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.

Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gow)

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Hi there! I’m doing something that I’ve never done before. I’m blogging on a plane! I’m currently (as I type this) thousands of feet in the air on my way to Chicago for work. By the time you read this, I’ll probably be passed out after a day of meetings and traveling around Illinois since 6:45am, Chicago time. Ugh. Hopefully I’ll have a tasty Chicago dinner in my belly by then, instead of an airport carrot muffin.

This is my first time traveling for work! I feel very grown up and professional right now. When I was younger, I would daydream about what my life would be like as a young professional working in a big city. I watched The Devil Wears Prada, and just assumed that that would be my life. I would live in a shitty apartment with my professional chef boyfriend. Wear pencil skirts and flowy blouses everyday. Maybe even a blazer. Run errands and grab coffee for my overbearing boss.  And travel around with my laptop and blackberry in hand at all times. None of this has come to fruition. Thankfully. My apartment is a dream and I’m constantly gratefully that Reuben (my architect/almost professional chef boyfriend) can manage to live in it. I’ve NEVER worn a blazer to work. Heck, I came into work in yoga pants today and I don’t think anyone even noticed. I’ve also never had to do the bidding of any overbearing bosses. And who uses a blackberry anymore???

I’m definitely not the jet-setting young professional that I thought I would be. But I’m totally fine with that. Flying sort of sucks and I would miss lounging on the couch watching Food Network with Reuben too much.

*side note: isn’t it just common decency to NOT watch YouTube videos out loud when you’re on a plane? Yes?! I thought so……

I have about 6 hours of free time on Saturday before I fly back to San Francisco. I’ve already located the most amazing looking Matcha Latte, which is conveniently 3 blocks from my hotel! I’m trying to decide on what I should eat. Should I eat Chicago specific foods, like a hotdog or deep dish pizza? Or should I just keep going on this dumpling train?? Advise me!

Did someone say dumpling?! I have dumpling recipe No. 2 for you this month! This might be my favorite dumpling of ALL TIME. Har Gow are simple steamed shrimp dumplings in a crystal wheat starch wrapper. They are part of the dim sum trifecta, which I consider to be char sui bao (BBQ pork buns), pork sui mai (open top pork dumplings), and har gow. You can’t NOT order a few steamers of them at dim sum. I literally could eat like 50 of them in one sitting. They are so light, fresh, and clean tasting! The dim sum spot right our apartment makes THE BEST ones. I wish I could rig a pulley system from their kitchen to my bedroom window for easy har gow access.

When I was little I would only eat the wrapper of these. I’d take a nibble to open up the dumpling. Pick out the shrimp filling and plop it down on either my mom’s or grandpa’s plate. I was crazy. I thankfully grew out of my picky eating stage and now eat the whole dumpling. But if you have never had a dumpling in a crystal wrapper before, you are missing out! The texture is the best part. It’s light and chewy, and pairs incredibly well with a quick dip in some soy sauce or chili oil.

As with most dumplings, these are slightly labor intensive. Mainly the folding. My grandma showed me how to fold a har gow when I was home for Christmas and it blew my mind. I’ve watched so many hours of dumpling folding videos. But to see someone do it so easily in front of you and with directions was revolutionary. I made a little video for you to study when you try to make these dumplings. But honestly, even an ugly dumpling is a delicious dumpling! I feel like that should be on a t-shirt or bumper sticker. Also, this is my very first video! It's a little rough, so don't judge me too much! I have no idea what I'm doing... 

I have 2 more dumpling recipe to share with you after this. I’ll have a fully stocked freezer full of dumplings and I won’t have to fold, crimp or pinch for a very long time : )

Happy folding and steaming, folks!


Shrimp Dumplings (Har Gow)

For the filling:
1 ½ lb shrimp – deveined and peeled
1/3 cup water chestnuts – finely chopped
2 cloves garlic - minced
1 tsp salt
½ tsp white pepper
½ tsp sesame oil
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp oyster sauce

For the wrapper:
3 cups wheat starch (plus more for dusting)
2 cups just boiled water
3 tsp olive oil

Maker’s Notes:

You can buy wheat starch at most asian grocery stores.

Non-steamed dumplings can keep in the freezer for a few month. You can steam them from frozen for about 1-2 minutes extra.

I have a 10” bamboo steamer that fits perfectly on top of my LeCreuset dutch oven. You want the steamer to fit snuggly over the pot you are boiling water in. Any gaps will prevent the dumplings from steaming correctly.

Steps:

Start by preparing your filling. Finely chop your shrimp. Rock your knife back and forth over the shrimp multiple times so that it gets a pasty consistency. Place the shrimp in a medium bowl. Combine with finely chopped water chestnuts, minced garlic, salt, white pepper, and sesame oil. Give it a good mix until everything is evenly incorporated. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and allow the mixture to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

In a large bowl, measure out 3 cups of wheat starch. Pour in the just boiled water. Give it a light mix, about 2 to 3 turns with a spoon or paddle. You still want the mixture to be about 50% dry. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set the bowl aside for 15 minutes. The hot water is going to steam the wheat starch. After 15 minutes, removed the plastic wrap. Add olive oil and start kneading the dough until you get a super smooth and opaque dough ball and it no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.

