Tag Archives: Chinese

Wonton Soup

So… this happened yesterday:

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This winter is turning into that awkward friend who just won’t leave your house long after the party has ended. It just won’t take a hint! Look man, THE BEER IS GONE, THE HOUSE IS A MESS, JUST GO HOME SO I CAN SLEEP!  This is the LAST time I invite that guy.

Anyway it’s a good thing I have some of these handy:

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Those are frozen homemade wontons my friends. Mrs. Willtasting and I made a batch of them earlier this winter and I think they’re just what I need to forget this bizarro winter-in-April.

First, you’ll need some ground pork:

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Next some peeled, deveined shrimp. I got lazy and bought mine already peeled, but chances are you’ll find fresher and cheaper shrimp if it hasn’t been peeled. Your call, boss.

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Chop up the scrimps (or however you want to pronounce them) and add to the pork. Green onions come next.

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This is important, folks: the rice wine. This is also important: do not drink this.

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Sesame oil, egg, mix.

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Your wonton filling should look like the above picture… YUMMYYYYY. Everything should stick together, not crumble apart, almost like a dough. If it doesn’t look like that, slowly add more sesame oil and rice wine until it does.

Now, check it. This is how you fold your wontons:

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Wet one corner of the wonton skin, place about a half tablespoon of meat filling off center towards that corner, then fold over and pinch the edges together to make a triangle. Bring one of the smaller corners up to the larger corner and pinch together, then do the same with the other corner. That’s it! If you want to freeze some (which you most likely will, since this recipe makes A LOT of wontons), wipe a little oil over the surface of a large dish, place the wontons on the dish, and freeze in the freezer.  Once they are frozen you can keep them in zip lock bags and they will keep for 6 months.

To cook, just boil them in some chicken broth for about 10 minutes, or until the skin is tender and the wontons float to the surface.

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Serve with some green onions and thinly sliced fried egg, and quit beating around the bush and tell winter to go home already.

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WONTONS:

1 1/2 lbs ground pork
1/2 lbs shrimp
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced (about 6 green onions, both white and green parts)
1/4 cup Shaoxing cooking rice wine
2 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 egg
1 tsp white pepper
2 packages of wonton skins

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mix well until the filling sticks together like a dough. To assemble wontons, place skin in one hand, wet the edges of one corner, place a half tablespoon of filling off-center towards that corner.  Fold skin in half, pinching edges together to form a triangle. Bring one side of the triangle up to the top corner, pinch together, then do the same with the other side. Or just look at the pictures up top because this is getting really hard to explain in writing.

SOUP:

2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup baby spinach, loosely packed
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 egg, beaten and fried into a thin crepe, then sliced thin.

To cook, boil 2 cups of chicken broth to boil, then add 12 wontons and boil for 10 minutes or until they float to the top. Put spinach in bowl and pour hot soup on top. Garnish with sliced green onions and egg.

Eat your winter blues away.

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Soy Braised Spare Ribs with Bok Choy

As delicious as a Panda Express Bowl with orange chicken on a bed of chow mein is, I’m sorry, it’s just not Chinese food. Here’s something you can make relatively easily at home with not too many exotic products that is DELICIOUS and (I’m assuming) slightly healthier than Panda. Or P.F. Chang’s. But don’t get me started on P.F. Chang’s.  Just know that we probably can’t be friends if you enjoy eating there.

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Chinese cooking and ginger go together like peanut butter and jelly. It just works. Although I like the taste it gives to certain dishes, I never liked biting into a big chunk of it during dinner growing up, so I’m keeping the slices pretty big and easily removable.  After slicing, pound each piece gently with the back of the knife to release more juices and flavor from the ginger.

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I’m using a wok to make this dish because I’m too legit. If you don’t have a wok you can definitely use a Dutch oven. Just make sure whatever you use has a good fitting lid.

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There’s alcohol in this dish, so if you wanna impress the ladies you can ignite it with a lighter… or if you got the skills you can tilt the pan slightly towards the flame from the stove to ignite.  Tutorial to come, Casanova!

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Hoisin sauce is a common condiment in Chinese cuisine. People use it as a dip for roasted pork, slather it on flour pancakes for mu shu, or (my personal favorite) on steamed buns for Peking duck. So good. Here it adds a little sweet and savory boost at the end of cooking, and also serves to thicken the sauce a bit.

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RIB ON!

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Okay, this bok choy may be the easiest recipe I’ll ever post but it’s so good and manlier than your adorable wedge salad.

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How’s this for a Panda Bowl?

