Tag Archives: chinese

Several bao buns in steamer basket

Make These Soft and Fluffy BBQ Pork Bao Buns for Lunar New Year

Growing up, my dad made a big batch of baos once a year. He filled them with the traditional Vietnamese bao filling of ground pork, egg and Chinese sausage. My other memory of baos are enjoying them at Chinese restaurants on weekend mornings, the soft and pillowy outside, filled with a sweet and saucy pork filling — they’re seriously delicious! These BBQ pork bao buns are super easy and fun to make and all the reason you need to pick up that steamer basket you’ve been eyeing. Stuff them with your favourite fillings like ground chicken, beef and even tofu! Make a big batch, your future self will thank you.

bao buns in steamer basket

BBQ Pork Bao Buns

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Rest Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 14 minutes
Servings: 12 bao buns

Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp instant yeast
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp neutral oil
150 ml + more warm water
1 ½ cups store-bought BBQ pork, diced
3-4 Tbsp store-bought Char Siu sauce (Chinese BBQ Sauce)
2 Tbsp sliced scallions (about 2 stalks)
2 Tbsp vinegar

Equipment:

Kitchen Bamboo Steamer, Amazon, $59.

Bao bun ingredients

Directions:

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough attachment, add the flour, cornstarch, sugar, yeast, salt, oil and water. Mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth and forms one ball, about 5-8 minutes.

Roll of bao bun dough

2. Remove and place the dough on the counter and cover with the bowl for 5 minutes to rest. Cut 12 parchment paper square at 3 x 3-inches. Set on a baking sheet.

3. Dice the BBQ pork into ¼-inch bits. Place in a bowl and toss with the Char Siu sauce (just enough to coat the pork) and sliced scallions.

Bao bun filling in white bowl

4. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and roll each piece of dough against a non-floured surface to create smooth round dough balls. Starting with one ball, keeping the rest covered, roll into roughly a 4-5-inch round.

Related: Our Most Popular Dinner Recipes That’ll Stand the Test of Time

5. Hold the dough piece in your hand, add a heaping Tbsp of the pork mixture into the centre. Start by folding the dough onto itself and pinching the dough together. Work in a circular motion, all the way around. Close the bao by gathering and pinching the dough together at the top. Place on the parchment paper square. Repeat with the rest of the dough balls.

bao bun filling inside bao bun dough

Person holding bao bun with three bao buns in the background

6. Place a damp towel over top of the bao buns and place in a warm area to proof until doubled in size, about 20-30 minutes.

Uncooked bao buns on baking tray

7. In the meantime, fill a large pot with 1 inch of water and the vinegar and place the steam basket overtop. About 5 minutes before the baos are ready, bring the water to a boil on high.

8. Once the baos have doubled in size, place in the steam basket about 1 inch apart. Cover with the lid and lower to a medium heat. Let steam for about 14 minutes. If you’re unable to fit all 12 baos in the steamer, place a piece of plastic overtop of the remaining and refrigerate to prevent the dough from further proofing.

Bao buns in steamer basket

Like Sabrina’s bao buns? Try her coconut buns or caramel apple cheesecake fried wontons.

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How to Make Traditional Chinese Congee From Scratch

This recipe stems from my mother’s kitchen, where a bubbling pot of congee is a near constant presence, ready to be doled out as a breakfast, family lunch or late-night snack. Forms of congee can be found on tables around the world, from arroz caldo in the Philippines to India’s kanji. Whether you enjoy congee as a creamy porridge or more of a rice soup, it is the ultimate comfort food that doesn’t require any special equipment to make. Although some rice cookers have a congee setting, you can just as easily cook this recipe in a heavy pot. Be sure to get the bottom of the pot when you stir, because as my mother always says: “there’s nothing worse than burnt bits, which are distressing.” Take her advice and spend a lazy Sunday afternoon making this simple, yet restorative fix for your loved ones’ flagging spirits as the cold weather drags on. 

