Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls

Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls - Eat Cho Food
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls - Eat Cho Food
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls - Eat Cho Food
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls - Eat Cho Food
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls - Eat Cho Food
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls - Eat Cho Food
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls - Eat Cho Food
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls - Eat Cho Food
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls - Eat Cho Food
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls - Eat Cho Food
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls - Eat Cho Food
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls - Eat Cho Food

Pretty much throughout the entirety of our time in Cleveland, there were spring rolls either being made, freshly baked out of the oven, or in the fridge ready to be reheated in my mom's magical air fryer. Can’t life always be like this? This scenario is not too much different than the fist 10 years of my life, because growing up in your family's Chinese restaurant meant that you could hop on into the kitchen and ask your grandpa to make you an egg roll as an afternoon snack at any moment. I would then proceed to cut the egg roll in half lengthwise, scoop out almost all the filling because cabbage was a scary thing to me in the 90s, and then aggressively cover the crispy and slightly veggie flavored egg roll skin with sweet and sour sauce. Ah, I miss my youth.

You'll notice that I'm switching between egg rolls and spring rolls. That's intentional because during my restaurant life we ate blistery egg rolls, but then my mom would always make crispy and crunchy spring rolls at home. I'm not sure why! Spring rolls have definitely become a staple at our house for whenever we have the whole family over for dinner, a birthday, or a barbecue. In recent years, my mom has adjusted her own recipe and developed a pretty fantastic baked spring roll. The baked version is awesome and still has a great crunch (that’s because my mom goes through the extra effort of squeezing all the liquid out of the cabbage by hand like a superhero)! Since they are baked you end up being able to eat a million of them without feeling like butt afterwards. They are simply filled with chicken and cabbage. I've gotten over my irrational fear of cabbage in the last 18 years, thankfully. I recently helped my mom make spring rolls and we added bean thread noodles. It adds a great texture to the filling and also helps absorb any excess moisture to ensure an earth shatteringly crisp crunch when you bite in without spending your whole afternoon squeezing cabbage. If you can’t find bean thread noodles, which are likely found at your local Asian market, you can omit them and they will taste just as good! You just might have a few less spring rolls to fry up.

The recipe I'm sharing with you guys requires frying the suckers, because I'm ignoring all the "healthy start to the new year" propaganda and I also haven't had a fried spring roll in ages! Oh, it was soooooooo worth it. Baked spring rolls are amazing, but freshly fried ones are incredible and such a treat!

Chinese New Year is also about 3ish weeks away and I feel like it is my duty to fry up all these delicious treats for you guys : ) 


Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls

makes 25 spring rolls

materials:

1 small head of green cabbage - shredded

1 1/2 lbs chicken tenders (breast works too)

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp oyster sauce + 1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 heaping tbsp cornstarch

salt

white pepper

1 bundle of bean thread noodles

3 green onion stalks - chopped

1 tsp sesame oil

1/4 water + 1/4 flour

25 spring roll wrappers

oil for frying

steps:

  1. Slice chicken into thin bite sized pieces. Place in a bowl and toss with olive oil, 2 tbsp oyster sauce, cornstarch, pinch of salt, and a heavy dash of white pepper. Allow to marinade for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

  2. Heat 2 tsp of oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add shredded green cabbage and cook for 4-5 minutes until cabbage has slightly softened and the edges are slightly golden. Remove cabbage from the skillet and allow to cool in a large bowl.

  3. With the skillet still on, add about 1/4 cup of water and bring to a boil. Add chicken, stir to evenly disperse chicken. cook in water for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Water should have mostly evaporated by now. Remove chicken, avoiding scooping up any excess water, and add to the bowl of cabbage.

  4. Place bean thread noodles in a heat proof bowl. Pour just boiled water over the noodles until they are fully submerged. Let noodles sit for 2-3 minutes until noodles are cooked. Drain the noodles well. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the noodles into slightly smaller pieces. Add noodles to the bowl of cabbage and chicken.

  5. Season the spring roll filling with another pinch of salt, dash of white pepper, 1 tbsp oyster sauce, and sesame oil. Add chopped scallions and toss everything until evenly combined. Allow the filling to completely cool.

  6. Mix equal parts water and flour to form a paste for assembling the spring rolls.

  7. Place spring roll wrapper on your work surface, positioned like a diamond (see images above). Place about 1/4 cup of filling in the bottom third of the wrapper (closer to you). Fold the bottom tip of the wrapper over the filling and tuck over the sides. Smear a bit of the flour paste around the edges of the wrapper and continue rolling the spring roll tightly. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.

  8. Heat enough oil for frying in a heavy bottom pot or deep skillet. Heat to 360 degrees. Add a few spring rolls into the oil and fry for about 5 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Remove spring rolls from the oil and place on paper towels to remove excess oil. After about a minute, place on a wire rack to allow to cool. Repeat with remaining spring rolls.

