Category Archives: Chinese treats

Joong (zongzi)

(From the kitchen of Rose Hom and Kathy Ma)
(Yield: Enough to feed a really big crowd)

1 1/2 lb. bamboo leaves
10 lbs. sweet glutinous rice
1 lb. Chinese sausage (Lop chang), cut in half vertically then into thirds
2 lb. ham, sliced into 1 1/2″ x 1/2″ thick strips
1 lb. dried shrimp
1 lb. dried peanuts
2 dozen shiitake mushrooms
2 dozen salted egg yolks (recipe below)

Soak bamboo leaves in a large container. Clean the leaves by rubbing two together, changing the water, repeat for 4 days. The night before assembly, places leaves in the dishwasher rack with 1 cup vinegar for a cycle of washing. Leave in dishwasher to cool to prevent the leaves from cracking. Keep the leaves submersed in water during preparation.

dsc07429-smallWash rice until the water is clean, cover with water and soak overnight. Drain the rice well and add 1/2 c. vegetable oil and 2 Tbsp. salt and mix well.

dsc07428-smallSalted egg yolks
(Prepare these 6 weeks in advance!)
Use 1/2 to 1 whole egg yolk per joong so adjust recipe accordingly

1 dozen eggs (chicken or duck)
1 qt. water
1 c. salt

Make a brining solution with the salt and water–bring to a boil.  Stir until salt is dissolved.  Cool brine completely.  Place whole raw eggs in a glass container and cover eggs completely with the brine.  Stuff the top of the jar with crumpled wax paper (this will help keep the eggs submersed under water), place another sheet of wax paper over the top of the jar, and secure it with a rubber band.  Put the jar in a cool dark place (not refrigerator) for 6-7 weeks.  Crack open the eggs and separate the yolks from the whites before using.  Discard the egg whites (they’re too salty to eat).  Discard any “rotten” eggs (they will be easily identified with their off-color and off-smell).  Freeze any unused yolks.  Note that yolks should be cooked before consuming.

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Filling for joong: Mushrooms, peanuts, ham, and Chinese sausage

Joong come in different shapes, depending on the region.  The traditional way to wrap them is by hand, using 2-3 bamboo leaves, depending on their size.

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Here are step-by-step instructions on how to wrap joong using a mold.

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Lay one bamboo leaf, rib side against the mold (smooth side facing you). Ideally, line the rib of the leaf with the top edge of the mold. You will need the extra leaf at the top.

 

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Take a 3rd leaf, preferably a big fat one, and fold “bunny ears” to form a cone shape

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Place the “bunny ears,” cone-side down into the mold to cover it completely making sure the leaves overlap to prevent any open seams or holes. Now you are ready to fill your mold!

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Add about 1/3 c. rice to the bottom of the mold.

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Add desired fillings: 2-3 pieces of meat, a spoon of peanuts, 2-3 pieces of mushroom, 1 or 1/2 salted egg yolk, enough to cover the surface.

Add enough rice to fill the mold to the top. Pat the rice down flat so that it's flush with the top of the mold.

Add enough rice to fill the mold to the top. Pat the rice down flat so that it’s flush with the top of the mold.

Add a 4th leaf to cover the rice.

Add a 4th leaf (smooth side down, rib side up) to cover the rice.

Fold the sides of the bamboo leaves towards the center, one side at a time, as if you were wrapping a present or burrito.

Fold the sides of the bamboo leaves towards the center, one side at a time, as if you were wrapping a present or burrito.

Turn the mold upside down to release the joong. Use scissors to trim errant leaf edges as needed to keep the packet neat.

Turn the mold upside down to release the joong. Use scissors to trim errant leaf edges as needed to keep the packet neat.

Tie up the joong with kitchen twine to keep its shape.

Tie up the joong with kitchen twine to keep its shape.

Cook the joong in boiling water for 2-4 hours. The cooking time will vary depending on how many you cook at a time.

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Chinese dumplings

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Disappearing dumplings

For our May 2016 program, Gui-Lan and her daughter-in-law came to show us how to make dumplings.

Dumpling dough

6 cups all purpose flour
water

In a big mixing bowl, slowly add 2 cups of cold water (room temperature) in the center and stir clockwise (or counterclockwise, choose one and keep that direction) and knead the dough until the bowl is clean. The water amount is approximate because it will vary depending on the weather and humidity. As you’re kneading the dough, add little bits of water as needed to incorporate any remaining dry flour. If it’s too dry or wet, the bowl will still have bits of dough. Knead until the bowl is clean–that’s when the dough is ready to rest. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for 1-2 hours.

