Posts tagged crispy
Ginger Carrot and Bok Choy Dumplings with Crispy Skirt
Crispy Ginger and Carrot Bok Choy Dumplings - Eat Cho Food

Want to hear the most exciting thing that’s happening in my life right now???? We’re getting a dog!!!!

Just kidding, Mom! Chill out. We’re just dog sitting this weekend, but I’m so pumped! A sweet girl named Hanky is going to be staying with us over the weekend. We get her tonight! I’ve always loved dogs… sort of. When I was younger I had a strange obsession with West Highland Terriers, so much so that I would get a calendar of them for my purple bedroom every year. It was a phase. My family are not really dog or pet people, but when I was about 10 years old I miraculously convinced my parents to get us dog. Knowing my parents, I still can’t believe they did that. I must have completely annoyed the crap out of them with my incessant begging and strategically placed notes/essays about why we should get a dog. I’ve always been a determined person. Ask my mom about the flyers I made when I wanted my very first Ipod…

So along came Toby! Our cute little Lhasa Apso puppy. After about 3 days, I was completely overwhelmed by Toby and I assume so were my parents. The timing wasn’t right. I really wasn’t ready for a dog. None of us knew how to take care of a dog. So we sadly ended up giving Toby to our family friend who was much more equipped to take care him. Fast forward 18 years. I’m now a 28 year independent woman running her own business with a boyfriend who grew up with a giant dreadlocked dog and was a “playtime specialist” at a dog kennel in high school! I should be ready for a dog now… I think. Idk. Hanky should be a good test run I think! She’s sort of a bigger dog and I really just want a mini dachshund I can name Elliot Stabler, so if I can handle Hanky I should be able to handle Stabler.

I wonder what having a dog in the kitchen will be like. Will she stay with me while I cook in hopes of catching some veggie scraps that fall to the ground? Will she try to smell the food I lay out for a photoshoot? Will there be an occasional snout or paw in my photos that I will have to crop out? What if a dumpling rolls off the table and she eats it?! Will she love Reuben more than me?!!! It will probably be a yes to that last one because animals always love Reuben. Anyways, I’ll let you know how being a temporary dog parent goes!

Crispy Ginger and Carrot Bok Choy Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Ginger and Carrot Bok Choy Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Ginger and Carrot Bok Choy Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Ginger and Carrot Bok Choy Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Ginger and Carrot Bok Choy Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Ginger and Carrot Bok Choy Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Ginger and Carrot Bok Choy Dumplings - Eat Cho Food

The Best Vegetarian Dumplings

Okay, so there really isn’t a smooth way to transition from dog parenting to dumplings… so let’s chat vegetarian dumplings!

Last month, I was preparing an all vegetarian private dinner for a client and I realized that I needed more vegetarian dumpling fillings on Eat Cho Food. I have these from last year (wow, my pleats have gotten so much better!) and this mushroom filling, which is honestly one of my favorite filling options. Turns out a lot of people don’t really like mushrooms??? So for the the mushroom adverse dumpling lovers out there, I wanted to make a great vegetarian dumpling that everyone would love - even the meat eaters out there. This dumpling is fairly simple. The filling consists of carrots and bok choy as the main vegetables. Then we add garlic, ginger, and a few sauces that everyone should have in their pantry as the main flavor boosters.

When I make a vegetarian dumpling filling, I like to actually cook the vegetables first. That’s because vegetables contain a lot of water. If you were to salt and flavor your raw vegetables, the moisture from those vegetables will come out and the filling will be wet and soggy. We don’t want soggy dumplings. You could drain the liquid by squeezing it out with a kitchen towel or cheese cloth, but that’s like my least favorite activity to do in the kitchen. It’s so much work and it’s so messy! The extra benefit of cooking the vegetables first is extra flavor! I cook the vegetables in butter (you could also use olive oil), which lends some richness to a vegetarian filling. Meat fillings have animal fat for that richness, so if you’re down for butter I encourage you use it! Fat=flavor after all!

When you taste these Ginger Carrot and Bok Choy Dumplings you’ll think that there are 100 more ingredients in there. It tastes so much more complex than it was to make it. The best way to describe the flavor is just insanely good carrot flavor. The carrots get really creamy and contribute a little bit of sweetness to balance the bitterness from the bok choy and the savoriness from the garlic and soy sauce. The ginger and Sriracha add a nice subtle heat that’s not too overpowering too. Mmmmmm it really is so good! When I served this as a filling option at my Crystal Dumpling workshop, this one was by far the class favorite!

Crispy Ginger and Carrot Bok Choy Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Ginger and Carrot Bok Choy Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Ginger and Carrot Bok Choy Dumplings - Eat Cho Food

How to Make a Crispy Dumpling Skirt

Now, let’s talk about the other star of the show! This dumpling skirt! I’m still not sure if that’s what you call it…. dumpling skirt? lacy bottom? crispy skirt? dumpling lace? None of those terms sound particularly appetizing. But I’m going to stick with dumpling skirt because I think it sounds the funniest.

