…of Doooooooooom!

I have come to enjoy these cooking parties more and more. This is the third one; you can see the recipes from previous endeavors here and here.  This one had the most attendees, to date:

Stan and Mary
Steph
Ann and Larry
Dave, Margie, Kay
Bruce
Bob, Charlotte, and Jordyn
Joe and Barbara
Lee, De, and Ray

Seventeen total.

I am not a big party-thrower. I am not a big decorator or a big organizer. I’m really not good at perfect (I try too hard to achieve it, miss the mark, and stress). But this is exactly my kind of thing, where we already know that things may or may not turn out well, and that’s part of the fun: there’s no perfect to be had, only wonderful.

I have a lot of good memories this morning. I found out that Bruce raises worms, which I can’t help but think makes him a vermicellist. The girls making a row of snowballs on top of the playhouse, just waiting for someone to come outside to get bombed. The subtlety of the strawberry tea. The look on Charlotte’s face as she was staring down into her first bubble tea, half disgusted and half delighted. Mary’s poison-pill engagement ring getting snagged on her clothing [insert chortling here]. The way the snow turned heavy and perfect, and I was afraid that everyone would have to go home, but nobody did (and it sounds like the out of towners made it back safe, except I haven’t heard from Bruce yet). Sitting and talking to Joe and Barbara after everyone else had gone, and talking Barbara into making me a hat for my birthday. Drinking Larry’s yogurt beer (he admitted it has lactobacteria in it, so it’s yogurt beer now), the perfect sourness of it. Passing around my awful cider – here’s to first tries, huzzah! – and having Stan say he was glad I was dumping it out, “Because otherwise someone might drink it.”

This morning, the cat, feeling somewhat guilty for not contributing last night, left a dead mouse near my computer. I praised him thoroughly and threw the mouse away. I think we were both relieved that neither one of us had to eat it.

On to the recipes!

Wheat Starch Dough

(from Dim Sum/Blonder)

A note here:  we couldn’t use any of these!  They came out fine when first made, but quickly turned fragile and broke.  We let them get too dry, I think – and left them too long before we tried to use them.  I might try these again with the same recipe to see whether the time-delay was the problem.

The dough for these is an absolute joy to play with, weird and uncanny.  Wheat starch is more like corn starch than it is like flour, texture-wise.

Makes 24 3 ¼-inch wrappers (translucent)

1 ¼ cups wheat starch plus ¼ c tapioca flour
½ t salt
1 c boiling water
1 t peanut or vegetable oil

In a medium bowl, combine the wheat starch, tapioca flour, and salt. Add boiling water and oil; stir with a wooden spoon. While dough is still very hot, turn onto a board dusted with 1 T wheat starch and knead until smooth, adding more wheat starch if necessary. The dough should be soft but not sticky.

Divide into thirds; use palms to roll into 8-inch cylinders. Cover with slightly damp paper towels.

Slice off chunks of dough and press flat with a cleaver or flat pan between 6-inch squares of baking parchment. The circles should be the size of a tuna can.

Pot Stickers

These were as tasty a bunch of potstickers as I’ve ever had.  The regular, cut-up eggroll wrappers that we used worked just fine in the pan – I had been afraid they’d tear up.

(Dim Sum/Blonder)

Makes 24 potstickers

8 oz napa cabbage, finely shredded
1 T salt
8 oz ground pork
2 T crushed or finely minced peeled fresh ginger
1 scallion, finely sliced
2 t soy sauce
2 t sweet rice wine (I have mirin to use, works just fine)
1 T toasted sesame oil

Dough for 24 wrappers
Potsticker sauce
2 T peanut or vegetable oil

In a large bowl, toss the napa cabbage with salt and let stand for 30 minutes, until wilted. Rinse cabbage, then squeeze out as much water as possible; you should have about 2c cabbage.

