Spicy Fish Dumplings

Spicy Fish Dumplings
Spicy Fish Dumplings
Spicy Fish Dumplings
Spicy Fish Dumplings
Spicy Fish Dumplings
Spicy Fish Dumplings
Spicy Fish Dumplings
Spicy Fish Dumplings
Spicy Fish Dumplings
Spicy Fish Dumplings

Have you ever heard of Scott’s Pizza Tours? In a nutshell, a guy named Scott takes people on a tour of the best pizza in New York City. He’s essentially a pizza genius/lover and knows all these random tidbits about the history of pizza. We watched a documentary about him a few months ago and I thought it was the absolute coolest job! Like, isn’t it the dream to be able to educate people on something that you truly love? And that one thing is something that you can eat AND you get to eat it everyday?!!! IfSounds like the perfect job to me!

I’ve played around with the idea of “Eat Cho Dumpling Tours”, where I would take people around Clement Street tasting all the best dumplings this little neighborhood has to offer. We’ve lived in Inner Richmond for almost 3 years now and have generated some strong opinions on the dumpling offers on Clement Street. Good Luck Dim Sum is hands down the best spot on the Street. Gourmet Dim Sum is where you go on Tuesdays when Good Luck Dim Sum is closed or if the line there is insanely long. Xiao Long Bao has awesome xiao long boa, as their name would imply, but they also have the best crispy dim sum options like shen jian boa or flakey green onion pancakes. Then there is Wing Lee Bakery that is overall pretty OKAY, but has char siu bao (bbq pork buns) the size of your face. It’s hard to resist a bun the size of your face.

I talk about dumplings and the love I have for my neighborhood to literally anyone who would listen. My coworker, Emily, probably heard enough of me just yaking away about all the delicious dumplings a block from my apartment and wanted to see it for herself. So Reuben and I took her and her husband on the very first “Eat Cho Dumpling Tour” ever! It was so much fun! I was so full afterwards… oof. It’s nice to have 2 other hungry people around so that we can order more items to share and try more types of dumplings! We went to all our favorite spots and ordered all our favorite dumplings. We also got to stop at the farmers market, the asian homegoods store, our weird “aquarium” pet store place, and the trendy-nice-smelling store in the neighborhood. So all the Inner Richmond highlights. We actually ended our tour at Good Luck Dim Sum and brought it back to our apartment to eat, since it was a little crowded and we were all on the verge of turning into literal dumplings. At least I was.

I would say the first tour was a success! However, I think I need to work on my self control or figure out a one dumpling per tour stop rule before making this a thing. That or start going to the gym every single day.

Okay, lets switch gears from eating dumplings to making dumplings! Well, we’re going to eat these too… These Spicy Fish Dumplings are borderline too spicy for me, but I’m a major spice wimp. But they are just so good that I push through the burning sensation. They have a gentle heat that sort of grows as you eat more and more dumplings. The heat comes from thinly sliced thai bird chilies. Be careful with those guys and watch your eyeballs! The heat of the chilies pair super well with the light and mild white fish and fresh cabbage. The filling is wrapped with a beet dyed wheat starch dough that turns from a fun pink into a gorgeous red color after it’s steamed! Reuben was incredibly happy with these dumps and with the fact that I’ve been make more spicy food. I’ll just need to keep more milk or vanilla ice cream on hand. I support more ice cream!


Spicy Fish Dumpling

makes 32 dumplings

for the filling:

3/4 lb tilapia or sole (any light white fish)
3 minced garlic cloved
2 tbsp minced ginger
1 cup thinly chopped napa cabbage
2 thai bird chilies finely minced
1/4 cup green onions (whites + greens)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 egg

for the wrapper:

1 1/2 cup wheat starch
2 tsp beet powder (optional for color)
pinch of salt
1 cup just boiled water
4 tsp olive oil

steps:

  1. Start by preparing your dumpling filling. Cut your fish into 1/2”x1/2” pieces. Place in a medium bowl. Add in minced garlic, minced ginger, chopped napa cabbage, thai bird chilies, green onions, salt, white pepper, soy sauce, cornstarch, and egg. Give it all a good mix until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

  2. While the fish filling is marinating, making your dough. Add wheat starch, salt, and beet powder into a large bowl. Give it a quick mix. Make a well in the middle of the wheat starch. Slowly pour in the just boiled water and gently mixed in the wheat starch with a wooden spoon until the water is absorbed. It will still look dry and crumbly. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the wheat starch to steam for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes add in olive oil and start to knead the dough with your hands. Knead for a few minutes until you get a smooth dough. It will resemble playdough! If the dough feels a little dry add another teaspoon of olive oil. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.

  3. Remove the fish filling from the fridge. Drain off any extra liquid produced from the cabbage. Set aside.

  4. Divide the dough in half. Roll out half the dough into a 1” coil and cut into 16 equal pieces. Do the same with the second half. Take 1 portion of dough and roll out into a 3”-4” circle. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling into the wrapper. Carefully pinch the dough round into a triangle shape or fold of your choosing. Pinch the seams tightly to seal. Repeat with the remaining dumplings and place on a baking tray. Cover dumplings with a clean kitchen towel so they don’t dry out.

