Hello, hello, hello! It’s been a while since our last chat hasn’t it? What have you been up to the last 2 weeks? Did you have a happy and bountiful Thanksgiving????? Let’s see… what has life been like? I made a random pitstop in Bakersfield, California for a few days and it ended up being a super inspiring and weird 36 hours hours. I’ve spent the last 10 months or so designing and transforming a food truck into a mobile design center! It’s a fun little project I got to participate on with my office. We’re calling it the Food For Thought Truck! The plan was to drive it all across America and bring good creative vibes to communities that might need a little design spark! For this first leg, the stops are just within California, mainly because we are not convinced it will make it any further lol. Bakersfield was the farthest the FFTT has ever traveled to and it was definitely well worth it. Within a very jam packed week, we installed a beautiful floor graphic in the parking lot our truck called home, engaged with a huge chunk of the Bakersfield community, designed and built some public furniture, and made lots of new friends! Did I tell you that we stayed in a Frank Lloyd Wright house too? In theory it should have been a dream come true for someone who studied architecture… but it was just plain creepy. I felt like I was sleeping in a old dusty museum where all the furniture is hexagon shaped and oddly cultish. Despite the house giving me the heebie-geebies, the city of Bakersfield made my heart burst wide open. It reminded me so much of the midwest. Everyone was so unbelievably KIND. Like, “I’ll help you in a second without you even asking me” kind. My midwestern heart love it so much. I didn’t realized how much I missed having a community of people who genuinely supported each other. I mean, we have a great community of friends here in San Francisco. But I would say that the creative community here is not so warm… and feels much more competitive that supportive. In Bakersfield everyone was honestly so interested and supportive of everyone’s dreams and passion. Gosh it was such a lovely town.
After my quick 36 hours in Bakersfield, I flew right back to San Francisco and went straight to work after hopping off the plane. STRAIGHT TO WORK. Ugh. It was crazy. The days following felt like the last days of each semester of architecture school. We called it “Hell Week”. I’m sure you get the picture. It was long days working away in the studio and little sleep riddled with anxiety. Thankfully, our deadline was right before Thanksgiving, and as soon as our presentation was over on Tuesday my brain totally forgot that I even had a job and I was set into Turkey mode! We flew out to Portland for Thanksgiving and spend a nice long weekend with some great friends! We ate all the classic turkey day dishes, watched football, drank beer, waited in line for rare beer, visited the Tillamook cheese factory, ate all the cheese, and hunted for agates! It was a great time and now I’m regretting not moving to Portland years ago.
Now that I’m back home, I’m trying to enjoy the relaxing-ish week at work post deadline and attempting a cleanse after all the turkey, cheese, and beer. I had a chocolate chip cookie tonight though… so, yeah. I’m itching to get back into the kitchen to work on all the holiday goodies I’ve been dreaming about! That means cookies, cakes, and dumplings… obviously. These dumplings are inspired by one of my favorite cold weather takeout dishes! These dumplings are just as comforting as a warm bowl of thai pumpkin curry over rice on a chilly fall or winter day. The kabocha squash mixed with coconut milk and curry paste make the most dreamy and creamy filling. They are spicy but not burn your head off spicy, but if you’re heart and tastes buds feel like you need an extra tablespoon of curry paste then by all means add it! Just have a cup of milk ready on standby. The pan fried/steam methods results in a tender but crispy dumpling. The best kind of dumpling in my opinion!
Happy Dumpling making!
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
makes 24 dumplings
10 oz (2 cups) all purpose flour
3/4 cup just boiled water
pinch of salt
pumpkin curry filling:
1 3lb kabocha squash
1 tbsp red curry paste
1/4 cup canned coconut milk
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
coconut curry dipping sauce:
1 1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp red curry paste
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp fish sauce
juice of half a lime
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
make dumpling dough:
Add flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and slowly pour in just boiled water. Mix dough together with your finger tips or a wooden spoon if the mixture feels too hot. Mix until water is absorbed and the dough is just combine. Knead for 2-3 minutes until dough is round and smooth. Place dough in a medium ziplock bag, seal, and allow to rest and hydrate for at least 30 minutes. Dough can rest for up to 2 hours before being used.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the kabocha squash in half. Place cut side down on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes until fork tender. Allow squash halves to cool for 15-20 minutes until they are safe to handle.
Scoop out the seeds and discard or save for roasting later. Scoop out the flesh and place in a medium bowl. You can scoop right up to the outer skin layer.
Mash squash with a potato masher. Add curry paste, coconut milk, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Mash or mix until smooth. Set filling aside.
Lightly flour your work surface. Remove dough from the ziplock bag. Cut dough in half and keep one half in the bag. Roll out one half of your dough into a 1” thick rope. Cut into 12 equal pieces. Place pieces of dough in the ziplock bag to prevent drying out. Roll out 1 piece of dough into a 3 1/2” - 4” disc with a small rolling pin or a tortilla press if you have one. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling in the center of your round dumpling wrapper. Fold in half so you have a half circle, making sure to firmly pinch and seal the edges. Hold the dumpling in the palm of your less dominant hand and use the thumb and index finger of your dominant hand to crimp the edges into a braid. If the braid isn’t sticking, try dabbing water around the edge of the dumpling before crimping. Place folded dumpling on a light floured baking tray. Repeat with remaining dough.
To make your sauce, combine all the sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat. Whisk until the curry paste and sugar has dissolved. Cook over heat for medium heat for 4-5 minutes until thickened. Set aside until ready to heat.
To cook your dumplings, add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a skillet and heat over medium high heat. Add a single layer of dumplings, about 6-8 depending on how large your pan is. Sear on one side for 3 minutes until the side is toasted and golden brown. Add 3-4 tbsp of water to the pan and cover with a lid. Allow to cook until the water has evaporated. Remove the lid and allow any remaining liquid to cook off. Remove the dumplings or add a bit more oil to the pan and flip the dumplings over to sear the other side for 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining dumplings.
Serve dumplings immediately with coconut curry dipping sauce and enjoy!