In a bowl, mix pork, ginger, scallions, soy sauce, sweet rice wine, and sesame oil, mixing it with your hands to blend well. Mix in the cabbage. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

On wrappers, make pleats around half of the wrapper, fill with 1 T filling, and press closed.

Heat skillet and add vegetable oil. When almost smoking, arrange enough potstickers to fill pan but not touch. Pan-fry for 2-3 minutes over medium-high, or until the bottoms of the potstickers are brown and crisp. Pour ½ c water into skillet. Cover and simmer for 5-6 minutes, or until the water has almost completely evaporated.  Remove from pan and nom.

Potsticker Sauces

(Dim Sum/Blonder)

¼ c soy sauce
2 T rice vinegar
2 T sugar
1 t scallion, sliced paper thin

(Lee)

¼ c balsamic vinegar (cheap kind perfect)
2 T soy sauce

(De)

¼ c soy sauce
¼ c rice vinegar
1 t sriracha
1 T mirin
1 T sesame oil

Char Siu Bao (Steamed)

(Dim Sum/Blonder)

(This is not the recipe we actually used; I’ll get updates from Margie and put them here.)

Makes 24 buns

Filling

(Overnight/3h marinade, 350F oven)

2 lbs boneless lean pork butt or loin
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/4-in slice of ginger, minced
2 t sugar
1 t salt
2 t sherry
2 T honey
1/2 t five spice powder
2 T catchup
3 T light soy sauce
2 T hoisin sauce
1/2 t red food coloring (optional)

Cut pork into 6-by-2-inch strips.  Combine the other ingredients; use to marinate meat for at least 3 hours or overnight. Arrange meat in a large roasting pan with a rack; if the rack sits lower than 1 inch over bottom of pan, elevate it with ramekins or other oven-safe small dishes. Pour 1/2 to 1 inch of boiling water into the pan roast for 60-75 minutes, basting frequently with marinade or pan juice. Turn the meat every 15-20 minutes.

Line a steamer basket with several layers of dampened cheesecloth. Cut 24 2-inch squares of baking parchment.

Divide the dough into 24 pieces; use your fingertips to flatten one piece lightly into a 3-inch circle. Place the circle flat in one palm. Spoon about 2 t of the filling into the middle, then gather the edges of the dough together and pinch closed. Place the bun pinched side up on a square of parchment. Space the buns 1 inch apart on the steamer tiers. Let the buns rise for 30 minutes. Steam a single tier at a time for 12 minutes.

Steamed Bao Dough

(Dim Sum/Blonder)

for 24 buns

Starter
2 T active dry yeast
1 c lukewarm water
½ c sugar
1 ½ c cake flour

Dough
½ t salt
1 T rice vinegar
2 C cake flour, plus additional for dusting
1 T baking powder
¼ t baking soda
1 T vegetable oil

Starter: In large bowl, mix yeast with water and sugar and let stand for 10 minutes.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients until well blended. Turn onto well-floured board and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth, adding more flour if necessary.  Grease a large bowl with shortening, place dough in bowl, and cover with damp cloth or plastic wrap until doubled. Rise for 1 hour. Lightly punch dough down; it’s ready for bao.

Char Siu

(mostly http://www.whats4eats.com/meats/char-siu-recipe)

2-3 pounds of boneless pork butt
¾ c hoisin sauce
½ c soy sauce
½ c rice wine
½ t five-spice powder
1/3 c honey
1 T sugar

Slice meat into strips 2 inches wide and 5 inches long. In a large bowl, mix hoisin, soy sauce, rice wine, honey, and sugar. Add pork and marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 425 F. Add a rack to a roasting pan; fill the pan with water to come just below the rack. Put the strips on the rack.

Roast for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 and roast for 30-40 minutes, turning and basting frequently with the remaining sauce.

Daifuku (Mochi)

(http://veganyumyum.com/2009/03/daifuku/)

(Ann and Margie, I think, made changes to the recipe; I’ll update when I get them.)

