Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns

Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/2/24/chinese-bakery-style-hot-dog-flower-buns
Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/2/24/chinese-bakery-style-hot-dog-flower-buns
Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/2/24/chinese-bakery-style-hot-dog-flower-buns
Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/2/24/chinese-bakery-style-hot-dog-flower-buns
Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/2/24/chinese-bakery-style-hot-dog-flower-buns
Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/2/24/chinese-bakery-style-hot-dog-flower-buns
Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/2/24/chinese-bakery-style-hot-dog-flower-buns
Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/2/24/chinese-bakery-style-hot-dog-flower-buns
Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/2/24/chinese-bakery-style-hot-dog-flower-buns
Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/2/24/chinese-bakery-style-hot-dog-flower-buns

I have had the the whole apartment to myself aaaaaalllll weekend long! Reuben is away again for… you guessed it… a ski trip. He does love to ski, that man. He’s been in Montana with a bunch of other men, doing manly things. Man Mountain Ski Trip. It’s been nice to have the place to myself because I end up being super productive. You can get a lot of stuff done when there isn’t a person around trying to hug you all the time or get you to look at yet another adorable mini pig video. The upside of being alone is that I have a ton of great recipes to share with y’all in the next month. Downside to being left alone is that I turn into this weird workaholic and end up literally working from 7am to 11 pm, with maybe a few breaks in between to watch some Netflix while my bun dough is proofing. I also end up not eating any real meals…. I didn’t have another person around to feed nutritious meals, so I ended up just snacking on the recipes I developed or whatever I found in the kitchen. So I pretty much ate buns, more buns, a crappy frozen pizza, a few bites of tres leches cake (recipe is coming soon and it is INSANE), and a lot of popcorn. SO MUCH POPCORN. Wait. Am I turning into a college boy?!!!!! I need a vegetable. I did have an excellent matcha latte on Sunday though. That’s at least green. Oh! And there were scallions on the hot dog flower buns. That counts for something.

I wasn’t going to share these Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns (say that 3 times fast) for another few weeks, but I just loved them so much that I needed to share them with the world immediately! One thing that you may or may not know about me is that I LOVE hot dogs. And now that I’m thinking about it pretty much everyone that’s close to me also shares a love of the tubular meat. Or does everyone love hot dogs? During my sophomore year in college, I lived with 4 of my best girlfriends, and it was a great time! Just scratch out the crappy boyfriend I had at the time. All 5 of us shared a strange love of hot dogs (even Kate, who is like a health and beauty goddess!), so much so that we decided to celebrate Hot Dog Tuesday! Or was it Thursdays? I can’t really remember, but we definitely grilled hot dogs on Alex’s little George Foreman grill once a week. It was all hot dog dandy until one day we decided to also make corndogs as a sick play on dessert… because corndogs are a little sweet? IDK. That night we definitely over did it on the dogs, or maybe it was the sodium and nitrates? But after that we sort of lost the desire to eat hot dogs once a week. It was probably for the best. Huh, maybe I’ve just been eating like a college girl all weekend?? Anyways, the point is that I really enjoy hot dogs and like to figure out how to incorporate them into as many different recipes as possible. Reuben’s mom makes what I call a “lazy corn dog” and I am VERY into it.

Chinese bakeries are also something I’m very into! French bakeries get all the attention. They’re great, don’t get me wrong. I’d love to bite into a buttery and rich kouign amann everyday! But the first bakeries I remember going to were Chinese ones. They all had walls of plastic cases filled with fluffy buns, sponge cakes of all sorts of flavors, and tarts piled high with shiny glossy fruit. Cocktail Buns. Pineapple Buns. Taro Buns. Custard Buns. Hot Dog Buns. So many buns. I wanted to fill my plastic tray with as many buns as possible. Or as many as my mom would buy for me, I guess. The Hot Dog Bun (not like a traditional split bun for a hot dog) is so amazing because it’s a fully encased hot dog. Not like hot dogs could be even more portable and easy to eat. The salty hot dog is wrapped with a fluffy and slightly sweet milk bread and makes for the most perfect bite! The flower version taste no different than a classic fully wrapped Hot Dog Bun, but definitely makes for a more photogenic wiener. Sorry. It’s true though! Like look at these things! After the Rose Siu Mai, I think it’s my life mission to make as many foods in flower form as possible.


Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns

makes 8 buns

milk bread recipe from A Common Table by Cynthia Chen McTernan from Two Red Bowls!

dough materials:
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
2 1/2 cups bread flour + more for dusting
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
2 tbsp unsalted butter - very soft

tangzhong (flour starter) materials:
6 tbsp water
2 tbsp bread flour

flower bun materials:

8 hot dogs
1 egg + 1 tbsp water - for egg wash
chopped scallion green - for topping
sesame seeds - for topping

1/4 cup water + 1/4 cup white sugar - syrup glaze (optional)

steps:

  1. Prepare the dough the night before or at least 2-3 hours before baking. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring milk to a boil to scald the milk. About 1-2 minutes. Watch the milk carefully so it doesn’t boil over. Set milk aside to cool.

  2. To make the tangzhong, which is a flour starter that helps achieve a super fluffy dough, whisk together water and bread flour in a small saucepan over low heat. Continue to whisk until the mixture looks like a thick paste. About 2 minutes. Remove the tangzhong from the heat and scrape into a small bowl to cool to room temperature.

  3. In the bowl of your standmixer fitted with a dough hook, whisk together instant yeast, bread flour, sugar, and salt. In another bowl combine the milk, tangzhong, and egg until evenly mixed. Carefully pour the wet ingredients into the flour. Begin to knead on low and then increase to medium speed. Knead for 5 mins. Lightly dust with a bit of flour so the dough doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl.

  4. Add one tablespoon of butter at a time to the dough while the mixer is still going. Sprinkle a bit more flour and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth .

  5. Place dough in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel. Let dough rest in the fridge overnight (8-24 hours) or out in a warm spot for 2 hours.

  6. After the first proof, scrap the dough out onto a clean kitchen surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel while forming. Roll out 1 piece of dough and roll it out into a roughly 3”x7” rectangle or blog. Place 1 hot dog in the center of the dough. Roll up the hot dog in the dough and pinch the seams closed. Cut the hotdog into 6 equal pieces. Arrange the 6 pieces in the shape of a flower - 1 piece in the center with 5 petals. Place the hot dog flower on a parchment lined baking tray. Repeat with remaining buns. Cover hot dog flower buns with a damp kitchen towel and allow to proof one last time for 40-60 minutes.

  7. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Brush the buns with egg wash and top with chopped scallions and sesame seeds. Bake the buns for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

  8. While the buns are baking, make your syrup glaze. Boil water and sugar for 1-2 minutes. Brush the sugar glaze on the baked buns as soon as they come out of the oven.

  9. Allow the buns to cool for a few minutes and then enjoy!

notes :

  1. Buns are best fresh out of the oven. After a few hours or days the bread will feel a little hard. You can just microwave the buns for 20-30 seconds and they will be fluffy again!

  2. If you only have active yeast, you can add it to the warm milk with a pinch of sugar and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. It should be have a few bubbles on the surface.

Matcha (sorta) Pineapple Buns

Matcha Pineapple Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/1/matcha-pineapple-bun
Matcha (sorta) Pineapple Buns
Matcha (sorta) Pineapple Buns
Matcha Pineapple Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/1/matcha-pineapple-bun
Matcha Pineapple Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/1/matcha-pineapple-bun
Matcha Pineapple Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/1/matcha-pineapple-bun
Matcha Pineapple Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/1/matcha-pineapple-bun
Matcha Pineapple Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/1/matcha-pineapple-bun
Matcha Pineapple Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/1/matcha-pineapple-bun
Matcha Pineapple Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/1/matcha-pineapple-bun

