Sticky Rice Arancini

Sticky Rice Arancini - Eat Cho Food
Sticky Rice Arancini - Eat Cho Food
Sticky Rice Arancini - Eat Cho Food
Sticky Rice Arancini - Eat Cho Food
Sticky Rice Arancini - Eat Cho Food
Sticky Rice Arancini - Eat Cho Food
Sticky Rice Arancini - Eat Cho Food
Sticky Rice Arancini - Eat Cho Food

I’m finally back in San Francisco! Well, hopefully that’s the case because Kristina of yesterday wrote this while waiting 4 hours for her flight at the Vancouver Airport. I’m somewhat disappointed with the food options at my terminal… best options are Burger King and Tim Hortons. Oh well! We had plenty of delicious food while in Vancouver, that I can’t really complain! My goal this weekend was to take my parents to as many Asian restaurants as possible within 4 days. I think we did pretty well! 75% of the time we ate at Chinese restaurants and about 50% of the time we were in the city of Richmond lol. It was so great because my Dad did most of the ordering since so many of the restaurants were mainly Cantonese speaking. We found great dim sum, fluffy buns, some pretty decent soup dumplings, and a new favorite noodle dish! Have you had mazesoba before? It’s so good! My Mom and I are going to try recreating it on our own and then compare notes later! That’s long distance recipe development right there. I definitely want to come back, bring Reuben, and maaaaaaaaybe try some non-asian food : )

I’ll be jumping back into the Eat Cho Food Test Kitchen this week and I have so many things to cook! I have either a dumpling making class to teach or a private class/dinner to prepare for over the next month! When I jumped into food blogging (or whatever it is that I’m doing) full time, I didn’t really think these dumpling classes would be such a vital part of my business. I thought I would teach maybe 1 class a month, but it turns out people are really into dumps! I’m particularly excited for the private classes/dinners because it’s like I’m getting paid to have a dinner party with friends! That sounds like an amazing job to me!

Ideally, I’d like to teach more than dumpling making. Or maybe do some pop-up dinners. I really really really want to do a modern dim sum pop up brunch one day. I just need to practice a few of my favorite dim sum recipes some more first. There is just so much more to dim sum than har gow, siu mai, and char siu bao. I mean, those 3 dishes are the absolute trifecta of dim sum. But what about crispy turnip cakes? Chinese donuts wrapped in rice noodles? Braised beef tendon? Steamed sticky rice in a lotus leaf? Chicken feet?! If you know, you know! And if you’re a seasoned dim sum-er then you also know that the list of offerings at dim sum are pretty endless. You’ll probably see a lot more dim sum recipes on there in the near future!

I’ll kick off the modern dim sum exploration with these Sticky Rice Arancini! These crispy balls of goodness are inspired by one my favorite dim sum dishes, Lo Mai Fon. It’s similar to the version wrapped in a lotus leaf, which is called Lo Mai Gai. Lo Mai Fon is sticky rice mixed with various tasty bits like dried shrimp, Chinese sausage, green onions, and shiitake mushrooms. Whenever we order it, the rice is filled in a clear glass bowl and inverted onto a plate so you get a perfect half dome. I love sticky rice so much because it has a great chewy texture (my favorite texture if you haven’t noticed) and the flavor of plain sticky rice is just a hint sweet, which pairs so well with all the savory and aromatic additions! I’ve made Sticky Rice Stuffed Eggplant for the blog before, which I think deserves a lot more attention because it is AMAZING.

This iteration of Lo Mai Fon gets a slight Italian influence. which reminds me that I need to share our Italy trip soon! Arancini are Italian fried risotto balls. They get their name because they resemble oranges! Aran=orange in Italian. Instead of risotto (which is made with arborio rice), I formed balls of sticky rice (mixed with chinese sausage, shiitake mushrooms, and green onions) , dripped them in some egg and then breaded them in panko bread crumbs. Kikkoman is pretty much the only brand of panko bread crumbs I use and I just found out they have a whole wheat ad gluten free version too! They take a quick bath in the fryer until they are beautifully golden brown. The result is an insanely addictive appetizer or party snack that is super crispy on the outside but still soft and chewy in the middle! Gosh, it’s so good. I do need to give credit to Reuben for this recipe idea though. He randomly had the idea a few weeks ago, maybe months ago, and I’ve just been waiting until I had the courage to deep fry again. I honestly don’t fry food that often. It’s messy and makes your whole house smell like oil for a day. So when I tell you to fry something you know it’s WORTH IT. Fry some up the next time you’re having friends over or just want to treat yourself to something crispy!