Congee

Traditional Chinese Congee

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Servings: 10

Ingredients:

1 cup short grain jasmine rice (although there is some leeway in terms of rice choice, there are some outliers — parboiled rice will cook too quickly to achieve the right consistency, wild or brown rice cook more slowly and may be too chewy in the finished product)
10 to 12 cups cold water
1 2-inch knob ginger
7 cups boiling water (to be added as needed)
2 tsp salt
1 to 1.5 cups store-bought or homemade chicken broth
500 grams of pork shoulder or chicken thigh, cut into ¼-inch thick pieces
1 tsp cornstarch
½ tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp rice wine or sake
8 king oyster mushrooms, sliced lengthwise
3 green onions, separated into white and green parts (cut the white parts into larger 2-inch chunks, as they will be cooked, whereas the green parts should be chopped finely, as they’ll be used for garnish)

Note: while this recipe uses chicken broth and slices of pork or chicken, it could easily be made vegetarian or vegan by omitting the eggs and meat and using water, vegetable or mushroom broth.

Congee ingredients

Directions:

1. Rinse rice three times or until water runs clear. Drain rice. Place rice in heavy bottomed large pot and pour cold water over rice.

2. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Stir with a rice paddle, thick spatula or heat-resistant silicone turner.

3. Add ginger. Bring to a simmer and cook for about an hour, topping up with hot water so that it doesn’t boil down. Adjust the heat to keep it just below a rolling boil, but not so high that it boils over (it boils over very fast, so do not leave it unattended). You may need to lower the temperature between the lowest setting and medium.

Related: How to Cook a Perfect Pot of Rice on the Stove

4. At the one-hour mark, the congee will start to thicken and become creamy as the rice begins to break down. Add salt and broth.

5. Marinate the chicken or pork with the cornstarch, sea salt, oil and rice wine or sake. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes to marinate.

6. Continue simmering for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add marinated pork or chicken slices, as well as the king oyster mushrooms and the white parts of the green onions.

Chicken slices

6. Continue simmering for another 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if needed. Serve warm with crispy you tiao (savoury fried crullers) and topped with rousong, pei dan (century eggs) or soft-boiled chicken or duck eggs, thin slices of raw fish, chopped cilantro, green onions or peanuts. Most of these add-ons can be found at Chinese markets.

Like Leslie’s congee? Check out her tips on how to make a soup creamy without dairy and how to make homemade hot sauce.

Forget Takeout and Make This Easy Chinese Stir-Fried Eggplant for Dinner Tonight

This umami-rich vegetarian dish gets tons of flavour from light soy sauce, Shaoxing wine (the key to authentic Chinese cooking), ginger and a healthy sum of garlic for an easy-to-prepare dinner rivalling any takeout. Though mastering the cookery of eggplant can be tricky, we’ve unlocked the mystery with a simple soaking and salting technique for the right texture and overall balanced flavour. Added bonus: this vegetarian dish will be ready in just over 30 minutes.

Chinese Stir-Fried Eggplant

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 2 to 4

Ingredients:

3 Chinese eggplants (they are slightly smaller and shorter than Japanese eggplants and can be purchased in Asian markets)
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp light soy sauce or regular soy sauce
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine
5 ½ tsp cornstarch, divided
1 ¼ tsp dark soy sauce or light soy sauce
3 Tbsp peanut oil or vegetable oil, divided
2 tsp minced ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 dried chilies (optional)
Green onions for garnish

Directions:

1. Halve eggplant lengthwise and then cut into 2-inch pieces. Transfer to a large bowl and fill with enough water to cover; sprinkle with salt and swish around to dissolve salt. Cover with plate to keep eggplant submerged for at least 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Transfer to a large bowl.

2. Make the sauce by stirring together the light soy, water, sugar, wine, 4 tsp of cornstarch and dark soy sauce until smooth. Set aside.

Tip: Shaoxing wine is a fermented rice wine used to add depth of flavour and complexity to marinating meat, to add flavour to stir-fries, sauces and braises in Chinese cooking.

Related: These 25 Simple Stir-Fry Recipes Will Convince You to Cook More

3. Sprinkle remaining cornstarch over eggplant and toss to coat. Heat 2 ½ Tbsp of the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add eggplant in one layer and cook until dark brown, 6 to 8 minutes, flipping after halfway. Move to a large plate.

4. Add remaining oil to pan and add ginger, garlic and dried chilies (if using), stirring for 10 seconds. Return eggplant to pan and stir quickly until warmed, about 30 seconds. Stir in sauce and bring to a boil. Cook until sauce thickens and coats eggplant, 1 to 2 minutes.

