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!

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.

Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls

Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/6/chicken-and-cabbage-spring-rolls
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls - Eat Cho Food
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls - Eat Cho Food
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls - Eat Cho Food
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls - Eat Cho Food
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls - Eat Cho Food
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls - Eat Cho Food
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/6/chicken-and-cabbage-spring-rolls
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/6/chicken-and-cabbage-spring-rolls
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/6/chicken-and-cabbage-spring-rolls
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/6/chicken-and-cabbage-spring-rolls
Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/6/chicken-and-cabbage-spring-rolls

Pretty much throughout the entirety of our time in Cleveland, there were spring rolls either being made, freshly baked out of the oven, or in the fridge ready to be reheated in my mom's magical air fryer. Can’t life always be like this? This scenario is not too much different than the fist 10 years of my life, because growing up in your family's Chinese restaurant meant that you could hop on into the kitchen and ask your grandpa to make you an egg roll as an afternoon snack at any moment. I would then proceed to cut the egg roll in half lengthwise, scoop out almost all the filling because cabbage was a scary thing to me in the 90s, and then aggressively cover the crispy and slightly veggie flavored egg roll skin with sweet and sour sauce. Ah, I miss my youth.

You'll notice that I'm switching between egg rolls and spring rolls. That's intentional because during my restaurant life we ate blistery egg rolls, but then my mom would always make crispy and crunchy spring rolls at home. I'm not sure why! Spring rolls have definitely become a staple at our house for whenever we have the whole family over for dinner, a birthday, or a barbecue. In recent years, my mom has adjusted her own recipe and developed a pretty fantastic baked spring roll. The baked version is awesome and still has a great crunch (that’s because my mom goes through the extra effort of squeezing all the liquid out of the cabbage by hand like a superhero)! Since they are baked you end up being able to eat a million of them without feeling like butt afterwards. They are simply filled with chicken and cabbage. I've gotten over my irrational fear of cabbage in the last 18 years, thankfully. I recently helped my mom make spring rolls and we added bean thread noodles. It adds a great texture to the filling and also helps absorb any excess moisture to ensure an earth shatteringly crisp crunch when you bite in without spending your whole afternoon squeezing cabbage. If you can’t find bean thread noodles, which are likely found at your local Asian market, you can omit them and they will taste just as good! You just might have a few less spring rolls to fry up.

The recipe I'm sharing with you guys requires frying the suckers, because I'm ignoring all the "healthy start to the new year" propaganda and I also haven't had a fried spring roll in ages! Oh, it was soooooooo worth it. Baked spring rolls are amazing, but freshly fried ones are incredible and such a treat!

Chinese New Year is also about 3ish weeks away and I feel like it is my duty to fry up all these delicious treats for you guys : ) 


Chicken and Cabbage Spring Rolls

makes 25 spring rolls

materials:

1 small head of green cabbage - shredded

1 1/2 lbs chicken tenders (breast works too)

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp oyster sauce + 1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 heaping tbsp cornstarch

salt

white pepper

1 bundle of bean thread noodles

3 green onion stalks - chopped

1 tsp sesame oil

1/4 water + 1/4 flour

25 spring roll wrappers

oil for frying

steps:

  1. Slice chicken into thin bite sized pieces. Place in a bowl and toss with olive oil, 2 tbsp oyster sauce, cornstarch, pinch of salt, and a heavy dash of white pepper. Allow to marinade for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

  2. Heat 2 tsp of oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add shredded green cabbage and cook for 4-5 minutes until cabbage has slightly softened and the edges are slightly golden. Remove cabbage from the skillet and allow to cool in a large bowl.

  3. With the skillet still on, add about 1/4 cup of water and bring to a boil. Add chicken, stir to evenly disperse chicken. cook in water for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Water should have mostly evaporated by now. Remove chicken, avoiding scooping up any excess water, and add to the bowl of cabbage.

  4. Place bean thread noodles in a heat proof bowl. Pour just boiled water over the noodles until they are fully submerged. Let noodles sit for 2-3 minutes until noodles are cooked. Drain the noodles well. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the noodles into slightly smaller pieces. Add noodles to the bowl of cabbage and chicken.

  5. Season the spring roll filling with another pinch of salt, dash of white pepper, 1 tbsp oyster sauce, and sesame oil. Add chopped scallions and toss everything until evenly combined. Allow the filling to completely cool.

  6. Mix equal parts water and flour to form a paste for assembling the spring rolls.

  7. Place spring roll wrapper on your work surface, positioned like a diamond (see images above). Place about 1/4 cup of filling in the bottom third of the wrapper (closer to you). Fold the bottom tip of the wrapper over the filling and tuck over the sides. Smear a bit of the flour paste around the edges of the wrapper and continue rolling the spring roll tightly. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.

  8. Heat enough oil for frying in a heavy bottom pot or deep skillet. Heat to 360 degrees. Add a few spring rolls into the oil and fry for about 5 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Remove spring rolls from the oil and place on paper towels to remove excess oil. After about a minute, place on a wire rack to allow to cool. Repeat with remaining spring rolls.

  9. Enjoy once cooled to a safe eating temperature with sweet and sour sauce!