Monday, January 24, 2011
With Chinese New Year coming up in a few weeks (February 3), I wanted to share a couple of chinese dishes on my blog. This weekend I made some pot stickers. Pot stickers (called guo tie in chinese) are chinese dumplings which are pan fried. The bottom surface of the dumpling sticks to the pan while cooking (hence the name “pot sticker”), creating a crispy bottom crust.
I don’t know what it is, but for some reason, having that crispy bottom makes dumplings taste so much better. The other way of eating dumplings is to boil them and this creates a sort of mushy skin. But when dumplings are pan fried, the bottoms are crispy and the rest of the skin has a more elastic chewy pull to it.
I used to make dumplings every Chinese New Year, but this year I’ve decided I’m not going to. It’s a lot of work. I used to think it was worth it because I prefer homemade ones over the frozen ones that you can buy at the supermarket. However, after I found a few restaurants in Monterey Park that sell frozen dumplings, I decided it was just easier to buy those. If you don’t live near a restaurant that sells their dumplings, you can buy the frozen ones from asian grocery stores or from Costco. If you are very adventurous, you can make your own dumplings and freeze them. You can view my dumpling recipe here.
Making pot stickers is quite easy if you have some frozen dumplings on hand. You just need a frying pan and some oil and water. First, heat a pan with a few tablespoons of oil. When the oil is hot, place frozen dumplings onto the pan. You want the dumplings to be frozen when you cook them. Don’t defrost them first. As the pot stickers begin to cook, add some water to the pan, so that there is about half an inch of water covering the pot stickers. Then take a lid and put it on top. The steam from the water trapped in the pan will cook the dumplings. The oil will keep the dumpling bottoms from burning and sticking to the pan and will create a crispy bottom for the dumplings. After about 10 minutes, all the water should be evaporated and the dumplings should be done. Of course, these are just some approximations. A lot of it depends on the size of your pan, how many dumplings you are trying to cook, etc.
The frozen dumplings usually have a white skin. It should turn more translucent when the skin is cooked. You can cut one open to check to make sure the meat filling inside is cooked.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
As you may recall, my baby brother’s girlfriend recently came back from a visit to Taiwan. And one of the things she brought me was a box of these adorable cookies from Konig Foods. The writing on the box is in French, so I believe the bakery has some french influence in its baked goods.
These petite assorted cookies are adorable and come in the cutest tin which I will definitely keep to store my little knick knacks. Inside, there are four rows of tiny, bite-sized cookies. When I opened them, I practically squealed at the cuteness of the presentation.
Most of the cookies are a butter-type crunchy cookies, but in various different flavors. Inside is a small guide telling you the flavors. Starting from the top left, the flavors are orange, caramel, cocoa, almond chip, blueberry, almond, green tee and coffee. I love getting cute gifts like this, so I had to take a picture before I dug in to the cookies.
You can visit Konig’s website here, though it’s all in chinese. You can see the yummy food pictures from baby bro’s gf trip so far here and here.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
I’ve been craving brownies a lot recently. It didn’t help that I somehow screwed up making brownies with my Ghiradelli brownie mix. I don’t even know how I messed up. So I decided to make some brownies from scratch with an easy recipe.
I’m still searching for a recipe that is both chewy and fudgy. I’ve gotten a couple of suggestions and I plan on trying them out really soon. For these brownies, I used Hershey’s Best Brownies recipe. It was easy to follow and the brownies came out very fudgy but they weren’t very chewy.
I used a smaller baking pan than recommended so that I could get big fat brownies.
Hershey’s Best Brownies (recipe found on Hershey’s website)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9-inch square baking pan. (I used an 7 inch one)
- Stir together butter, sugar and vanilla in bowl. Add eggs; beat well with spoon. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually add to egg mixture, beating until well blended. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
- Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares and serve.