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.

Basil Chicken Potstickers

Basil Chicken Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Basil Chicken Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Basil Chicken Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Basil Chicken Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Basil Chicken Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Basil Chicken Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Basil Chicken Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Basil Chicken Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Basil Chicken Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Basil Chicken Dumplings - Eat Cho Food
Basil Chicken Dumplings - Eat Cho Food

How’s the work from home life, you may ask?? So far it’s been great! I decided that last Thursday and Friday were going to be vacation days for me. I slept, cleaned our apartment, organized the office, read some cookbooks, purged our fridge, and watched the remainder of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. You know, the important self care stuff. Then when Monday came I was antsy to get working and felt well rested! Well, sort of. Reuben and I rode our bikes twice over the weekend and my un-athletic self is not really sure what’s happening. So far work has consisted of emails, planning the logistics of my first class, spending all my money at Webstrauant Store, burning a pot of red beans for red bean paste, and making killer scallion pancakes (recipe coming next week!). Not too bad for a days work!

I have always dreamED of being able to work from home. I imagined that I would wake up every morning bursting with energy, fix myself a nice breakfast, put on yoga pants, work a little, go out for an afternoon coffee or exercise break, maybe talk to a person, and finish off the day with some freshly wrapped dumplings. So far the only thing that’s been true is the yoga pants. Ironically the hardest thing about working from home is having the energy to make yourself a nice meal. Yesterday I skipped breakfast and then made myself the lunch of my 5 year old dreams - a mini cheese quesadilla, avocado, rice, and a ripe mango. I was saving up my energy for the scallion pancakes I was about to test I guess. I’m hoping I’ll find a nice flow in the next few weeks. Right now it feels like I need to get a million things done and set the ground work for this freelance life and everything feels very urgent. Maybe I should get into meal prep?

I realize that I talk about dumplings a lot. They are just so good and versatile! One of the things I love most about dumplings is how meditative they are to make. If you have a hard time pleating dumplings it might be a little stressful, but once you get the hang of them it really is such a relaxing practice. I’m often making dumplings alone, which shouldn’t sound as sad as that sentence reads! Back home with my family we would make dumplings together and it would be the best time! Quick too… but here in SF I like to spend Sundays (DimSumday!!!) making dumplings either for dinner or to replenish our freezer stash. Reuben might pop in and help me fold a dumpling or 2, but I really don’t mind the peace that you get from pleating alone. I’ll turn some music on or just listen to the Top 50 songs playing from the neighbor’s kitchen across the lightwell. After a week of craziness and right before starting another week of craziness, making dumplings is my favorite way to find some calm in the kitchen.

So when Le Creuset asked me to create a recipe that helps me find calm in the kitchen, I immediately jumped to dumplings! They have this new GORGEOUS color called Fig as part of their New Calm hues. Somewhere between 1998-2005 I was obsessed with the color purple. Ask my Mom about the time I begged her to paint my bedroom lavender. I still feel like I don’t deserve to have these beauties in my kitchen. The braiser has quickly become my new favorite cooking vessel and has found a coveted permanent spot on my stove top. Obviously you can braise things in it, but I’ve also been sautéing vegetables in there and also cooking dumplings! The braiser is sort of perfect for the pan fry and steam method for cooking dumplings. This is when you sear the bottoms of the dumplings in a little bit of oil until they get nice and golden, then add some water to the pan and cover it to steam. Adding water and steaming something you want to be crispy might sound odd, but the magic is that once the water has fully cooked off at the end there is still a bit of oil in the pan that will crisp the dumplings back up again. The braiser works so well because 1. it has a fitted lid and 2. it’s big and beautiful enough that you can load it up with dumplings and then bring it right to the table when you’re ready!

The filling of this dumpling has a little Thai/Southeast Asian twist. We have Sriracha, fish sauce, and Thai Basil (the BEST SMELL). When you combine all 3 of these ingredients you get the most amazing dance party of flavors! These dumplings are spicy, herbaceous, and just a little bit funky but in the best way possible. I also find that chicken dumplings are a lot lighter than the pork or beef variety, so you have the ability to eat more dumplings. That’s never a bad thing!

Gosh, the Fig color is so pretty… I’m going to go stare at them for a little bit and then attempt to make some red bean paste without scorching my pot again!


Basil Chicken Potstickers

makes 24 large dumplings or 36 small dumplings

dough materials:

10 oz AP flour
pinch of salt
3/4 cup just boiled water

filling materials:

1lb ground chicken
1 cup fresh thai basil (regular basil works too) - chopped
2 tbsp Sriracha
4 cloves garlic - minced
2 green onion stalks - chopped
1/4 cup mined red onion
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
heavy 1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp cornstarch

olive oil for cooking
water for cooking

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. in a large mixing bowl combine ground chicken, basil, Sriracha, garlic, green onions, red onion, fish sauce, oyster sauce, white pepper, salt, and cornstarch. Mix everything together with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula until just combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let the filling to rest in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to develop. Filling can be made a day in advance.

  2. Lightly flour your work surface. Remove dough from the ziplock bag. Cut dough in half and keep one half in the bag. Roll out one half of your dough into a 1” thick rope. Cut into 16 (for smaller dumplings) or 12 (for larger dumplings) equal pieces. Place pieces of dough in the ziplock bag to prevent drying out. Roll out 1 piece of dough into a 3”-3.5” disc with a small rolling pin or a tortilla press if you have one. Place a scant tablespoon (or a little less if you’re making smaller dumplings) of filling in the center of your round dumpling wrapper, avoid over filling. Fold according to desired shape. My simple dumpling pleat can found on my Instagram Highlights! Repeat with remaining dumplings and place dumplings on a lightly floured baking tray until ready to be cooked.

  3. To cook your dumplings, add 1 -2 tbsp of olive oil to a skillet and heat over medium heat. Add a single layer of dumplings to fill your pan. Make sure there is room between the dumplings so they don’t stick. Sear on the flat side for 2-3 minutes until the side is toasted and golden brown. Add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of water to the pan depending on your pan size, and cover the pan with a lid. Steam the dumplings for 5-6 minutes. Remove the lid and allow any remaining liquid to cook off and for the bottoms to crisp up again. The dumplings will stick to the pan, as the name implies, just take a small spatula or fork to gently pry them off the pan. Repeat steps with remaining dumplings.

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

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.

 

Thank you, Le Creuset for sponsoring this post!

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.