Pumpkin Curry Dumplings

Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings
Pumpkin Curry Dumplings

Hello, hello, hello! It’s been a while since our last chat hasn’t it? What have you been up to the last 2 weeks? Did you have a happy and bountiful Thanksgiving????? Let’s see… what has life been like? I made a random pitstop in Bakersfield, California for a few days and it ended up being a super inspiring and weird 36 hours hours. I’ve spent the last 10 months or so designing and transforming a food truck into a mobile design center! It’s a fun little project I got to participate on with my office. We’re calling it the Food For Thought Truck! The plan was to drive it all across America and bring good creative vibes to communities that might need a little design spark! For this first leg, the stops are just within California, mainly because we are not convinced it will make it any further lol. Bakersfield was the farthest the FFTT has ever traveled to and it was definitely well worth it. Within a very jam packed week, we installed a beautiful floor graphic in the parking lot our truck called home, engaged with a huge chunk of the Bakersfield community, designed and built some public furniture, and made lots of new friends! Did I tell you that we stayed in a Frank Lloyd Wright house too? In theory it should have been a dream come true for someone who studied architecture… but it was just plain creepy. I felt like I was sleeping in a old dusty museum where all the furniture is hexagon shaped and oddly cultish. Despite the house giving me the heebie-geebies, the city of Bakersfield made my heart burst wide open. It reminded me so much of the midwest. Everyone was so unbelievably KIND. Like, “I’ll help you in a second without you even asking me” kind. My midwestern heart love it so much. I didn’t realized how much I missed having a community of people who genuinely supported each other. I mean, we have a great community of friends here in San Francisco. But I would say that the creative community here is not so warm… and feels much more competitive that supportive. In Bakersfield everyone was honestly so interested and supportive of everyone’s dreams and passion. Gosh it was such a lovely town.

After my quick 36 hours in Bakersfield, I flew right back to San Francisco and went straight to work after hopping off the plane. STRAIGHT TO WORK. Ugh. It was crazy. The days following felt like the last days of each semester of architecture school. We called it “Hell Week”. I’m sure you get the picture. It was long days working away in the studio and little sleep riddled with anxiety. Thankfully, our deadline was right before Thanksgiving, and as soon as our presentation was over on Tuesday my brain totally forgot that I even had a job and I was set into Turkey mode! We flew out to Portland for Thanksgiving and spend a nice long weekend with some great friends! We ate all the classic turkey day dishes, watched football, drank beer, waited in line for rare beer, visited the Tillamook cheese factory, ate all the cheese, and hunted for agates! It was a great time and now I’m regretting not moving to Portland years ago.

Now that I’m back home, I’m trying to enjoy the relaxing-ish week at work post deadline and attempting a cleanse after all the turkey, cheese, and beer. I had a chocolate chip cookie tonight though… so, yeah. I’m itching to get back into the kitchen to work on all the holiday goodies I’ve been dreaming about! That means cookies, cakes, and dumplings… obviously. These dumplings are inspired by one of my favorite cold weather takeout dishes! These dumplings are just as comforting as a warm bowl of thai pumpkin curry over rice on a chilly fall or winter day. The kabocha squash mixed with coconut milk and curry paste make the most dreamy and creamy filling. They are spicy but not burn your head off spicy, but if you’re heart and tastes buds feel like you need an extra tablespoon of curry paste then by all means add it! Just have a cup of milk ready on standby. The pan fried/steam methods results in a tender but crispy dumpling. The best kind of dumpling in my opinion!

Happy Dumpling making!


Pumpkin Curry Dumplings

makes 24 dumplings

dumpling dough:

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

pumpkin curry filling:

1 3lb kabocha squash
1 tbsp red curry paste
1/4 cup canned coconut milk
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper

coconut curry dipping sauce:

1 1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp red curry paste
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp fish sauce
juice of half a lime
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper

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. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the kabocha squash in half. Place cut side down on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes until fork tender. Allow squash halves to cool for 15-20 minutes until they are safe to handle.

  2. Scoop out the seeds and discard or save for roasting later. Scoop out the flesh and place in a medium bowl. You can scoop right up to the outer skin layer.

  3. Mash squash with a potato masher. Add curry paste, coconut milk, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Mash or mix until smooth. Set filling aside.

  4. 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 12 equal pieces. Place pieces of dough in the ziplock bag to prevent drying out. Roll out 1 piece of dough into a 3 1/2” - 4” disc with a small rolling pin or a tortilla press if you have one. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling in the center of your round dumpling wrapper. Fold in half so you have a half circle, making sure to firmly pinch and seal the edges. Hold the dumpling in the palm of your less dominant hand and use the thumb and index finger of your dominant hand to crimp the edges into a braid. If the braid isn’t sticking, try dabbing water around the edge of the dumpling before crimping. Place folded dumpling on a light floured baking tray. Repeat with remaining dough.

  5. To make your sauce, combine all the sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat. Whisk until the curry paste and sugar has dissolved. Cook over heat for medium heat for 4-5 minutes until thickened. Set aside until ready to heat.

