Dim Sum: Har Gow 蝦餃

This is my fourth attempt at trying to make my favorite dim sum: Har Gow, which is a traditional type of steamed dumpling served during dim sum, the Chinese equivalent of brunch but without the alcohol. It’s widely known that this dish is the ONE that dim sum chefs are judged on because it’s the epitome of dim sum. Whenever I try a new dim sum spot, I do indeed judge everything about the restaurant on their quality of har gow.

There are so many recipes and resources available yet none of them are foolproof nor tested out to yield perfect results. I have been trying to get the dough recipe down to perfection and for the previous three times, I have failed due to the dough. The filling is easy; it’s basically just shrimp and you can add in bamboo shoots or water chestnuts or something else to give it some texture.

I’m not that skilled yet in rolling dough into perfect circles so I used a ring mold to cut out 3½-inch circles.

DSCN2592

Makes approximately 20 dumplings.

For the Filling

  • 3 water chestnuts
  • 1 lb shrimp
  • 1-inch ginger, microplaned
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 tsp sesame oil

Peel and finely mince the water chestnuts into little cubes.

Peel and de-vien the shrimp. Then using the side of your knife, smash the shrimp and roughly chop them. Place them into a mixing bowl. Add all other ingredients except for water chestnuts. Thoroughly mix shrimp until it gets sticky, add the water chestnuts just to combine, and place in refrigerator until ready to use.

For the Dough

  • 1 cup wheat starch
  • ½ cup tapioca starch
  • 6 TBS/3 oz. boiling water
  • 1 TBS oil

In a mixing bowl, add the two starches and using a spoon, stir starches while slowly adding the boiling water. Continue to stir until the mixture has turned translucent. Add the oil next and continue to stir. While the dough is still hot but cool enough to handle, knead the dough for a few minutes until it becomes a smooth dough ball. Cover the dough with a damp paper towel while you set up your steamer.

I noticed that my bamboo steamer just barely fits into my rice cooker so I steamed them that way since I have two bamboo steamers so I could fit 12 dumplings per steam, instead of using the steamer rack that comes with the rice cooker.

TO ASSEMBLE

Roll dough into a long cylinder and either cut or tear off little 1-inch pieces and roll them into 3½-inch (diameter) circles. Place a little filling in the center and wrap dumplings. It’s difficult to explain how to wrap them and there are several ways to close dumplings. Do what works best for you or YouTube it.

Make sure that dumplings have an inch of expanding space during the cooking process. Steam for 10 minutes and serve with soy and chili sauces.

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Citrus Marinaded Quail with Parsnip Purée, Arugula, Pea Leaves Salad, and Satsuma

This was the second course to my 5-course Friendsgiving party for 6 people.

I’m really happy the way this dish turned out. It’s EXACTLY how I pictured it!

Serves 6.

DSCN2173

[100% organic]

For the Citrus Marinade

  • 6 semi-boneless butterflied quail
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 2 oranges, zested and juiced
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • 1 TBS sesame oil
  • 3 TBS EVOO
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 3 TBS soy sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1-inch ginger roots, peeled and finely minced
  • Pinch of salt

In a large bowl, mix together all marinading ingredients and add quail. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

For the Parsnip Purée

  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup butter
  • EVOO, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Place parsnips along with thyme and bay leaf in a tray and season with EVOO, salt, and pepper. Cover with foil and roast for 40 minutes.

Remove parnips from tray and place in a bowl along with cream and butter. Smash with a fork and mix thoroughly. Adjust seasoning.

Keep warm before serving.

For the Quail

  • Marinaded quail
  • Leftover marinade, for basting
  • Canola oil
  • Salt and freshly grounded pepper

Remove quail from bowl and reserve mixture for basting.

In a hot pan, add canola oil and sear quail breast-side down on high heat. Turn heat to medium and be sure to press down. Flip quail after 5 minutes while basting continuously. Cook on the other side for 1-2 minutes and remove from pan. Rest quail before slicing.

For the Salad

  • 4 satsuma mandarins, peeled
  • 6 cups arugula
  • 6 cups pea leaves
  • Citrus Vinaigrette or other simple dressings (such as EVOO + lemon juice)
  • Salt

Peel satsumas, simply dress the greens before plating.

