Cumin Lamb Dumplings

Cumin Lamb Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Cumin Lamb Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Cumin Lamb Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Cumin Lamb Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Cumin Lamb Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Cumin Lamb Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Cumin Lamb Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Cumin Lamb Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Cumin Lamb Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Cumin Lamb Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Cumin Lamb Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Cumin Lamb Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Cumin Lamb Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Cumin Lamb Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Cumin Lamb Dumplings // Eat Cho Food

Is it just me, or does every day this (work) week feel like the worst of the worst Mondays? Maybe it’s because we had a nice long weekend full of cooking, cleaning, hawaiian food eating, and a minor almost breakdown in the home goods section of Target (I don’t want to talk about… I was EXTREMELY hangry). Or maybe it’s because Reuben and I are going up to Tahoe this weekend and I can’t wait to just sit and admire the snowy nature while Reuben glides all over it. What I do know is that I. AM. SO. OVER. THIS. WEEK. and all the annoying “design comments” I’m receiving at work. I’m trying to be as productive as I can be and squeeze out every last bit of motivation and design inspiration that no longer exists. But every once in a while I take a little mental break when a funny recipe idea pops into my head and I immediately scribble it down in my note book. Today I jotted down sweet potato oreos, sticky rice WAFFLES, chili oil popcorn, bok choy dumplings that look like little heads of bok choy, and lemon cupcakes topped with a toasted meringue flower piped on. That last one needs a catchier name, but we will work that out. But, OMG, doesn’t that all sound so good?!!!!! I just dream of the day when I can cook all day everyday without being homeless and the only people I have to verbally communicate with is Reuben and my mom. I’ll talk to you too if you drop by and help me eat the million of lemon meringue cupcakes I just whipped up. Oh that name works. ONE DAY.

Anyways, you didn’t come here to listen to me whine about my lack of interest at work. You came here for dumps! Or doomps, as Reuben and I typically refer to them! These Cumin Lamb Dumplings might have just taken the crown as THE BEST DUMPLING TO HAVE COME OUT OF CHO KITCHEN. They were so juicy, tender, perfectly fatty, spicy, earthy, and chewy. A near perfect dumpling. What would make it perfect is if I didn’t have to make them and they would just keep reappearing in my freezer when I wasn’t looking.

The flavors of these dumplings brought me straight back to the summer of 2013, when I was living and bopping around in Beijing. Work was fun and I spent most of my free time and money tasting all the weird and new Chinese food I had never had before. I ate a scorpion! My family is from Hong Kong, so we ate primarily Cantonese food, which isn’t typically spicy. It focuses more on salty soy sauce or oyster sauce and sticky sweet glazes. Lots of dim sum and rice. However, when I got to Beijing I learned that a lot of people had never had dim sum! WHAT?!!!!! Is there a life without dim sum?! And it turns out that Northern China focuses more on noodles than rice. A lot of the meals I had there did not automatically come with a bowl of rice. Very different than what I was used to. I discovered a whole new world of Islamic Chinese food and quickly fell in love with it. That meant food that was heavy on the lamb, beef, cumin, thick noodles, and funky vegetables. I don’t know how many nights I spent eating lamb skewers heavily encrusted in red chili flakes and cumin in a narrow alley somewhere with motor bikes barely missing me as they sped by. I definitely burned my tongue slurping down a big bowl of soup mixed with pickled vegetables, beef, and hand torn noodles on a bunch of occasions. Ah good times.

If you haven’t been to Northern China before, these dumplings might not transport you straight to Beijing, but they will definitely make your tastes buds super happy and you might want to buy a plane ticket to China! The style of this dumpling fold is called a “braided dumpling”. I ended up watching one of Lisa Lin’s tutorials about a million times. You can also watch this video to get an idea of how to get the braided look, go to 1:55. No matter how you fold it though, it’s still going to taste good! An ugly dumpling is still a tasty dumpling! And don’t forget that Chinese New Year is a little less than 2 weeks away, which is plenty of time to work on your folding!


Cumin Lamb Dumplings

makes 32 small dumplings

dough materials:

10 oz AP flour
pinch of salt
3/4 cup just boiled water

filling materials:

1/2 cup red onion - finely chopped

2 carrots - finely chopped

4 cloves garlic - minced

1 lb ground lamb

1 tbsp whole cumin (ground cumin works too)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp white pepper

1 tsp red chili flake

1 egg

1 tsp dark soy

2 tsp oil

oil for cooking

water for cooking

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. Heat about 2 tsp of oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add in red onion, carrots, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes until vegetables are slightly tender and fragrant. Scoop in a bowl and set aside to cool.

  2. Lightly grind the whole cumin seeds to help release the flavors. Finely ground cumin works too, but I prefer the flavor of whole cumin seeds.

