Weekend Meal-Homemade Dumplings

homemade dumplings 1

homemade dumplings

I bought a pasta/noodle machine recently, which costed me a fortune. But I really like it. All you need to do is add flour (up to 500g), then it will tell you how much water it needs. Push the start button, pasta comes out from the other end after 3 minutes mixing. It is gorgeous!  The pasta came out the machine doesn’t stick together, which was my primary worry. It can make 7 different kind of pastas. So far we like the penne the most. Today I am trying the dumpling/ravioli wrapping. It came out as a long sheet and you can cut into squares or circles afterwards. Oh! I am in heaven!

Ingredients:

Pork mince (500 g), prawn (a dozen, coarsely chopped), egg (1), canola oil (1 tablespoons), sesame oil (1 tablespoon), ginger (about 1 tablespoon, minced), shallot (3), shiitake mushroom (4, coarsely chopped), cabbage (200g, coarsely chopped), Chinese cooking wine (1 table spoon), water (1/2 cup), soy sauce (1/2 tablespoon), salt and white pepper, dumpling wrappings (500 g).

What to do:

  1. Place pork mince and chopped prawn in a mixing bowl, add egg, canola oil, sesame oil, Chinese cooking wine and soy sauce, mix in one direction (I do clockwise, this is to help mince stuck together).
  2. Place ginger, shallot and water in a blender, and blend to yield ginger & shallot water.
  3. Add 1/3 of the above ginger & shallot water into pork mince and mix clockwise, then do the same 2 more times until the ginger & shallot water used up. This step to make sure water is well combined with pork mince and won’t split. At this stage the pork mince should be very easy to stir as it absorbed all that moisture.
  4. Add chopped shiitake mushrooms and cabbage, and mix clockwise until well combined.
  5. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
  6. Now you can start folding dumplings. Because they the square wrapping, start from folding it in half to have a rectangle shape then fold two of the bottom corner together to have the shape in the picture.
  7. In a large pot, boil dumplings in salted water.
  8. Serve with Chinese vinegar and chilli oil.

Stir-Fry of Mixed Mushrooms

mixed mushrooms 1

mixed mushrooms 2

Last time we went out for Chinese, I ordered a mixed mushroom as a vegetarian dish. It was lovely! You can really tell the subtle difference of each kind of mushroom, and yet they all work together perfectly. Simple but delicious. My kind of recipe! I have got to try it at home. The outcome was just like the one I had at the restaurant. It is not hard, everyone can do it.

Ingredients:

oyster mushroom (60 g, break into small pieces), king oyster mushroom (60 g, sliced), shitaki mushroom (60 g, sliced), fresh enoki mushroom (60 g, break into small pieces), straw mushroom (60g, halved), dried fungus (10, soak in hot water 30 minutes before cooking), bok choy (6, sliced), garlic(2 cloves, sliced), ginger (same size as 2 cloves of garlic, sliced), spring onion (2, sliced and save the green part for garnish), dried chilli (1, sliced), canola oil (1 tablespoon), sesame oil (1 tablespoon), corn flour (1/2 tablespoon), water (1 and 1/2 tablespoon), salt, pepper.

What to do:

  1. Pre-soak dried fungus in hot water 30 minutes before cooking. Once it is expanded and became soft, break it into small pieces by hand.
  2. Slice garlic, ginger and spring onion. Save green part of spring onion for garnish. Seed and slice dried chilly. Break oyster mushroom and enoki mushroom into smaller pieces by hand. Slice shitaki, king oyster and straw mushrooms.
  3. In a wok, heat canola and sesame oil at low heat. Add sliced garlic, ginger, spring onion and dried chilli, cook until fragrant. Add the mixed mushrooms, cook untill soften. Then add bok choy and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Stir in the corn flour water (mix 1/2 table corn flour and 1 1/2 tablespoon water together), cook until the corn flour water thicken.
  5. Garnish with green onion, and serve as a side.