Roll your dough into a neat ball. Pinch off enough dough to make a ¾” round ball. To make your wrapper you can either roll them out with a small rolling pin or with a tortilla/dumpling press. You want your wrappers thin, but not too thin that it breaks while folding, and about 3” in diameter.

To fold your dumpling, place the wrapper in your non-dominant hand.  In my case, it is the left hand. Slowly start to fold the wrapper in half. Using your free hand, slowly create pleats on the bottom half of the dumpling. You should be able to get about 5 to 6 pleats in, but work with what is comfortable for you. Once you have pleated the bottom half. Scoop in about 1 1/2 tsp of filling into the dumpling, filling size varies depending on the size of your dumpling. Try not to over fill your dumpling. To seal the dumpling, pinch together the top half of the wrapper with the pleated half. Give it a good pinch on the side to get that typical Har Gow look.

Arrange the dumplings on baking tray dusting with wheat starch or cornstarch so that it doesn’t stick.

To steam the dumplings, place a bamboo steam on top of pot of boiling water. You’ll need about 3 to 4 inches of boiling water. You want to make sure your pot and steamer are the same diameter. If there is a gap, it won’t steam as well.

Line your steamer with parchment paper or cabbage leaves. Arrange your dumplings in the steam and steam for 15 minutes.

Remove the steamer from the pot and allow them to cool for a few minutes. Enjoy hot and with a side of soy sauce!

Sambal Shrimp

Hi, lovely peeps! How's everyone's weeks so far? Are you feeling ok? Are you disheartened by what's going on in America and straight up embarrassed/disgusted by who "runs" this country? Yeah, me too. I'm not really great at writing about politics. Talk to me in person. You're invited into our living room. We'll provide beer and snacks. I just wish I could give everyone who feels hurt, angry, and afraid right now a big hug and a personally decorated cupcake. If I had enough time and butter, I'd do it. My hope is that we all continue to be hopeful, kind, compassionate, engaged, and aware. Just ignoring what is going on is not okay anymore. If you're interested in reading some great and humorous political commentary check out my good friend Claire's blog. I literally LOL every time I read it.

Whenever I feel a little down about the state of the world, I try to focus on what is good and bright around me at the moment. Normally that includes being thankful for my safe and cozy apartment, Reuby, and Cho Family. As a birthday present to myself, I bought a plane ticket to Cleveland next month. Going home to see your family does so much good for your spirit! I haven't been home during the Fall for like over 3 years!!! That's far too long. So I literally can't wait to go home next month. I've been fantasizing about apple picking, making apple galettes, strictly drinking only apple cider, dim sum, quality time with my blanket, and sushi feasts with my family. Gah. Cannot. Wait. Has it been 6 weeks yet?

The weather in San Francisco has been pretty chilly and dreary lately, which has been making my craving for real Fall that much more amplified. I hope it clears up soon though, because Reuben's mom is coming this week! We've been cleaning our apartment like crazy. Gotta make sure we look like responsible adults here. I really love having visitors stay with us! It gives us a reason to not be hermits (we're not really hermits) and make welcome treats! If you're going to travel X amount of hours to come hang out with us, you most definitely deserve a homemade treat to welcome you to San Francisco. I'm practicing for the day I run a bed and breakfast where I make dim sum and cakes for all the guests. Will you come? For now, our art studio/office functions as our guest room. It's honestly really nice! I've definitely rented smaller and crappier rooms as a traveling intern. Come visit us! I've invited you into our home at least twice now... don't be rude.

Okay, there's not a great segue into this week's recipe... if you're in need of an incredibly quick and easy recipe to make for dinner because you've scheduled hugging and baking cupcakes for all the hurt, angry, and sad people of America, this Sambal Shrimp is the recipe for you! If you've never had Sambal before, it is simply an asian hot sauce made up of ground red chilies, salt and vinegar. It's pretty spicy if you just eat it by the spoonful like Reuben, but don't worry! The heat really mellows out once you start to cook it and even more so once you mix it up with some fluffy rice. Preparing and cooking the shrimp is stupid quick. If everything goes right, you'll have some tasty shrimp in 10 minutes! But you should definitely cook up some rice and a simple side of veggies because of "health," and because adults eat balanced meals. Right?

Go on ahead and make this super quick meal and get yourself some hugs : )


Sambal Shrimp

serves 2

Materials:

3/4 lb shrimp - peeled and cleaned

3 Tbsp sambal oelek + more for garnish

2 garlic gloves - minced

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

2 Tbsp olive oil + 1 Tbsp for cooking

1 Tbsp honey

Salt + Pepper

2 green onion stalks - chopped, whites and green divided

Steps:

1. Mix together sambal, minced garlic, grated ginger, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a small bowl. Set sauce aside. 

2. Combine shrimp with oil, honey, and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper.

3. Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add the whites of the green onions to the pan and cook for 1 minute, until slightly brown and fragrant. Add shrimp and cook on one side for about a minute, flip shrimp and cook for another minute until pinkish and opaque. Add the sambal sauce and stir to combine. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Shrimp cook quick!

4. Serve over a scoop of rice, a side of veggies, and garnish with green onions!