TO ASSEMBLE

Slice quail into 2 sections: wing & breast and leg. Spoon parsnip purée onto plate, place salad greens nicely and arrange quail along the plate.

Seared Tuna over a Bed of Cucumber with Pickled Peanuts

This was the second course to my 2012 Thanksgiving dinner.

I could eat this non-stop and never get tired of it. I made the dressing and let it macerate overnight and it became very spicy actually – from ONE Thai chili pepper!!

[100% organic, wild tuna]

For the Peanut Pickle

  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup peanuts

In a pot, bring all the ingredients to a boil and take off heat. Let it steep at room temperature, until cool. Then place in refrigerator.

*Chef Jasmine Shimoda’s recipe.

For the Dressing

  • 4 limes, juiced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 Thai chili, thinly sliced
  • 1 Kaffir lime leaf, thinly sliced
  • 2 TBS baby lemongrass, finely minced
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 TBS sesame oil

Mix everything together, infuse for 30 minutes, and set aside.

For the Tuna

  • ½ lb tuna
  • Salt & pepper

Season tuna with salt and pepper then sear for 10 seconds on each side.

For the Finish

  • ¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 cucumber

Peel the cucumber and using a mandolin, slice into ⅛-inch rounds.

TO ASSEMBLE

Cut the tuna into cubes/rectangles and put them onto the cucumber slices. Drizzle some dressing over tuna, top with pickled peanuts and chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.

Soba Noodles with Shimeji Mushrooms in Hollowed Cucumbers

You have no idea how happy I am to be posting on my blog again. I feel like I’m on a roll! Four posts today, two yesterday! June was an insane month and the last two weeks have been extra chaotic. My final exam went very well and I was very happy with the professional judges’ critiques.

It’s so hot in New York and the heat wave is intense. This is a nice refreshing bite-size (or two) party plate. It’s so simple to make too! Aren’t my plates just adorable?

[100% organic]

For the Mushrooms

  • 1 package shimeji mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • Olive oil

Roughly break apart the shimeji mushrooms into small florets/clumps.

In a sauté pan, heat olive oil and sauté the mushrooms briefly until they develop some color and add in the shallots and garlic. Reduce heat to low-medium and season with some salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until tender.

Remove from pan and set aside to cool. Discard garlic cloves.

For the Cucumbers & Noodles

  • 2 English cucumbers
  • 2 oz. soba noodles
  • 2 TBS rice vinegar
  • 2 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 TBS sesame oil
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced on the bias (green parts only)
  • White sesame seeds, as needed
  • Salt

Do not remove all the green skin of the cucumber; peel roughly around the cucumber. Cut cucumber into rounds around 1-1.5 inch thick. Using a melon baller, scoop out the seeds from the middle to create a “cup”. Be careful not to scoop too much and then creating a hole in the “cup”.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the soba noodles according to the package instructions, usually 6-8 minutes. Drain and rinse the noodles under cold water, to stop the cooking process.

TO ASSEMBLE

Whisk the rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a small bowl. Pour half the sauce over the noodles and save the rest for later. Add the scallions and mushrooms to the noodles and gently toss to mix everything together.

Pack each cucumber cup with noodles and mushrooms, drizzle ¼ tsp of remaining sauce over each cup, and garnish with white sesame seeds.

Optional: mandolin carrots to use as a place mat for the cucumbers to sit on and to give some more color. (I totally forgot to do this!!!)

*I made this for my birthday get-together.

Mini Turkey Spring Rolls with Duo of Sauces

I wanted to try something new by using ground turkey and I still have been obsessed with making finger food/appetizers/amuse bouche/canapés. I have a lot of dumpling wrappers and I wasn’t in the mood to make pot-stickers so I decided to make spring rolls!! Because there is a deep fryer in my new apartment. OMG! How cool is that? I no longer need to make an oil bath in a saucepan to fry my things!

[100% organic]

For the Filling

  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1 red bell pepper, small cubed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
  • ½ lb ground turkey
  • 3 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Peel the carrot and on a mandolin, julienne the carrot, then cut into 1-inch lengths and set aside. Remove the seeds from the bell pepper and cut them into small cubes (small macedoine).

