Posts in Savory
Spicy Pork Mazesoba
Spicy Pork Mazesoba - Eat Cho Food

Alright. I think I’m starting to miss all my cookware and herb friends back in my kitchen. Is that crazy? Should I try to speak to more humans during the work day? I’ve only been away from San Francisco for almost a week now, but I feel the gravitational pull of my orange standmixer growing stronger. I oddly miss organizing my kitchen tool drawer and the space underneath our cabinets where stale loaves of bread, nuts, and random leftover baked goods go to die. Okay, yeah… I need to talk to more humans!

The point is… I miss my kitchen! Nothing against my mom’s kitchen, but I love feeling the groove of knowing where everything is in all the cabinets and having access to my favorite mini silicone spatulas within arm’s reach. An artist needs her tools! I’m also concerned that Reuben isn’t feeding himself properly. Last I heard, he bought himself a roast chicken and was planning on living off that for a week…

I’m sure he’s fine.

There’s about a bajillion frozen dumplings in our freezer right now, so he won’t starve. I’ll have to hurry back and get some noodles back into his system though!

Did someone say, “noods?”

Just looking at this mazesoba is making me hungry. I first discovered mazesoba when my parents and I explored Vancouver for a few days back in June. We went to Kokoro Tokyo for lunch and it might have been our favorite meal out of the whole trip! It also didn’t hurt that they offered Hokkaido milk soft serve too : ))))) There, I was introduced to this comforting and addicting saucy noodle dish. Ever since then, I’ve been dreaming of recreating it! Today is the day I share this wonderful dish with you!

Spicy Pork Mazesoba - Eat Cho Food
Spicy Pork Mazesoba - Eat Cho Food
Spicy Pork Mazesoba - Eat Cho Food

What is Mazesoba?

Mazesoba literally means “mixed noodles” in Japanese. It is sometimes referred to as “abura soba” or a dry ramen. It might not look like a likely summer dish, but these noodles are a nice middle ground between something like cold sesame noodles and a giant bowl of hot pho when it’s 90 degrees out and humid as hell. To be honest with you, I would eat noodle soup in any weather… the sweat doesn’t scare me! BUT for those of you who are more sane and want the comforts of noodles without also sweating into your food, mazesoba is a great choice!

The dish traditionally consists of ground pork that’s cooked in lard and soy sauce until you get a thick meat sauce. Almost like an asian bolognese, I guess. I don’t cook with lard so I used olive oil instead and I cooked the pork in a savory sauce consisting of regular and dark soy, sugar, and bit of red chili flakes. Then you top it with things like crispy pork belly, kimchi, scallions, furikake, avocado, raw onion, nori, and bamboo shoots. Pretty much anything can be a topping. Mix up the noodles and you got some mazesoba!

Spicy Pork Mazesoba - Eat Cho Food

The noodles we had at Kokoro Tokyo were house made and included some whole wheat flour in the dough, which gave it a really nice and subtle nutty flavor. Texture wise, I thought it was incredibly similar to udon noodles. While you can attempt making your own homemade partially whole wheat udon noodles (I tried… and I don’t want to talk about it), it is like soooooo fine if you just buy some noodles from your local asian market. I love buying the fresh udon noodles from Twin Marquis (shown in the photos), but I think those dried packages of udon or soba noodles should work too. The dried packages just won’t have the same satisfying chewiness as fresh udon noodles.

Once you have the noodles and meat sauce ready, you’re all set to assemble your bowls! I topped my bowls with scallions, furikake, raw onion, and a pinch of chili flake for a little extra heat. DON’T FORGET THE EGG YOLK THOUGH! You must have a raw egg on top! If you’re squeamish about a raw egg yolk, just make sure you purchase fresh organic eggs and that the meat sauce is fairly warm so that the heat cooks the egg yolk a little once you mix everything together. The egg yolk binds everything together into a wonderfully rich, creamy, salty, and spicy sauce that perfectly coats all the noodles! It’s the best thing! Then once you finish eating your noodles, you’re typically left with a bit of meat sauce at the bottom, which is why a lot of restaurants will over you a free mini bowl of rice to mix into the remaining sauce. Bonus carbs might be my love language!

Spicy Pork Mazesoba - Eat Cho Food

Spicy Pork Mazesoba

serves 2-4

materials:

1 lb fresh udon noodles (dried udon or soba work too)
1 lb ground pork
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp red chili flake - plus more for topping
3 garlic cloves - minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 cup minced white onion
2 green onions - sliced
2-4 egg yolks
furikake - for topping

steps:

  1. Boil udon according to the packaged directions and set aside.

  2. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. At the ground pork, red chili flake, and garlic into the skillet. Break up the pork with your spatula and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. Whisk together the soy sauce, dark soy, water, cornstarch, sugar, and white pepper in a small bowl. Pour the sauce over the pork. Stir and continue to cook the pork for an additional 3-4 minutes, until the pork cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Remove the skillet from the heat and assemble your bowls.

