Monday, February 22, 2010
I’ve been wanting to try to make my own green onion pancakes for a while now, ever since I found a recipe on Gaga in the Kitchen a few months back. Every time I planned on making them I always seemed to run out of time. This weekend, we had a belated Chinese New Year celebration and I was determined to make them.
Green onion pancakes (cong you bing), is a savory Chinese dish. It’s doughy, with several layers, and has the taste of oil and onions mixed with the dough. The pancake is pan fried, creating a crispy exterior and a chewy interior.
I got a lot of help from Baby Bro and Baby Bro’s Girlfriend with making the pancakes. They ended up coming out really tasty. Definitely better than the frozen or ready-made store bought ones. And they weren’t too hard to make.
Green Onion Pancakes (Adapted from Gaga in the Kitchen)
Makes approx 8-10 pancakes
4 cups All purpose flour
2 cups boiling water
Oil (vegetable and sesame oil)
About 1 1/2 cup Green onions (diced)
the flour and water together with a large wooden spoon. Once combined, knead by hand until a nice dough is formed.
If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour. If too dry, add a little more water. Knead the dough for a few minutes, so that you will have a good chewy texture for the pancake.
2. Take a small piece of dough (about the size of your fist) and
roll it out as thin as possible. The shape doesn’t matter.
3. Drizzle some oil and rub it in with your hands so that the entire
surface is lightly covered, but there are no pools of oil in any one
spot. Gaga said she uses a combo of vegetable oil and sesame oil. Because sesame oil is so strong, we used about a 4:1 ratio of vegetable oil to sesame oil. Don’t be stingy on the oil or your pancakes will be too dry. Make sure there is a nice thin layer on each one, and make sure it is spread across the whole dough.
4. Sprinkle some salt evenly across the dough. Then sprinkle on the diced green onions. It’s up to your personal preference how much you like.
5. Roll the dough into a long rope. It’s okay if oil and onions squish out the sides. Coil that rope into a circle.
6. Flatten the circle with your hand and then use rolling pin to roll out the pancake and thin it to your desired thickness. Ours we about 1/4 inch thick.
7. In a pan, heat up a bit of oil over medium/low heat. Put your pancake on heated pan and let it cook until golden brown, and then flip to crisp the
8. Serve pancakes while still warm and crisp.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
153 West Garvey Ave
Monterey Park, CA 91755
With a long weekend and it being Chinese new year, Boyfriend, Baby Bro, Little Bro and I decided to spend New Year’s Eve eating some yummy Chinese food in LA. We had quite a few spots on our agenda. Unfortunately, a lot of places closed early or were closed altogether for New Year’s Eve. So Qing Dao Bread Food and Mama’s Lu will have to wait for another occasion.
Hot pot is something that is often eaten for Chinese New Year. So it seemed a perfect time for me to check out Boiling Point. Boiling Point serves individual Taiwanese style hot pot. In Taiwan, I saw a lot of small restaurants that had these and they were delicious. Boiling Point is the first restaurant that I’ve heard of that serves the individual Taiwanese hot pot.
Each person gets their own hot pot. There are different ones to choose from including lamb, beef, house special, seafood. The most famous one is the House Special because it contains stinky tofu. I first learned of Boiling Point from Gastronomer. While she didn’t care for the hot pot because she didn’t like the stinky tofu, I love stinky tofu and that just made me really want to check it out, especially since it’s so hard to find places that serve stinky tofu. Also, usually the stinky tofu that is available is the fried kind. While I like fried stinky tofu, I also like the non-fried kind which I’ve only had in Taiwan.
For those of you who have not had stinky tofu, it is a bit of an acquired taste. The tofu is fermented and has an odor. I wouldn’t necessarily say the odor is stinky, but I guess it doesn’t smell great to those who aren’t used to eating it, and that is where the name comes from. Good stinky tofu has a very strong aroma and fermented taste.
I also read a review from Eileen Likes to Eat, and she really liked the stinky tofu hotpot. So Boiling Point has been on my list for a while.
Each hot pot comes with various ingredients, depending on which one you choose and they all cost $9.99 for dinner. You can also order additional side items.
The place is pretty small and is run by young college age looking kids. The service was pretty much nonexistent. They don’t take reservations, so we got there right when they opened for dinner.
Big containers of dipping sauces are provided on a cart, and can go over and help yourself to some dipping sauces. They ended up being superfluous for us because the both is quite flavorful and spicy so you don’t really need to dip your food.
I ordered the House Special Hot Pot. With each pot, you get a choice of rice or noodles. The noodles are the clear vermicelli noodles which is usually eaten with hot pot, so I ordered the noodles. This is three orders of noodles pictured here. They didn’t give much:
The food arrives already inside your pot. In mine, there were some big pieces of stinky tofu, pickled radish, kamaboko, fish balls, beef, tomatoes, pork intestines in my pot. I ordered mine mild spicy but thought it was more like medium. The spiciness was enhanced by the hot temperature of the food. There was only a tiny amount of each item in my hot pot. The amount served was a lot less than I usually would eat when eating hot pot. I definitely didn’t feel full after, so I was disappointed with the quantity. Also, while the broth definitely had a taste of the stinky tofu, the tofu itself barely had any taste. It tasted like regular tofu. I think whatever “stinky” essence it had all went into the broth.
Baby Bro ordered the lamb hot pot. The lamb was pretty good, but there were only a few slices in his pot.
Boyfriend ordered the beef hot pot because he doesn’t like stinky tofu.
We also ordered a side of beef and a side of stinky tofu.
I also ordered a lychee slushee. The menu says they use real fruit, but this was obviously just syrup. It tasted the same as the ones I get at Tapioca Express.
The servers never refilled our waters and I felt the quantity of food was too little. You really need to order a few sides in order to be full.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
I've been wanting to experiment with pandan cookies, so I decided to start off with pandan flavored sugar cookies. I wasn't sure how well the extract would mix with the dough. With matcha, I can just add the powder and mix it with the flour easily. The pandan extract was a little bit trickier.
I had to do a lot of kneading of the dough so that the pandan extract would mix evenly in the dough. I basically kept kneading the dough with my hand until the dough was almost all green and didn't have any more of the natural dough color.
The cookies came out a very pretty green. They tasted pretty good too, though they seemed to have a slight food coloring aftertaste. I'm not sure if it was just in my mind though since I don't like using artificial coloring. I tired to find pandan extract with no artificial coloring or flavoring, but I haven't been able to find it.
Pandan Sugar Cookies
1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 tsp pandan extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, shortening and sugar. Stir
in the egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt,
stir into the creamed mixture until dough comes together. Add in pandan extract and mix using hands until dough is uniformly green colored.
- Take dough and roll out on flat surface to about 1/4 inch thick
and use cookie cutter to make cookie shapes. Re-roll the dough scraps
Bake cookies 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until bottom is
light brown. Remove from baking sheets to cool on wire racks.