Archive for the ‘Chinese’ Category

UM Redux: Shanghai Cafe (NYC)

April 8, 2008

This post is dedicated to Tmonkey and Wong Kar-Wai.

Went to see my acupuncturist the other day in Chinatown. Dr. Wu is a miracle maker, truly, and I send everyone to him for their ailments. Migraines, bad shoulders, allergies, bad knees, insomnia– whatever you’ve got, he’ll fix it, for real.

While pinning needles into my back, he told me I think too much and I eat too much. Perhaps he’s somewhat of a prophet? Dr. Wu multi-tasks: he’s not just a certified acupuncturist, but also my therapist and nutritionist.

So what do you do when the prophet tells you you eat too much? Well, go eat, of course. As a Dr. Wu visit ritual of sorts, I walked two streets over to one of my absolute favorite restaurant in NYC. Remember Tmonkey’s awesome video from last year? He wasn’t lying, this place is THE BEST for soup dumplings.


Check out this awesome lighting! As Tmonkey said, this place has a very 2046 vibe. When I come here, I like to pretend I am Zhang Ziyi on a hot date with Tony. I won’t let you break up with me, Tony!
As soon as you sit down, order the #1 on the menu- the tiny steamed buns with crab and pork. It takes some time for these to steam, so better to order them right away to avoid drooling all over the dumplings on the table next to you. Trust me on this.
What makes these superior to other soup dumplings in the city (Grand Sichuan, Joe’s Shanghai) is that the crab does not dry out, which leaves you with a hot hot bite of fluffy, moist goodness.
Make sure to get the Shanghai Lo Mein– saucy udon-like pan fried noodles. Another favorite. I get it with shrimp and mixed meats.
Not on the menu- sauteed pea shoots. Kinda expensive at $15, but if you’re there with a few people, it’s worth it.
Our spread. For all this- 2 trays of dumplings, noodles and the pea-shoots, it was $30 maybe? They have all sorts of other Shanghainese goodies on the menu, but I usually just gorge on the soup dumplings.

Ladies making the dumplings.

Dumplings steaming behind the counter.

Is that Tony?

Shanghai Cafe
100 Mott Street
B
twn. Canal & Hester Streets
New York, NY
T:212.966.3988

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Umamiventure #7 : Pacificana, Sunset Park

February 22, 2008

This past Sunday we intrepid Umami Marters made the trek to Sunset Park for an Umamiventure visit to famed Chinese joint Pacificana. Although Pacificana is best known for dim sum, we threw caution to the winds and reserved a table for dinner.

Waving aside the free (maybe? we weren’t sure…) soda awaiting us at our table, we ordered a bottle of wine and some frosty Tsing Taos and got down to the business of serious face-stuffing. $30 and about 10,000 calories later, we were a happy group.


Our first main dish and the undisputed hit of the evening was Peking duck (above), chopped up and served right at the table. While the pancakes served with the duck were thicker and fluffier than most of us were expecting, the overall package was fatty-salty-deeeelicious and well worth the longish trip on the N train.

Pacificana is (as its name implies) all about the food of the sea, and we put its substantial fish skills to the test. Two kinds of crab (“Hong Kong Style” and “Ginger and Scallion”) were both tasty and fun, requiring a sizable amount of upper body strength to get at the sweet sweet (and occasionally spicy) meat within. We also devoured a whole striped bass (the time lapse between the before and after photos below is about 5 minutes) and a number of shrimp dishes. Crispy baby bok choys and some “pea leaves” (which I’d never had before) were good, too, and made me feel a little bit less like I’d just consumed my weight in fried shellfish.



Was Pacificana good? Yes indeed. Was it as good as Chinatown stalwart Congee Village, where dinner never seems to cost more than $11, no matter how much you eat? That’s a toss-up. The specter of Congee Village was certainly raised during dinner (as is pretty much inevitable whenever you’re discussing New York Chinese Food That Is Totally Awesome), but we never did reach a verdict on whether Pacificana’s substantial charms were really worth the higher pricetag. Either way, the trip was worth it—as head Umami Marter Kayoko’s fortune cookie wisely noted “a gathering of friends brings you lots of luck this evening.”


