Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Kimchi Mandu (Dumplings)

Omg, I'm late for this month's challenge AGAIN. UGHHHH, why do i always think posting date is on the 17th??? Gahhh, ahh well, late is better than nothing. So this month's Daring Cooks' challenge is to make our own dumplings. And since I've already posted up a recipe for Chinese dumplings in the past, i decided to make Korean kimchi mandu. But due to the lack of resources in PL, I went through great lengths for these dumplings-- i had to make my own kimchi which took me 2 days to ferment. Sigh, 自作自受 am I, hohoho. It was well worth it though, I love ANYTHING with kimchi and making a tub of it meant that i wouldn't be fretting over what to make for dinner for at least a week :) Funny thing is, JLo complained that his pee came out orange last night... HAHAHA. I know beet roots and some other veggies can change urine color, but... red chili powder?? Let's hope it was something else he ate. So anyway, what makes these dumplings Korean isn't just the kimchi filling, but also it's unique shape! From what I've read online, round dumplings are used for soups in Korea, whereas the normal ones are more commonly used for pan-frying. So if you can't resist the cutesy-ness of these little dumpling parcels, try this wrapping method on your next batch!

Kimchi Mandu (Dumplings)
A Daring Cooks Challenge hosted by JenYu @ userealbutter.com
  • 500g ground pork
  • 180g firm tofu
  • 200g mung bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms (soaked overnight if using dried mushrooms).
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup of spring onions, chopped
  • 2 cups kimchi, minced and strained
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup warm water [mine was a bit dry so I added 3/4 cups total]
    [ I also added 1/2 teaspoon salt for a little more flavor]

Kimchi Filling:
  1. Wash and finely chop the tofu (i used my food processor) [picture 1].
  2. Boil the mung bean sprouts. Strain, squeeze dry, and chop them up [picture 2, 3].
  3. Finely mince the shiitake mushrooms (i used my food processor) [picture 6].
  4. In a big bowl, mix all filling ingredients together and refrigerate for 30 minutes [picture 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].
Dumpling wrappers:
  1. In a large bowl mix flour and salt with 1/4 cup of water and stir until water is absorbed.
  2. Continue adding water one teaspoon at a time and mixing thoroughly until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. We want a firm dough that is barely sticky to the touch.
  3. Knead the dough about twenty strokes then cover with a damp towel for 15 minutes.
  4. Take the dough and form a flattened dome. Cut into strips about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Shape the strips into rounded long cylinders.
  5. On a floured surface, cut the strips into 3/4 inch pieces.
  6. Press palm down on each piece to form a flat circle (you can shape the corners in with your fingers).
  7. With a rolling pin, roll out a circular wrapper from each flat disc.
  8. Take care not to roll out too thin or the dumplings will break during cooking - about 1/16th inch.
  9. Leave the centers slightly thicker than the edges.
  10. Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper and fold the dough in half. [picture 8].
  11. Wet the ends with water, and pull both ends to meet together. Pinch them to make them stick together [picture 9].
  • To boil: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add dumplings to pot. Boil the dumplings until they float.

  • To steam: Place dumplings on a single layer of napa cabbage leaves or on a well-greased surface in a steamer basket with lid. Steam covered for about 6 minutes.

  • To pan fry (potstickers): Place dumplings in a frying pan with 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil. Heat on high and fry for a few minutes until bottoms are golden. Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Cook until the water has boiled away and then uncover and reduce heat to medium or medium low. Let the dumplings cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat and serve.
  • To freeze: Assemble dumplings on a baking sheet so they are not touching. It helps to rub the base of the dumpling in a little flour before setting on the baking sheet for ease of release. Freeze for 20-30 minutes until dumplings are no longer soft. Place in ziploc bag and freeze for up to a couple of months. Prepare per the above instructions, but allow extra time to ensure the filling is thoroughly cooked.

  • To serve: Serve dumplings or potstickers hot with your choice of dipping sauce combinations.

Kimchi Mandu

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Strawberry Daifuku

Okay, so i take back what i said in my last post... here's the second strawberry recipe of the season: Strawberry Daifuku! I was on youtube the other day and came across a video for this beautiful mochi dessert and i just couldn't resist. This recipe is pretty easy to make although i did have some problems with the mochi. I'm guessing my glutinous rice flour wasn't the same as the one used in the video because instead of getting a watery mixture, mine just clumped up into a ball of dough. Hmmm... i steamed it anyway and i guess the mochi turned out... alright. It wasn't as elastic as i hoped it would be... but ah well, nothing's perfect XD. The mochi was also pretty hard to handle; i had to dust 2 layers of potato starch on my hands for every daifuku i made, sheesh. So in summary, the red bean paste could've been a bit more moist and the mochi could've been a bit more chewy... but other than that, this is a great dessert that i highly recommend for my fellow bakers. Enjoy!