That crispy and light as air crunchy stuff you see around the dumplings is actually just a combination of flour and water. You could also use cornstarch instead of flour if you like. When the flour and water are whisked together you’re making a super thin batter. So that when you add it into the pan of dumplings, the water evaporates and cooks the dumplings, while the remaining flour cooks in the oil to create a crunchy and savory cracker like lace! The juices from the dumpling filling mix with the flour mixture and gives it such a good flavor! It’s a little hard to have dumplings without the dumpling skirt afterwards.

All you have to do is add 2 tbsp of oil (or enough to evenly coat your pan) over medium heat. Arrange some dumplings in the pan and fry them until the bottoms are golden brown. You can arrange them neatly if you like since they will stay in place once the flour and water mixture is added. Combine 1/4 cup of water and 1 tsp of flour in a small cup. Pour the mixture in the pan and cover the lid to steam. After 5-6 minutes, remove the lid and admire the lacy cracker in the pan. Allow any extra moisture to cook off. Now this is the part where you need to concentrate. Place a plate over the pan and with your hand firmly supporting the plate carefully invert the pan so that dumplings are now on the plate. Take a deep breathe and commit! It’s a lot easier if the plate is a little bigger than the pan.

Crack into the dumplings and enjoy them as is or with your favorite dipping sauce! I’m on a chili oil kick obviously : )

Crispy Ginger and Carrot Bok Choy Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Ginger and Carrot Bok Choy Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Crispy Ginger and Carrot Bok Choy Dumplings - Eat Cho Food

Gingery Carrot and Bok Choy Dumplings with Crispy Skirt

makes 32 dumplings

dumpling materials: 

4 bok choy bulbs - chopped
4 medium carrots - grated or minced in a food processor
2 tbsp butter or olive oil 
4 garlic cloves - minced 
1 tbsp minced ginger
1/2 tsp salt 
heavy dash of white pepper
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sriracha
2 tbsp cornstarch
olive oil for cooking

32 dumpling wrappers

crispy skirt materials (per batch):

1/4 cup water
1 tsp all purpose flour

steps: 

  1. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and melt your butter. Add bok choy, carrots, garlic, ginger, salt, and white pepper. Cook and stir occasionally for 7-8 minutes, until all the liquid has cooked off. Place in a bowl to cool. Add in cornstarch, soy sauce, sesame oil, and Sriracha. Mix until combined. Filling should be completely cooled before wrapping dumplings. 

  2. Take one wrapper and place a scant tablespoon of filling in the center. Fold into desired shape. Repeat with remaining dumplings and place dumplings on a lightly floured baking tray until ready to be cooked. 

  3. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a skillet and heat over medium heat. Swirl the pan so it is evenly coated with oil. Add a single layer of dumplings to your pan. Sear on the flat side until the bottom is golden brown. Mix together 1/4 cup of water and 1 tsp of all purpose flour. Pour the mixture into the pan and cover with a lid. Steam the dumplings for 5-6 minutes. Remove the lid and allow any leftover water to cook off. Admire your crispy skirt! Place a plate over the pan and carefully flip the pan over onto the plate. You have to commit! Repeat with remaining dumplings.

  4. Enjoy with soy sauce or chili oil!

Scallion Pesto Pancakes
Scallion Pesto Pancakes - Eat Cho Food
Scallion Pesto Pancakes - Eat Cho Food
Scallion Pesto Pancakes - Eat Cho Food
Scallion Pesto Pancakes - Eat Cho Food
Scallion Pesto Pancakes - Eat Cho Food
Scallion Pesto Pancakes - Eat Cho Food
Scallion Pesto Pancakes - Eat Cho Food
Scallion Pesto Pancakes - Eat Cho Food
Scallion Pesto Pancakes - Eat Cho Food
Scallion Pesto Pancakes - Eat Cho Food
Scallion Pesto Pancakes - Eat Cho Food
Scallion Pesto Pancakes - Eat Cho Food
Scallion Pesto Pancakes - Eat Cho Food
Scallion Pesto Pancakes - Eat Cho Food
Scallion Pesto Pancakes - Eat Cho Food

After this long weekend I think I am officially part girl, part dumpling, part hot dog, and part cheeseburger. Isn’t that the point of 3 days weekends that encourage you to frolic outside with all the grilled meats and mayo-y salads within arms reach?