5. To serve, scrape eggplant mixture onto platter and sprinkle with green onions if desired.

Tip: For a non-vegetarian version, marinate ½ cup ground pork with 1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine, 2 tsp minced ginger and garlic and 1 tsp light soy sauce. Stir into pan at the beginning of step 4 and cook until browned. Push to one side of the pan and continue with recipe, adding the oil, ginger, garlic and chilies.

Like Soo’s stir-fried eggplant? Try her pork banh mi burgers, gochujang cauliflower popcorn or asparagus and mushroom udon.

The Ultimate Dessert Mashup: Caramel Apple Cheesecake Meets Chinese Fried Wontons

Wontons are not just for dumplings: they make delicious, crispy fried desserts too. These caramel apple cheesecake dessert wontons are my cheat version when you just don’t feel like baking an entire cheesecake. They’re filled with a rich caramel, tart Granny Smith apples and yummy cream cheese filling. Bet you can’t have just one!

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Fried Wontons

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Rest Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Servings: 30 pieces

Ingredients:

Caramel Apple Filling
1 cup granulated sugar
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
½ cup heavy cream
Pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups (about 1-2)  Granny Smith apples, diced

Cream Cheese Filling
4 oz cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp icing sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract

Other
1 package of store-bought wontons
1 egg, for sealing
Vegetable oil, for frying

Topping
½ cup granulated sugar
¾ tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

1. First, you’ll make the caramel sauce. In a heavy bottom sauce pan on medium heat, add the sugar. Heat the sugar, stirring constantly until it begins to dissolve. The sugar will begin to clump together, continue to stir and cook on medium until it’s completely liquid. Carefully stir in the butter, one Tbsp at a time until completely melted. Slowly pour in the heavy cream, the mixture will begin to bubble, continue to stir until the cream is well incorporated. Remove from stove, add the vanilla extract, salt, diced apples and cool completely. Refrigerate until you need to use.

2. In a small bowl, mix together everything for the cream cheese filling until smooth: cream cheese, icing sugar, cinnamon and vanilla.

3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Related: 32 Chinese Takeout Dishes You Can Master at Home

4. Take a wonton wrapper, add about 1 tsp of the cold caramel apple filling in the centre and about ½ tsp of the cream cheese filling. Dip your index finger in the egg wash (one beaten egg) and run it along the outer edges of the wrapper, fold it over and press to seal.

5. Place the filled wontons in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before frying.

6. In a deep saucepan, heat the vegetable oil to 360°F. In a bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar. Fry the wontons 3-4 at a time for about 2 minutes until lightly golden brown. Place on a paper towel to drain any extra oil and toss in the cinnamon sugar while still hot. Enjoy warm with a drizzle of the remaining caramel sauce.

Love Sabrina’s baking? Check out her no-bake key lime pie icebox cakecheesecake pastry pockets and easy peach plum cobbler.

These Chinese Coconut Buns Come Together With Ingredients You Already Have on Hand

Coconut buns are a Chinese bakery classic for a reason. They’re buttery, soft and fluffy — and loaded with a delicious coconut filling. These Chinese sweet buns are easy to make, come together with just a few pantry ingredients and are every bit as delicious as they look. Enjoy them for breakfast, dessert or an afternoon treat!

Chinese Coconut Buns

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Rest Time: 2 hours
Bake Time: 15-17 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes
Servings: 10 buns

Ingredients:

Buns
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp instant yeast
¼ cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp whole milk powder
½ tsp salt
1 large egg
200ml warm water
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

Filling
1 ¼ cup sweetened shredded coconut
3 tsp cornstarch
3 tsp whole milk powder
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
Pinch salt
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Egg Wash
1 egg
1 Tbsp milk

Directions:

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the hook attachment, add the flour, yeast, sugar, milk powder, salt, egg and warm water. Work the mixture on medium for about 5 minutes until the dough comes together. Turn the mixer to medium-low, add the softened butter one Tbsp at a time, until the butter is fully incorporated. Knead for another 5-8 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic.

2. Form the dough into a smooth round ball, cover with a damp tea towel and let proof for 1 hour.

Related: 20 Fall Desserts That Can Totally Double as Breakfast

3. For the coconut filling, mix together the shredded coconut, cornstarch, milk powder, sugar, salt, melted butter, egg yolk and vanilla. Set aside.