Pacificana Restaurant
813 55th St @ 8th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220
(718) 871-2880

Past trips include:
Jackson Diner – 01/08
WINTERMARKET – 12/07
Sripraphai Restaurant – 11/07
Taste of Jackson Heights – 10/07
Red Hook Ball Fields – 06/07
Ocean Jewel Restaurant – 06/07

Must Do in Beijing

January 10, 2008

Forbidden City, Tienanmen Square, The Great Wall. Got ripped off at an antique store, almost got killed by a car when crossing the streets… Yes, I did all the things I was supposed to do in Beijing. Last and the most important thing to do was to go eat Peking Duck. Remember my post on homemade peking duck?

I was very excited to go to one of Beijing’s most famous Peking Duck joints. After researching around, we decided to go to the Dadong Roast Duck Restaurant, which was also included in NYT’s 36 hours in Beijing. After our cab driver got lost (wtf! If the place is one of the most popular duck restaurants, how the hell was he not able to get us there?!), we finally arrived. We had to wait for about 30 minutes, while the restaurant provided free box wine (yep, that same box wine you drank in college). Also I took these pictures after having many glasses of them, hence they are rather blurry.

They have an open duck oven area that customers can see through a glass window. Below freshly blown up ducks were brought out to be roasted in wood burning oven, and just like everything else in China, there was a master who knows what he was doing, and all the soldiers were lining up, just watching what the experts do (and one guy picked his nose with his bare finger!!!!!!!)


We didn’t have to wait too long once we sat down. A whole duck was delivered to our table, and a skillful chef cut the skin into bite sizes, and man, the way he cut just enough meat with skin was definitely an art.


Look how beautiful they were plated. It tasted the way it is supposed to be. Crunchy, and not too greasy. Whatever magic happens in the oven makes it just right. Meat wasn’t dry (Chinese eat the meat part as well, which I totally agree with) either.


It was so shiny too.

We also ordered some fancy Chinese food as well. Below is scallops with brown sauce in a noodle nest. Very pretty. They might have gotten the idea from the Olympics stadium, aka Birds Nest.

They really know how to cook eggplants in China. It melted in my mouth, and was almost as memorable as the duck.

Oops, I did it again. After the meal was done, a sufficiently boozed up Yamahomo broke the stem of wine glass.

I have to say, though, I like my Peking Duck better. Maybe because the crepe thing and hoison sauce weren’t as tasty as mine. Still I have to say the crispness of the duck was superb.

The Great Wall, one of the 7 wonders of the world.

Dadong Roast Duck Restaurant
22 Dongsishitiao
Beijing, 100007
Tel: 010/5169-0328

What $10 Can Buy in China

January 8, 2008

China was interesting. As you might know, the air is unbelievably dirty, and everyday when I woke up I appreciated and longed for clean air more and more. It’s hard to explain but my friend in China said, it’s basically smoking 10 packs of cigarettes without smoking it. It was so true. No cigarette smell, but whatever bad shit was in the air, I was sucking them in. I still have a bad cough (I should really stop smoking…).

Also I couldn’t make myself understood whatsoever. No one spoke English, and I basically relied solely on my friend who lives in Beijing.

She took us to this local restaurant near she used to live. It was only 10 minutes taxi ride from my hotel, but the scene was completely local. We were the only foreginers. Public bathrooms, where people actually shit on holes with shitting faces!! I am serious!

The restaurant, whatever its name was, was not for tourists. It was the real deal Chinese restaurant for Chinese people, no one else.

Luckily, she speaks fluent Chinese, so we got seated. Of course the menu was written only in Chinese, and certain things I can make sense of, such as beef, lamb, etc. Even so, I had no idea how it would taste, especially with my prior impression of Chinese local food being “cardboard infused dumplings” etc.

I don’t know how she does it, but she is a vegetarian in China, so she ordered all vegetarian dishes. I was a bit disappointed, so I insisted on ordering one beef dish. I just pointed out beef something something. It turned out to be beef intestine stew or something looks like it, and I couldn’t eat that shit.