Hello, 2019! Happy New Year!! I hope you went to bed as early as you wanted and didn’t have to stand outside in the cold or rain waiting for fireworks or a ball to drop. We celebrated the New Year twice technically, because we were flying from Cleveland to San Francisco when the clock struck midnight (EST). So I blew Reuben a kiss from my crammed middle seat because he fell victim to the cold floating around my family and I’m trying my hardest to not succumb to the germs too. We unwillingly celebrated the New Year again in our apartment, hangry (thank god for delivery sushi though!) and definitely grumpy from flying. But we were so thankful to be back home and in our cozy bed again! This isn’t too far from my ideal NYE though, if you take out the hangry-ness. My ideal NYE is at home, watching a movie with my family instead of a celebrity filled countdown. Maybe I’ll take a glass of sparkling cider and some cheese and crackers.

Reuben and I got to spend a nice long holiday week in Cleveland and it was so dang pleasant. We gained about 143929491 pounds but it was worth it. Staying at my parents’ house is sort of magical. I sleep so much, there is always a new movie to watch, and somehow there is always freshly made egg rolls. Thanks, Mom! Christmas is the one holiday out of the year that I always go home and try to stay for as long as possible. Throughout the rest of the year, I get a few longish or super short weekends to get some time to see my brother and parents. Maybe a few aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandma sightings too! So getting a whole week at home with the fam is the best Christmas present. Sorry, was that too corny?

The last few times I’ve been home, I’ve gotten into the habit of making Pineapple Buns or Bo Lo Bao. They are a huge family favorite at Chinese bakeries! We all love them. Especially my dad and grandma. Pineapple Buns don’t actually have any pineapple in them. They get their name from the crisscross pattern formed on the topping, which resembles a pineapple. The bun is a super fluffy and slightly sweet milk bread topped with a crisp cookie like topping. I would experiment on the recipe every single time I was home because no matter how they turned out my family would eat them instantly. Plus I Ioved having a family full of taste testers available!

The goals of my experimentation were:

1. Super fluffy and light milk bread.

2. A cookie topping that would actually hold a definite pattern.

Achieving goal number 2 was a lot harder than I thought. The topping on a classic pineapple bun sort of naturally cracks and becomes a super flakey cookie. It doesn’t quite hold the score patterns as cleanly as I want them to. But! When Reuben and I went to Mexico City this past summer, I discovered the Concha! I tried a few different ones for research purposes (obviously) and realized that they were remarkably similar to pineapple buns. I found the bread to be a little drier and not as rich and doughy, but the cookie topping was similar in flavor and texture. The patterns on all the conchas were so clean and defined! The recipes for concha topping and pineapple bun topping is pretty similar. The only difference I found was the use of powdered sugar instead of caster sugar, which allows the topping to retain it’s form a lot better. So I inserted the (sorta) into the recipe name because these buns are like if a Pineapple Bun and a Concha had a beautiful and delicious hybrid baby bun!

The end result after a year of experimenting is the lightest and tastiest milk bread with an addicting cookie topping! If you haven’t had a warm pineapple bun just out of the oven with some butter and honey, then you are missing out on one of the best things in life EVER! Oooh I bet a drizzle of condensed milk would be amazing too! Don’t forget to make yourself a cup of milk tea while you’re at it!


Matcha (sorta) Pineapple Buns

makes 16 buns

milk bread materials:

2/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups bread flour
1 package of instant yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 tsp salt

topping materials:

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup dry milk powder
1 tsp matcha powder
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp milk

steps:

  1. Combine heavy cream, milk, egg, sugar, cornstarch, flours, yeast, and salt in the bowl of your standmixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix at medium speed (speed setting 4 for KitchenAid) for 15 minutes until a smooth and slightly sticky dough is formed. Stop to scrape down the sides every few minutes. Once dough is form, place in a large bowl lightly greased with oil. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest in a warm place for 90 minutes. The dough will grow 1.5x from its original size.