4. Divide the dough into 10 equal portions (about 85 grams each) and roll into a smooth ball. Cover and rest for 15 minutes.

5. Grab one ball (keep the rest of the dough covered to prevent drying out) and roll out the ball into a 4-inch oval with a rolling pin. Place about 1 Tbsp of the coconut filling in the centre, grab the ends and pinch them together to close the seams.

6. Place the seam side down, and roll out to form a long oval. With a knife, score the surface with 4-5 long strokes, twist the ends in opposite directions and pinch the ends together. Alternatively, once the dough is filled with coconut, pinch to close the seams and roll it into a round ball.

7. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets and cover with a damp towel. Let proof for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

8. Preheat oven to 325°F. Whisk together the egg and milk for the egg wash. Brush the tops of buns with the egg wash.

9. Bake for 15-17 minutes until lightly golden brown, rotating the trays half way. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Love Sabrina’s baking? Check out her no-bake key lime pie icebox cake, cheesecake pastry pockets or white chocolate funfetti cookies.

scallion pancakes on white and blue plate

Restaurant-Worthy Chinese Scallion Pancakes You Can Make at Home

We’re all spending more time indoors (and in the kitchen) these days, so it would come as no surprise if you’re missing restaurant-worthy cuisine. And the secret ingredient to making these savoury Chinese scallion pancakes worthy of appearing on a menu? Boiling water! It creates the softest, forgiving dough. Plus, the beauty of this recipe lies within a super easy, double roll and coil technique to produce endless, flaky layers, that are so crispy — we’re obsessed!

Scallion pancakes on white and blue plate

Chinese Scallion Pancakes

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Rest Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

Dough
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cake and pastry flour or all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup boiling water
¼ cup cold water
6 Tbsp vegetable oil for frying (approx.)

Filling
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
¼ cup melted lard or melted shortening
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
6 scallions (green onions), finely chopped
1 tsp crushed Szechuan peppercorns or hot pepper flakes (optional)

Dipping Sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Chinkiang vinegar or rice wine vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds or julienned ginger (optional)
Pinch granulated sugar
1 scallion (green onion), finely chopped

Scallion pancakes ingredients


Directions:

1. To make the dough: stir together the all-purpose flour, pastry flour and salt in a large bowl. Using a fork, gradually mix in the boiling water in a circular motion. Stir in the cold water to form a shaggy, wet dough. Turn out onto work surface; knead, scraping and dusting with additional flour until smooth and very soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Place on floured surface and loosely cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel to prevent crust from forming. Let it rest for 30 minutes.

Person mixing scallion pancakes dough

Note: The combination of boiling water produces a soft, easy to roll pancake, while the cold water creates a chewy texture, while also cooling the mixture for easy handling.

Related: This is How to Make The Perfect Chinese Hot Pot at Home

2. Meanwhile, make the filling: in a small bowl, stir the flour, lard, oil and salt until combined. Gently warm in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds to loosen if mixture solidifies. While you’re waiting for the dough to rest, you can also make the dipping sauce: in a ramekin, stir together soy sauce, vinegar, sesame seeds, sugar and scallion.

3. Divide dough into 6 even pieces and roll each into a ball, tucking at the bottom and then covering with a kitchen towel. Roll one ball into an 8 to 9-inch circle, dusting with flour to prevent sticking. Using a pastry brush, paint a thin layer of the filling. Roll up like a jelly roll and twist into a tight spiral, tucking the end underneath. Flatten with hand then roll again into 8-inch circle. Cover with kitchen towel. Repeat with remaining dough.

Scallion pancakes dough on countertop

Tip: To prevent drying out, be sure to cover each rolled dough with a damp cloth or plastic and don’t layer each on top of each other, they will stick together.

4. Working with one rolled dough, brush a thin layer of the filling and sprinkle with 1/6 of the scallions and Szechuan pepper (if using). Roll up like a jelly roll and twist into a tight spiral, tucking the end underneath. Flatten with hand then roll into 6-inch circle and cover with a kitchen towel. This is now ready for frying. Repeat with remaining dough.

Scallion pancakes being made on kitchen countertop

Tip: If you want to make these ahead of time, you can freeze uncooked rolled pancakes for up to 1 month. Defrost, pat dry with paper towel and cook with the following instructions.