10-12 cakes

1 c mochiko (special type of rice flour)
¼ c sugar
2/3 c water
red or green food coloring, optional
cornstarch for dusting

Filling types:
Anko (azuki bean)
Strawberries
Raspberries
Ice creams

Add the mochiko, sugar, water, and food coloring (if using) to a bowl and stir well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl so the dough heats evenly.

Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 2 minutes. Stir well. Microwave for 1 minute; watch for the dough to inflate when heated/deflate when you open the door. If it does, it’s ready. If not, microwave for 1 minute each time until it does.

Scrape the dough onto a board dusted with corn starch. Flatten the dough a bit and cut into 10-12 pieces. Add 1 t filling to each and press the edges together to seal.

To store: Wrap individually in plastic and refridgerate.

Anko Filling

Makes enough for 3-4 batches of the recipe above.

1 14-oz can of adzuki beans
½ c water
1 c sugar
1 T veggie oil
pinch salt

Mix water and sugar and heat until sugar is dissolved, then turn off heat. Drain and rinse the beans, then mash them in a pan. Add 1/3 of the sugar syrup, salt, and oil. Mash together over medium heat; the beans will thicken and become slightly glossy.

Three-Mushroom Dumplings

Delicious.

Makes 24 dumplings

6 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 t peanut/veggie oil
6 oz fresh white or brown shrooms, finely chopped
5 oz fresh enoki or oyster mushrooms, finely chopped
2 scallions, finely sliced
2 T finely chopped cilantro
1 ½ t soy sauce
1 T oyster sauce or vegetarian stir-fry sauce
2 t rice wine or dry sherry
¼ t sugar
pinch white pepper
1 T cornstarch dissolved in 2 T water

Put the shiitakes in a small bowl and cover with hot water, let soak for 30-45 minutes. Discard hard stems, rinse, squeeze dry, chop finely.

Heat a wok or skillet and add oil; when almost smoking, add all shrooms, scallions, and cilantro; stir fry for 4 minutes or until most of liquid has evaporated. Reduce heat to low, stir in soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine, sugar, and pepper, then add cornstarch mix and cook for 1 minute longer or until thick. Let filling cool.

Make shallow pleats over ½ the wrapper, insert about 1 t filling, and fold closed. Steam for 7 minutes.

Stir-Fried Hokkien Noodles with Prawns

(Simple Chinese Cooking/Kwong)

Watching Stan disembowel the prawns was fun.  This needed a more intense sauce – I added dipping sauce, a couple of people added straight sriracha.  I don’t have malt vinegar (what?!?  there’s a type of vinegar that I don’t have?!?), and they used rice wine vinegar instead.

We used dried noodles (fresh weren’t available), and that may have caused the difference; there were so many more dried noodles than fresh.

Makes 6 side-dish servings

12 uncooked medium prawns
1/3 c veg oil
1 medium red onion, finely sliced
12 ginger slices
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 15 oz packet of fresh Hokkien noodles
2 T shao xing or dry sherry
2 T light soy sauce
1 T malt vinegar
1 t white sugar
½ t toasted sesame oil
1 c fresh bean sprouts
1 c julienned scallion
1 large red chili, finely sliced on the diagonal

Peel, de-vein, and butterfly prawns, leaving tails intact.

Heat half of oil until the surface seems to shimmer slightly. Add prawns and sear 30 sec/side or until lightly browned. Remove and set aside.

Add remaining oil to pan with onion, ginger, and garlic, stir fry 1 minute or until onion is lightly browned. Add noodles, prawns, wine, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add bean sprouts, half scallion and half onion and stir fry for 30 sec or until prawns are just cooked through and noodles are hot.

Arrange noodles in bowls, top with remaining scallion and chili, and serve immediately.

Egg Rolls/Spring Rolls

Bob made these ahead of time…they were the best rolls I’ve ever eaten.  I was, however, disappointed that he’d made them already, especially since they were so neat and even; I wish I’d been able to watch him put them together, to see what he does differently than I do.  Mine are so lumpy!