In a sauté pan, heat some oil and sweat the carrots and bell peppers until tender. Season with some salt and pepper. Set aside.

In another sauté pan, heat some oil and sauté the ground turkey, making sure to break apart the clump of ground meat. Add the garlic, scallions, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Cook until almost done and then add in the carrots and bell peppers. Cook until meat is fully cooked and taste for seasoning and adjust.

Let the filling sit on a strainer to allow all the excess juices and oils to flow through, then cool on a sheet tray. The filling should not have too much moisture because that will make the spring rolls soggy.

*This can be made 1-2 days in advance and stored in a quart container.

For the Duo of Sauces

  • One 13.5 oz. can coconut milk
  • Sriracha
  • Peanut sauce
  • 1 TBS powdered sugar

Before mixing the coconut milk with the sauces, bring it to a simmer and stir in powdered sugar. Mix half of the coconut milk with sriracha and the other half with the peanut sauce.

For the Spring Rolls

  • Filling from above
  • 1 granny smith apple, tiny dice
  • 1 package of wonton wrappers
  • Oil for frying

Mix the apple into the filling and wrap the wonton wrappers into spring rolls using a teaspoon of the filling for each wrapper. Set aside on a dusted surface or on plastic wrap. You may use water or egg wash to close the wrappers. You may freeze these as well before frying.

When the oil reaches 375°F, fry spring rolls for 2-3 minutes, just so that it’s golden brown and hot in the center. Serve with the sauces.

*I made this for my birthday get-together.

Mixed Greens with Shaved Watermelon Radish & Ponzu Vinaigrette

Posting every Sunday didn’t work… I’m so busy with moving now. I can’t wait until the end of July 3. I will be done with school and all I’ll have left on my plate is graduation, early birthday party, and a 5-day holiday.

I love watermelon radishes. I find them so pretty to look at. At Oceana, we shave them with other baby vegetables. I found these radishes at the Union Square market but for some reason, my radishes didn’t really have a green exterior.

[100% organic]

For the Salad

  • Mixed greens
  • Watermelon radishes, thinly shaved

For the Vinaigrette

  • 2 TBS rice vinegar
  • ⅓ cup ponzu
  • ½ cup EVOO
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 TBS sesame oil
  • Salt & pepper

In a bowl, whisk rice vinegar with ponzu until combined then slowly add in the oils until fully emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle onto salad and toss.

Spicy Diced Chicken

This post was going to be 辣子鸡丁, a very traditional Sichuan dish, but since I don’t have a wok, it didn’t really work. This dish is supposed to be smokier and spicier but the flat pan didn’t allow me to get it right. However, this was still very tasty so I’m calling it spicy diced chicken.

[100% organic]

For the Marinade

  • 2 TBS dark soy sauce
  • 2 TBS Shaoxing/Chinese rice wine
  • 2 tsp Chinese black vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Marinate the chicken for at least 15 minutes at room temperature, no more than 30 minutes.

For the Sauce

  • 2 TBS chili garlic sauce
  • 1 TBS soy sauce
  • 2 TBS water

Mix together the ingredients for the sauce and then set aside.

For the Chicken

  • 1 lb chicken breast, diced into cubes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-inch ginger, minced
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup corn starch, sifted
  • 2 TBS whole Sichuan peppercorns
  • 10 dried red chili peppers
  • Canola oil, as needed
  • Salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • Freshly ground Sichuan peppercorn, as needed

In a ziplock bag, sift the corn starch in and add a generous amount of salt, ground black pepper, and ground Sichuan peppercorn. Strain the chicken from the marinade. Add the chicken to the ziplock bag and shake vigorously and toss around to make sure that all sides of the diced chicken are coated with cornstarch.

Heat 1 cup of oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. When the oil starts to smoke, work in batches and fry the chicken until golden brown on all sides. Transfer to a cooling rack when fried.

In a pan over medium-low heat, add 2 TBS canola oil. Add the dried chili peppers and the whole Sichuan peppercorns; let them fry until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Then turn heat to medium-high heat, add in the scallions, garlic, and ginger until fragrant. Stir in the sauce and simmer until slightly thickened. Add the fried chicken, toss to combine, and remove from heat. Serve immediately with rice!