Scallion pancakes rolled out on countertop

5. Heat a skillet over medium heat; add 1 Tbsp of the vegetable oil. Carefully add one pancake and cook, swirling to distribute oil until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip, swirling pancake to absorb oil and cover with a lid. Cook until second side is an even golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes, adding more oil as needed. Transfer to a paper-towel lined serving plate and repeat with remaining dough and cooking oil.

6. To serve, don’t cut into wedges, these pancakes need to be torn to fully enjoy the flaky coating. Don’t forget the dipping sauce.

Tip: Reheat pancakes in a skillet with a drizzle of oil and enjoy with a sunny-side up egg, a popular Chinese breakfast.

Craving more comfort food? This asparagus and mushroom yaki udon or this one-pot pasta and chickpea stew might just do the trick.

Ginger Beef

The Delicious History of Ginger Beef

There’s one iconic Canadian dish that’s a “must try” in Calgary, and you won’t find it at the steakhouse. Instead, head straight to Chinatown — the birthplace of sticky-sweet ginger beef. Here, you can savour a plate of crispy and golden battered beef swimming in a sticky, spicy sauce, often served over rice.

“It usually has deep-fried beef, ginger, peppers, carrots and onions, and is served in a sweet sauce that is a bit like General Tso’s,” says Lenore Newman, food historian and author of Speaking in Cod Tongues: A Canadian Culinary Journey. “I see it as an excellent example of the early mixing of Canadian and Chinese tastes.”

Food lovers have likely encountered this crunchy, satisfying dish in restaurants across Canada and abroad, but there’s nothing quite like eating “real deal” ginger beef in Calgary.

Ginger Beef

“Whenever I go to Chinatown in Calgary, ginger beef is in the back of my mind,” says Ryan O’Flynn, chef at Calgary’s acclaimed The Guild Restaurant and winner of the 2015 Canadian Culinary Championship. “It’s a staple. When the Chinese restaurants get ready for a busy night, they’ve got the 150 portions of ginger beef ready and probably 30-50 of everything else.”

Chinese food wasn’t always so popular in Cowtown. In the early- to mid-20th-century, Chinese-owned restaurants struggled to popularize Peking-inspired dishes, and instead served comfort fare like burgers, fries and grilled cheese sandwiches. In the 1970s, George Wong, chef at The Silver Inn in Calgary, was looking for ways to boost business and make his menu more appealing to Western patrons.

Playing with a recipe from Northern China and inspired by British pub grub, Chef Wong deep-fried shredded beef, and then simmered the crispy strips in a spicy chili sauce. He dubbed the dish “Deep fried shredded beef in chili sauce” and began serving it to patrons.

“It had that fast food flavour,” says Chef O’Flynn. “It’s kind of ingenious — George Wong was one of the first to adapt and push the boundaries in Calgary.”

Turns out, Chef Wong’s creative cooking instincts were bang on: customers gobbled up the newfangled dish, loving the zingy sauce and the beef’s crunchy texture.

“It caught on and became known as ‘Ginger Beef,'” says Karen Anderson, President of Alberta Food Tours. “Because Canadians mistakenly believed there was ginger in the sauce.”

Today, ginger beef remains a staple on The Silver Inn’s menu, and has become such an iconic dish that it was even included in the Royal Alberta Museum’s Chop Suey on the Prairies exhibition. Four decades later, there’s a growing appetite for this dish across Canada, with more chefs incorporating ginger beef onto their menus.

“To think that a dish from Calgary built in the 1970s can now be found in Victoria to Toronto to all the way Halifax is pretty fantastic,” says Chef O’Flynn. “It gained way for other Chinese restaurants to do a new style of Asian food.”

The original recipe has evolved over the years, to reflect changing tastes and ingredients. Some renditions include ginger and garlic, and it’s more common now to add sauteed onions, peppers and carrots into the mix before serving. Regardless of the fixings, the outcome is always tasty.

Ginger Beef

“The result is tender morsels of beef in a crispy coating with sweet hot sauce and brightly coloured vegetables,” says Karen Anderson. “When it’s done right, it’s out of this world delicious.”

Some daring chefs are even playing around with this Canuck favourite, creating everything from ginger beef lettuce wraps with a pita holder to ginger beef poutine to a sesame ginger beef burrito. The dish has even fueled a “Ginger Beef Throw Down,” a one-time cooking competition between food trucks that was hosted by the Royal Alberta Museum.

