Category Archives: Healthy Eating

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).

Eggplant Salad with Field Mushrooms

“Life is a kitchen, put on your prettiest apron & whip up something incredible” 

-anonymous

My lunch break is at awkward time slot, on top of that, I’m still trying to settle in my new role and adjust to the 30 mins lunch break instead of an hour, but fortunately a bunch of lovely people also share the same lunch break as me, and they’ve been so generously and shared their lunches with me in the last couple weeks: 1) my lunch portion looks too small, they worried that I might not eat enough; 2) they are just so fabulous, sharing, caring and love feeding people.

I’ve decided to bring a plate to show my gratitude. The only thing is that I love meats and I love cooking proteins, and one of these lovely people is a vegetarian… no problem, there is a will there is a way!  Let’s do a test run 🙂

prep time: 10m| cook time: 20m | makes 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 1 inch thick slices
  • 350g baby potatoes, halved
  • 200g baby spinach
  • 1 red pepper, cut lengthwise into quarters
  • 4 portobello mushroom caps
  • 35g snowpeas
  • Fresh lemon, halved
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, season to taste
  • 1/2 pound feta cheese, cubed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 fresh green chili, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 pinch of white sesame (optional)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Japanese Wafu salad dressing (for convenience, I bought it from Japan-mart)

Let’s begin:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F/180C degrees, brush eggplants with olive oil and put in oven to grill until soft.
  2. In a large frying pan, put in garlic, green chilies, then add potatoes and red peppers, cook slowly until they are nice and soft (to shorten the cook time, could put potatoes into microwave for 1 or 2 mins, then cook with medium heat on frying pan to brown the potatoes). Remove potatoes from pan and put peppers into oven, mixed with eggplants.
  3. In the same frying pan, put in mushroom caps, add salt and pepper, cook until soft. Remove from pan.
  4. Put eggplants, red peppers into the frying pan with medium heat, season with salt and pepper, add baby spinach and white sesame. Remove from heat, as the heat from the eggplants and peppers will continue to cook the baby spinach.
  5. Plating: put potatoes on the bottom of the plate, put eggplants, spinach, red pepper and feta in the middle, then mushrooms caps top with some snowpeas.
  6. Squeeze lemon juice and add dressing to the salad mixtures, season with more salt and pepper if needed.