  5. Bring a pot of water to boil. Line a bamboo steamer (same width as your pot) with parchment paper or cabbage leaves. Place a few dumplings in the steamer. Dumpling should not be touching. Place the steamer with lid on top of the pot and steam for 7-8 minutes. Repeat with remaining dumplings or freeze for later.

  6. Eat immediately and enjoy with soy sauce.

Sticky Rice Stuffed Eggplant

Sticky Rice Stuffed Eggplant
Sticky Rice Stuffed Eggplant
Sticky Rice Stuffed Eggplant
Sticky Rice Stuffed Eggplant
Sticky Rice Stuffed Eggplant
Sticky Rice Stuffed Eggplant
Sticky Rice Stuffed Eggplant
Sticky Rice Stuffed Eggplant

The month of October is always such a weird time. While the rest of the country is cozying up in their chunky sweaters with a big warm pot of stew on the stove, it's hot as heck in San Francisco. Is it raining and dreary where you are? I want a chilly rainy afternoon so bad! October is our one month of summer, what people call an Indian Summer. You can go out all day without a jacket! GASP. During the months of July through September it's actually really chilly and foggy. Those are the months where my pho intake spikes. I so desperately want to get into the Autumn spirit, but the fact that it's 80 degrees and incredibly sunny doesn't really make me want to turn on the oven or sweat my face off stirring a chickpea stew for hours (ooooo, that does sound good to me though). The only way I even know it's Fall is either through Instagram, PSL ads at Starbucks, and by visiting Trader Joe's. The air is heavy with the scent of cinnamon broom sticks, the squash display is literally overflowing, and every single snack item is pumpkin spice flavored. I'll try to push through the heat of the oven and repress my desires to make popsicles every day... unless you really want some popsicle recipes. You tell me!

This sticky rice stuffed eggplant situation is definitely worth turning on the oven though! One of my favorite dishes to get at dim sum (I have a lot) is sticky rice! There are typically two versions. One version is wrapped in a lotus leaf (Lo Mai Gai) and steamed as a packet, the lotus leaf imparts a really lovely herbal flavor to the rice. I want to try making that one day! The other version is sticky rice stuffed into a glass bowl (Lo Mai Fon) and inverted to make a perfect dome of rice. That one is a favorite among the cousins at the table. Both are similar, but also very different in flavor and texture.

I took inspiration from the latter version and paired it with one of my favorite autumn produce staples. The mighty eggplant! You can get regular eggplants pretty much all year round, but this season is when they really start to sing and you find the most beautiful varieties at the farmer's markets. I picked up some magical fairytale eggplants at the market this weekend to stuff with sticky rice. The eggplants are hollowed out and roasted in the oven until they get nice and tender. The eggplant innards are chopped up and cooked up with shiitake mushrooms and Chinese sausage before getting mixed in with the cooked sticky rice. Chinese sausage is a pretty key ingredient in this recipe. If you haven't had Chinese sausage or lap ceung before, it is cured pork sausage that's both salty and sweet. I grew up not really liking it because I was a somewhat picky eater, but I've since grown to love it! 

Once you've mixed together the sticky rice, you can technically stop and eat it now. BUT the magic is when you stuff the eggplant and put it back into the oven to crisp up. I highly recommend allowing some of the extra rice to fall off the eggplant and land on the baking tray because those bits are going to be the best part. Imagine insanely crispy and crunchy rice and pork bits that are reminiscence of those coveted crispy corner pieces of lasagna or baked pasta. Aaaaahhh drooling just thinking about it.


Sticky Rice Stuffed Eggplant

serves 2 - 4

Materials:

2 medium sized eggplants
1 cup glutinous sticky rice
1.5 cups water
8 shiitake mushrooms
2 Chinese sausages
1/3 cup chopped green onions (whites and greens) + more for garnish
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp + 2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
olive oil

Steps:

  1. Heat your oven to 375 degrees. Trim the stem off your eggplants. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise. With a sharp paring knife, cut on the cut face an outline about 1/2” from the edge of eggplant, be careful not to cut all the way through. Cut and score the flesh of the eggplant. Scoop out the flesh of the eggplant and set aside. This part is always a little tough, but you’ll get through it! Once the eggplants have been hollowed out, Place on a baking tray, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt. Roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes until tender.

  2. While the eggplants are roasting, prepare your sticky rice filling. Wash rice 2-3 times until the water runs somewhat clear. Drain rinsing water. Cook rice in a rice cooker with 1 1/2 cups of water until done.

  3. Dice up remaining eggplant into bite sized pieces, set aside. Dice up shiitake mushrooms into 1/2” cubes, included stems, and set aside. Slice the Chinese sausage at an angle into 1/4” slices and set aside.