Of course, why go out to eat when you can make your own tasty version at home? A plate of Ginger Beef Blowout is dressed to impress — succulent slices of sirloin paired with delicate gourmet salad rolls.

For something simpler, this one-pot recipe from Chef Michael Smith produces a big batch of braised Orange Ginger Beef Stew simmered in tangy spices. For a more traditional recipe, try this easy 15-minute recipe for Ginger Beef with Carrots and Rice, deep-frying the beef until crunchy and golden.

But whether you’re eating out or at home, Chef O’Flynn has one piece of advice for ginger beef lovers everywhere:

“You must go to The Silver Inn,” he says. “You can’t have it anywhere else! Have it there first, so you know what it is, and then go and check out other renditions.”

1 Dish, 2 Ways: Pork & Shrimp Wontons

Whether you like your wontons slurped or crunched, one thing’s for certain; little pouches of savoury pork dumplings are always a deeply satisfying meal, no matter what time of year.

If you need a little push, make the Lunar New Year a culinary excuse for finally trying your hand at making homemade wontons. Thanks to handy store-bought wrappers, it’s easier than you think.

The trick is learning how to properly fold the wontons so that the filling doesn’t ooze out during the boiling or frying process. But truth be told, even if they don’t look like they’ve been assembled by a dumpling master, as long as they hold together, they’re going to taste absolutely delicious.

friedwontons

Serving Size: approximately 60 wontons
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Crispy Pork Wontons with Chili Oil Sauce

Ingredients:
12 store-bought wonton wrappers

For the Filling:
8 ounces ground pork
4 ounces raw shrimp, minced
3 Tablespoons chives, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fish sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon Chinese rice wine or sherry
¼ teaspoon sugar
3 dashes white pepper

For Frying:
1 cup canola oil

For the Chili Oil Sauce:
½ Tablespoon Chinese black vinegar
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
½ Tablespoon dried chili flakes
1 Tablespoon oil

friedwontons2

Directions:

  1. Combine the pork with the rest of the ingredients for the filling in a medium bowl. *Assemble the dumplings.
  2. Heat 2 to 3 inches of oil in a wok or stock pot to 350°F for deep-frying. Gently drop the pork dumplings into the oil and deep fry in batches.
  3. Deep-fry until they turn golden brown. Dish out with a slotted spoon, draining the excess oil by placing hot dumplings on a wire rack or dish lined with paper towels.

*How to wrap the dumplings:

  1. Place a piece of wonton on a flat surface about 1 Tablespoon of filling onto the wrapper, being careful not to overfill.
  2. Dip your finger in a bowl of warm water and circle around the filling, and fold over to form a triangle shape.
  3. Using both thumbs and index fingers, press and squeeze both sides of the dumplings towards the centre to form the folds. Seal the dumpling by dipping your index finger into a small bowl of water and circle around the outer edges of the wonton wrapper.
  4. Place them on a floured surface or baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth to prevent drying.

Pork Wonton Soup

Ingredients:
12 store-bought wonton wrappers

For the Filling:
8 ounces ground pork
4 ounces raw shrimp, minced
3 Tablespoons chives, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fish sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon Chinese rice wine or sherry
¼ teaspoon sugar
3 dashes white pepper
2 cups, water (for boiling wontons)

soup1JPG

For the Soup:
6 cups homemade chicken stock or store-bought chicken broth
Green onions, to taste
Salt and white pepper, to taste
Wontons, soba noodles or noodles of choice

Howto_4

Directions:

  1. Cook noodles, drain under cold water to stop cooking and set aside.
  2. In a medium pot, bring water to boil. Working in batches, gently lower dumplings into the water and let boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from water and cover to prevent drying.
  3. Bring chicken broth to a boil and season with white pepper and salt to taste.
  4. Place dumplings in soup bowls, add hot broth and garnish with chopped green onion.

Howto_3

BonnieMo Bonnie Mo is a Toronto-based editor and the face behind Food Network Canada’s 1 Dish, 2 Ways column. She’s also a contributing editor over at slice.ca. For more recipe ideas, visit bonniemo.ca, or catch her on Instagram @bonniemo

Chinese Crispy Beef & Broccoli Noodles with Kung Pao Chili Oil

Chinese New Year is upon us! Time for firecrackers, dancing dragons, cornstarch and red everything! Being a connoisseur of Chinese Christmas takeout, not to mention an avid customer at late-night Chinese food joints, I will be celebrating the year of the goat with tons of greasy eats! If crispy beef, chow mein, Kung pao, and beef and broccoli made a baby, it would be this recipe. Not traditional in any sense, but definitely great for celebrating. Happy Chinese New Year!

