Bacon, Corn, and Chive Crystal Dumplings

Corn Bacon Chive Crystal Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Corn Bacon Chive Crystal Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Corn Bacon Chive Crystal Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Corn Bacon Chive Crystal Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Corn Bacon Chive Crystal Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Corn Bacon Chive Crystal Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Corn Bacon Chive Crystal Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Corn Bacon Chive Crystal Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Corn Bacon Chive Crystal Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Corn Bacon Chive Crystal Dumplings - Eat Cho Food

I can now check “Be a Private Chef” off my bucket list! Not entirely sure that item was ever on my bucket list… but whatevs! I packed up a travel sized version of my kitchen this weekend and drove it up to Sea Ranch for a private dumpling class and dinner! Actually, Reuben drove because he is a saint and I need to figure out a way to eventually pay him for being my all-star assistant. The class was made up of a wonderful group of ladies for a bachelorette weekend and they were all so good at making dumplings. See, I told you dumplings weren’t hard to make! It was overall such a fun time! I had a minor moment of panic when I thought I was going to overheat in kitchen and cursed myself for wanting to hand whip the whipped cream for dessert, but I survived. I’ll be doing this exact same thing for a birthday party in 2 weeks and I’m only hoping that this whole workshop and dinner catering thing will get easier. Fingers crossed!

Dumplings are still on the mind though because I have another public workshop this Sunday! If you’ve been wanting to attend one of my workshops, I still have plenty of spots available for my Crystal Dumpling Workshop on July 14th! You can grab your ticket here. I’m especially excited for that class because I love crystal dumplings so much! Crystal dumplings are those semi-translucent chewy wrappers you see for Har Gow or shrimp dumplings. Instead of wheat flour, the wrappers are actually made using wheat starch or a blend of that with tapioca starch. Despite the name “wheat starch”, these dumplings are actually inherently gluten free. I made these for my gluten free friends during our Chinese New Year party and they all loved it! Dim Sum spots don’t typically advertise these types of dumplings as being gluten free because they probably still use soy sauce or oyster sauce in the filling. Whether you’re staying away from gluten or all about the gluten life, you’re still going to love these dumplings!

I like to use a blend of wheat starch and tapioca starch because it lends itself to a softer and chewier texture. These particular dumplings are filled with sweet fresh corn, smokey bacon, and garlicky Chinese chives. It tastes like a summer cookout in a dumpling! Garlic chives or sometimes called Chinese chives have a sweet, fresh, and mild garlic flavor. I used to not really like them growing up, but I’ve recently grown to love and even crave their fresh and aromatic flavor. If you can find the flowering garlic chives, they make for an extra pretty garnish too! The corn and chives are cooked in the bacon fat and then tossed with the bits of crispy bacon to really soak up all that rich and smokey bacon flavor. Are you drooling yet?

If you’re wondering how I got that lovely yellow color in the wrapper, the answer is Turmeric! The spice provides a really vibrant color but doesn’t impart too much flavor into the dough. I also recently tried smoked paprika in the dough and got a really gorgeous orange color if you don’t have turmeric on hand. If you don’t feel like adding any spices or color into your crystal wrappers, that is totally fine too! I’m just on the pursuit of rainbow dumplings, so excuse me while I experiment with all the spices and powders and in my cabinet!

You may find that these wrappers are very different to work with compared to regular wheat wrappers. Crystal wrappers don’t really stretch because they don’t have any gluten structure. So as you’re working with this dough, be a little more gentle with the dough. You can still do all the sample pleats and folds as with wheat wrappers, but handle them with care. If a small hole or tear develops, don’t worry! Even though the wrappers are delicate they are also super forgiving once you steam them! I will admit that the dumplings prior to steaming are a bit on the fuggly side, but once you lift the lid of the steamer you’ll feel like something magical just happened! The color (if you added any) will deepen and all those folds you thought were too clunky somehow look all smooth and perfect. It’s such a good feeling. Like dumpling magic. Don’t forget to eat them though because that’s for sure the best feeling!


Bacon, Corn, and Chive Crystal Dumplings

makes 32 dumplings

steps:

  1. Cut the corn kernels off the cob with a sharp knife. Place the kernels in a medium bowl with the chopped garlic chives.

  2. Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium high heat until crispy. Remove the bacon and place on a paper towel lined plate. Cook the corn and the chives in the bacon fat over medium high heat for 4-5 minutes until the corn is cooked and bright yellow, stirring frequently. Season with salt, white pepper, and soy sauce. Remove the pan from the heat and place corn mixture in a bowl. Chop up the bacon into small pieces and add to the corn mixture. Add in cornstarch and give the filling a good mix until everything is evenly incorporated. Allow the filling to cool.