  4. Heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Once hot add in mushrooms and eggplant. Season with a bit of salt and a light dash of white pepper. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add in 1/4 cup of water and cover with a lid. Allow vegetables to steam for 4 minutes covered. Remove lid and let the water evaporate. Add in a little bit more oil and add in Chinese sausage and green onions. Sauté for another 5 minutes. Add in cooked sticky rice. Season with 2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp white pepper, and 2 tbsp oyster sauce. Give it a good mix until everything is evenly incorporated. Take the sticky rice filling off the heat.

  5. Remove the eggplants from the oven. Crank up the heat to 425 degrees. Carefully stuff the eggplants with sticky rice. If you have some extra sticky rice, you can either eat it straight or place the rice directly on the tray for some extra crispy bits! Place the stuffed eggplants back in the oven and bake for 10 minutes until crisp.

  6. Allow the eggplants to cool and then serve!

Pan Seared Cheung Fun Noodle Rolls

Pan Seared Cheung Noodle Rolls
Pan Seared Cheung Fun Noodle Rolls
Pan Seared Cheung Fun Noodle Rolls

Long time no see! Two weekends ago I spent the whole time working on a bunch of recipes for you guys and each one of them failed miserably. MIS.ER.AB.LY. So since then I’ve taken a little break from the kitchen, more specifically from baking. Every once in a while I need to step away from the blog and just make delicious food that doesn’t need to be photo ready or meticulously styled. This little break came at the perfect time too, because a bunch of Reuben’s college friends have been in town for the last week for a wedding! I felt present and totally ready to talk to strangers, eat a lot of good food, and drink moderately… sort of. For 5 nights straight we stayed out to at least 10 pm (omg) and I had at least one alcoholic drink (omggg). My inner 80 year old felt like she was going to keel over. But I survived! For a few hours on Sunday I wasn’t so sure about that.

A 2 week break is sort of enough for me though. I'm itching to pick up my camera again and practice the intricate dumpling folds I've been obsessing over the last few weeks! Now that it's Fall, I have some cozy and comforting recipes in the pipeline. Think noodles, dumplings, curries, sweet potatoes, and maybe a warm spiced cake thrown in there. Yes, I realize that I make noodles and dumplings all year round...

Let's talk noods. Today I'm sharing with you one of my favorite and easiest noodle recipes! My dad would make this dish for my brother and I growing up as an after school or mid-day snack. At the time it seemed like it only took my dad 10 seconds to whip this dish up. It's a real quick recipe! If you haven't had cheung fun before and are a huge fan of chewy textured food, you're in for the a treat! Cheung fun are steamed rice noodles rolled up into thick and chewy noodle rolls. Sometimes they are filled with shrimp, pork, or veggies. As the plain food eating child of the 90s, I always opted for the plain cheung fun. No fillings. Just noodle. Light on the soy sauce.

You can dress up cheung fun in so many different ways, but I'm sharing a pretty simple preparation that you would see as a street snack in Hong Kong. The noodle rolls are chopped up into bite sized pieces, crisped up in a pan, and then tossed in a sweet and salty brown sauce! Grab a toothpick and you got yourself a classic on the go snack! Why are american street snacks this good?

Does a sweet and salty brown sauce sound mysterious to you? It's actually pretty simple and you can use a variation of this sauce in a whole slew of noodle dishes or stir-frys. My sweet and salty brown sauce is a mix of oyster sauce, hoisin, sriracha, sugar, salt and pepper. That's it! You have to use Lee Kum Kee oyster sauce and hoisin though. Especially the oyster sauce. My Mom has been using Lee Kum Kee premium oyster sauce throughout my whole life. She literally puts it in everything! She grew up seeing their ads all over Hong Kong, so she may or may not have fan-girled a little when I told her I was going to be working on a few recipes for them!

Next time you stop in your local Asian grocery store make sure to pick up a bottle of Lee Kum Kee's Premium Oyster Sauce and some cheung fun to whip yourself up this plate of deliciousness! 

Thank you Lee Kum Kee for sponsoring this post!


Pan Seared Cheung Fun Noodle Rolls

serves 2-4

Materials :

1lb fresh rice noodle rolls (cheung fun)
Olive oil
2 tbsp Lee Kum Kee oyster sauce
1 tbsp Lee Kum Kee hoisin sauce + extra for garnish
1 tsp Sriracha
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
chopped green onions - for garnish
sesame seeds - for garnish

Steps :

  1. If your rice noodle rolls have been refrigerated, microwave them for 90 seconds with a wet paper towel until they are soft and pliable. If the noodle rolls are still at room temperature, you’re ready to go! Cut noodles into 1” pieces.

  2. Heat about 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Place the noodle rolls in the hot skillet and sear on one side for 3 minutes until crisp. Flip the noodle rolls over and sear for another 3 minutes. Repeat in batches if necessary. Set noodle rolls aside.

  3. In a large bowl combine oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, Sriracha, sugar, and pepper, Give it a good mix. Add in seared noodle rolls and toss until evenly coated.

  4. Top with green onions and sesame seeds and serve!