Stir Fried Rice Noodles

rice noodle 1

rice noodle 2

I used pickled cabbage instead of normal cabbage in the rice noodle. It came out delicious. The taste of Chinese pickled cabbage is very similar to sauerkraut, which can be used as replacement. The flavour of pickle, beef, soybean sprout and rice noodle combine very well together. Of course, this is not my invention. Beef and pickle is one of the classics. People in southwest China has been doing it for centuries.

Ingredients: (serves 2)

Fresh rice noodle (250 g), canola oil (3 table spoons), beef (200 g), soybean sprout (1 cup), carrot (1, grated), pickled cabbage (100 g), spring onion (1), garlic (2 cloves), ginger (a size same as 2 cloves of garlic), dried chilli (1, sliced), coriander (for garnish), soy sauce (2 tablespoon), salt and pepper.

beef marinade: minced garlic (1 clove), minced ginger (same size of 1 clove garlic), 1 green onion chopped, white pepper (a pinch), chilly powder (a pinch), corn flour (1 table spoon), soy sauce (1 table spoon), beer (1 table spoon).

What to do:

  1. Place beef and its marinade in a bowl, mix together and let it marinate for at least half hour.
  2. In a medium size pot, add water and bring to boil.Turn off the heat, add rice noodle and soak for 10 minutes or until rice noodle is soft and chewy. Drain and run through with hot tap water.
  3. To stir fry, into a frying pan heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil over high heat. Add marinated beef and stir fry until all the beef pieces changed colour and turn off the heat. Transfer it into a container and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, add the rest of canola oil and cook dried chilli, garlic, ginger and spring onion over medium heat until aroma comes out. Add pickled cabbage and fry for 1 minute, then add soybean sprout and grated carrot, fry for 3-4 minutes. Followed by adding rice noodle and soy sauce, stir to combine.
  5. Finally, add cooked beef and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Garnish with coriander, serve while warm.

Spinach & Tofu Sheets Salad

spinach and tofu sheets

My mother did lots of good old home cooking during her visit. The familiar flavours has brought back a lot of childhood memories. I really had to hold my urges of taking any photos of my mom’s cooking. Mostly because it takes a long time to get a perfect shot and I didn’t want to keep everyone waiting. So I will be trying my best to replicate some of her best dishes in the coming weeks.

Ian also has been very good and politely ate everything my mom cooked. Just between you and me, he rarely eats any Asian greens I make at home. He was doing his best to impress…

So today’s dish is my mom’s recipe 🙂

There is one ingredient of today’s recipe probably needs a little explanation, the tofu sheets, it is a tofu which has been pressed into thin sheets. It has a texture of half way between firm tofu and noodle. I really like it. Ian is not a huge fan of tofu, but he also likes tofu sheets. So don’t be so judgemental because it has something to do with tofu. Give it a shot when you have a chance. As for the rest of the dish, spinach pairs perfectly with a simple ginger & vinegar dressing. Tofu sheets added another layer of texture to whole dish. Simply delicious!

Ingredients:

Spinach (1 bunch), thin tofu sheets (1 sheet, sliced), dried chilli (1, seeded and sliced), garlic (1 clove, minced), ginger (same size of 1 clove of garlic, minced), canola oil (1 1/2 tablespoon), apple cider vinegar (1 1/2 tablespoon) and salt.

What to do:

  1. Blanch spinach and tofu sheets briefly in boiling hot water, strain and set aside.
  2. Place minced garlic and ginger, chilli and canola oil in a small microwave bowl. Heat the mixture in the microwave for 1 minute under high heat.
  3. Mix the blanched spinach, tofu sheets, the above ginger & garlic oil mixture and apple cider vinegar together.
  4. Season with salt to taste.
  5. Serve as a side.

Lettuce Bowl

lettuces bowl

Ian and I just had our wedding and that is why I haven’t got time to update my blog recently. Now everything is back to normal and hopefully I will have time to work on my blog more regularly.