Anyhow, the first dish that arrived at our table was very spicy mapo tofu (tofu and pork sauteed in a bean sauce) without any meat. This was very tasty. Spicy, but definitely mapo tofu flavored and even though they say meatless, I am sure they are using some meat juice somewhere..


We ordered two salads, one was garlic pickled cucumber (at least it tasted like like it) and this almost raw potato salad. It was very crunchy, sour, sweet, and a bit of spice. Red thing you can see is of course chili. Very refreshing taste.


Doesn’t this look like sweet and sour pork? This is peppers, onion and eggplant with some brown sauce. This was AMAZING. Nothing compared to what I have eaten here. Eggplant was melting in my mouth, while peppers were very crunchy. The flavor was also very good, just can’t tell what it was, and maybe it’s better not knowing what it was. Probably tablespoon of MSG was in it. Who knows…


Dessert was fried mushed beans of some sort, and on top was just simply sugar. This was extremely hot but tasted almost like sesame ball without the mochi-like texture. I love fried desserts.


This whole spread with 40 oz beers came to 67 yuan (just under $10). We just couldn’t believe how cheap it was. I still try not to think where the food ingredients came from.


Next post will be on Peking Duck. I didn’t wait an hour for the Beijing tourist “must do” for nothing.

Below is the view of new CCTV tower construction from my hotel window. It definitely looked cool/weird/huge/wtf. Apparently they connected two parts into one on 12/9/07–there was an one hour window just before the sun rose that they could connect it while both steel parts were at the same temperature (otherwise the different steel temperatures would cause the joints to collapse in the future). I can’t wait to see how it’s made on Discovery Channel.

Adventures in Cold Noodles and Mad Turtles

August 13, 2007

It probably reached the usual 96 or so degrees F in Tokyo yesterday. On days like these, it’s hard to tear yourself away from the air conditioning vent. But at around one o’clock, this was achieved knowing that food adventures were to be experienced.

Upon flipping through Brutus’ issue on parks, there was a review of Pepacafe Forest in Kichijoji’s Inokashira Park.

Not really knowing anything about the place except that it was surrounded by trees, we stumbled into find it freakin packed – the photo above was snagged off the internet (yesterday, all these seats were bumpin). Anyway, we were seated in the back corner next to the fan (yeay). The cafe overlooked more trees than I had seen combined in the past few weeks, which was very welcoming in my book. By this time, we had figured out that everyone was chowing on Thai food. Perfect – vinegar, spiciness in times of heat is a match made in heaven.

By this time I was kicking myself for not bringing my camera. We ordered cold Tom Yum ramen, fresh spring rolls, and the boiled chicken with rice lunch set. I have to say that the Tom Yum ramen topped the list, although the spring rolls will definitely taunt me in my dreams. The chicken lunch set was also 9 out of 10 enjoyable for it’s tenderness and perfectly firm basmati rice. (this is what the chicken lunch set kinda looked like – without the egg).

What’s more, is being able to order a cassis oolong (cassis fruit, tea and shochu – it’s an alcoholic drink) amongst an impressive list of drinks. By the end of the meal, there was a Phuket beer bottle (empty), a glass of cold ice tea (that came with the lunch set), a cassis oolong and a mojito (er… empty and empty…).

I have never had such an eclectic array of chilled noodles since living in Tokyo. What was so exceptional about this ramen, was it’s subtle but not wishy-washy taste. Spice and sour in perfect harmony. The ramen noodles, were also cooked to perfection – very thin yet firm.

After this meal, thinking about dinner was put at bay…

When 8pm arrived, we were due to meet up with three other friends for dinner at Hatagaya station (near Shinjuku). It was decided to hit up a Chinese restaurant that we had been to before where they serve you grub until you holler stop! They bring you whatever the chef is cooking for the night, so everything is in season. Chinese food in Japan, is, I’d like to believe closer to the Chinese eat than Chinese food in the U.S. (although, I must say, there’s-nothing-wrong-with, and, I- have-a-thing-for orange chicken…).

