Friday, December 15, 2017

Pork, Cabbage, and Tofu Dumplings


Next up in my updated posts is my mom's pork and cabbage dumplings!  I made these slightly healthier by substituting some of the pork for tofu and reducing the soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar a bit.  See my original post from 9(!) years ago for a lot of tips and tricks to making and cooking the dumplings (as well as to see how my photography skills have improved over the years, haha).


Pork, Cabbage, and Tofu Dumplings
makes about 80

1-1.5 lbs. ground pork
1 medium head of napa cabbage, roughly chopped
19 oz. firm tofu
2 bundles of bean thread vermicelli
4 scallions
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
80 dumpling skins (about 2 packs)

Press the tofu between a couple layers of paper towels for 15 minutes.  Soak the bean thread vermicelli in lukewarm water for 15 minutes.

Use a food processor to finely chop the napa cabbage and scallions.  Transfer to a large bowl.  Chop the softened noodles and add to the cabbage.  Crumble the tofu into the bowl and add the pork.  Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar and mix well.

Fill the dumpling skins and seal the wrappers with a little water on the edges.  Boil or steam-fry the dumplings and serve.  If not eating immediately, place the plates of filled dumplings in the freezer until firm, then transfer to freezer bags.


Previously:  My Mom's Steamed Bao Buns
Last Year:  Pull-Apart Scallion Swirly Bread
Three Years Ago:  Puppy Chow Pie
Four Years Ago:  Miso Pumpkin Soup
Five Years Ago:  Homemade Ramen Noodles
Eight Years Ago:  Tim Tam Slam Ice Cream
Nine Years Ago:  Pork and Cabbage Dumplings

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

My Mom's Steamed Bao Buns


I first wrote up my mom's hua juan recipe almost 9 years ago so I figured it's time to give a little update.  You can use this recipe to make regular steamed mantou, or fill them to make different types of baozi, but my favorite is still hua juan, which is just the regular bao dough with a sesame-scallion glaze twisted into a flower shape.

I recently came across this new way to shape bread called a Winston knot.  There aren't many videos of how to make it online, and the one I used wasn't even that good, but once you get the idea it's pretty easy.  You can make it with two single strips or two double strips like I did here.  I think the most popular one I've seen is with two triple strips; the resulting bun looks like a volleyball!

The first step is to make an X with the strips.


Then you'll cross one half of the bottom strip over.


Now take the strip that's on the bottom of this picture and weave it through the other 3 strips.


Continue taking the strip on the bottom (or on the right after rotating 90 degrees) and weaving it through the other 3 strips.


When you run out of dough to weave, smush the ends all together.


Then roll the braid up into a ball with the smushed end on the inside.


That's it!  For these buns I decided to apply the sesame-scallion glaze only on the inside of the bun so the outside would stay immaculately white.


My Mom's Steamed Bao Buns
makes 12 buns

A heaping teaspoon of active dry yeast
1 cup milk, warmed to 100-110°F
3 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons of sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Turn the oven on to the lowest setting (mine is 170°F).

Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk.  If you don't have a thermometer, the milk should feel a little warmer than a fever.

Combine the flour and sugar, then add the milk mixture and oil.  Mix together until a dough forms and knead a few minutes until smooth.  Cover the bowl and place in the oven.  Turn off the heat and let the dough proof for an hour or until doubled.

Once the dough has doubled, remove from the oven and turn the oven on again to the lowest setting.  Punch the dough down and knead a few more times.  Divide into twelve equal pieces (I divide in half twice and then divide each quarter into thirds).  Shape and fill the dough at this point if desired.  Place each bun on a square of parchment paper.  Cover and place in the oven, turning off the oven again.  Let proof another 40-60 minutes.

Steam the buns for 13 minutes.  I use my stockpot with the pasta insert as one level and the steamer insert as a second level so I can steam 6 at a time.

If not eating immediately, freeze and reheat in the microwave before eating.


Next:  Pork, Cabbage, and Tofu Dumplings
Previously: Slow-Roasted Ginger Scallion Salmon
Last Year:  Cranberry Curd Tart
Three Years Ago:  Puppy Chow Pie
Four Years Ago:  Thai Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango
Five Years Ago:  Vanilla Passion Caramels
Eight Years Ago:  Wah Guay (Taiwanese Rice Cake with Meat Sauce)
Nine Years Ago:  Beef Noodle Soup and Lu Dan