Strawberry Daifuku
from cookingwithdog and geekchef
  • 400g azuki beans, soaked overnight
  • 3/4 cups of sugar (or more, according to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or more, according to taste)
  • 1 pinch salt

  • 9 fresh strawberries (cut off the stems, wash, and pat dry)
  • azuki bean paste
  • 1 cup glutinous rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (or more, according to taste)
  • 1 cup water
  • Potato starch for dusting

  1. Wash and drain the azuki beans that were soaked overnight [picture 1].
  2. Place the beans into a pot and pour enough water to cover the beans. Steam the beans for an hour or more until soft [picture 2]. Most of the water should be absorbed by the time the beans are done (drain the beans if there's still a lot of water left).
  3. Add in sugar, honey, and salt [picture 3]. Mix well.
  4. Transfer the beans into a food processor[picture 4]. Blend to the consistency of your choice (chunky/mashed).
  5. Scoop out the mashed beans into a saucepan and set it over low heat. Stir frequently in order to evaporate the excess water [picture 5]. [This step may be excluded if your beans have already reached the right consistency].
  6. Once the azuki bean paste have cooled, take about 1 - 2 tablespoons of paste and shape them into balls. Flatten the paste with your palm, place the strawberry in the center, and push the paste up towards the top. Make sure to cover all sides of the strawberry [picture 6]. Repeat for all 9 strawberries. Cover with a plastic wrap to keep them moist.
  7. In a non-stick pot, mix together the sugar and glutinous rice flour [picture 7].
  8. Gradually add in the water and mix until there are no lumps [mine formed into a ball of dough] [picture 8].
  9. Place the non-stick pot into a steamer and steam for 15 minutes.
  10. Remove the pot from the steamer and with a spatula, stir the mochi until even [picture 9].
  11. Transfer the mochi onto a baking sheet that has been generously dusted with potato starch. Take some more potato starch and dust over the mochi. Break the mochi into 9 pieces.
  12. With your hands, shape the mochi into a flat circle. Place the azuki-coated strawberries in the center and spread the mochi up and wrap it [picture 10]. Remember to dust your hands with potato starch frequently since mochi is extremely sticky.
  13. You'll have to work quickly while the mochi is hot or else it will not stretch far enough to wrap the strawberries.

Strawberry Daifuku

Friday, June 12, 2009

Strawberry Jam

My 4th year of school is finally over! All my exams went smoothly and I'll be heading back to Taiwan in a few days :D Hopefully i won't abandon this blog for another 3 months like last summer, we'll see! So anyways, unlike the past few years where I update at least 3+ strawberry recipes per season, this year the only strawberry related update will be this strawberry jam. It's kind of lame, i know. There's nothing challenging about buying a pectin mixture and boiling it with strawberries... but hey, 3 months ago I would've never imagined myself making my own jam so here it is anyway. Making jam is so ridiculously easy... i wonder why there's still such a huge jam section at every supermarket. I made 3 medium jars of jam with just 9 zloty worth of ingredients! I also included some simple instructions on how to properly can your jam so that they could be stored unrefrigerated for a year. If you're interested, more detailed instructions can be found at homecanning.com. So think twice the next time you're about to buy another jar of jelly... all it takes is 30 minutes and you'll have a years' worth of fresh homemade jam in no time.

Strawberry Jam
  • 500g fresh strawberries
  • 500g Cukier żelujący 1:1 (gel sugar)
    [or Pectin + sugar, amount according to package directions]

  1. Wash the strawberries cut them into slices or quarters.
  2. Place the strawberries in a large bowl and crush them with a potato masher [picture 1].
  3. Add in 500g of the gel sugar mixture and stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved [picture 2].
  4. Increase heat to high, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil [picture 3]. Never stop stirring!
  5. When the mixture reaches a full rolling boil (it continues boiling even when you stir it), your jam is done [picture 4].
  6. Sterilize your jars and caps by boiling them in hot water for 5 minutes [picture 5].
  7. Carefully pour the boiling hot jam into the hot jars, leaving 1/2 an inch of space on the top. Wipe jar removing any stickiness and seal tightly with a cap.
  8. Now place the filled jars back into the water and let it boil for another 10 minutes so that the jar will seal properly [picture 6].
  9. Remove the jars from the boiling water and let it cool for 24 hours.
  10. You can check if the jars are properly sealed if the cap center is pulled down and does not move when you press on it.
  11. Properly canned jam can be stored unrefrigerated for 1 year. But once opened, remember to keep it in the fridge!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Strawberry Jam