  3. To make the dough, add wheat starch, tapioca starch, turmeric, and salt 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 at least 10 minutes.

  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” circle. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling into the wrapper. Carefully pleat the dumpling into the desired shape. The dough feels fragile, but it’s also forgiving once steamed. Don’t worry if you have a few holes. Repeat with the remaining dumplings and place on a baking tray. Dust the tray with a bit of cornstarch to help them from sticking. Cover dumplings with a clean kitchen towel so they don’t dry out.

  5. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Line a bamboo steamer (same width as your pot) with perforated 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 6-7 minutes. Repeat with remaining dumplings.

  6. Eat immediately and enjoy with soy sauce or chili oil.

mushroom filling :

2 ears of corn
3/4 cup chopped garlic chives or scallions
4 stripes of bacon
1/2 tsp salt
dash of white pepper
1 tbsp of soy sauce or tamari
1 tbsp cornstarch

crystal dumpling wrapper:

3/4 cup wheat starch
3/4 cup tapioca starch
1 tsp turmeric powder
pinch of salt
1 cup just boiled water
3 tsp olive oil


Notes:

  1. Dumplings can be frozen raw. Place pleated dumplings on a baking tray and freeze until solid. Place dumplings in a ziplock bag and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. When cooking, prepare as the recipe states but steam for an additional 3 minutes until cooked through.

Sticky Rice Arancini

Sticky Rice Arancini - Eat Cho Food
Sticky Rice Arancini - Eat Cho Food
Sticky Rice Arancini - Eat Cho Food
Sticky Rice Arancini - Eat Cho Food
Sticky Rice Arancini - Eat Cho Food
Sticky Rice Arancini - Eat Cho Food
Sticky Rice Arancini - Eat Cho Food
Sticky Rice Arancini - Eat Cho Food

I’m finally back in San Francisco! Well, hopefully that’s the case because Kristina of yesterday wrote this while waiting 4 hours for her flight at the Vancouver Airport. I’m somewhat disappointed with the food options at my terminal… best options are Burger King and Tim Hortons. Oh well! We had plenty of delicious food while in Vancouver, that I can’t really complain! My goal this weekend was to take my parents to as many Asian restaurants as possible within 4 days. I think we did pretty well! 75% of the time we ate at Chinese restaurants and about 50% of the time we were in the city of Richmond lol. It was so great because my Dad did most of the ordering since so many of the restaurants were mainly Cantonese speaking. We found great dim sum, fluffy buns, some pretty decent soup dumplings, and a new favorite noodle dish! Have you had mazesoba before? It’s so good! My Mom and I are going to try recreating it on our own and then compare notes later! That’s long distance recipe development right there. I definitely want to come back, bring Reuben, and maaaaaaaaybe try some non-asian food : )

I’ll be jumping back into the Eat Cho Food Test Kitchen this week and I have so many things to cook! I have either a dumpling making class to teach or a private class/dinner to prepare for over the next month! When I jumped into food blogging (or whatever it is that I’m doing) full time, I didn’t really think these dumpling classes would be such a vital part of my business. I thought I would teach maybe 1 class a month, but it turns out people are really into dumps! I’m particularly excited for the private classes/dinners because it’s like I’m getting paid to have a dinner party with friends! That sounds like an amazing job to me!

Ideally, I’d like to teach more than dumpling making. Or maybe do some pop-up dinners. I really really really want to do a modern dim sum pop up brunch one day. I just need to practice a few of my favorite dim sum recipes some more first. There is just so much more to dim sum than har gow, siu mai, and char siu bao. I mean, those 3 dishes are the absolute trifecta of dim sum. But what about crispy turnip cakes? Chinese donuts wrapped in rice noodles? Braised beef tendon? Steamed sticky rice in a lotus leaf? Chicken feet?! If you know, you know! And if you’re a seasoned dim sum-er then you also know that the list of offerings at dim sum are pretty endless. You’ll probably see a lot more dim sum recipes on there in the near future!

I’ll kick off the modern dim sum exploration with these Sticky Rice Arancini! These crispy balls of goodness are inspired by one my favorite dim sum dishes, Lo Mai Fon. It’s similar to the version wrapped in a lotus leaf, which is called Lo Mai Gai. Lo Mai Fon is sticky rice mixed with various tasty bits like dried shrimp, Chinese sausage, green onions, and shiitake mushrooms. Whenever we order it, the rice is filled in a clear glass bowl and inverted onto a plate so you get a perfect half dome. I love sticky rice so much because it has a great chewy texture (my favorite texture if you haven’t noticed) and the flavor of plain sticky rice is just a hint sweet, which pairs so well with all the savory and aromatic additions! I’ve made Sticky Rice Stuffed Eggplant for the blog before, which I think deserves a lot more attention because it is AMAZING.

