how to fold dumplings

Chinese Dumplings – Jiaoxi

This is definitely one of the family’s favourites – dumplings. It’s satisfying. It’s easy. It’s deeelicious. It’s fast. We learnt this dish from our neighbour back 8 years ago when we migrated to Australia. She had learnt this from her Japanese friend who then passed on this recipe to her and now, us to you. As usual, we tweaked the recipe to make it more “us”. What a surprise…

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We often have dumplings on weekdays when we are all super busy and want something tasty but fast for dinner. We all have our assigned positions when it comes to cooking dumplings. My mum would make the mixture, my sister, Chloe and I would fold the dumplings together. One of us will cook the dumplings and one of us will set the table up for dinner. Great team work 😉 We would make the dumpling mixture the night before for two reasons – (1) It saves us 20 minutes making the dumpling mixture and (2) it gives the meat and vegetables time to marinate in the asian sauces, but this is optional.

I’m currently on exchange in the US at The University of Southern California (USC) and I made these dumplings for my friends here the other time. I made these dumplings with one of my Austrian friends, David who wanted to asian food. After weighing up all the pros and cons of the different asian dishes I could cook, I decided dumplings were the best choice. It’s not only fun to make, it’s authentic and Chinese. Overall, it is always a winner!

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After draining the excess water from the pan, I simply slid the dumplings off the pan onto the plate. Prevents the dumplings from breaking and saves time! In the background is the soy sauce ginger mixture I made. Traditionally, it is served with a ginger black vinegar sauce but we didn’t have vinegar. Still tasted great though.

Review from my European friends: They loved it! They had a lot of fun learning how to fold dumplings and of course, eating them. They were surprised how labour intensive making dumplings were but really appreciated the intensity and authenticity of the flavours. Yay!!

Makes 40 dumplings

Ingredients

  • 500g pork mince
  • 1 cabbage, chopped into small cubes
  • 1 large carrot, chopped finely
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 cups of chives
  • 1 thumb of ginger, chopped very finely
  • Sesame oil
  • Shao xing wine (Chinese rice wine) – optional, but recommended
  • Oyster sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Gyoza or wonton skin
  • Water
  • Black vinegar

Method

  1. Mix all the pork mince, chopped vegetables and ginger into a bowl.
  2. Season with oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and shao xing wine.
  3. Place a tablespoon of the filling onto a sheet of gyoza or wonton skin.
  4. Wet the edges of the gyoza or wonton skin with abit of water to allow the sides to stick together. Fold the skin into half to form a semi circle, with the filling in the middle.
  5. Pressing in the middle of the edges of the dumpling, fold the skin in towards the middle of the dumpling. Make about 4 folds, 2 on each side. Make sure that there are no open holes as the filling could come out of the dumplings. Repeat step 5 for the rest of the dumpling mixture.
  6. Pour 2 tbsp of oil onto the pan. Arrange the dumplings onto the pan.
  7. Pan fry the dumplings on a medium heat until golden brown (only colour the base of the dumplings).
  8. Add water to the pan, until it covers the dumplings. Cover the pan and allow the dumplings to cook. Cook on low heat. Continuously check on the dumplings incase the water runs dry. The dumplings will look like it has expanded but it will shrink later.
  9. Gently drain the excess water.
  10. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Tip 1: Serve with Sriracha chilli sauce or ginger soy sauce or ginger black vinegar sauce (this is very typical for dumplings). Even my European friends enjoyed the extra ginger on the side! It really does enhance the flavour of the dish.

Tip 2: Pan fry and cook one of the dumplings to taste for the level of seasoning. This is a good test before you cook the entire batch and then later realise it’s not salty enough. You could always taste the raw meat on its own before cooking. That’s definitely what my grandma would have done but… I would rather test it the long way! haha

Xx

Generation Kitchen

 

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coconut flour banana muffins healthy recipe

Banana coconut chocolate muffins

This is such an easy, delicious and healthy treat. Really, it requires so little time, experience in baking and you won’t even need a hand mixer at all. It is literally mix everything into a bowl, pour into the muffin tray and bake. It’s so delicious I would recommend to double the recipe and freeze half of it for future snacks to curb sweet cravings! It’s a light and fluffy muffin – perfect arvo pick me up? 😀

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Makes 10-12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsps pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate, finely chopped (85% cacao and higher) – also optional

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350F or 176C and line the muffin tray with paper liners or 1 tsp of oil.
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. I like to keep some of the bananas in small chunks too.
  3. Add dark chocolate and mix with a spoon.
  4. Pour the batter into the muffin tray evenly.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until tops are golden. Insert a toothpick through the muffin and if it comes out clean, it is ready.
  6. Allow muffins to cool on a wire rack.
  7. Store muffins in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
  8. Enjoy!

Tip: Sprinkle the top of the muffin with unsweetened desiccated coconut, chopped walnuts and flax seed meal to make it healthier – more healthy fats and fibre!

Tip: Too lazy to mash those bananas… or bananas not sweet and ripe enough?? 😉 Bake your bananas at 180C (yes, the whole thing) until it turns black on the outside. Then, scoop out the soft, caramelised banana and into the batter it goes!

Xx

Generation Kitchen

freshly baked bread recipe

I think I just baked ciabatta bread!