How was your Memorial Day Weekend? Did you eat enough hot dogs or buy a new home appliance? Reuben and I spent the week like the hermits that we are. We ate a lot of good food, watched Season 7 of SVU, and went to the gym so the transition into part cheeseburger was a little less awkward. We did have a friend over for dinner and I practiced my dumpling teaching skills on her! I still have a few kinks to work out, but I have a couple more days until it’s showtime. The dumplings we made were excellent though and that’s all that really matters! Oh, oh, oh! The most exciting upgrade just happened to our apartment… no we don’t have a dishwasher or in-unit laundry… BUT we started a window planter with some wee bundles of thyme, oregano, and rosemary! They are SO CUTE. Plus we planted some really hot pepper plants, which I probably won’t be able to consume without a gallon of vanilla ice cream on standby. I’m so excited to be able to snip my own fresh herbs without even leaving the kitchen : )

Working on our micro urban garden, grilling all the edible things, and the super long days (it’s still light out at 8pm!) are making me so excited for Summer and all the foods that come with it. One of my favorite things to make during the summer is fresh pesto because the basil is so delicious and bountiful! The smell of fresh basil just makes me so happy. Unfortunately we didn’t get any basil to plant because the lighting options in our apartment wouldn’t be great for it. One day we will have a yard and it will be full of basil. Hopefully some Thai basil too!

The Magic of Scallion Pesto

These Scallion Pesto Pancakes are a great way to use up some of this season’s best aromatics! I think if you put basil, garlic, and scallions on anything it would taste good. A typical scallion pancake consists of a similar dough to dumpling wrappers, rolled out extra thin, brushed with sesame oil, and sprinkled with chopped scallions and a bit of five spice. It’s rolled up, twisted, and flattened into a disc and then cooked to flakey, crispy, and slightly doughy perfection. Instead of the classic filling, I added a swirl of scallion pesto. You’ll notice that I use pistachios in my pesto. You can use pinenuts, almonds, or even walnuts if you prefer. Pistachio is just our house nut, we always have some in the house so snacks or to add crunchiness to our salads. The recipe below will make a bit more pesto than you need for the pancakes, but extra pesto is not a bad problem to have. You can add the extra pesto to some pasta, chicken, vegetables, or a piece of toast. It’s so good! I do have to warm you though that the pesto is pretty garlicky and oniony so maybe don’t eat one of these before going on a first day.

Let’s talk about the anatomy of these pancakes for minutes. Different people have different scallion pancake preferences. Some really like them really thin and crunchy, some people like them thick and doughy, and some people like them light and flakey. In my world, the ideal scallion pancake is light and flakey on the outer rings and then get progressively doughier and chewier towards the center. It’s the best of all worlds! It’s hard to pick a favorite part, but if I had to choose it might be the very center nub. So chewy! Dipping the center of pancake into some chili oil is literally one of the best flavor combos ever! I highly encourage you just eat these with your hands and pull apart all the flakey layers in search of your part! Another way I like to eat these pancakes is with a fried egg and some hot sauce, sort of like a breakfast taco situation. Lots of tasty options!


Scallion Pesto Pancakes

makes 6 pancakes

scallion pesto materials:

4 scallion stalks - cut into 1” pieces
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup toasted pistachios or pinenuts
1/2 cup fresh basil
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup olive oil

dough material:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour + more for dusting
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 warm water

olive oil for greasing and cooking

to make scallion pesto:

  1. Add scallions, garlic cloves, pistachios, basil, fresh basil, and sesame oil in a food processor. Pulse for 20 seconds until mixture is crumbly and the basil has broken down. While the food processor is still running, slowly pour in olive oil. Blend until pesto is mostly smooth but with a few chunks. Store pesto in a jar and top with a bit of oil and store in the fridge until ready to use. This recipe makes a bit more pesto than you need for the pancakes. Add the extra pesto to pasta, vegetables, or toast!

to make pancakes:

  1. Whisk flour and salt in a medium bowl. Slowly pour in the warm water and mix everything together with a spoon until the water has been absorbed. Dump the shaggy dough onto a clean work surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth. Dough may be a bit sticky. Dust with a bit more flour if too sticky. Lightly grease a bowl with olive oil and add the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

  2. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Lightly brush a clean work surface with olive oil so the dough doesn’t stick. Roll out one piece of dough into a thin roughly 6”x12” rectangle. Scoop 2 tbsp of pesto and spread a thin layer of pesto over the dough, leaving about 1.5” clear around the edges. Starting along the long edge of the dough, gently roll up the dough into a rope. Take the rope and roll into a coil. Take a small rolling pin and roll out the coil into a 4” diameter disc. A few of the layers will break and some pesto will squirt out, that’s okay! If its difficult to roll out the pancake on a stone work surface, try rolling out on a greased wooden cutting board. Place rolled out pancake on parchment lined baking tray dusted with a bit of flour. Repeat with remaining pancakes.

  3. To cook pancakes, heat up up 1 tsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium to medium high heat. Once hot, add a pancake to the pan and flatten the dough a bit with a spatula. Cook on one side for 2-3 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Flip and cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes. Place cooked pancake on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining pancakes.

  4. Eat immediately with soy sauce or chili oil.