Sticky Rice Arancini

makes 15-18 arancini

materials:

1 1/2 cup glutinous sticky rice
2 1/4 cup water
3 Chinese sausages
1/2 cup chopped green onions
8 shiitake mushrooms
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 - 3 eggs
1 - 1 1/2cup panko breadcrumbs
canola oil for frying

  1. Wash rice 2-3 times until the water runs somewhat clear. Drain rinsing water. Cook rice in a rice cooker with 2 1/4 cups of water until done. Fluffy up the rice with a spoon and allow to cool slightly.

  2. Dice up shiitake mushrooms into 1/2” cubes, including stems, and set aside. Slice the Chinese sausage into 1/4” cubes and set aside.

  3. Heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Once hot add in the Chinese sausages and cook for a few minutes, stirring often, until the fat starts to render. Add in the shiitake mushrooms. Season with a bit of salt and a light dash of white pepper. Continue to cook for another 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place Chinese sausage and mushroom mixture in a large bowl.

  4. Add the cooked sticky rice to the bowl. Season with 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp white pepper, and 2 tbsp oyster sauce. Give it a good mix until everything is evenly incorporated. Set aside.

  5. Heat up at least 4” of canola oil in a heavy bottom pot until 370 degrees.

  6. Wet your hands so the rice doesn’t stick. Take about 2 tbsp of filling and roll tightly into a ball. Place formed ball on a baking tray. Repeated until all the rice balls have been formed.

  7. Add panko breadcrumbs to a dish or shallow bowl. Whip eggs in a bowl and set aside. Take 1 ball and dip it into the egg mixture, shake off any excess egg, and roll in the panko breadcrumbs until evenly coated. Gently drop the rice ball in the fryer and fry until the panko is golden brown, takes just a few minutes. Repeat with remaining balls.

  8. Enjoy warm with your choice of sauce! Like Sriracha or a sweet soy glaze!

Bok Choy and Shrimp Dumplings

Bok Choy and Shrimp Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Bok Choy and Shrimp Dumplings
Bok Choy and Shrimp Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Bok Choy and Shrimp Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Bok Choy and Shrimp Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Bok Choy and Shrimp Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Bok Choy and Shrimp Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Bok Choy and Shrimp Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Bok Choy and Shrimp Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Bok Choy and Shrimp Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Bok Choy and Shrimp Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Bok Choy and Shrimp Dumplings // Eat Cho Food
Bok Choy and Shrimp Dumplings // Eat Cho Food

I burned some donuts. Made some excellent muffins. Had a minor panic attack. Went to a suburban Target for the first time in months. Attempted to go to the library for actual library work. Forgot that spring break was a thing and couldn't get into said library. Frowned. Decided to eat my feelings in Chinese baked goods. Made homemade noodles. Spiced up the noods. Researched cute camera bags for the millionth time. Ate bacon for breakfast two days in a row.

So I would say that my weekend was okay...

I swear that whenever I plan to go on vacation the universe decides to throw every important task or project at me and I have negative days to do them. It feels great to have a lot to do. You know me, I like to stay busy. But I'm also just tired, ya know? 

Let me remind you that I'm not a full time blogger! I still work 40 hours a week at my day job and then spend as many hours as I can on the blog and other freelance projects. Lately, I've been struggling with how to give 100% of my energy to every project while also maintaining my relationships. I wish I could spend each night on the couch with Reuben watching all of Law & Order: SVU. I mean, I try to do that as much as I can but there's always a constant nagging feeling at the back of my head remembering there's a recipe to write, photos to edit, or emails to get sent out. Omg, my taxes. Remind me to do my taxes before I leave for Italy!! I wish I could effortlessly say, "Yes, I can totally hang out on Saturday! I have nothing planned!" That's never the case because my weekends are spent testing and photographing recipes or working on project #149742786. It's a lot of sacrifice. Most friends understand and don't hate me when I keep saying "We'll hang out eventually!!!" 

I've been side hustling for the last 2-3 years - painting, lettering, cooking, writing, doing lots of things. Reub and I met 5 years ago and obviously didn't live together. Those first 2 years in SF were spent getting to know each other and discovering we loved all the same foods! Except olives and blue cheese… yuck. Reuben and I would spend the weekends exploring the Bay Area and eating out all the time. We didn't really have a great kitchen for us to cook together in, which was sort of a bummer. But I think it was a perfect time for all that exploration! Once we moved in together 3 years ago, I finally felt a bit of stability. I actually had a kitchen and a space to work on all my projects! No craigslist roommates to get in my way!! Although, I do love my Big Green House roommies 4EVER <3 Anyways, that’s the story of how I became a workaholic.

Whoa, sorry to rant about work! I think I just need a vacation... I'm really fine! Dramatic but fine… what else is new? Although, an insurance commercial made me bawl my eyes out the other night... so maybe I'm just extra emotional? Thankfully we're heading to Italy in less than 2 weeks! I'm so ready to get out of the country for a little bit, to explore a brand new country, and to eat ALL THE CARBS. I'm hoping to come back inspired, semi-rested, and full of motivation to keep tackling this hustle! 