This iteration of Lo Mai Fon gets a slight Italian influence. which reminds me that I need to share our Italy trip soon! Arancini are Italian fried risotto balls. They get their name because they resemble oranges! Aran=orange in Italian. Instead of risotto (which is made with arborio rice), I formed balls of sticky rice (mixed with chinese sausage, shiitake mushrooms, and green onions) , dripped them in some egg and then breaded them in panko bread crumbs. Kikkoman is pretty much the only brand of panko bread crumbs I use and I just found out they have a whole wheat ad gluten free version too! They take a quick bath in the fryer until they are beautifully golden brown. The result is an insanely addictive appetizer or party snack that is super crispy on the outside but still soft and chewy in the middle! Gosh, it’s so good. I do need to give credit to Reuben for this recipe idea though. He randomly had the idea a few weeks ago, maybe months ago, and I’ve just been waiting until I had the courage to deep fry again. I honestly don’t fry food that often. It’s messy and makes your whole house smell like oil for a day. So when I tell you to fry something you know it’s WORTH IT. Fry some up the next time you’re having friends over or just want to treat yourself to something crispy!


Sticky Rice Arancini

makes 15-18 arancini

materials:

1 1/2 cup glutinous sticky rice
2 1/4 cup water
3 Chinese sausages
1/2 cup chopped green onions
8 shiitake mushrooms
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 - 3 eggs
1 - 1 1/2cup panko breadcrumbs
canola oil for frying

  1. Wash rice 2-3 times until the water runs somewhat clear. Drain rinsing water. Cook rice in a rice cooker with 2 1/4 cups of water until done. Fluffy up the rice with a spoon and allow to cool slightly.

  2. Dice up shiitake mushrooms into 1/2” cubes, including stems, and set aside. Slice the Chinese sausage into 1/4” cubes and set aside.

  3. Heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Once hot add in the Chinese sausages and cook for a few minutes, stirring often, until the fat starts to render. Add in the shiitake mushrooms. Season with a bit of salt and a light dash of white pepper. Continue to cook for another 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place Chinese sausage and mushroom mixture in a large bowl.

  4. Add the cooked sticky rice to the bowl. Season with 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp white pepper, and 2 tbsp oyster sauce. Give it a good mix until everything is evenly incorporated. Set aside.

  5. Heat up at least 4” of canola oil in a heavy bottom pot until 370 degrees.

  6. Wet your hands so the rice doesn’t stick. Take about 2 tbsp of filling and roll tightly into a ball. Place formed ball on a baking tray. Repeated until all the rice balls have been formed.

  7. Add panko breadcrumbs to a dish or shallow bowl. Whip eggs in a bowl and set aside. Take 1 ball and dip it into the egg mixture, shake off any excess egg, and roll in the panko breadcrumbs until evenly coated. Gently drop the rice ball in the fryer and fry until the panko is golden brown, takes just a few minutes. Repeat with remaining balls.

  8. Enjoy warm with your choice of sauce! Like Sriracha or a sweet soy glaze!

Sesame Chicken Gua Bao

Sesame Chicken Gua Bao - Eat Cho Food
Sesame Chicken Gua Bao - Eat Cho Food
Sesame Chicken Gua Bao - Eat Cho Food
Sesame Chicken Gua Bao - Eat Cho Food
Sesame Chicken Gua Bao - Eat Cho Food
Sesame Chicken Gua Bao - Eat Cho Food
Sesame Chicken Gua Bao - Eat Cho Food
Sesame Chicken Gua Bao - Eat Cho Food
Sesame Chicken Gua Bao - Eat Cho Food
Sesame Chicken Gua Bao - Eat Cho Food
Sesame Chicken Gua Bao - Eat Cho Food
Sesame Chicken Gua Bao - Eat Cho Food

I’ve been on this super random tour of North America the past week. Geneva, NY last weekend, then Cleveland for a few days, and now I’m on my last leg in Vancouver with the parental unit. We’ve only been in Vancouver for less than 24 hours and I’m already questioning why we haven’t moved here yet. My goal for this mini vacation is to take my parents to as many Asian restaurants as possible and find all their favorite foods! Why didn’t anyone tell me that Vancouver/Richmond has the best collection of Asian food?! We immediately drove to the town of Richmond from the airport and got our fix of noodle soup and roast duck. I think it satisfied my parents’ longing for Hong Kong food. Did you know this town is 75% Asian?! Amazing. So far the highlight of our first 24 hours (to me at least) has been T&T Supermarket. When I travel I love visiting local supermarkets. I think this one is heaven on Earth. I almost cried when I walked in. It was so bright and big. Filled to the brim with every single thing you would need from an Asian Supermarket. I could have spent hours starring at the steamed bun and bakery sections. I’ve also never seen so much oyster sauce in my entire life. I’m going to try and sneak in another trip there before we leave on Monday!