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RIBS (adapted from about.com):

2 tablespoons oil for stir-frying
1.5 lbs pork spareribs cut into 1-inch long segments (if you can’t find them ask the butcher to cut them for you)
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
5-6 thin slices ginger, crushed
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup Chinese rice (michiu) wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 green onion, sliced thin for garnish

Preparation:

Heat the oil on in a wok or dutch oven, on high heat. Add the ribs and brown on all sides (a couple minutes each side or until it’s browned and caramelized). Add garlic and ginger and fry briefly, until fragrant. This will really help impart those flavors into the dish. Add the stock before the garlic and ginger start to burn, then add all the remaining ingredients. If you are cooking with a wok and want to impress a chick or something, you can tilt the wok towards the flame and flambe the ribs after adding the wine. Once the flames die down, cover the wok and turn the heat down to low.  Simmer for about 1 hour, or until the ribs are tender, adding more water or stock as needed (that is, don’t allow all the liquid to evaporate and burn at the bottom of the pan). During the last 10 minutes, remove cover, add hoisin sauce, and simmer for the remainder of the cooking time. Garnish with sliced scallions before serving.

BOK CHOY:

1 2-lb bag of bok choy tips, aka baby bok choy, sliced lengthwise and rinsed
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp salt
1-2 tbsp vegetable oil (2 good glugs into the pan)

Preparation:

Heat oil in wok on high heat, then add the garlic. Saute until fragrant, then add the bok choy. Toss around in the wok, then add salt. Toss a little more to distribute the salt, then reduce heat to medium low and cover for 4-5 minutes, tossing every minute or so.  Since there’s so much vegetable in the pot, it will kind of fry and steam at the same time while covered, so cooking time is minimal.

Serve bok choy with spare ribs on steamed white rice.

Beer pairing suggestion: Rising Tide Daymark American Pale Ale, or simply a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

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GWT Mapo Tofu

Tofu gets a bad rap. Maybe because people try to parade it around like it’s something that it’s not. I’m looking at you, Tofurkey! Here’s a traditional Chinese way to cook tofu that is comforting, easy, and DELICIOUS.

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Listen, don’t be intimidated by the Asian ingredients.  These days, this stuff can be found in most grocer’s Asian/Spanish food aisle. It always makes me laugh when I see those two food categories right next to each other at the market. Do we both really have to be marginalized to just half an aisle in the entire store? Also, why so pigeonholed, America? Where’s the half aisle of Moroccan food products? Or Portuguese products? I feel like I should start a petition. Also, if you really just can’t find that stuff, you can always order it online at Lee Kum Kee.

Anyway, three of the most versatile Chinese ingredients you can buy are up there: black bean sauce, chili garlic sauce, and the ubiquitous oyster sauce. Throw some black bean sauce into your next stir fry for a great savory boost, use chili garlic sauce in place of any hot sauce you might use, and any vegetable can be made better with oyster sauce.

Or you can mix them all together and make mapo tofu.

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Start with cutting up the tofu right in the container if you like. I usually use soft tofu for this dish so I keep my chunks pretty big at the beginning since it will pretty much break apart by itself as I cook.

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Next I fry up the garlic and pork, add the sauces and chicken stock, and let that all simmer a bit before adding the tofu:

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Keep simmering then add the corn starch water to thicken. Make sure you mix it good, it should look like milk before you pour it in. Dissolving the corn starch in water rather than just throwing it straight into the sauce will keep it from clumping up into disgusting snot-like corn-starch boogers wading in your tofu. So DO IT.

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Finally add the Sichuan pepper sauce and oyster sauce and stir to combine. Many traditional recipes will have you start with whole Sichuan peppercorns, crush them up with a rolling pin, then toast them in the wok first before cooking everything else. You can definitely do that too, you’ll get the same effect.

Note: If you’ve never had Sichuan peppercorns in a dish before, you might be in for a surprise. They’re not so much spicy as they are “tingly.” I don’t know the biochemical reaction that happens once it hits your tongue, but Sichuan pepper has this tingling, numbing effect that will give your tongue a buzz.  It’s wild.

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Note: Try not to overstir, and use folding motions each time you mix rather than circular motions.  Every time you stir you run the risk of breaking apart the pieces of tofu, and over-stirring can really leave you with tiny bits of tofu.

Serve with steamed rice, and if you have a friend who is not a tofu fan, I dare you to challenge him to try this and still tell you he doesn’t like it. CHALLENGE HIM! Because he just might get embarrassed.

Enjoy!

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GWT Mapo Tofu

1-lb block of soft tofu, cut into 1” cubes
1/3 pound ground pork
1 cup chicken stock
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp. garlic black bean sauce
1 tbsp. chili garlic sauce
1 tbsp corn starch dissolved in 1 tbsp water
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp schezuan chili sauce or schezuan peppercorns crushed
Chopped scallions for garnish

Heat oil in wok over high heat and add pork, breaking it up so it is crumbled. When pork is browned, add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add black bean sauce, chili garlic sauce, and chicken stock to the pork, stir until combined, then add the corn starch+water so the liquid thickens into a sauce.  Add the tofu to the sauce and toss GENTLY to coat the tofu, being careful not to turn the tofu into mush. Cover pot and lower heat to a simmer for 5 min, uncover and add oyster sauce and Sichuan pepper sauce, stir again to combine.  The tofu should have firmed up a bit by this point but still be careful not to break it apart.

Sprinkle with scallions, serve with steamed rice.

goodwilltasting beer pairing suggestion: Brooklyn Lager

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