Sunday, December 19, 2010

Korean Lunch

Yumyumyumyum. I am still eating but I had to post this so you (Bunny, my only reader (gawd ok and kara!! geez)) can make this as soon as possible. It turns out bulgogi is pretty easy to make at home. I followed the recipe at use real butter (who in turn got the recipe from the Kitchen Wench); since I couldn't find any beef chuck roast, I ended up getting some new york strip roast (whatever that is) which was on sale from $25 to $9 (woot!!) and it worked beautifully. Actually it worked so well that I will be returning to safeway the second I can switch into my contacts to buy up all the roasts they have left while they are on sale.

2 lbs thinly sliced beef sirloin, sliced 2-3 mm thick
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and grated
1 Asian pear, peeled and grated (I used bartlette)
1 sweet apple, such as fuji, grated
2/3 cup soy sauce
2 tbs toasted sesame seed oil
2-4 tbs sugar (depends on sweetness of pear)
2 scallions, finely sliced
freshly ground black pepper to taste

You're supposed to squeeze the apple grating and only add the juice to the marinade but I accidently added the grated apple to everything and it seemed ok. Combine all ingredients, and massage the meat into the marinade. Let it sit in fridge overnight. Cook in nonstick pan (no oil required). In between batches, scrape off the burnt bits with wooden spatula.

To make thin meat slices, freeze the meat, let thaw in fridge halfway (see more precise instructions at use real butter) and slice with sharp knife.

Kimchi: storebought, but I want to try making my own sometime

Cucumber: cube english cucumber, toss with leftover scallion pancake sauce (1 tbs soy sauce, 1 tbs rice vinegar, grated ginger)
Tea: green tea
Rice: cook brown rice in rice cooker

Easy piece!
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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pork Dumplings

I've been longing for dumplings for a while now but since I've yet to discover a Chinese grocery store in Portland that wasn't 45 minutes away via bus, I've been thwarted. You say TJ has dumplings but I'm not partial to the thin wonton skin of the TJ dumpling. I want a thicker, chewier skin - a proper Chinese dumpling skin. So with that in mind, I decided to give making my own dumplings a try. But I wanted to do it completely from scratch, the way my big aunt used to do. A quick search on the internet came up with a few promising recipe; I mixed and matched until I found a combination that seemed reasonable. It really wasn't hard at all and I will definitely be doing this again, with adjustments (noted below).

I actually made the pork filling first, but since I can't be bothered to reorder the pictures now that they're in blogger I will discuss dough first. But it really is best to make filling first because I noticed the dough started drying out.

So for the dough, mix 2 cups of flour with 1 cup of hot water and mix to make a dough. Knead for about 5 minutes until smooth (I think I will use a bit more flour next time to hopefully achieve a chewier dough, I found an alternate recipe that calls for 2 cups of water for 1/2 cup of water). Divide the dough into two and roll each piece out into a cylinder 12 inches long. Cut 1/2 inch sections as shown:

For filling, combine the following:
1 pound ground pork
a bit more than 1/2 tbs freshly grated ginger (I would definitely use a lot more next time)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs minced scallions
2.25 tbs soy sauce
a bit less than 2 tbs sesame oil (I might add less next time actually, maybe just 1 tbs)
a bit more than half an egg
shy 3 cups of finely shredded napa cabbage
dash of ground white pepper
(next time add a couple of dashes of salt too)

You may wonder why these measurements are so peculiar, but I had to halve a recipe that would have generated 100 dumplings. Making 34 dumplings took about 1.5 hours and that was quite enough for me.

To make wrappers, roll out each little nubbin of dough to 3 inch circles. My attempts at circles were approximate at best, but it didn't really matter as long as you can stuff some meat in there and scrunch it up. The entire process would have been faster with a helper of course. But if you are a single girl (or boy), roll out 4-5 wrappers at a time and fill with meat. This prevents the wrappers from drying out. To make a dumpling, put in about a tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper (this will vary depending on the size of the wrapper you rolled out, used best judgement here), dip a finger into water and wet the edge (half the circle) - there is no need to go crazy here, the dough is pretty soft. Then pinch the edges together and done! Next!

I think it's pretty obvious which ones were my first attempts:

And a closeup of some of the better lookings ones:

For the sauce, I usually combine three items: rice vinegar, soy sauce and a generous dollop of chili garlic sauce. I can't can't can't live life without chili garlic sauce.

I tested out fried dumplings and boiled dumplings and naturally fried won hands down. Since these were pretty big, it was easy to fry on all sides. The rest of the dumplings I lined up on a sheet of wax paper (not touching) and froze. When they are frozen I will stuff them in a bag and enjoy them in the days to come. Happiness!

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