Bacon, Corn, and Chive Crystal Dumplings

Corn Bacon Chive Crystal Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Corn Bacon Chive Crystal Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Corn Bacon Chive Crystal Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Corn Bacon Chive Crystal Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Corn Bacon Chive Crystal Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Corn Bacon Chive Crystal Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Corn Bacon Chive Crystal Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Corn Bacon Chive Crystal Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Corn Bacon Chive Crystal Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Corn Bacon Chive Crystal Dumplings - Eat Cho Food

I can now check “Be a Private Chef” off my bucket list! Not entirely sure that item was ever on my bucket list… but whatevs! I packed up a travel sized version of my kitchen this weekend and drove it up to Sea Ranch for a private dumpling class and dinner! Actually, Reuben drove because he is a saint and I need to figure out a way to eventually pay him for being my all-star assistant. The class was made up of a wonderful group of ladies for a bachelorette weekend and they were all so good at making dumplings. See, I told you dumplings weren’t hard to make! It was overall such a fun time! I had a minor moment of panic when I thought I was going to overheat in kitchen and cursed myself for wanting to hand whip the whipped cream for dessert, but I survived. I’ll be doing this exact same thing for a birthday party in 2 weeks and I’m only hoping that this whole workshop and dinner catering thing will get easier. Fingers crossed!

Dumplings are still on the mind though because I have another public workshop this Sunday! If you’ve been wanting to attend one of my workshops, I still have plenty of spots available for my Crystal Dumpling Workshop on July 14th! You can grab your ticket here. I’m especially excited for that class because I love crystal dumplings so much! Crystal dumplings are those semi-translucent chewy wrappers you see for Har Gow or shrimp dumplings. Instead of wheat flour, the wrappers are actually made using wheat starch or a blend of that with tapioca starch. I like to use a blend of wheat starch and tapioca starch because it lends itself to a softer and chewier texture. Despite the name “wheat starch”, these dumplings are actually inherently gluten free. I made these for my gluten free friends during our Chinese New Year party and they all loved it! Dim Sum spots don’t typically advertise these types of dumplings as being gluten free because they probably still use soy sauce or oyster sauce in the filling. Whether you’re staying away from gluten or all about the gluten life, you’re still going to love these dumplings!

These particular dumplings are filled with sweet fresh corn, smokey bacon, and garlicky Chinese chives. It tastes like a summer cookout in a dumpling! These were also inspired by a small blip of a memory from when my grandma made crystal dumplings filled with sweet corn and ground pork. She only ever made those once but I remember not being able to stop myself from eating them. Garlic chives or sometimes called Chinese chives have a sweet, fresh, and mild garlic flavor. I used to not really like them growing up, but I’ve recently grown to love and even crave their fresh and aromatic flavor. If you can find the flowering garlic chives, they make for an extra pretty garnish too! The corn and chives are cooked in the bacon fat and then tossed with the bits of crispy bacon to really soak up all that rich and smokey bacon flavor. Are you drooling yet?

If you’re wondering how I got that lovely yellow color in the wrapper, the answer is Turmeric! The spice provides a really vibrant color but doesn’t impart too much flavor into the dough. I also recently tried smoked paprika in the dough and got a really gorgeous orange color if you don’t have turmeric on hand. If you don’t feel like adding any spices or color into your crystal wrappers, that is totally fine too! I’m just on the pursuit of rainbow dumplings, so excuse me while I experiment with all the spices and powders and in my cabinet!

You may find that these wrappers are very different to work with compared to regular wheat wrappers. Crystal wrappers don’t really stretch because they don’t have any gluten structure. So as you’re working with this dough, be a little more gentle with the dough. You can still do all the sample pleats and folds as with wheat wrappers, but handle them with care. If a small hole or tear develops, don’t worry! Even though the wrappers are delicate they are also super forgiving once you steam them! I will admit that the dumplings prior to steaming are a bit on the fuggly side, but once you lift the lid of the steamer you’ll feel like something magical just happened! The color (if you added any) will deepen and all those folds you thought were too clunky somehow look all smooth and perfect. It’s such a good feeling. Like dumpling magic. Don’t forget to eat them though because that’s for sure the best feeling!


Bacon, Corn, and Chive Crystal Dumplings

makes 32 dumplings

steps:

  1. Cut the corn kernels off the cob with a sharp knife. Place the kernels in a medium bowl with the chopped garlic chives.

  2. Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium high heat until crispy. Remove the bacon and place on a paper towel lined plate. Cook the corn and the chives in the bacon fat over medium high heat for 4-5 minutes until the corn is cooked and bright yellow, stirring frequently. Season with salt, white pepper, and soy sauce. Remove the pan from the heat and place corn mixture in a bowl. Chop up the bacon into small pieces and add to the corn mixture. Add in cornstarch and give the filling a good mix until everything is evenly incorporated. Allow the filling to cool.

  3. To make the dough, add wheat starch, tapioca starch, turmeric, and salt 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 at least 10 minutes.

  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” circle. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling into the wrapper. Carefully pleat the dumpling into the desired shape. The dough feels fragile, but it’s also forgiving once steamed. Don’t worry if you have a few holes. Repeat with the remaining dumplings and place on a baking tray. Dust the tray with a bit of cornstarch to help them from sticking. Cover dumplings with a clean kitchen towel so they don’t dry out.

  5. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Line a bamboo steamer (same width as your pot) with perforated 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 6-7 minutes. Repeat with remaining dumplings.

  6. Eat immediately and enjoy with soy sauce or chili oil.

mushroom filling :

2 ears of corn
3/4 cup chopped garlic chives or scallions
4 stripes of bacon
1/2 tsp salt
dash of white pepper
1 tbsp of soy sauce or tamari
1 tbsp cornstarch

crystal dumpling wrapper:

3/4 cup wheat starch
3/4 cup tapioca starch
1 tsp turmeric powder
pinch of salt
1 cup just boiled water
3 tsp olive oil


Notes:

  1. Dumplings can be frozen raw. Place pleated dumplings on a baking tray and freeze until solid. Place dumplings in a ziplock bag and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. When cooking, prepare as the recipe states but steam for an additional 3 minutes until cooked through.

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.