  4. Place a bundle udon noodles in a bowl. Top with a scoop of the spicy pork sauce, an egg yolk, some minced white onions, sliced green onions, furikake, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Give it a good mix and enjoy! Assemble more bowls with the remaining ingredients!

Bonus step:

  1. Cook some extra white rice to enjoy with the remaining meat sauce at the bottom of your bowl!

Shishito and Tofu Dumplings
Shishito and Tofu Dumplings - Eat Cho Food

Hi, from my parent’s couch! This is my fancy new office for the week. It’s actually not that bad because Food Network, TLC, or the local news is constantly on and my Mom is around to bring me snacks so I don’t have to worry about properly feeding myself for the next week! I swear that I’m 28 years old and not actually 16…

Reuben and I flew into Cleveland for a dear friend’s wedding! We danced, ate giant steaks, got overly excited by the french fry bar, and somehow avoided getting eaten up by mosquitos. Reub is back to real life in San Francisco right now and I’m staying an extra week to fit in some family Ohio time. Unlike past trips back home, where I’m in vacation mode and somehow always revert back to my 16 year old tendencies, I have to squeeze in time to actually work! Working for yourself doesn’t come with paid time off unfortunately. My goals for the week are to make pineapple buns (check!), make cocktail buns, learn how to make my grandma’s fried pork dumplings, catch up on some writing, answer all the emails, and eat apple cart ice cream at least twice before I fly home! So far, I’m on track to accomplish all of these things.

I might also treat my family to a private Eat Cho Food dumpling workshop! We will see how that goes… I have a feeling that my grandma is just going to ignore me and find my techniques and flavors completely absurd. Or maybe she will be super impressed with my pleating skills?!

Shishito and Tofu Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Shishito and Tofu Dumplings - Eat Cho Food

These Shishito and Tofu Dumplings are definitely not traditional. If I made these for dinner everyone would be wondering where the meat went… we eat tofu with a side of meat around here. This recipe was inspired by a pasta dish we had at Flour + Water for Reuben’s birthday last month. They were blistered shishito rolled pastas in a pork sugo (like a tomato and pork ragu). It was mindblowing-y good! Shishitos are a little bitter, a little peppery, and sometimes very hot if you pick a spicy one out of the bunch! When the peppers are combined with the savory and slightly sweet pork sauce you get a very unlikely but very dynamic power couple!

I guess I’ve been living in California for too long or Reuben’s vegetarian tendencies are rubbing off on me, but I’ve been wanting to creating more and more vegetarian friendly versions of my favorite foods. The nice thing about not working with meat is that you don’t have to worry about disinfecting every square inch of our work surface in fear of meat cooties. Plus you can sort of eat more dumplings because tofu isn’t quite as filling as meat, which is definitely not a bad thing!

Shishito and Tofu Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Shishito and Tofu Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Shishito and Tofu Dumplings - Eat Cho Food

How To Make Homemade Spinach Dumpling Wrappers

I first experimented with making green dumpling wrappers with these bok choy dumplings. They look very different because I didn’t strain the spinach puree out and I also cooked the spinach in the hot water. At the time I was making those dumplings I was happy with the color and actually liked the speckled look of the spinach pulp. I like speckled things! But ever since then I’ve been dreaming of bright green dumpling wrappers that wouldn’t fade after steaming. So I took to the internet and researched a few more different methods. Straight up pureeing a lot of fresh spinach with hot water seemed like the most straightforward method to me.

I packed in a lot of spinach (2 cups to be exact!) into the cup of my immersion blender. I wanted these guys to be bright! Pour in 3/4 cup of just boiled water so the heat could wilt the spinach a little without dulling the color. I then blended everything for about 45 seconds until I got a smooth puree. Next you need strain the puree through a fine mesh sieve to separate the spinach pulp. Help the liquid separate from the pulp by gently pushing the puree through the sieve using a spoon or rubber spatula. Once you have 3/4 cup of deep green spinach water you’re good to go!

Now at this point you use the spinach water just as you would regular water in my dumpling wrapper recipe. Make sure the water is still very warm. If it has cooled a bit, just pop it into the microwave for a few minutes. Pour the spinach water into a bowl of Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour (10oz or 2 cups) and a pinch of salt. Mix together using a spoon or rubber spatula until all the liquid has been absorbed. Then knead the dough for 2-3 minutes until you have a smoothish ball. Use some muscle, the dough can handle it! Once the dough is smoothish, wrapper it in plastic wrap or stick in a ziplock bag to rest for at least 15 minutes or up to 2 hours. This step is key because the warm from the spinach water will help steam and hydrate the dough, which makes it so easy to work with!