CrispyBeefNoodles-4

Yields: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 ½ hours

Ingredients for the Kung Pao Chili Oil:

1/3 cup canola oil
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
½ teaspoon grated ginger
½ teaspoon grated garlic
2-3 teaspoon red chili flakes
¼ cup chopped peanuts
1 red hot long pepper, sliced thinly
1/8 teaspoon Chinese 5-Spice
½ teaspoon sesame seeds

CrispyBeefNoodles-7

Ingredients for the Crispy Beef & Broccoli Noodles:

1 package (425 grams) flat, fresh rice noodles or dried wonton noodles
¾ – 1 pound Sirloin cut thinly into ¼”-thick strips
¼ cup cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup canola oil for frying
Salt for seasoning

½ pound broccolini, stems removed
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 teaspoon grated ginger
2 teaspoon grated garlic
3 Tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
3 Tablespoons dark soy sauce (regular soy if fine too)
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups mung bean sprouts

CrispyBeefNoodles-3

Directions for the Kung Pao Chili Oil:

  1. Heat the canola and sesame oil over high heat for 2 minutes in a small sauce pan.
  2. Turn the heat off and immediately add the Sichuan peppercorns. They will sizzle at first. Let steep for 2 hours.
  3. Remove the Sichuan peppercorns from the oil and discard. If you like that strange mouth-numbing sensation from those peppercorns, just leave them in! (Personal preference is to remove them.)
  4. Add the grated ginger, garlic, and chili flakes to the oil.
  5. Turn the heat back on to medium-low. Fry for 2 minutes once you see that it has started to sizzle. Don’t let the garlic burn!
  6. Turn the heat off and let steep for 15 minutes.
  7. Combine the chopped peanuts, red hot long pepper, Chinese 5-Spice, and sesame seeds in small Mason jar (or bowl) and pour the chili oil over top.

Directions for the Crispy Beef & Broccoli Noodles:

  1. Cook the noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water until just cooked through.
  2. Drain into a colander and immediately run cold water over the noodles to stop the cooking. Set aside.
  3. Combine the cornstarch, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
  4. Heat the canola oil in a wok, or large frying pan, over high heat.
  5. When the oil is hot. Dredge the pieces of beef in the cornstarch, shake off any excess and fry for 4-5 minutes until the outer edges are golden brown and crispy. Note: do this in batches! Don’t crowd the beef in the oil or else it won’t fry properly and will become gummy. Add more oil to the wok as needed between batches and make sure to dredge the beef in the cornstarch just before placing it in the oil.
  6. Remove the beef to drain on a paper towel lined cooling rack or plate. Season with salt.
  7. Drain out any excess oil left in the wok after frying.
  8. Return the wok to the stove and turn the heat down to medium-high.
  9. Add the broccolini to the hot wok with ¼ cup of water. Toss frequently
  10. Once the broccolini has cooked through, with a slight crunch, and the water has evaporated, remove it from the wok.
  11. Immediately add the sesame oil to the hot wok. Add in the ginger and garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute.
  12. Add the Shaoxing wine, dark soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt to the wok.
  13. Once the sauce is bubbling, add the noodles, broccolini and sprouts. Toss until everything is warmed through and the sauce has thickened. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly with salt.
  14. Plate the noodles and broccolini, top with the crispy beef, and drizzle Kung Pao oil over top. Enjoy!

CrispyBeefNoodles-6

Notes, Substitutions and Shortcuts:

  • If you can find “Milanese” sliced beef, which is extremely thin, use that! It’s perfect.
  • Substitute Chinese Egg Noodles if you cannot find rice noodles or wonton noodles at your grocery store.
  • You can get store-bought garlic chili oil and add chopped peanuts and fresh red hot long pepper slices to it instead of making the Kung Pao Chili oil.
  • Kung Pao Chili Oil will last for 2 weeks in an air-tight container like a mason jar. The longer it sits, the spicier it gets!
  • A good substitution for Shaoxing wine is a medium-dry Sherry.
  • Dark soy sauce will be thicker and more flavourful than regular soy sauce. But if you do not want to buy a whole bottle of dark soy for 3 Tablespoons, you can just use whatever soy sauce you have on hand.
  • This dish comes together very quickly. Make sure you have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start frying that beef!

