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Archive for October, 2012

My friend Angela gave some of stuffed bitter melon and it was very tasty. Now bitter melon is still in season so I decide to try making this dish. The secret is the meat stuffing– it’s not ordinary ground pork, I added dried shrimp and cooked glutinous rice to the ground pork, which adds more flavor and texture. If you dare to eat bitter melon, try this recipe.

Stuffed Bitter Melon 苦瓜镶肉

Stuffed Bitter Melon 苦瓜镶肉

Stuffed Bitter Melon Recipe (makes 15-20 pieces)

Ingredients:
3 small/slimmer bitter melon (about size of 2 inches wide, 9 inches long)

stuffing:
1/2 lb ground pork

seasoning for ground pork:
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp tapioca starch
2-3 tbsp water

2 tbsp dried shrimps– soaked with 2 tbsp of water for 5 minutes, then finely chopped
2 tbsp cooked glutinous rice– add some water to loose up the rice, then rinse out water– see note below
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
2 cloves garlic– finely chopped

more tapioca starch for coating the inside of melon ring

Seasoning for the sause:
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp chicken bouillon powder
1/2 tbsp sugar
water (enough to cover half the height of the melon rings)

Method:

  1. Wash bitter melons and remove both tips. Cut into 1 inch size rings. Remove the core. Put the melon rings in a big bowl and sprinkle about 1 tbsp of salt. Toss to coat well (this is to draw out the bitter juice so it will be less bitter). Set aside for 15 minutes. Rinse 2-3 times. Pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. Prepare stuffing: season ground pork with ground pork seasoning. Then add in dried shrimps, glutinous rice, ginger and garlic. Stir in a circular motion several times until the mixture blend well and looks sticky.
  3. Coat inner rings with tapioca starch, then stuff ground pork into the ring with a butter knife, smooth the surface (do not over stuff as the stuffing will expand during cooking).
  4. Heat up a frying pan with a 2 tbsp oil. Fry melon rings on high heat, meat side down, until both side are browned. Be sure to place the rings in a single layer, fry in batches if necessary.
  5. Add enough water to cover half the height of the rings, and all other sauce seasoning. Bring to a boil, then continue cooking on medium high heat, until the stuffing is cooked through and melon softens (turning over once or twice during cooking). At this point the sauce should be reduced and thickened.

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Corn Bread Muffins

Corn Bread Muffins

Corn Bread Muffins (recipe from Chef John Folse’s Sweet and Airy Corn Bread— makes 12 pieces)

Ingredients:
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 ear corn kennels
1 1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
4 tbsp unsalted butter– melted and cooled

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Grease muffin pans with cooking spray.
  2. Sift cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a big bowl. Stir in corn kennels to mix well.
  3. Add eggs to the milk, whisk to blend well.
  4. Pour egg mixture and melted butter to the flour mixture. Gently fold until the batter is just moist and no lump(the batter will look runny). Do not over mix the batter.
  5. Scoop batter into muffin pans. Bake at preheated oven for 15-18 muffins. Transfer to cool on rack.

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My oldest son Alexander used to be not a fan of wontons. Then all of a sudden, after trying some, he decided he like it enough to make it to his favorite food list. I like to make a batch of wontons and freeze the extras. When I don’t know what to make for Alexander’s lunch, then these wontons come in handy. Alexander’s current wonton record is 10 pieces (about size of a table tennis/ping pong) at one serving.

To me, wonton is one of those food that is easy enough and doesn’t require writing down the recipe. But here I’m writing it down mainly for you, my dear son, so that when you are away from home and miss your mamma’s home made wontons, you’ll know how to make them.

Wonton Soup

Wonton Soup

Wonton Soup Recipe 云吞汤 (makes about 55-60 pieces)

Ingredients:
1 lb ground pork
1/2 lb shrimps– shelled and deveined, and coarsely chopped
6 water chestnut– chopped (optional)– see your mamma’s note below
1 pack (1 lb) medium wonton wrappers

Seasoning:
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
2 tsp sesame oil
3 tsp tapioca starch
4 tbsp water

some green leafy vegetables like “yu choi” 油菜– clean, cut to 2-inch length

Method:

To make wontons:

  1. Put ground pork in a mixing bowl, add in all the seasoning and mix well. Add in chopped shrimps and water chestnut (if used). Mix to combine all together. Then use a pair of chopsticks, stir the mixture in a circular motion for a few minutes, until the mixture appears sticky and some very thin strands are visible (you can use a standing mixer to do the job so you arm doesn’t get sore :-)).
  2. Put about 1/2 to 1 tbsp of ground pork filling in the center of a wonton wrapper. Run your finger through water then wet all edges briefly. Fold it in half to form a triangle. Then bring the two ends on the long side together, wet touch one end and press seal the other end on top of it (if you find it hard to bring two ends together, make the triangle stand up first before proceeding). Repeat with remaining filling and wrappers.
  3. Place wonton on a tray and freeze for about 1 hour or until the wonton are just frozen. At this point wontons are pretty much individually frozen and can be put in a ziplog bag– and here are your home made frozen wontons!

To make wonton soup:

  1. Okay, here comes the easy part– the soup: Boil some chicken broth or water in a pot. Carefully drop in frozen wontons (no need to thaw) into the boiling liquid. Stir immediately so the wontons do stick to the bottom of the pot. Let it bring to a boil, stir a few times to make sure wontons are swimming happily in the soup. Add in some water and bring to a boil again. When the wontons float to the top, cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove wontons to a bowl or else the wontons are over cooked and the wrappers will tear and become mushy.
  2. Cook leafy vegetables in the soup (cook it longer if you prefer softer texture). Add salt and ground white pepper to taste. Drizzle in a little sesame oil. Pour vegetables and soup over wontons. Enjoy while it’s hot!

Mamma’s Note:

  • Like I do with potstickers and dumplings, I like to make a batch of wontons and freeze them. Just loose them up before freezing in a bag, and cook them straight from frozen– no need to thaw.
  • water chestnut: Well, son… your mamma really likes water chestnut in the wontons (and in dumplings too) for its slightly crunchiness, but you and your brother and sister doesn’t like it and think it’s onion or some sort… one of these days you should really try it. It’s not going to kill you 🙂
Making wontons

Making wontons

Home made wontons

Home made wontons

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