As for my wedding, it was a perfect day. Everything went so well. Hopefully I will have photos soon to upload. I was so happy that my parents flew all the way from China to attend our wedding. It was their first trip to Australia. Ian and I did our best to show them around. In the end, they really love Canberra, which is beautiful garden city with pretty autumn colours at the moment.

Today’s recipe is the famous Chinese lettuce bowl. Basically, all you need to do is a little stir fry and then serve on a piece of lettuce leave. It is a great party food, people could just help themselves.

Ingredients:

pork (400 g, diced), garlic shoots (300g, diced), celery (half, diced), canola oil (3 tablespoon), salt, pepper, fresh red chilli for garnish.

pork marinade: minced garlic (1 clove), minced ginger (same size of 1 clove garlic), 1 green onion chopped, white pepper (a pinch), chilly powder (a pinch), corn flour (1 table spoon), soy sauce (1 table spoon), beer (1 table spoon).

What to do:

  1. Mix all ingredients of pork marinade in a mixing bowl. Add diced pork, mix well and leave it in the fridge to marinade for at least half an hour. Remix it again before cooking.
  2. In a none stick frying pan, heat 2 tablespoon of canola oil at high heat. Add the marinated pork and cook until all the diced pork change colour. Take off from the heat and transfer into a container, set aside. They are diced into small pieces, so it doesn’t take long to cook.
  3. In the same frying pan, heat the rest of canola oil at medium heat. Add diced celery first, fry for 1-2 minutes. Add diced garlic shoot . Stir fry for another 3-4 minutes until garlic shoots are cooked (no longer spicy but still crunchy).
  4. Add cooked pork, mix well and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Garnish with sliced fresh red chilli and serve with lettuce leaves.

Sichuan Spicy Tofu

Sichuan spicy tofu

Tofu is made from soy bean milk and itself doesn’t have much taste. People from Sichuan have done a good job cooking it. I like it spicy and the tofu was infused with delicious flavours.

Ingredients:

tofu (200 g), beef mince (50 g), garlic (3 cloves), ginger (a thumb size piece), spring onion (1), sichuan spicy soy bean paste (2 tablespoons), canola oil (4 tablespoons), sichuan pepper powder (1 tablespoons), chilli powder (2 teaspoons), soy sauce (1 tablespoon), sugar (1 teaspoon), corn  flour (1 teaspoon).

What to do:

  1. Dice tofu into cubes. (I prefer tofu with medium firm texture over silky tofu. You can use silky tofu)
  2. Place garlic, ginger, spring onion, sichuan spicy soy bean paste, sichuan pepper powder, chilli powder, sugar, soy sauce in a blender and blend them to make a paste.
  3. Fry beef mince in a medium pot, add the above paste and fry for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add tofu and a cup of water. Reduce heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Suspend corn flour in 1 tablespoon of water, then add the corn flour water into the pot, which is cooking the tofu.
  6. Cook for 1-2 minutes over high heat.
  7. Garnish with spring onion and serve with rice.

Sichuan Green Beans

Sichuan green beans

It is the last day of Chinese New Year. How did it pass so quickly? I can’t even recall what I did in the past two weeks. Time flies! As I am getting older, the day feels like is getting longer, the week is getting shorter and the year is getting even shorter.

Ingredients:

Chinese green beans (500 g), garlic (2 cloves), ginger (about 1/2 inch size piece), dried chilli (5), dried sichuan peppercorn (1 tablespoon), canola oil (2 tablespoon), sea salt.

What to do:

  1. Cut Chinese green beans into 5 cm long pieces.
  2. In a fry pan, add canola oil, dried chilli, sichuan pepper corn, sliced garlic and ginger. Cook over low heat until garlic is nicely golden.
  3. Add Chinese green beans, continue cook over low heat until beans are soft and have a nice chargrilled colour.
  4. Season with sea salt.
  5. Serve with some rice.