I actually ended up not being able to participate in grubbing on two dishes (with full enthusiasm) – sea cucumber and suppon (turtle). Sea cucumber I just can’t get over, due to my snail/slug phobia – and did not touch. And suppon – well, I tried it, but it was just not very enjoyable… It was kind of chicken-like at parts and pork-knuckly in other parts.

But, what’s great about this place is it’s un-greasiness. Dishes with just greens are presented at perfect intervals – cleansing the palate for more curious eats.

When you do say stop, it is CRUCIAL to understand that the meal reaches its final conclusion with a carbohydrate dish – either fried rice or noodles (the only thing you can choose through out the whole meal).

Round two of cold noodles for the day. I had realized that I should’ve been taking photos all day with my cell phone. That is where I got this last shot. Green noodles from the gods with little bits of salty yummy pork… mmmm…..

(just a note, the only picture I took was the last one of the noodles)

Peking Duck!

July 9, 2007

Yamahomo finally writes. I have been cooking various things that usual people don’t even bother to make at home. The longer it takes, the more fun I get out of the process of cooking. Yeah, cooking is more than my hobby and sometimes I make crazy things, like Peking Duck. My boyfriend lives in a gorgeous apartment (Scarlett Johansson was checking out one of the units), and of course these days, high end apartment needs to have European made kitchen appliances that you cannot even pronounce nor can figure out how to use the damn thing. He has Gagganeau (article about this amazing oven will come soon) oven, which comes with a rotisserie rod, and it rotates in the oven. Seriously, the thing is so amazing.

You think Peking duck is super hard to make? I think any of the dishes that seems so difficult to make are not hard at all. It just takes forever. If you don’t have patience, don’t bother, just go to Chinese restaurants and have them make it for you, but it is a fun activity to make Peking duck at home. People think I am crazy, but I like it.

Anyhow, as I said, it takes forever. First of all, although I cook a lot, ducks with their necks attached are a bit too gross for me, so instead of $10 one in Chinatown, I ordered some Long Island duck from FreshDirect. Frozen ones will totally do perfectly. You dip the bird into a thickened liquid with ginger, honey, sake, etc., all the good stuff. Then you hang them and blow air at it for 6 hours. Since I don’t have any of these fancy hanging devices you see at Chinese restaurants, I cut a hanger from the dry cleaner, stuck it into the bird and hung it from the cabinet knob, and fanned it for 6 hours.

The duck before the air is blown. Looks like a regular duck.


Air being blown. Don’t you love my improvised hanging device?


After 6 hours of air blowing, it should sort of look like dried up, yet plump Angelina Jolie’s lips… This makes the skin very crisp after roasting.


Time to roast. It took about 2 hours and check out the the golden brown!!!! I have a video of roasting, which will be posted soon.

By the way, instead of old school kitchen ties, silicon rubber bands are a lot easier to hold them tight. Look how great this looks!!


Then I made Chinese pancakes (made of flour and hot water, that’s it) and wrap the meat with scallion and kicked up hoison sauce. By attaching two cakes with sesame oil, and flatten them, you get really nice sesame flavored pancakes. I am sure this can be used to wrap many other yummy stuff.


People say you only eat the skin, but I didn’t pay for $20 for a bird not to eat the whole thing, so I included the breast meat as well. Man it was the most amazing appetizer EVER!

Little Pepper

June 8, 2007

Back to Shea Stadium for some Mets action last night, so you know what that means…back to the last stop on the 7 train for some szechuan. This time my friend Bill and I tried Little Pepper, a place we hear gives Spicy and Tasty a run for its money.

For starters, we had pork dumplings with spicy sauce. Definitely not the kind you get at the Gourmet Wok take-out place in the city where it’s all dough, no filling. These were very thin layered dumplings with an oh-so pungent kick of chili. (almost forgot to snap a photo before we starting digging in!)


Then it was the Dan Dan Noodles — I must say, these beat out Spicy and Tasty’s, in my humble opinion. A generous portion of warm noodles with amazing flavors.