100x100_Danielle-Oron Danielle is a chef, bakery owner, and food blogger who thinks she’s Korean, but is actually Israeli. Also, Danielle does not eat like a lady.

Easy Hot and Sour Soup with Shanghai Noodles

Crunchy wood ear, soft tofu cubes, silky egg ribbons, tangy vinegar, and an umami-laden chili broth makes the classic hot and sour soup a delicious bowl of bold flavours and textures that are surprisingly easy to throw together. If you’re celebrating Chinese New Year, you’re going to want to start the feast with this appetizer, or do what I did and throw in fresh Shanghai noodles to soak up the delicious soup and make it into a main.

While hot and sour soup was never much of a fixture at our family’s Chinese New Year’s dinners (a good chunk of my family can’t even handle the spice of black pepper), my mom and resident Chinese-cooking expert Uncle Simon gave me some tips when I was developing this recipe. For them, the key is using “toban jan”, a fermented paste made of chilies and beans used throughout in Sichuan cooking. This is what’s going to give you that deep reddish-brown colour and that signature spicy umami kick. You can find this in the Asian aisle at the supermarket and it goes wonderfully with tofu, chicken, stir-frys, and on top of rice and noodle dishes. Think of it as Chinese sriracha.

For the sour component, I was advised by both of them to use ketchup. I love them both (especially if they’re reading this post) but I substituted the ketchup with a sharper, less sugary rice vinegar that turned out quite well. If any readers decide to listen to my mom and use ketchup, please tweet me @karonliu and let me know how it goes. A tip I did use was cooking the noodles separately in water rather than in the soup. This is because the noodles have a light coating of flour, which would leave a chalky taste in the broth.

One final note: wood ear mushrooms are sold dried at the Chinese grocer and need to be soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes before they’re ready to be eaten. Shimeji mushrooms can be found fresh at the Asian grocer (along with the Shanghai noodles), but if you can’t find them use another slightly chewy mushroom like enoki or shiitake.

Hot and Sour soup recipe Food Network Canada

Ingredients:

For the soup base
1 litre no salt-added chicken broth
3 tablespoons Chinese chili-bean paste (the anglicized name is “toban djan”)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

For the pork
1/2 pound pork loin, sliced into long and thin strips (about a cup)
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

For the toppings
4 wood ear mushrooms
2 ounces shimeji mushrooms (about a cup)
1 cup firm tofu, cut into cubes
1 large egg
4 ounces fresh Shanghai noodles (about 1/4 package)
Chopped green onions for garnish

Directions:

    1. If your wood ear mushrooms are dehydrated, reconstitute them by soaking them for 30 minutes in boiling water. Do this ahead of time, or even the day before. Store the hydrated mushrooms on a plate with a damp paper towel draped on top.
    2. In a medium-sized soup pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil.
    3. In the meantime, mix all the ingredients for the pork together (meat, soy sauces, sugar, cornstarch, and ginger) in a bowl. Set aside and let marinate for five minutes.
    4. In a slightly oiled pan, sear the marinated pork until it starts to brown, about one or two minutes. Set aside.
    5. When the broth is boiling, add the chili paste and vinegar. Stir until the paste has completely dissolved. Chop the wood ear mushrooms into smaller slices and add them to the pot along with the simeji mushrooms. Stir and add in the cornstarch to thicken the soup. Bring to a boil and add the tofu and pork. Whisk the eggs together and add them to the boiling soup very slowly in a thin stream. Keep the soup to a simmer.
    6. Bring a fresh pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles until they are al dente, about two to three minutes. Drain and set aside.
    7. To plate, pour 3/4 of the soup into a large bowl. Pile the cooked Shanghai noodles high on top in the centre, and then ladle the rest of the soup around the noodles. Garnish with green onions and serve immediately. Serves two as an appetizer, or one as a main dish.

734863_10151322355189438_2070375187_n Karon Liu is a freelance food writer based in Toronto who is slightly lactose intolerant but will otherwise eat and cook anything.