Shishito and Tofu Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Shishito and Tofu Dumplings - Eat Cho Food

Shishito Pepper and Tofu Vegetarian Dumpling Filling

The filling is just as important as the dumpling wrapper! As I mentioned earlier, this filling was inspired by a spicy pork and blistered shishito pasta we had last month. Instead of pork I subbed in tofu. When you crumble up firm tofu and flavor it with things like dark soy, Sriracha, and sugar, you get the texture and savory flavor of finely ground meat… sort of! It’s definitely still tofu!

You start by slicing the shishito peppers into thing slices, about 1/4”-1/2” thick. Throw out those stems. Heat up some oil in a skillet, cast iron is great if you have one. Add the peppers and cook them for a few minutes until the edges are starting to blister. Add in the tofu and seasonings. Break up the tofu with your spatula, but be mindful that the tofu with continue to crumble as you toss and stir the filling. Cook the filling for 5-7 minutes, until all the moisture has cooked off. We don’t want soggy dumplings. Remove the filling from the heat and place in a bowl to completely cool until you’re ready to wrap the dumplings.

Shishito and Tofu Dumplings - Eat Cho Food

I honestly can’t stop staring at these dumplings. They are like emerald little gems! You can fold the dumplings in any shape that you like! I folded these like soup dumplings, but any shape works. These were also just simply steamed, but frying these up potsticker style wouldn’t be a bad idea either! I wold just avoid boiling them because if the tops aren’t completely sealed they might burst in the boiling water.

These Shishito Peppers and Tofu Dumplings bring back memories of that inspirational pasta dish. The dumpling dough is supple but perfectly chewy. The tofu is salty, earthy, and just slightly sweet from a pinch of sugar. You can taste the slight blistered char on the peppers - my favorite part of the dumpling! Once you add some chili oil and soy sauce to these bad boys they pretty much disappear from your plate in a matter of seconds!

Shishito and Tofu Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Shishito and Tofu Dumplings - Eat Cho Food

Shishito and Tofu Dumplings

makes 32 dumplings

spinach dumpling dough:

2 cups packed spinach
3/4 cup just boiled water
10 oz (2 cups) Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour
pinch of salt

shishito and tofu dumpling filling:

1 block firm tofu
8 oz  shishito peppers
2 tbsp olive oil
¾  tsp salt
¼ tsp white pepper
1 tbsp Sriracha
2 tbsp dark soy
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch


to make spinach dumpling dough:

  1. Place spinach in the cup of an immersion blender or regular blender. Pour just boiled water over the spinach and blend for 45 seconds until smooth.

  2. Strain spinach puree through a fine mesh sieve and into a glass measuring cup. Push the puree through the mesh using a rubber spatula until you have 3/4 cup of bright green liquid.

  3. Place flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour the spinach water into the center. Mix with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until you have a clumpy dough. Begin kneading the dough for 2-3 minutes until you have a smoothish dough ball. Place dough in a ziplock bag and allow the dough to rest for at least 15 minute or up to 2 hours.

to make dumpling filling:

  1. chop the shishito peppers into 1/4” - 1/2” slices. Discard the stems. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the sliced shishito peppers into the pan and sauté while stirring frequently for 5 minutes or until the edges are slightly blistered.

  2. Cut up the tofu into chunks and add to the pan. Season with salt, white pepper, Sriracha, dark soy, and sugar. Use a spatula to break the tofu into smaller crumbles. The tofu will continue to crumble as you sauté. Cook for another 5-7 minutes, until all the moisture has cooked of. Place dumpling filling in a bowl. Mix in cornstarch and allow the dumpling filling to completely cool, either on the counter or in the fridge.

to assemble dumplings:

  1. 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 16 equally sized pieces. Place pieces of dough in the ziplock bag to prevent drying out. Roll out 1 piece of dough into a 3.5” disc with a small rolling pin. Place a scant tablespoon of filling in the center of your round dumpling wrapper, avoid over filling. Fold according to desired shape. This round pleat and my simple dumpling pleat can found on my Instagram Highlights! Repeat process with remaining dumplings and place dumplings on a lightly floured baking tray until ready to be cooked.

  2. To steam dumplings, bring a pot of water to a boil. Line a bamboo steamer, that’s the same diameter as the pot of boiling water, with perforated parchment paper or cabbage leaves. Fill the steamer with dumplings. Make sure the dumplings are not touching. Cover the steamer with the lid and steam for 6-7 minutes. Remove the steamer from the pot and lift the lid to allow the steam to release. Allow the dumplings to cool slightly.

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

Thanks, Bob’s Red Mill, for sponsoring this post!