  6. To cook your dumplings, add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a skillet and heat over medium high heat. Add a single layer of dumplings, about 6-8 depending on how large your pan is. Sear on one side for 3 minutes until the side is toasted and golden brown. Add 3-4 tbsp of water to the pan and cover with a lid. Allow to cook until the water has evaporated. Remove the lid and allow any remaining liquid to cook off. Remove the dumplings or add a bit more oil to the pan and flip the dumplings over to sear the other side for 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining dumplings.

  7. Serve dumplings immediately with coconut curry dipping sauce and enjoy!

White Cheddar Sriracha Mac and Cheese

White Cheddar Sriracha Mac and Cheese
White Cheddar Sriracha Mac and Cheese
White Cheddar Sriracha Mac and Cheese
White Cheddar Sriracha Mac and Cheese
White Cheddar Sriracha Mac and Cheese
White Cheddar Sriracha Mac and Cheese

How’s Fall going for you?! I’ve been consistently wearing a cozy sweater each day because it’s actually chilly, foggy, and refreshingly brisk… just like how Fall should. Way to be seasonally appropriate, San Francisco. We’ve roasted 2 squashes in the last week and I just watched Hocus Pocus for the first time in like 15 years. So, I think I’m doing Fall pretty right!

One of my favorite Fall foods to make is Mac and Cheese! Correction, I like to eat mac and cheese all year round but there is something about this time of year that inspires me to whip up a big cozy pot of cheese and carbs. I’m historically a mac and cheese purist. Please hold on all the vegetables (especially broccoli!) , pesto (isn’t that just like a pasta dish at that point?), and buffalo chicken. I might tolerate some truffle oil. At the end of the day, I just want el dente pasta, 1-2 decent cheeses, some crunchy breadcrumbs (not always necessary though), and the perfectly creamy not to goopy cheese sauce. I’m not a “load it up” type of person. But that’s just my personal preference. You may disagree and that it totally okay!

I’m just slightly breaking my keep it simple rule with this White Cheddar Sriracha Mac and Cheese because today is my favorite little brother’s birthday! Happy Birthday, Wai! His real name is Tyler, but we refer to each other in our Chinese names : ) He’s turning 24 and is probably busy studying away about the brain or some highly technical medical procedure because he’s the smarty pants in our family and is doing the whole medical school thing. I’m such a proud sister! Anyways, why am I making him a mac and cheese for his birthday? Well, last year he asked me if I had a mac and cheese recipe on my blog so that he could make it to bring to a Friendsgiving. I DIDN’T HAVE ONE AND I WAS HORRIFIED. This was the first time my brother even asked me about a recipe and up until then I wasn’t even sure if he trusted me as a food authority. Also, why the heck don’t I have a recipe for one of my favorite foods?! I was super disappointed and ended up pointing him in the direction of a pretty good standard mac and cheese recipe. So It’s taken me almost a year to finally share a mac and cheese recipe. I’ve gotten distracted with other noodles and dumplings along the way.

This mac and cheese is simple in its foundation, but the little details of it are inspired by my brother. The fact that this is a stove top macaroni makes life a whole lot easier if you’re a hard working medical student constantly on the go! You could make it all in one pot if you wanted to! My brother has always been a spicier person than me, in terms of food and also maybe personality lol. Sriracha adds a nice spicy kick and mellows out the sharpness of cheddar. This mac consists of 2 really good cheeses, both of which I think you should always have in your refrigerator. Sharp Cheddar for snacking and grilled cheeses. Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan works too!) for adding that salty cheesy bite to pastas, salads, or soups. The toppings are optional, you could literally eat this straight out of the pot. I might have done that with a few spoonfuls. To make life feel a little fancier add the bread crumbs and green onions (my brother shares my love and passion for green onions). Drop them from high up in the air and pretend like you’re making a slow-mo segment for Chef’s table. It’s your birthday. Be fancy! Oh, and if you want to really make this into a Tyler Cho Mac and Cheese, add in some cubed chicken breast or fried chicken skin! That was just venturing out a little too far from my Mac and cheese comfort zone!

Happy Birthday, Brother!


White Cheddar Sriracha Mac and Cheese

serves 4-6

materials:

16 oz pasta shells
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup AP flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cups milk
4 cups sharp white cheddar
1/3 cup pecorino romano
3 tbsp Sriracha - or more if you like it really spicy
1/4 panko bread brumbs
1 tbsp olive oil
green onions for garnish

steps:

  1. Cook your pasta according to the package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

  2. In a large pot or saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in flour, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Mixture will resemble a thick paste. Carefully pour in milk while continually whisking. Whisk constantly for 5-7 minutes until thick and smooth. Reduce heat to low and mix in cheese and Sriracha until melted.

  3. Add pasta into the cheese sauce and toss until evenly coated.

  4. Heat olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add in bread crumbs. Stir the panko. Toast for a few minutes until golden brown. Stir every 20 seconds so the panko doesn’t burn. Remove from heat and top the mac and cheese with bread crumbs and green onions.

  5. Enjoy!

Notes: If you prefer a baked option, instead of stovetop, cook your pasta for 2 minutes less. Combine pasta with cheese sauce and place in a baking dish. Combine bread crumbs with olive oil and top your mac and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 until bubbly and golden brown.

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?!!! IfSounds 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 on the Street. 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 homegoods 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.