  2. Scrape out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces and roll into smooth little dough balls. Place dough balls on baking trays lined with parchment paper. 8 dough balls fit on a standard baking tray. Cover trays with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for another 45 minutes.

  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  4. Make topping by combining flour, dry milk powder, matcha powder, shortening, powdered sugar, baking powder, salt, egg yolk, and milk in the bowl of a standmixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 minute. Dough will still be slightly crumbly. Knead together with you hands until dough is smooth and combined. Set aside until ready to use.

  5. Once the dough has rested for the second time, roll out the topping on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/8” thick. Cut out 16 2.5” - 3” circles using a cutter. Use an offset spatula or bench scraper to lift the dough rounds up if they stick. Place rounds on top of the dough balls and lightly score the tops.

  6. Bake buns for 15-17 minutes until buns are slightly golden. Remove from oven and allow buns to cool on a wire rack. Enjoy warm or completely cooled.

baking notes:

  1. In the photos you’ll notice that I marbled a plain dough with matcha dough. I did this in an attempt to make the buns look more pineapple like. The marbling is unnecessary because the colors are not as defined after baking. So just mix in the matcha into the entire dough.

  2. These buns are relatively small-medium sized. If you prefer larger buns just divide the dough into 12 instead.

Pumpkin Curry Dumplings

Pumpkin Curry Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings // Eat Cho Food

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!

Spicy Fish Dumplings

Spicy Fish Dumplings
Spicy Fish Dumplings
Spicy Fish Dumplings
Spicy Fish Dumplings
Spicy Fish Dumplings
Spicy Fish Dumplings
Spicy Fish Dumplings
Spicy Fish Dumplings
Spicy Fish Dumplings
Spicy Fish Dumplings

Have you ever heard of Scott’s Pizza Tours? In a nutshell, a guy named Scott takes people on a tour of the best pizza in New York City. He’s essentially a pizza genius/lover and knows all these random tidbits about the history of pizza. We watched a documentary about him a few months ago and I thought it was the absolute coolest job! Like, isn’t it the dream to be able to educate people on something that you truly love? And that one thing is something that you can eat AND you get to eat it everyday?!!! It sounds like the perfect job to me!

I’ve played around with the idea of “Eat Cho Dumpling Tours”, where I would take people around Clement Street tasting all the best dumplings this little neighborhood has to offer. We’ve lived in Inner Richmond for almost 3 years now and have generated some strong opinions on the dumpling offers on Clement Street. Good Luck Dim Sum is hands down the best spot in the hood. Gourmet Dim Sum is where you go on Tuesdays when Good Luck Dim Sum is closed or if the line there is insanely long. Xiao Long Bao has awesome xiao long boa, as their name would imply, but they also have the best crispy dim sum options like shen jian boa or flakey green onion pancakes. Then there is Wing Lee Bakery that is overall pretty OKAY, but has char siu bao (bbq pork buns) the size of your face. It’s hard to resist a bun the size of your face.

I talk about dumplings and the love I have for my neighborhood to literally anyone who would listen. My coworker, Emily, probably heard enough of me just yaking away about all the delicious dumplings a block from my apartment and wanted to see it for herself. So Reuben and I took her and her husband on the very first “Eat Cho Dumpling Tour” ever! It was so much fun! I was so full afterwards… oof. It’s nice to have 2 other hungry people around so that we can order more items to share and try more types of dumplings! We went to all our favorite spots and ordered all our favorite dumplings. We also got to stop at the farmers market, the asian home goods store, our weird “aquarium” pet store place, and the trendy-nice-smelling store in the neighborhood. So all the Inner Richmond highlights. We actually ended our tour at Good Luck Dim Sum and brought it back to our apartment to eat, since it was a little crowded and we were all on the verge of turning into literal dumplings. At least I was.