Hoisin Chicken
Hoisin Chicken - Eat Cho Food

How is it that the last few days before you go vacation are always absolutely crazy? I thought that was only something that happened when you worked a normal job, but nope! It definitely still has a way of happening when your job title is a hybrid of a million things. We’re heading back to Cleveland in a few days for a wedding and I’ll be staying an extra week to hang out with my family and learn a few more recipes from my mom! But before we get on that red eye flight to Cleveland I have a bajillion things I need to cook and cross off my to-do list!

I’m still coming down from a high after my Sur La Table dumpling class this Sunday. It was such a dream. The team at Sur La Table Los Gatos made my life so easy. They prepped and cleaned EVERYTHING for me. Normally, I’m prepping for a solid day and Reuben is covered in water from doing dishes afterwards. I just had to show up, remember how to make dumplings, and hang out with a bunch of people who love dumplings too! What a life it must be to always have people that help prep and access to 249,383 sets of bowls, mixing spoons, and dumpling steamers?! I have to get back to reality and clean my kitchen for the next few days of cooking. I have an exciting video shoot I’m styling for tomorrow! I’m super excited because it’s going to be on Food Network and Travel Channel, I think! I have 8 dishes I need to make by tomorrow afternoon, so I’ll probably spend of the rest of today standing in my kitchen prepping things and bopping to the Jonas Brothers. Not a bad day of work : )

Hoisin Chicken - Eat Cho Food
Hoisin Chicken - Eat Cho Food

In honor of going home for a few days, I wanted to share a meal that I grew up eating almost on a weekly basis. Hoisin Chicken! My mom makes this using chicken drumsticks, but you can use any cut of chicken you like! It’s sweet, salty, a little spicy, and soooooooo quick and easy to make. Whenever I tell people that I grew up in a Chinese restaurant, I feel like they assume I lived on chow mein and orange chicken. Chinese people don’t eat egg rolls, orange chicken, or scallion pancakes as a regular home cooked meal. Most of the dinners that my mom made consisted of 3 parts: Rice, Protein, and Vegetables. Sometimes the rice part would be replaced with noodles, but it was more or less a plate comprised of those components. Honestly, it’s not too different than what other cultures have for dinner. Mashed potatoes, steak, and broccoli is pretty much it!

Hoisin Chicken was part of a rotation of delicious meals coming out of my mom’s kitchen. Chinese BBQ ribs, chicken and broccoli, steak with oyster sauce, and shrimp with black bean sauce served over fluffy white rice and a side of stir-fried zucchini, green beans, or Chinese broccoli were some of my favorites! Other than the fact they all tasted amazing, they were also affordable and incredibly easy to make! I’m all about spending the extra time to slow cook things and making every component from scratch, but sometimes the days are crazy and you just gotta eat! That’s when meals like this come in handy!

Hoisin Chicken - Eat Cho Food

How to Make Hoisin Chicken

This dish comes together in about 30 minutes if you work quickly!

Start by marinating the chicken in oil, cornstarch salt, pepper, and hoisin. The cornstarch is key because it tenderizes your meat and helps make a thick and shiny sauce when you cook it! After about 15 minutes of chilling in your fridge, heat up some oil in a pan and throw your chicken in the pan. Make sure the chicken is in a single layer so all the pieces have a chance to get crispy on the edges. Leave the chicken alone for a few minutes and then stir it around so the other side of the chicken has a chance to cook.

Whisk together all the sauce ingredients and pour it over the chicken. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for a few minutes until the sauce is thick and shiny and your chicken is cooked through!

Serve immediately with warm jasmine rice and your favorite vegetable! I included a bonus step at the end of the recipe for how to quickly cook your vegetables in the same pan too!

Hoisin Chicken - Eat Cho Food

Hoisin Chicken

serves 2

chicken materials:

1 lb skinless chicken thighs
3 tbsp olive oil + 1 tbsp for cooking
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 tbsp hoisin

sauce materials:
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup hoisin
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp Sriracha

steps:

  1. Cut chicken thighs into 1/2” pieces and place in a mixing bowl. Add 3 tbsp olive oil, cornstarch, salt, white pepper, and 1 tbsp hoisin to the chicken. Mix to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes

  2. While the chicken is chilling, whisk together all your sauce materials in a small bowl. Mix until cornstarch has dissolved and set aside.

  3. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken to the pan so that it is in a single layer. Allow the chicken to sear on one side for 3 minutes. Use tongs or a spatula and stir the chicken so that the other side cooks for another 2-3 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until chicken is cooked through.

  4. Lower heat to a medium and pour the sauce mixture into the pan. Stir the pan so that the chicken is evenly coated. Continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes until the sauce is thick and shiny.

  5. Serve immediately with warm white rice and vegetables!

bonus step:

  1. Once you remove the chicken from the pan, increase the heat back up to medium high and add a little bit of oil in the pan. Add in your zucchini or vegetable of choice and stir fry for a few minutes until vegetables are at your preferred doneness. Season with a bit more salt and pepper or as you wish!