Category Archives: Dinner

Homemade Dumplings

“Happiness is homemade”

– Unknown

It’s pretty exciting to make your own dumplings from scratch at home. You can be very creative with the dumpling fillings, from traditional pork, chicken, shrimp, cabbage, bok choy to things like kimchi, bamboo shoots, tomatoes, corns, eggs and diced fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms…

Since its Sunday and need to go back to work tomorrow, I am just gonna go with my personal favorite -easy breezy version: Pork mince and cabbage filling with ginger, garlic and diced shiitake mushrooms.

It takes time to make dumplings from scratch, from dumpling wrappers to putting dumpling fillings then to making intricate pleats into your dumplings, so that they look awesome and also keep them from falling apart during cooking.

Homemade dumplings

prep time: 2-3 hrs| cook time: 15-20 mins | makes approx 60

I followed Maangchi’s recipe to make the dumpling wrappers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound finely chopped cabbage
  • 1 pound ground pork shoulder, finely chopped into mince (tastes better to chop into mince, however you can also use minced pork)
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • Salt and white pepper, season to taste

Let’s begin:

  1. Combine cabbage and 2 teaspoons salt in a large bowl and toss to combine, then set aside for 10-15 minutes.  Transfer them to a fine mesh strainer and set it over the bowl.
  2. Best to take handfuls and wring out as much excess moisture as possible before mixing with rest of the ingredients. Discard the liquid.
  3. Combine pork, drained cabbage,  salt, white pepper, garlic, ginger, scallions,  sesame oil, soy sauce, egg and sugar in a large bowl and knead and turn with a big spoon or clean hands until the mixture starting to feel sticky.
  4. Set yourself up in a spacious work area with the dumpling wrappers, a little bowl of water. Grab a few happy helpers to do the dumpling folding (I grabbed my mum and my younger sister, better to put on some pleasant & relaxing music, as this going to take a while).
  5. Place about 1 tablespoon filling in the center of each wrapper. Dip your fingertip in the water and trace the outside edge of the wrapper with water. Working from one side, carefully seal the filling inside the wrapper by folding it into a crescent shape, pleating in edge as it meets the other.
  6. Transfer finished dumplings to the parchment lined baking sheet or clean plate with dusted flour so that they don’t stick together. Freeze dumplings for at least 30 minutes then transfer to a zipper-lock freezer bag for long-term storage.
  7. To cook: you can either boil, steam, pan-fried or steam fried them and be creative with your dipping sauce (I normally just combine vinegar, soy sauce, and chili oil).

Kimchi Fried Rice + Yogurt Soju

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“I followed my heart and it led me into the fridge” 

– unknown 

Oh the joy of long weekend. It feels so good to take a quick afternoon nap and prepare simple dinner in pajamas. Simple ingredients, 15 minutes job, healthy-ish, delicious and sinfully addictive.
Kimchi Fried Rice

Yogurt Soju – prep time: 1m| cook time: n/a | makes 2

Ingredients:

  • Korean Soju
  • Asian Yogurt drink
  • Sprite

* Use 200ml Korean soju, 200ml asian yogurt drink, 200ml Sprite, pour all ingredients into shaker with ice, to chill.

Kimchi Fried Rice – prep time: 5m| cook time: 15m | makes 2

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cups kimchi, chopped
  • 1/3 kimchi sauce
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin or bacon, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper paste (gochujang)
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 2 cups cool cooked white rice, preferably a day old
  • black pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs, sunnyside up
  • Sesame seasoned seaweed, for garnish

Let’s begin:

  1. Heat sesame oil in a wok or a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, a pinch of salt, then pork tenderloin and cook (or just garlic and bacon) , stirring occasionally, until cooked through.
  2. Remove meat from pan, turn the heat to high and add the kimchi and cook for 2 or 3 minutes until it begins to crisp on the edges.
  3. Add the red pepper paste and rice and stir thoroughly to combine. Cook until the rice is warmed through and evenly mixed in with the kimchi. Then add the scallions and meats to rice and cook just until fragrant, about 30 – 40 seconds. Remove from heat, then divide mixture into 2 plates.
  4. In a small pan, fry both eggs and cook until the whites have set. When each egg is done, use a spatula to set each serving with a sunnyside up egg. Garnish with sesame seasoned seaweed and pepper, serve immediately.

Rosemary Lamb Shanks Braised in Red Wine

“A pinch of patience,  a dash of kindness, a spoon full of laughter and heaps of love”

One of the things I love about cooking is that it’s creative – every meal filled with excitement, it’s like looking at a blank canvas…then start mixing flavours, colours and trying out different combination that might go well on the plate. When it works, life is just wonderful and almost magical.

Lamb shank is one of favourite meats, but I don’t cook it very often because it holds a special place in my heart. As the very first time I made this dish was approximately 3 years ago on my hubby’s birthday. I remembered it was when I finished my graphic design degree and after spending a few good months on job hunting. Life hasn’t been easy after quitting a full-time job to pursue my passion, but he has been so supportive… and I still remember how happy he was for me when I told him I finally got 3 job offers. That’s when I realised I have become so obsessed and driven in my projects for so long that I haven’t taken a good look at him for a while; I failed to notice a few grey hair has creeped up on his head; and even forgot to prepare a decent birthday gift a day before his birthday.

So I txt him at work saying “Remember to finish work on time tonight, I have made booking to go to LoneStar tonight for your favourite dish on your special day”, then I started google different lamb shanks recipes, and then took a walk to Countdown with the hope of beginner’s luck that I could pull this dish off and sweep him off his feet. Well…long story short, the smile on his face was priceless and I fell in love with cooking ever since.

Dinner

prep time: 20 mins | cook time: 3 hrs | makes 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 quality lamb shanks
  • 1/4 cup standard white flour
  • 1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 stalk of celery, trimmed, sliced thickly
  • 1 leek, washed, halved and finely sliced
  • 1.5 tablespoons tomato paste (my favorite: extra garlic flavor)
  • 1.5 cups of red wine (preferably Merlot)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary or 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 3 cups of chicken/beef stock (preferably beef stock but chicken stock works well too)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Let’s begin:

  1. Season the lamb shanks with sea salt and pepper, then lightly coated with some white flour.
  2. In a large frying pan brown the lamb shanks on all sides in the olive oil, then remove from pan.
  3. In the same frying pan, put in garlic, carrots, onions, celery, leeks and cook slowly until nicely colored; then add tomato paste, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary.
  4. Pour in the red wine, then chicken/beef stock, sea salt and pepper to taste and stir gently bringing it to a low boil.
  5. Put lamb shanks into the wine mixture, cover and cook with low heat for 2.5-3 hrs until the lamb shanks are very tender. Alternatively, cover; put in oven and cook for 2.5-3hrs (Oven needs to be preheated to 325F/180C degrees).
  6. Remove the lamb shanks and keep warm; skim the fat off the top of the red wine sauce.
  7. Mix together the flour with just a bit of cold water and whisk the flour mixture into the red wine sauce until desired consistency.
  8. Serve up on individual plates with mashed potatoes, round beans and enjoy.