I would say the first tour was a success! However, I think I need to work on my self control or figure out a one dumpling per tour stop rule before making this a thing. That or start going to the gym every single day.

Okay, lets switch gears from eating dumplings to making dumplings! Well, we’re going to eat these too… These Spicy Fish Dumplings are borderline too spicy for me, but I’m a major spice wimp. But they are just so good that I push through the burning sensation. They have a gentle heat that sort of grows as you eat more and more dumplings. The heat comes from thinly sliced thai bird chilies. Be careful with those guys and watch your eyeballs! The heat of the chilies pair super well with the light and mild white fish and fresh cabbage. The filling is wrapped with a beet dyed wheat starch dough that turns from a fun pink into a gorgeous red color after it’s steamed! Reuben was incredibly happy with these dumps and with the fact that I’ve been make more spicy food. I’ll just need to keep more milk or vanilla ice cream on hand. I support more ice cream.


Spicy Fish Dumpling

makes 32 dumplings

for the filling:

3/4 lb tilapia or sole (any light white fish)
3 minced garlic cloved
2 tbsp minced ginger
1 cup thinly chopped napa cabbage
2 thai bird chilies finely minced
1/4 cup green onions (whites + greens)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 egg

for the wrapper:

1 1/2 cup wheat starch
2 tsp beet powder (optional for color)
pinch of salt
1 cup just boiled water
4 tsp olive oil

steps:

  1. Start by preparing your dumpling filling. Cut your fish into 1/2”x1/2” pieces. Place in a medium bowl. Add in minced garlic, minced ginger, chopped napa cabbage, thai bird chilies, green onions, salt, white pepper, soy sauce, cornstarch, and egg. Give it all a good mix until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

  2. While the fish filling is marinating, making your dough. Add wheat starch, salt, and beet powder 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 10 minutes.

  3. Remove the fish filling from the fridge. Drain off any extra liquid produced from the cabbage. Set aside.

  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”-4” circle. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling into the wrapper. Carefully pinch the dough round into a triangle shape or fold of your choosing. Pinch the seams tightly to seal. Repeat with the remaining dumplings and place on a baking tray. Cover dumplings with a clean kitchen towel so they don’t dry out.

  5. Bring a pot of water to boil. Line a bamboo steamer (same width as your pot) with 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 7-8 minutes. Repeat with remaining dumplings or freeze for later.

  6. Eat immediately and enjoy with soy sauce.

Chinese Beef Roast Bao

Chinese Beef Roast Bao
Chinese Beef Roast Bao

Can we fast forward to the weekend already??? It’s only Tuesday? How can this be?! The last few weeks of real work (I’m an interior designer by day remember?) have been a little crazy and will continue to be crazy for the foreseeable future. I’m working on what will eventually be a really awesome hotel in San Francisco. I need to keep telling myself that it’s going to be coolest thing that my friends and family can actually go to and that the months of intense deadlines and bulldozing through creative blocks will all be worth it! Last week was particularly straining because I was also making a wedding cake and Reuben’s parent’s were in town. LOTS of things going on.

Have you made a wedding cake before? Do you have less than 4 square feet of counter surface and a small freezer? It’s like really hard isn’t?! I definitely pushed my kitchen to it’s limits this past week. I went through 9 pounds of butter, a giant bag of flour, a dozen eggs, and enough sugar and cocoa powder that a cloud of sweet chocolate dust hung in the air. I’ve never made a tiered cake before, let alone a 3 tiered wedding cake to feed 100 people. It was sheer luck that the 3 cake tiers were able to fit into my teeny tiny freezer. It was so tight… I had about 1/4” to spare! I was super nervous the entire time… was the cake going to be moist enough? Will the cake topple over? How am I going to decorate this thing?! Lots of uncertainty. Yet, somehow it got done and made it Oakland in one piece! If you’re a thrill seeker, try transporting a wedding cake across the Bay Bridge. I’m probably not going to make a wedding cake for a looooong time. Probably not until Reuben and I get married hehehe.