Let’s chit chat about these dumplings! I love dreaming up of new ways to manipulate dumpling wrappers! It’s literally edible playdough or maybe edible origami? What I like to do is somehow have the exterior of the dumpling hint at whats happening on the inside. Think of a purple dumpling that’s filled with purple cabbage! Or a dumpling filled with bok choy that also looks like bok choy! Whoa. Mind blown! I was pleased as punch with how these cute little dumplings came out! The filling is light and fresh from the bok choy and shramps (that’s how we text shrimps to each other…). The pleating on this dumping is as easy as it can get! I like to call it the “smoosh” technique! You literally smoosh or pinch together the middle portion of the dough together and you get a bunch of adorable bok choy dumps!

I’m going to admit that in order to achieve this look you use double the amount of wrapper for each dumpling. So it’s filling. But I don’t really mind the extra wrapper because in my opinion, the wrapper is the best part of the dumpling! Specifically the part of the dumpling where all the dough is concentrated and pinched together. If that’s also your favorite part then this dumpling is for you! Don’t forget to dip it in some soy sauce and chili oil, you won’t regret the extra carbs!


Bok Choy and Shrimp Dumplings

makes 36 large dumplings

plain dough:

10 oz (slightly less than 2 cups) all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
3/4 cup just boiled water

spinach dough:

10 oz (slightly less than 2 cups) all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
5 oz spinach
1/2 cup water

dumpling filling:

1 1/2 lb shrimp - cleaned and finely chopped
4 heads of bok choy - shredded
4 green onion stalks - chopped
3 large cloves garlic - mince
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp Sriracha
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp cornstarch

olive oil for cooking

to make plain 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.

to make spinach dough:

  1. Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Add spinach and cook until spinach has wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Puree the spinach and water in a blender or immersion blender.

  2. Add flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and slowly pour in spinach puree. Mix dough together with your finger tips or a wooden spoon. Mix until puree is absorbed and the dough is just combine. Knead for 2-3 minutes until dough is round, smooth, and evenly green. Place dough in a medium ziplock bag, seal, and allow to rest and hydrate for at least 30 minutes. Dough can rest for up to 2 hours before being used.

make dumplings:

  1. Heat about 2 tsp of oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add in garlic and bok choy. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5-6 minutes until bok choy is tender. Scoop in a large bowl and set aside to cool.

  2. Add finely chopped shrimp, chopped green onions, soy sauce, sesame oil, Sriracha, white pepper, oyster sauce, and cornstarch to the bowl of bok choy. Give it a good stir until everything is evenly combined. Allow the filling to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.

  3. To prepare your wrappers, lightly flour your work surface. Take the plain dough and cut it in half. Roll out one half of the plain dough into a 1” thick rope. Take the spinach dough and cut in half. Roll out one half of the spinach dough into a rectangle large enough to wrap around the plain dough. Place the plain dough in the center of the spinach dough. Roll up the dough and pinch the seams of the spinach dough to seal. Give the rope a quick roll to smooth out. Repeat with other half of dough.

  4. Cut each rope of dough into 18 equal pieces, giving you 36 pieces of dough total. Place the piece of dough cut side up on your work surface and gently press it down with the palm of your hand to form a flat disc. Roll out each piece of dough into a 4”-5” round circle. If you want to roll out all the dough at once, you can stack the wrappers with a light dusting of flour between each one. Lightly cover the prepared wrappers with plastic wrap or a towel to avoid drying out.

  5. Take one wrapper and fill with 1 tbsp of filling. “Smoosh” or pinch the middle portion of the wrapper (the space between the filling and the outer edge of the wrapper) together to get the bok choy look. Repeat with remaining dumplings.

  6. Set up your steaming meathod. My method: 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. Cover the steamer with the lid and steam for 8-9 minutes. Remove the steamer from the pot and lift the lid to allow the steam to release. Allow the dumplings to cool slightly, enjoy with soy sauce!

Notes:

  1. The spinach dough is speckled from the bits of spinach leaves. I liked this look! But if you prefer a more pure color you can press the pureed spinach through a fine mesh sieve. Just make sure you have a total of 3/4 cup of liquid. Add a bit more water if you need.

  2. This recipe makes double the amount of dough that’s typically used in my other dumpling recipes. This was done to achieve the leafy bok choy look. Plus the wrapper is the best part of dumplings in my opinion!

  3. To freeze, place dumplings on a baking tray and stick in the freezer until frozen solid. Store frozen dumplings in a ziplock bag. When steaming from frozen, do not defrost, and stream for 15-17 minutes.

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.