelp. Add miso paste. Season with fish sauce and salt to your taste. Strain the broth directly into the hot pot.
Hot Pot Contents
List of ingredients that I used:
Kobe beef (slices)
Napa cabbage (sliced into 1 inch widths)
Baby daikon (radish) leaves
Baby spinach leaves
Firm tofu (cut into cubes)
Onion (cut into wedges)
Scallions (green part only, cut into 1 inch lengths)
*It's good to buy extra food this way you will not run out. I keep the extra items prepared/washed and ready to be taken out and eat as soon as anything runs low. The worst thing about eating a hot pot is that after eating all the food you are still hungry.
Use what you prefer.
I like to use a little soy sauce with or without hot chili.
Monday, February 8, 2016
My Lunar New Year Pork Dumplings
The Filling (enough for at least 60 dumplings)
1.23 lbs ground pork
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp Chinese rice wine
1/2 thumb sized ginger, peeled, finely grated
2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely grated
1/2 tsp chicken broth powder (non-MSG)
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 onion, finely chopped (or about 1/3 C)
1/3 C chopped scallions
1/3 C sliced garlic leaves
6 oz thinly sliced napa cabbage leaves
1 egg (yolk and white separated)--the egg white will help seal the dumpling skin
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1) Break the pork into small pieces. Add soy sauce, oil, wine, ginger, garlic, chicken broth powder, sugar, pepper, onion, scallions, and garlic leaves. Gently mix everything well. Add the cabbage leaves and gently mix all ingredients until well blended. Cover and store the filling in the refrigerator about an hour or overnight to marinade. I put my filling in the refrigerator overnight.
2) The next day I take out the filling and blend in an egg yolk. Next sprinkle in the cornstarch and mix gently all the ingredients are well blended.
I use a store purchased package of Gyoza Skin (dumpling skin, 14-oz) for this recipe. The skin is made mostly from wheat flour, water and salt. Place a dollop of filling (about 3/4 tablespoon) to the center of the dumpling skin. Brush or use your fingers to wet the outer 1/4 inch of the skin with the egg white. Fold the skin in half. Seal the top and then seal one side at a time to remove as much air out of the filling as you can. Seal tightly so they will not open up during cooking. Make sure that the rest of the skin is cover (I used a dry towel) while you work so that they do not dry out. After making each dumpling do the same so they do not dry out during the process.
Add about a tablespoon of oil to a heated non-stick pan. Once the oil is hot place each dumpling sitting down on a pan. I push the dumpling gently down using my fingers to a sitting position so they do not roll to the side. This way the bottom of my dumpling is golden and slightly crispy once cooked. I also like the way the top of the dumplings look as a result from pushing the top down. The amount of dumplings can be in a pan at one time is depending on the size of your pan. Try to avoid overcrowding the pan with too many dumplings since this will cool your pan. Once the bottom is golden in color I add a little water (about 1/4 cup if that) to the pan and cover the pan for about 4-5 minutes to steam. You may have to turn down the heat to medium if needed to prevent burning the dumplings. Once the dumplings are translucent, uncover the pan and let the liquid cook until it evaporates. Remove the dumplings from the pan and they are ready to eat!
The Dumpling Sauce
There are many sauces for dumplings. Here is one that I like with these particular dumplings. I use an equal amount of soy sauce and water. Sprinkle in some sugar to taste. Heat in a microwave about 20 seconds until the sugar dissolves. Adjust the ingredients as needed according to your taste buds. Add chili pepper or Sriracha sauce if interested.
Leftover Filling Sandwich (serves 1)
I made 50 dumplings and used the remaining filling to make a burger for my sandwich. I fried the burger until lightly brown and cooked thoroughly. I toasted 2 pieces of baguette, spread some mayonnaise on the sides, layer one side with baby arugula, sliced European cucumber, cilantro, and pickled carrots (made from vinegar, water and sugar). I like my sandwich a little spicy so I drizzle some of Sriracha hot sauce on top!
Sunday, February 7, 2016
Recently my neighbor Marshall made a tasty oyster stew. I don't normally eat cooked oysters but his stew was tasty and fresh. His stew prompted me to make this omelet. I decided that I want to start my new year by making some oyster omelets...ok, semi-scrambled oysters.
Marshall told me where he purchased the freshly shucked oysters. I have been to Al's Seafood in the past but only to buy fish. I called them and was told they do have freshly shucked oysters that came in last night. It's $8.99 for half a pint (price as of February 2016). I can buy whole ones and shuck them but I know that will take me forever. I used 3 jumbo eggs per serving. I use a fork to gently break the egg yolks and mix it slightly with the egg white. I avoid whisking the eggs too much. While cooking I used only chopsticks to move the eggs around in the hot pan. The whole cooking process took less than a minute. The result was light and fluffy eggs with just cooked oysters. I ate this over toasted baguette pieces.
Oyster Omelet (serves 1)
Toasted baguette pieces
3 jumbo eggs
2 Tbsp chopped scallions (green part only)
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1-2 pinches of sugar
4-5 oysters (strained from its liquid and removed any shell bits)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Tbsp butter
A sprinkle of ground black or white pepper (garnish)
1) Toast the baguette pieces and set aside.
2) In a medium sized bowl add eggs, scallions, cilantro, fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar. Gently break the egg yolks and slightly mix all ingredients together. Strain and drop the oysters in the bowl.
3) Heat a non-stick pan with oil and butter. Once the oil is hot pour in the egg mixture over the entire pan. Move the contents around and remove from heat once the eggs and oysters are just cooked. Pour the cooked omelet over the toasted baguettes. Sprinkle pepper over it.
How I Prefer to Eat My Shucked Oysters...
Yes, I do shuck my own oysters once in a great while...especially when I want to lose weight!! I am such a slow shucker that I really believe that I lose calories as I shuck my next oyster! When I go to restaurants I am always amazed by the skilled fast shuckers. You know when you see them. They shuck beautiful and clean oysters for you. This batch below are the ones that I shucked myself. I like to eat all kind of fresh oysters. Most of the time I like them simply with just a squeeze of lime juice. Here I added lime juice and a little kick with a dollop of Sriracha sauce. Instead of ice I put these on re-usable frozen packs; works great!