For the main course we had the lamb with spices and enhanced pork. To our surprise, the lamb was very middle-easternesque because of the spices – especially cumin. It was delicious, but if you were blind-folded, you wouldn’t think you were eating this in a Chinese restaurant.


When I first heard the words “enhanced pork” it either made me giggle or gag. What in the world? I just googled and found:

“Enhanced meat can be defined as fresh, whole muscle meat that has been injected with a solution of water and other ingredients that may include salt, phosphates, antioxidants, and flavorings. There’s really nothing sinister about enhanced meat. The self-basted Butterball turkey that you cook at Thanksgiving is an enhanced meat. When you brine chicken overnight in your refrigerator, you’re making a form of enhanced meat.”

Okay, that makes me feel better. It actually tasted very similar to twice cook pork to me – not so much spicy as it was salty. I still can’t put a finger on it, but something was so spicy (in a good way) that I came this close to shedding a tear!!


If I had a gun to my head (by who? the szechuan hostages?!), I think I’d have to pick Spicy and Tasty (you just can’t beat the sauteed pork), but if I were forced to go back to Little Pepper, it’s not like i would be kicking and screaming all the way there…probably skipping and smiling.

Little Pepper
133-43 Roosevelt Avenue
(it’s on the lower level of the bldg)

718-939-7788
7 Train to Main Street (end of line)

Umamiventure: Ocean Jewel Restaurant

June 8, 2007

A few weeks ago, we ventured on our first official Umami Mart field trip, which I hope we can organize once a month. The idea is to get people in the area, UM contributors and local eaters, to travel far and wide (an outer borough, OH MY!) for infamous eats.

In the five years I have lived in NY, I had never gone to Chinatown in Flushing, Queens, so a dim sum adventure seemed like the perfect choice. After some hard-core research, I finally decided on Ocean Jewel Restaurant, a place highly recommended to me by my co-worker Wayne, who grew up on the streets of Flushing. Nothing more real than word of mouth, wouldn’t you say?

With my fellow UMers, Troy Division and Tmonkey in tow (Hamamama, my Queensgirl, couldn’t make it), we set out for what was to be an awesome experience, from start to finish. Take my word for it when I say that the Flushing Chinatown is FAR superior to its Manhattan cousin: it is more spacious; less inundated with people, hence it is actually bearable; and the dim sum was the best I have had in all of NYC (In Manhattan, I generally go to Sweet ‘n Tart and Ping’s on Mott and Golden Bridge on the Bowery).

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves– let the droolfest begin!

About every 15 minutes, several little vans like this leave from Confucius Plaza in Manhattan Chinatown, whizzes you over the Williamsburg Bridge, speeds its way down the BQE and drops you off in Flushing in about a half hour. The best part? It’s only $2.50!!! There is no excuse NOT to go to Flushing!

Ocean Jewel is located in the heart of “downtown” Flushing. Right around the corner from the 7 train, and the little shuttle stop.

The restaurant is in a typical banquet hall style so it’s pretty huge. But despite it’s size, it was not so rowdy, well lit, the servers were all very friendly, we got our own table (I was fully expecting to share with strangers since there were only 3 of us, but they gave us our own!), and all very clean (I’m not such a stickler about “dirty”, but the cleanliness was a noticeable trait).

Such cute little critters. Now GET IN MY BELLY!

Allow me to start with my MUST HAVE dim sum item of all time, the siu mai. Steamed pork dumplings (sometimes they have shrimp in them or a scallop, but these didn’t) topped with roe. For me, these are the deciding factor of how good a dim sum place is, and on a scale of 1-5 (5 being the best), I give these a 5! Seriously, they were perfectly salted, perfectly steamed, simple and not overloaded with other stuff. They were excellent.

Pan fried turnip cake- I love these. Packed with bits of carrots and chinese sausage, the turnip has a smooth potatoey texture, which mushes in your mouth wonderfully.