  9. Enjoy once cooled to a safe eating temperature with sweet and sour sauce!

Pumpkin Curry Dumplings

Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings

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

dumpling dough:

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:

  1. 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.

make dumplings:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Mash squash with a potato masher. Add curry paste, coconut milk, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Mash or mix until smooth. Set filling aside.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Serve dumplings immediately with coconut curry dipping sauce and enjoy!

White Cheddar Sriracha Mac and Cheese

White Cheddar Sriracha Mac and Cheese
White Cheddar Sriracha Mac and Cheese
White Cheddar Sriracha Mac and Cheese
White Cheddar Sriracha Mac and Cheese
White Cheddar Sriracha Mac and Cheese
White Cheddar Sriracha Mac and Cheese

How’s Fall going for you?! I’ve been consistently wearing a cozy sweater each day because it’s actually chilly, foggy, and refreshingly brisk… just like how Fall should be. Way to be seasonally appropriate for once, San Francisco. We’ve roasted 2 squashes in the last week and I just watched Hocus Pocus for the first time in like 15 years. So, I think I’m doing Fall pretty right!

One of my favorite Fall foods to make is Mac and Cheese! Correction, I like to eat mac and cheese all year round but there is something about this time of year that inspires me to whip up a big cozy pot of cheese and carbs. I’m historically a mac and cheese purist. Please hold on all the vegetables (especially broccoli!), pesto (isn’t that just like a pasta dish at that point?), and buffalo chicken. I might tolerate some truffle oil. At the end of the day, I just want el dente pasta, 1-2 decent cheeses, some crunchy breadcrumbs (not always necessary though), and the perfectly creamy, but not to goopy cheese sauce. I’m not a “load it up” type of person. But that’s just my personal preference. You may disagree and that it totally okay!

I’m just slightly breaking my keep it simple rule with this White Cheddar Sriracha Mac and Cheese because today is my favorite little brother’s birthday! Happy Birthday, Wai! His real name is Tyler, but we refer to each other in our Chinese names : ) He’s turning 24 and is probably busy studying away about the brain or some highly technical medical procedure because he’s the smarty pants in our family and is doing the whole medical school thing. I’m such a proud sister! Anyways, why am I making him a mac and cheese for his birthday? Well, last year he asked me if I had a mac and cheese recipe on my blog so that he could make it to bring to a Friendsgiving. I DIDN’T HAVE ONE AND I WAS HORRIFIED. This was the first time my brother even asked me about a recipe and up until then I wasn’t even sure if he trusted me as a food authority. Also, why the heck don’t I have a recipe for one of my favorite foods?! I was super disappointed and ended up pointing him in the direction of a pretty good standard mac and cheese recipe. So it’s taken me almost a year to finally share a mac and cheese recipe. I’ve gotten distracted with other noodles and dumplings along the way.

This mac and cheese is simple in its foundation, but the little details of it are inspired by my brother. The fact that this is a stove top macaroni makes life a whole lot easier if you’re a hard working medical student constantly on the go! You could make it all in one pot if you wanted to! My brother has always been a spicier person than me, in terms of food and also maybe personality, lol. Sriracha adds a nice spicy kick and mellows out the sharpness of cheddar. This mac consists of 2 really good cheeses, both of which I think you should always have in your refrigerator. Sharp Cheddar for snacking and grilled cheeses. Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan works too!) for adding that salty cheesy bite to pastas, salads, or soups. The toppings are optional, you could literally eat this straight out of the pot. I might have done that with a few spoonfuls. To make life feel a little fancier, add the bread crumbs and green onions (my brother shares my love and passion for green onions). Drop them from high up in the air and pretend like you’re making a slow-mo segment for Chef’s table. It’s your birthday. Be fancy! Oh, and if you want to really make this into a true Tyler Cho Mac and Cheese, add in some cubed chicken breast or fried chicken skin! That was just venturing out a little too far from my Mac and cheese comfort zone.

Happy Birthday, Brother!


White Cheddar Sriracha Mac and Cheese

serves 4-6

materials:

16 oz pasta shells
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup AP flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 cups milk
4 cups sharp white cheddar
1/3 cup pecorino romano
3 tbsp Sriracha - or more if you like it really spicy
1/4 panko bread brumbs
1 tbsp olive oil
green onions for garnish

steps:

  1. Cook your pasta according to the package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

  2. In a large pot or saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in flour, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Mixture will resemble a thick paste. Carefully pour in milk while continually whisking. Whisk constantly for 4-6 minutes until thick and smooth. Reduce heat to low and mix in cheese and Sriracha until melted.

  3. Add pasta into the cheese sauce and toss until evenly coated.

  4. Heat olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add in bread crumbs. Stir the panko. Toast for a few minutes until golden brown. Stir every 20 seconds so the panko doesn’t burn. Remove from heat and top the mac and cheese with bread crumbs and green onions.

  5. Enjoy!

Notes: If you prefer a baked option, instead of stovetop, cook your pasta for 2 minutes less. Combine pasta with cheese sauce and place in a baking dish. Combine bread crumbs with olive oil and top your mac and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 until bubbly and golden brown.