We dropped off the cake in Oakland on Saturday morning and I FINALLY felt like I could relax a little bit and fully enjoy the weekend with Reuben’s parents! It felt so glorious. We spent the afternoon at the UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens. It’s so lovely there. You’ll love it if you’re a lover of plants and sunny weather. If you’re not, I feel like you’re probably reading the wrong blog. The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing at home, cleaning, watching football, putting together IKEA furniture, and eating Reuben’s incredible pizzas. I can’t even explain to you how good Reuben’s pizzas are. I wanted to share the recipe here, but it’s just so good that we want to keep it an Alt-Cho family secrete recipe and save it for when we open up a brewery/pizza shop/dumpling shop/bakery. It sounds great, right?!

Writing this makes me realize how busy I’ve been the last few weeks and how I haven’t really been able to call my mom : ( I’ll probably be making a late night stress induced call this week. Momma Cho actually helped me developed this recipe! I’ve teamed up with my mom and with Lee Kum Kee to celebrate their 130th anniversary! It’s sort of a perfect collaboration because my mom has been using Lee Kum Kee oyster sauce since before I was even born! Oyster sauce is her secret ingredient for EVERYTHING. She puts it in vegetables, stir fries, soups, pasta salad, the spaghetti sauce she made through out the 90s and early 00s (lol) , and her famous beef roast! Her beef roast is one of my favorite meals. It’s rich and so so comforting. Like with a lot of her recipes, she takes a classic american pot roast recipe but puts her own asian twist on it with the addition of oyster sauce, soy sauce, ginger, and green onions. So I took my mom’s roast recipe and stuck in between a fluffy bao bun! I love bao-ifying things. They taste great and look like really fun mini sandwiches to share with your friends and family!

I’m sharing the recipe as part of Lee Kum Kee’s 130th anniversary recipe contest! So if you like the recipe or think the bao look super tasty you can vote for it here! YOU can also submit a recipe and have a chance of winning some $$$! Imagine all the dumplings and bun you could buy : )


Chinese Beef Roast Bao

serves 6

materials:

3-4lb boneless chuck roast­
1 tsp white pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp + ¼ cup Lee Kum Kee oyster sauce
2 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp salt
2 cups boiling water
3” piece ginger thinly sliced
8 garlic cloves halved
½ cup chopped green onions (whites and greens) – plus extra for garnish
½ cup Lee Kum Kee dark soy sauce
bao buns - homemade or store bought
Cucumbers – thinly sliced for garnish
Radishes – thinly sliced for garnish

steps:

  1. Place chuck roast in a large mixing bowl. Add in white pepper, salt, olive oil, 2 tbsp oyster sauce, and cornstarch. Massage in the marinade, making sure the whole roast is covered. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and allow the meat to marinate for at least an hour.

  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

  3. Heat up a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add in 3 tbsp of oil. Once oil is heated, sear the roast on all sides until browned using a sturdy pair of tongs. Each side should only take 2-3 minutes. Once all side are seared, turn off heat.

  4. Add in 2 cups of boiling water, ¼ cup oyster sauce, ginger, garlic, green onions, and dark soy sauce sauce. Give is all a good mix. Cover with a lid and place in the oven. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. Carefully transfer the roast onto a cutting board and allow to rest for 30-45 minutes.

  5. While the roast is resting, make your sauce. Pour the roast liquid from the Dutch oven into a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add in a pinch of salt and white pepper to taste. Mix together ¼ cup water with 2 tsp cornstarch until dissolved. Add to sauce mixture and whisk until sauce is thickened. Set aside for serving.

  6. Slice the beef roast into slices. Place a few small slices into a bao slider with a few thin slices of cucumbers and radishes. Pour on a bit of sauce, sprinkle some green onions, and enjoy!

Thanks, Lee Kum Kee for sponsoring this post!