Steph brought a deep fryer, and it was sweeeet.  However, upon packing it up, she managed to tip the handy, post-filter oil container under the unit, and non-hot oil went everywhere.  I must remember to give her crap about for ever after…or not.

(Liu/Chinese Cooking the American Way)

2 packages or 2 lbs egg roll skins
12 oz ground pork
4 oz shrimp
2 c bean sprouts
3 c shredded cabbage (Napa)
1/2 c shredded carrots
1/2 c fresh mushrooms, chopped
1/2 c yellow onion, chopped
veggie oil

Meat seasoning:
1 egg
1/2 t ginger, chopped
2 T sherry
1 T soy sauce
1 t salt
1 t sugar
1 T sesame oil

Veggie seasoning:
2 t salt
1/2 t sugar
1 T soy sauce
2 T sesame oil

Shrimp seasoning:
1 T sherry
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 t cornstarch

Marinate meat with meat seasoning; marinate shrimp with shrimp seasoning. Refrigerate overnight.

Before frying, saute all veggies in 2 T oil over high heat in the following order: cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, yellow onion, bean sprouts. Add veggie seasoning. Remove from heat.

Stir-fry pork in 2 T oil over high heat for 2-3 minutes, then add shrimp. Toss quickly for another minute and remove from heat.

Mix meat and veggies. Place 2 T filling in the middle of a wrapper and fold it up like an open envelope with the filling inside. Dab the open part of the envelope with water, then roll into a tight cylinder. Deep fry in medium-hot oil, until the skins are crisp and brown.

Burmese Fish and Shrimp Rolls

These ended up strangely bland, but that might have been because I left out the coconut milk…anyway, I dunked it in dipping sauce and they were delicious again. Barbara really liked these…I am planning to take my leftovers and make a tomato-based sauce based on the Polish golupkis, with Asian flavors. Cabbage rolls need tomato-coconut milk-chaat masala sauce. I could not find the bamboo sauce mentioned. The original recipe specifies using large banana leaves and cutting them up, but I found precut circles. We tied them with regular string after having the banana-leaf ties break/slip off a few times.

(Karen Lin)

Steaming time: 20 minutes

12 banana circles, rinsed and drained

2 medium yellow onion, half sliced and half pureed in food processor
4 cloves garlic, pureed in food processor
1 T finely grated fresh ginger
1 t turmeric
1 t salt
1 t black pepper
1 t chili powder
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons rice flour
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

12 leaves of Napa cabbage, rinsed, the thickest base parts snapped off, if necessary
12 small, firm fish filets (bass, halibut, snapper, orange roughy) or larger filets cut into 12 parts
24 medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined

In a medium-sized bowl, blend pureed onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, salt, pepper, chili
powder, coconut milk, rice flour, and sesame oil. Set aside.

Pass each banana leaf over heat or pour boiling water over it to make it more pliable. Drain or dry with a
towel.

Put a leaf of Napa cabbage on a banana leaf section, grains of the leaves parallel (with the circles, this didn’t work – the string ripped through were the banana-leaf ties probably would not have). Then
on top of that add a piece of fish, two shrimp and 1/6 of the spice mixture, and some of the sliced
onion.

Roll the leaf up, making sure not to roll the banana leaf inside the cabbage, and secure each end (like a Tootsie-roll) with string. Repeat this procedure for each of the remaining leaves.

Steam the packages, seams facing up, over 2 inches of water for 20 minutes, checking
water level occasionally. Serve in their packets, with white rice and hot bamboo relish.

I had planned to make soup dumplings (that is, dumplings, when steamed, turned into soup in the middle), but the chicken stock never gelled, and we were too full and ran out of time by the end of the evening, so I just let them go.

Ahhhh, it was a good day. I’m so glad we did it.