I took about a billion photos of all the various steamed buns and baked breads I haven’t seen before and I’m determined to recreate every single one of them! Brown Sugar Bao? Penguin Buns??!!!! So many good carbs. I feel like my recipe development calendar goes through waves where I only focus on dumplings for a few weeks and then it’s either noodle or baking time. I think when I’m finally back home I’m going to dive back into the deep world of steamed and baked bao! I love making freshly steamed buns. If you also had a serious aversion to bread crust in your youth then I’m sure you appreciate the soft and squishy crustless qualities of steamed buns! Just for the record, I’m an adult that eats crusts now. I’ll probably pick a freshly steamed gua bao over any sandwich bread though.

Gua Bao is a steamed bun that’s been purposefully formed/folded like a slider bun, destined to be filled with infinite tasty things! I’ve filled them with Chik-fil-a inspired fried chicken and my Mom’s beef roast. For this recipe, I channeled one of my favorite Chinese takeout dishes. Sesame Chicken! It’s hard to beat my Mom’s beef roast stuffed in a bun, but I think this Sesame Chicken Gua Bao is my new favorite bun! Chicken thighs are lightly breaded, fried, and tossed in a very sesame forward sauce using La Tourangelle Toast Sesame Oil. It’s so toasty and nutty! All of their oils are so delicious! I drizzle their walnut oil on vegetables and they magically taste incredible with minimal effort! Oh, I can’t forget about this crazy easy slaw. It’s shredded cabbage tossed in La Tourangelle Sesame and Tamari Vinaigrette. I normally don’t buy salad dressing and prefer to make my own whenever a salad pops up in the kitchen, but their dressing already tastes exactly like something I would make on my own! The slaw is crunchy and tangy, which works so well with the savory and sweet sesame chicken. The gua bao acts a neutral cloud for everything to live in sesame harmony : )

These are so fun to make and even more fun to eat! Hope you give them a try and share them with all your friends! Or hoard them for yourself… I won’t tell anyone!

Thank you so much, La Tourangelle, for sponsoring this post!


Sesame Chicken Gua Bao

Serves 4

Materials:

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs - cut in half
¼ cup cornstarch
½ tsp salt
½ tsp white pepper
1 tbsp La Tourangelle Toasted Sesame Oil
3 tbsp olive oil
1 egg
¼ cup flour
canola oil - for frying
8 Gua Bao Buns - Homemade or Store Bought
Sesame Seeds - for garnish
Chopped scallions - for garnish

Sesame Sauce:

2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp cornstarch
⅓ cup white sugar
1 tbsp La Tourangelle Sesame Oil
2 tbsp soy sauce

Slaw:
3 cups shredded cabbage
2 tbsp La Tourangelle Sesame and Tamari Vinaigrette


Steps :

  1. Whisk together rice vinegar, cornstarch, sugar, sesame oil, and soy sauce until combined. Set aside.

  2. Combine chicken thighs, cornstarch, salt, white pepper, sesame oil, and olive oil in bowl and mix until chicken is evenly coated. Allow the chicken to marinate for 15 minutes in the fridge. Take the chicken and add the egg and flour. Mix again until the chicken is evenly coated with a light batter.

  3. Heat about ½” of canola oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot add the chicken in batches. Fry the chicken on one side for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown. Flip the chicken and fry the other side for another 3 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oil and place on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat frying with remaining chicken thighs.

  4. Drain the oil from the skillet or grab a clean skillet. Heat pan over medium heat. Add in the sesame sauce. While stirring continuously, cook for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened. Turn off the heat and toss the fried chicken into the sesame sauce.

  5. To make the cabbage slaw, toss shredded cabbage with La Tourangelle Sesame and Tamari Vinaigrette. Set aside.

  6. To assemble the gua bao, place one piece of sesame chicken and a bit of cabbage slaw inside the gua bao. Sprinkle on sesame seeds and chopped scallions. Enjoy!