  3. In a large bowl, combine ground lamb, cumin, salt, white pepper, red chili flake, egg, dark soy, and oil until combined. You can either use your hands or a large spoon or spatula. 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 18 equal pieces. Place pieces of dough in the ziplock bag to prevent drying out. Roll out 1 piece of dough into a 3”-3.5” disc with a small rolling pin or a tortilla press if you have one. Place a scant tablespoon of filling in the center of your round dumpling wrapper, avoid over filling. Fold according to desired shape. For the braided dumpling shown, watch this video a million times. Repeat with remaining dumplings and place dumplings on a lightly floured baking tray until ready to be cooked.

  5. 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 the flat 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, about 4-5 minutes. Add a bit more water if the water evaporates before the time is up. Remove the lid and allow any remaining liquid to cook off and for the bottoms to crisp up again. Repeat with remaining dumplings.

  6. Serve immediately with chili oil and/or soy sauce!

Black Sesame Waffles

Black Sesame Waffles // Eat Cho Food
Black Sesame Waffles // Eat Cho Food
Black Sesame Waffles // Eat Cho Food
Black Sesame Waffles // Eat Cho Food
Black Sesame Waffles // Eat Cho Food
Black Sesame Waffles // Eat Cho Food
Black Sesame Waffles // Eat Cho Food
Black Sesame Waffles // Eat Cho Food

January is a month of fresh starts, juice cleanses, Whole30, Cook90, Marie Kondo purges, and strong gym attendance… for some people. I’m cooking the same tasty and satisfying food I love, which is definitely not compliant by any diet’s standards. I’m refusing to watch the Marie Kondo special, for no particular reason. And I’ve been to the gym a handful times, which I’m actually pretty proud of! I tried to not set too many resolutions for myself this year and just focus on being a happy and productive human bean. That’s a pretty good goal I think!

I do have a few normal and boring general life goals though. This year I think will finally be the year that I become really, LIKE REALLY, organized. I can feel it! Or maybe this is the year I learn to actually make the bed every morning. That would be something. I’m trying, Mom! I’m also trying to make a conscious effort to waste less. That means:

  1. Eating all my vegetables and salad greens before they get gross.

  2. Buying less plastic things. You should have seen how much paper and plastic I purged from our office. OMG. I’m so sorry, Earth!

  3. And using up all the boxes of lasagna noodles we have in the cupboard from when Reuben and I couldn’t decide on the perfect noodles to make the best lasagna.

When you’re a food blogger or even just like a well stocked home cook, you end up with a ton of food products taking up space in your fridge or cupboards. I have SO MANY random bags of various flours and starches. When is the next time I’m going to bake with oat bran???? How many jars of coconut butter is normal? 5? I looked in the fridge a week ago and realized that I had like 4 half full jars of tahini! So I’m trying to work through all the excess things in my kitchen little by little so that I can hopefully reset my kitchen pantry with the necessities. That would be butter, flour, sugar, salt, and oyster sauce.

This recipe for Black Sesame Waffles used up the last bit of black sesame tahini hiding in the far end of my fridge. You know that back corner right by the open box of Arm & Hammer that’s been there since you moved in? That’s where the jar was hiding. I’m honestly surprised that I didn’t use up this jar sooner because I LOVE black sesame everything. Muffins. Cake. Cookies. Sprinkled on 90% of my meals. I’m obsessed. I might even get a black sesame tattoo! JK I won’t ever do that. But a black sesame tattoo would just be like an extra freckle, right?

These waffles are deeply nutty from the black sesame. Almost like peanut butter but 1000000% better. The texture is light but with a nice chew, which I’m all about. You can find black sesame paste or tahini at your local asian or Mediterranean market, Whole Foods might have it, or you can just order it off the internet! You could make it from scratch too! Regular tahini also works if you’re having a hard time finding the black sesame variety. Once you’ve introduced black sesame into your kitchen, these waffles are super easy to whip up in the morning, because I know you don’t want to be separating eggs and whip egg whites to stiff peaks on the verge of a hangry meltdown. You just want to eat! I love topping my waffles with yogurt, but dreamy whipped cream and pomegranates make for a slightly fancy and luxurious breakfast situation. You deserve it. It’s January and you’re already kicking booty!


Black Sesame Waffles

serves 4-6

materials:

2 cups AP flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup water
2 eggs
4 tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup black sesame paste/tahini

steps:

  1. Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a large bowl.

  2. Add greek yogurt and water in a medium bowl. Whisk until combined. Add in eggs, butter, vanilla, and black sesame paste. Whisk again until combined. If your black sesame paste is a little thicker you may need to mix a little longer, but a few small chunks of sesame paste is okay!

  3. Add wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Avoid over mixing. The batter will be really thick.

  4. Heat up your waffle iron. Fill iron accordingly, so that it does not overflow. I place about 2/3 cup of batter in my waffle iron to make these. Cook until desired doneness (3-4 level for me).

  5. Serve warm with whipped cream, maple syrup, and pomegranates! Or with whatever your heart desires!

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!