The three of us talked about how the best part of dim sum is getting to order random things on a whim- it’s always an adventure! Troy sporadically pointed to these steamed buns, with absolutely no idea of what was inside. We were delighted to find sweet egg custard inside. GENIUS! It was the perfect combination of creamy and fluffy. From now on, I will be ordering them every time. Good call Troy!
I always order shrimp or beef filled rice rolls (you know the one drizzled with special soy sauce that comes on a plate?), but when I cut into these, they were filled with all kinds of other goodness. Bamboo shoots, ground beef, carrots, oozing in some special sauce (I think I remember some vinegar bite). I had never had anything like it, it was truly yummy.
You can always tell how good a dim sum place is by their hot chili sauce (much like how I rate other restaurants by their butter). This stuff was spicy, but the sesame oil undercut the heat, so it wasn’t crazy or anything. EXCELLENT!
Ah, the beloved char siu bao– tangy, sweet bbq pork nestled inside fluffy white doughy goodness. Tmonkey flipped out upon his first bite- he thought it was the best thing ever. Like the siu mai, these are pretty standard, but when it’s special, you feel like you’ve hit the jackpot.
Another Troy selection- and it was another good one (he has just the right dim sum instinct- you just have to aimlessly point and go with it). These were fried shrimp cakes– really satisfied that craving for something deep fried. I get those cravings pretty often.

This is something I’ve only started getting recently, warm tofu seeped in sugar water. Really comforting and simple, a good palette cleanser and dessert (along with the egg tarts, of course!).

Some of my favorites– shrimp and chinese chive filled dumplings in a transparent see-through skin. They usually come as round balls, but these were gyoza style. Mmmm…
Shrimp cake filled eggplant, in black bean sauce. I LOVE eggplant- pair it with shrimp, and you can’t go wrong.
Another dish I had never had before- these were basically the siu mai without the skin. They never did come around with my other favorite, steamed pork ribs, so these satisfied that void. Fantastic creation!

Har gow are little shrimp filled jewel pieces. Ain’t she a beaut? And these had something magical inside along with the shrimp (they are usually just shrimp)– celery! GENIUS! Now, I really am not a fan of celery (it’s one of two things that I never eat voluntarily), but they added just the perfect crunch with the shrimp. Oh so delightful.

So there it is, our meal in pictures– Ocean Jewel was fantastic, Wayne was spot on. Dim sum is perfect for big groups (you would have a tough time getting the bill to go over $15 per person), and for when you have a hangover. I’m serious, there is nothing like a Tsing Tao and a char siu bao to make the night before go away. The next time you NYers are planning on dim sum, I HIGHLY recommend skipping out on Manhattan, and taking the 7 or the convenient shuttle to Flushing. It’s so easy and a great excuse to explore!

Side note: My parents and I went to this great place for dim sum in Cupertino, CA, last weekend (I was hungover! I could eat dim sum every weekend, no joke), called Dynasty. Inside Vallco Fashion Mall! The only reason I went there is because my absolute favorite dim sum joint in the area, Canton Delights, has closed for good!!! I was horribly upset. RIP, Canton Delights. Anyway, I recommend Dynasty to all you Bay Area folks.

*k*

Ocean Jewel Seafood Restaurant
13330 39th Ave
Flushing, NY 11354
(718) 359-8600

7 train to Main Street (end of the line)

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If you would like to join us on future Umamiventures, please contact us! umamimart@gmail.com

Oh so Spicy, Oh so Tasty

June 1, 2007

I was introduced to this unbelievable szechuan restaurant called Spicy and Tasty in Queens by my friend Bill. We are avid Mets fans, so we try to get there as often as we can when we’re headed to a ballgame.

I took my friends Kevin & Bea there last night before we went to see watch some baseball. I am proud to say I think they are hooked as well! I was very lucky to dine with them last night as they are total foodies like me – and Bea speaks chinese, so she served as a valuable interpreter for us! Unfortunately I just look the part.

The only thing I requested (okay, demanded!) was that we order the shredded pork in fresh hot pepper. TO DIE FOR! The word succulent comes first to mind. Trust me, you have this dish once, and you will be craving it again for days (and no NYC restaurant has anything like it – trust me, I’ve been searching).