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See how the sides of the bowl are clean? The dough is ready to rest!

While the dough is resting, prepare the filling.

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Pork dumpling filling
(with cabbage or Chinese chives)

5 lbs. ground pork
2 Tbsp. minced ginger
8 cloves garlic, minced
8 stalks green onion, chopped fine
3-5 lbs. Chinese (napa) cabbage (white part only)*
or
1 bunch Chinese chives, chopped
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/3 c. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. white pepper
2 eggs, beaten

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir in the same circular direction until well mixed.

*If using napa cabbage, prep it using one of the following methods:

  1. Finely chop cabbage. Mix 1/2 tsp. salt into chopped cabbage, let rest until wilted, and squeeze the water out.
    or
  2. Dip cabbage leaves in boiling water for 2-3 mins. Chop the cabbage and squeeze the water out.
Pork and chive filling

Pork and chive filling

After resting for 1-2 hours, the dumpling dough looks like this. There are no dry spots and it’s dense and heavy like clay. To test the dough for readiness, remove a small piece, and stretch it. If it breaks easily (like Play-doh), it’s not ready. When the texture is elastic and soft, it’s ready to use.

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Roll the dough into 1″ diameter log and cut in into 1″ pieces. Roll the pieces into small circles with a wooden rolling pin to prevent sticking.

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Rotate the circular piece of dough as you thin out the edges. The edges of the dough should be thinner than the middle. Place 1 heaping tsp. of pork filling onto each skin, fold and close the edge (crescent fold). Set dumplings aside on a lightly floured surface until ready to cook.

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Set dumplings aside on a lightly floured surface until ready to cook.

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To cook the dumplings, boil a big pot of water. Drop 20-30 dumplings into the boiling water. When the dumplings float to the top and the water boils again, add a cup of cold water to the pot and bring it to a second boil. Add another cup of cold water to the pot and bring it to a boil a 3rd time. When it boils the 3rd time, use a slotted spoon or spider strainer to remove the dumplings from the water. The 3x boiling action ensures the filling is cooked thoroughly and creates the chewy skin.

Keep a pot of cold water nearby for the thrice boiling action

Keep a pot of cold water nearby for the thrice boiling action

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And last but not least, serve the dumplings with various accompaniments and condiments such as slivered ginger root, chili oil, chili sauce, and/or a dipping sauce.

Dippin0515161351g sauce

1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. chopped green onion and cilantro
1 1/2 tsp. minced ginger
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
Chili sauce (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and serve!

 

Chinese 5 spice ginger snaps

For a printable version, click here

Chinese 5 spice ginger snaps

½ c. butter, at room temperature
2/3 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
2 c. flour
2 tsp. Chinese 5 spice powder
1 ½ tsp. ground ginger
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. baking soda
3-5 Tbsp. hot water

Cream together sugar and butter.  Sift flour and spices together.  Add flour mixture gradually to the sugar and butter.  Mix ½ tsp. baking soda with 3 Tbsp. hot water until dissolved and add it to the flour mixture.  If necessary, add some water, 1 Tbsp. at a time until a dough forms.

For refrigerator cookies, dough can be shaped into a log and wrapped in plastic wrap.  For cut-out cookies, shape dough into a flat disc and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill until firm.  Slice cookie log into 1/8” slices.  Or roll out dough between two pieces of plastic using bamboo skewers as a thickness guide and cut out shapes using cookie cutters.

Place cookies on lined or greased baking sheets.  Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 mins. until golden brown.

Baked nian gao

For a printable version, click here
(From the kitchen of Menie Lee)


Ingredients:
16 oz. Mochiko sweet rice flour ($1.79 @ 99 Ranch)
One stick of butter or 3/4 cup of vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1 Tbl baking soda
One can of red azuki beans ($3.99 @ 99 Ranch)

Directions:
Sprinkle some Mochiko flour over a 9″x13″ baking dish that has been oiled or sprayed with Pam.

Mix everything (including remaining Mochiko flour) but the beans with an electric mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes. Beat for 2 more minutes at high speed.

Spread half of the batter on the bottom of the baking pan. Spread the red azuki beans (you can mix some batter into the beans if they are too thick to spread). Spread the other half of the batter over the red azuki beans. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a chopstick (this is Chinese New Year Cake after all), if it comes out clean, it is done.