I’ve always been meaning to bake bread from scratch, especially sourdough bread but I never got down to doing it. Firstly, I’m always busy and never have enough hours in a row for the bread to proof and secondly, I was afraid it wouldn’t turn out right and it will be a waste of my ingredients.

Tip: Do not rush through this bread making process – it’s therapeutic! Enjoy it. Plus, if you can multitask efficiently, you can use the proofing time to clean the kitchen or do other work or cook other foods in the mean time. The first time I baked the bread, I cooked soup during the proofing time. The second time, I baked banana muffins. Killed 2 birds with 1 stone! 😀 Yippiieeee..

But, it was one of my Austrian friend, Michael’s birthday last week and all he wanted was hard, crusty European bread. Strange request!! haha Bread is such a big part of their diet. Almost every meal there’s always fresh bread available – it’s pretty understandable to miss high quality fresh bread. In Austria, they have many many types of bread available. And, highly accessible. This bread I made isn’t Austrian though. Their most typical one would be the black rye (I’ve never tried it but that’s what i’ve been told by my Austrian friends). You would be surprised how difficult it is to find artisan, fresh baked bread that doesn’t contain sugar and doesn’t look like plastic on the outside. I have absolutely no idea what they put on the bread but bread in LA (well, the area I live in) is not quite the most normal..

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Before proofing stage 1

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After proofing stage 2 – dough has been lightly oiled and dusted with flour for that rustic look 😉

Anyway, I figured this is probably the best time to get over my excuses of not baking bread and just give it my best shot. I googled around for many recipes to get the general idea of baking bread (I’ve absolutely no experience) and some recipes required high protein flour. I had to scrap those recipes off because there is just no way of getting high protein flour around where I live. I could get it online but it’s still not that easy. Anyway, the point is you can make bread simply using plain flour!! You can use high protein flour too if you have. It’s highly recommended by my dad – the chef! 🙂 I haven’t tried baking gluten free or sourdough or rye breads but I’ll get there eventually. This is just the beginning..

It turned out yummy! It was hard and crusty on the outside, soft and fluffy in the inside. The first time I baked it, my housemates demolished the entire loaf in a few minutes. I’m not even exaggerating. Bread fresh out of the oven, slathered with a generous amount of salted butter… Hmm.. it was heavenly!!

I got this bread recipe from My Humble Kitchen. Watch the video in her blog.

Makes 1 loaf of bread

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour (you’ll add more as you knead)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp active yeast
  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Mix the flour, salt, and yeast.
  2. Add the warm water and stir into a slightly wet dough and knead
  3. Add a tablespoon of flour at a time. Do not too much flour at a time because a dry dough will result in a dense, hard bread. Altogether, I added 2-3 tbsps of extra flour. Knead for 3-4 minutes. The dough should remain slightly sticky and malleable but not wet.
  4. Once the dough is holding together, add a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil to the dough and shape into a tight ball. (The extra virgin olive oil will give flavour and prevent the dough from sticking to your hands)
  5. Place the dough into an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, then a damp towel. Allow to rise in a warm environment for one hour.
  6. Once the dough has doubled, carefully remove the dough from the bowl onto a floured counter. Be extra gentle with the dough by picking it up slowly from the rims of the bowl. The purpose is to keep the gasses the yeast has created in the dough. This is makes the bread light and fluffy!
  7. With floured hands, sprinkle a bit of flour onto the dough and shape it into a tight ball.
  8. Place it on top of parchment or wax paper and score the top with a sharp knife. Brush the top with olive oil and sprinkle some flour to get that rustic look.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and a damp towel for an additional 20 minutes in a warm environment.
  10. While it’s resting, preheat your oven to 500F or 260C.
  11. Bake for 10 minutes at 500F or 260C. Keep an eye on the bread incase it gets too brown.
  12. Then, lower the oven temperature to 350F or 176C and bake for an additional 25 minutes.
  13. Remove the bread with the parchment paper to a cooling rack.
  14. Enjoy!
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You can see how light and fluffy the bread is. It is flatter than I’d like it to be but it’ll come with practice. Practice makes perfect right? 😉

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BIRTHDAY BREAD – the new thing!

Review from my European friends: Tastes great – tastes like real bread, finally! It’s more like Italian ciabatta bread but delicious.

Review from my American housemates: I mean they basically demolished my bread. It was gone within minutes but they also said “this was the kind of bread they’d get full on in restaurants before their main meal because it’s so good”. My roommate’s sister, Sade said she wishes it was her birthday too! Hahahaha..

Tip 1: I proof my bread by placing the bowl on the door of the low heat oven so that the dough will have a warm enough environment. You can leave it out too but my apartment just wasn’t warm enough and warmth for the yeast to proof is crucial. Just something I learnt a few years ago.

Tip 2: Make sure the yeast is fresh and not expired!! Expired yeast will result in hard, not nice bread. That’s happened to me – no fun.

The next time I bake this, I’m planning to add extra ingredients such as olives, semidried tomatoes, feta cheese, jalapenos, italian herbs, seeds etc into the bread to naturally flavour it. Anything that will complement the flavour of the bread!

Let me know how you go. This bread is easy and it is worth it – trust me on this one!!

Xx

Generation Kitchen