Dumpling Class with Lisa Lin

Dumpling Class with Lisa Lin

At the end of August, one of my friends invited me to join her at a Dumpling Party with none other than the Queen of Dumplings, Lisa Lin

Lisa has some of the most mesmerizing and beautiful food videos and photos on how to make and fold all sorts of wontons and dumplings. Over the years I've always made wontons the way Popo taught me, and that method is completely different from the methods that Lisa taught.

In person, Lisa is exceptionally patient at explaining the in's and out's of folding dumplings. We started with several simpler ways to fold wontons and then moved on to the standard potsticker fold and the ever more complicated braided pleat. I actually thought the braided pleat was more straightforward than the standard potsticker fold. Somehow learning how to fold potstickers is not something that has been incorporated into my very American Chinese family. Growing up, my parents always bought a bag of Ling Ling Chicken and Vegetable Potstickers from Costco. With it’s slightly spongy texture and onion-y flavor, this was one of the most nostalgic tastes of my childhood. 

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Egg Tarts

Egg Tarts

Pretty much the best egg tarts I've ever had.

But maybe because they aren't as traditional as the ones you find in a dim sum restaurant or Asian bakeries. Instead of the thick, soft, buttery almost shortbread like crust with a dense eggy filling that sometimes are way to rich for me, these ones have a crisp laminated pastry almost similar to phyllo dough and a light, soft egg custard. 

I was intrigued by Betty's video and post about laminated dough which I then learned was inspired by Mandy's fool-proof technique. I have to say, it's pretty genius. The key to a laminated dough is to have many, many layers of dough-butter-dough-butter and so on. One way to achieve that is to do that layer by layer like making baklava or a crepe cake but if you take advantage of rolling the dough into a tight log, achieving all of those layers is that much easier. 

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Lap Cheong Buns

Lap Cheong Buns

On a Sunday a few weeks ago (like many Sundays), I was looking for something to make when I remembered that Popo had given me her old bamboo steamer and The Dim Sum Book by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo.

I’ve made dim sum with Popo a few times and it’s always been an interesting challenge. There were the soup dumplings that were tasty but kind of leaked and both successful and failed steamed buns. Luckily, these baked ones turned out pretty well except for the salt. 

It’s not often that I tap into the Chinese in me. Most of the time I feel very American. But, this year I am attempting to make more Chinese foods. I’ve already been off to a pretty good start with egg drop soup and wonton soup. 

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Wonton Soup

Wonton Soup

It's taken me a while to realize this, but I do believe wonton soup is my ultimate comfort food.

Having eaten wonton soup my whole life, I took it for granted. It was the soup I had when there was nothing else exciting to eat. It's also one of those foods that I was a little bit embarrassed to admit I ate for breakfast. Or, I'd get a little bit irked about the way people would pronounce it. I've always grown up with the pronunciation as "wunton (like one ton)" but I always hear "wanton". It's both maddening and confusing to hear one of your childhood foods pronounced in a way that is not how you recall it being pronounced. Often times, I doubt myself and think maybe I just have a family that pronounces things weirdly. Now, I've sort of let it go because these soup dumplings are too delicious to have to repeatedly listen to robotic dictionaries phonetically pronounce wontons over and over again.

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Egg Drop Soup

Egg Drop Soup

It's that time of year where I could do the following:

  • Reflect on all the instances in which I felt guilty about eating unhealthy foods in 2015.
  • Commit myself to a vigorous exercise routine.
  • Create a detailed plan of what amount of healthy grains, meats, fruits and vegetables to consume at exactly 7 am, 12 pm and 6 pm.
  • Eat a cookie and write this post.
  • Promise myself to eat only delicious food, not to stuff myself, continue to go to hapkido on the weekends, take walks and stretch.

If you guessed that I don't have a New Year's Resolution that revolves around eating healthier, you are correct! I've never been one to make New Year's Resolutions for myself, especially one that revolves around diet. There was a time in my life (hello, freshman year of college!) where I was sadly a little bit too concerned with my body image, eating habits and calories. I blame three things: 1) dorm food, 2) calorie count noted on each food description in the dining commons, and 3) the scale at the gym. I really don't want to know that this one pasta dish is 2500 calories, that that cookie is 500 calories, and that I weigh 3 more pounds than the last time I went to the gym. It's all really self-degrading stuff. As soon as I moved out of the dorms to an off campus apartment where I had to bike 4-8 miles a day and started cooking for myself, all of that went away.   

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