For an appetizer, Bea ordered us the shredded dry bean curd with celery. Very good – and a perfect summer dish as it had a refreshing taste to it (and the only non-spicy thing on our table)! If she wasn’t with me, I would’ve never have thought to have ordered this dish. Lucky for you guys, I remembered to snap a photo with only about three bites left! Phew!


In addition to the pork, we had two other main dishes – the bean curd with minced pork (silky!) and the noodles with minced meat (delectable!). Both were just as pleasing to the tastebuds.


I highly recommend this place to meat eaters and those who definitely LOVE things with a KICK. Bland eating vegetarians need not apply. Don’t be embarrassed if you get a runny nose or break out into a sweat. It’s called Spicy and Tasty for a reason!

The “S&T” is located at 39-07 Prince Street at 39th Street… so easy to get to on the 7 Train. Enjoy!!

2 Ways to Cook a Dumpling

April 26, 2007

In my book, the world’s most perfect food is the dumpling. I love dinner items that are an all-in-one meal. Like dumplings… vegetables, carbs, all of it in one perfect, neat little package. What more could you ask for? My dad makes these delicious fresh-from-scratch dumplings filled with shrimp, white fish, scallion and ginger. He wraps them with store bought wrappers and gets the thick skin that give the dumplings a little more texture. He knows I love them so when I come home to Cupertino, he packs me two huge Marina Food grocery bags of 100 beautiful little frozen dumplings and sends me on my way. But, what to do with all of these dumplings?

When my dad sends me home with dumplings, it is pretty much all I eat, every night until I run out. Thus explains the title, “2 ways to cook a dumpling.”

Tonight I cooked the dumplings two different ways for me and my lovely bf. It only takes 10 minutes if you already have the frozen dumplings, which if you don’t have a homemade cook to make them for you, you can get some from any asian grocery store, chinatown, japantown, or my favorite, Trader Ming’s (Trader Joe’s, very cleverly titled, asian food line).

7 Easy Steps to Dumpling Soup

Dumpling soup with egg, seaweed, baby bok choy and green onion:

  1. Boil a medium pot of water and carefully drop the frozen dumplings in.
  2. Meanwhile, cut up some baby bok choy (also called shanghai bok choy) and split each heart into quarters. Include the bok choy into the dumpling water and cook for 3-5 mins. Don’t overcook, otherwise it will be rubbery and tough to chew! Take out of the boiling water and set aside.
  3. In your serving bowl, add a few pinches of japanese fish seasoning, I forgot what it is called but I’m sure Kayoko knows. It is made out of fish and is delicious in seasoning. Also add a few tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon or so of sugar and spoon some of the hot boiling water that is cooking the dumplings. The hot water will help disolve the japanese fish pellet seasoning and the sugar. Optional step: Add very finely minced raw garlic to the bottom of the bowl. Again, the hot water will cook partially cook the garlic.
  4. In a separate pan, beat an egg and fry it up with a little bit of oil. Make sure it is a flat sheet and cut it up in the pan with the spatula. Set aside.
  5. After the dumplings are done, spoon the dumpligs and pasta water into the bowl to the top.
  6. Add the baby bok choy, the chopped up egg, and if desired, tear up some seasoned sushi nori and green onions and add to the top.
  7. Finish the soup off with a tiny drop of sesame oil. A little goes a long way, if you add too much it will overpower the soup.
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5 Easy Steps to Pot Sticker Dumplings

  1. Heat some oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, add the frozen pot stickers and let the bottoms brown for 5 minutes.
  2. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water mixed with a generous pinch of flour. This will help to create the “crust” on the bottom of the pan. Throw the water into the pan and put a lid on. You will hear it sizzle.
  3. Wait for 5-8 minutes. Don’t check on it too early!
  4. Prepare the dipping sauce. Soy sauce, sugar, vinegar (I like rice wine vinegar), sesame oil, green onions.
  5. Take the pot stickers out and plate.

I heart dumplings and I hope you will too!