Stir Fried Asian Greens

stir fried asian greens

There are huge selections of green leaf vegetables that people back at home eat everyday. They are very fresh, healthy and tasty.  This one I have today is called amaranthus, which has mixture of green and purple leaves. As we all know colorful vegetables are usually healthy. I used to do research on extracting bio-active compounds from plants. It is true that those bio-active compounds usually themselves have colors and give the plants colors. They were found to have antioxidant, anticancer or anti-inflamation activities. Whereas compounds like sugars and starch are usually colorless. So I personally tend to buy colorful vegetables and choose purple cabbage over white cabbage.

The recipe I have today is a generic way to stir fry Asian greens and you can pretty much cook any kinds of greens with this method. 🙂

Ingredients:

Amaranthus (1 bunch), garlic (2 cloves), canola oil (1 tablespoon), sugar (a pinch), salt.

What to do :

  1. Into a frying pan heat canola oil over low heat, add sliced garlic and cook until garlic is brown. Transfer them onto a paper towel to drain.
  2. Add the greens into the above garlic infused oil. Fry for 1 minute over high heat, or as soon as all the leaves changed texture.
  3. Turn off heat, season with sugar and salt.
  4. Serve with burnt garlic as a side.

Ginger & Chilli Celtuce

Stir fried celtuce

Look at what I found at the grocery today. It is celtuce! This is the first time I am able to buy it in Australia. It is nothing exotic back at home. But it was a little pleasant surprise to find it here.

Celtuce is kind of lettuce, also known as stem lettuce. People eat its long stem. You will need to peel its hard skin first and eat the tender part inside.

Ingredients:

Celtuce (1), red chilli (1), pickled chilli (1), garlic (1 clove), ginger (same size as 1 clove of garlic), salt and canola oil (1 tablespoon).

What to do:

  1. Get rid of leaves of celtuce and peel it with knife. (It is not an easy task)
  2. Slice the peeled celtuce stem and run through it with tap water.
  3. Slice red chilli, pickled chilli, garlic and ginger.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoons of canola in a wok over medium heat, add Slice red chilli, pickled chilli, garlic and ginger, fry for 1-2 minutes. Then add sliced celtuce, fry for another 1-2 minutes and season to taste. (Make sure celture is still crunchy)
  5. Serve with some rice.

Pancake Roll

Spring pancake roll

I had hard time to come up a name for today’s post. I searched online to see how other people translate it from Chinese to English. Pancake roll is the name I found. The Chinese name I have literately translate to English is spring roll. But it is not the deep fried spring roll at the take away shop. So pancake roll it is. However, it is not a pancake. It is more like a mini wrap. My mum would always serve fried potatoes or lamb mince in those wraps. My favourite!

Ingredients:

mini wrap skin (1 pack),

Stir fried potatoes: potatoes (2), dried chilli (2), garlic (1 clove), spring onion (1), canola oil (2 tablespoons), vinegar (1 teaspoon), salt and pepper.

Stir fried Lamb: Lamb mince (100 g), onion (1), capsicum (1), carrot (1), chilli power (1/2 teaspoon), cumin (1 teaspoon), salt, spring onion and sliced fresh chilli for garnish.

What to do:

  1. To make stir fried potatoes: slice potatoes into thin lines with a knife or a grater. Flash the sliced potatoes with tap water to wash off starch. Heat 2 tablespoons of canola in a wok over medium heat, add dried chilli, garlic and spring onion and fry until garlic is golden. Add sliced potatoes and fry for 1-2 minutes. Reduce the heat and cover with a lid, cook for 2-3 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked. Add vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
  2. To make stir fried lamb: heat 1 tablespoons of canola in a wok over medium heat, add onion and fry until onion is caramelised. Then add lamb mince, diced capsicum and carrot, fry until lamb is cooked. Season with chilli powder, cumin and salt. Garnish with spring onion and sliced fresh chilli.
  3. Serve with mini wrap skin to make mini rolls.