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HELP! Why are my potstickers/dumplings so dry?

Personally I would not make a cornstarch slurry for the filling, but just add the dry cornstarch. The moisture from the pork and fillings will help distribute the cornstarch throughout the mixture.

This is one of the few times where I would mix the pork until you almost have a paste. The opposite of a meat loaf where you don't want to make a dense meat mixture. If you undermix the filling, the resulting cooked filling texture will be pebbly.

Do you use a food processor for the vegetables? I would use a food processor to mince the veggie filling. I would also skip salting the veggies to drain excess liquid. The cornstarch will help soak up that extra liquid.

Another addition to consider is adding a little toasted sesame oil for added flavor.

Sep 28, 2012
chow_fun in Home Cooking

DRIED SEAFOOD and other dried foods in Chinese groceries--request for an introduction

Of the dried seafoods - dried shrimp, dried scallops, dried oysters, dried fish and salted dried fish - dried shrimp is your best bet to experiment with and use in a wide variety of dishes.

A little dried shrimp, about 1 tablespoons, is enough to add unami to a dish and an extra boost of flavor without being overly fishy. You can try it in broth based seafood dishes, such as, clam chowder, cioppino or paella.

Soak for about an hour and mince. The soaking just softens the dried shrimp enough to mince.

Jun 18, 2012
chow_fun in General Topics

Char Siu bao with regular bbqed pork?

It sounds perfectly delicious.

What I suggest is making backed char sui bao and fill with your bbq sauce pork and lots of sauteed onions. It would be very reminiscent of the baked buns I grew up eating in SF.

Jun 11, 2012
chow_fun in Home Cooking

Cooks Illustrated's Pursuit of Blogger [Split from Home Cooking]

The thing about recipes is that the basis is pretty much the same. The only thing that varies are proportions.

In regards to music, the musical notes are much more varied with many more factors (interval, sequence...) that make a song unique.

The video is an example of songs that are based upon 4 chords, but the results are many unique songs. It's a pretty funny video... I think the F-word is used, but I can't tell if it was the F-word or an Aussie slang word.

Axis of Awsome - 4 chord pop songs

Jun 05, 2012
chow_fun in Food Media & News

Anyone else like to see some new innovative cook shows on Food Network?

One thing about authentic Chinese, Thai, Korean, Japanese, Indonesian... Asian cooking in the US is finding ingredients. Once you start substituting with local ingredients, the FN haters will claim FN is dumbing down and Westernizing the recipes.

"... the kind you would cook at home."
From my Cantonese cuisine backgound, home cooking is rather plain and very different from what people have in restaurants. I remember classmates thought our family at chow mein, sweet and sour pork and Peking duck for dinner regularly. The reality was white rice, stir-fried veggies and steam or poached fish or chicken was the daily meal.

May 21, 2012
chow_fun in Food Media & News

what would you do.....BBQ chicken?

If you're wanting to precook the chicken to simplify the grilling part, I see no problem with that.

In fact, in college, my parents had given me a load of Chinese style poached chicken. For an impromptu party and being a poor college student I didn't have money to buy groceries so I threw the chicken on a grill and slathered on the bbq sauce. Much to my surprise, people raved about the chicken.

Since you plan to bush on bbq sauce, what I would do is lightly poach the chicken in a very flavorful liquid and leave in the liquid overnight or poach the morning of. The chicken will be cooked and ready for the saucing and grilling.

May 18, 2012
chow_fun in Home Cooking

American-Chinese food is real Chinese food?

One problem with a "foreigners" view of their native cuisine in the US is that they "spoiled" by the flavors from their home country.

I'm currently at a job with people from around the world. Some Italian coworkers hate Italian cuisine in the US. We use too much garlic which overpowers the flavors of a dish. Of course, our American stereotype of Italian cuisine is that all the dishes contain loads of garlic, tomatoes and olive oil.

I also work with people from HK and have relatives from HK. One thing I noticed is that the younger people from HK, they tend to hate everything, in a snobby way. Their palates are too refined to eat pedestrian food while their parents aren't as picky. I think they (the parents) remember the hard times when they fled from mainland China.

May 14, 2012
chow_fun in Food Media & News

American-Chinese food is real Chinese food?

Maybe my view is different growing up in SF where there's a long established Chinatown, but I see Nixon's visit as generating interesting in the other Chinese cuisines besides Cantonese.

There was mainstream interest in Chinese food before Nixon's visit.
In fact, I remember seeing that canned fake Chinese cuisine long before the 70's. I think it was Chung King.

May 11, 2012
chow_fun in Food Media & News

Who here can actually cook excellent authentic or close to it Chinese food?

I had a craving for bitter melon. The last time I had the dish was at my parent's house over 15 years ago.

I found some at 99 Ranch, my go to place for Chinese food stuff, but the gourds were different. I remember the seeds used to be surrounded by red pulp. The one's I found were surrounded by yellow pulp. The flavor seemed half as strong as I remember. Probably these were harvested earlier and not allowed to mature to full strength.

Overall, I still enjoyed the bitter melon in black bean sauce dish. These would have been good training melons for people not familiar with the taste. :-)

Apr 17, 2012
chow_fun in Home Cooking

Help identifying Asian green?

Hard to say... it looks like Malabar spinach, but the stems seem to long.
Are the leaves fragrant or do they have any particular flavor?

Mar 21, 2012
chow_fun in Home Cooking

Favorite Deep Fryed Chicken Wing Recipe

I like to marinade the wings a day or two in green onion, garlic, ginger, wine and a little soy sauce.
For the coating, butter and Rooster sauce.

Mar 19, 2012
chow_fun in Home Cooking

How do you stock your Chinese kitchen?

Everyone has pretty much covered what I have...

These are other items I have in my Cantonese based pantry...

Fermented bean curd, dried bean curd sticks and sheets, preserved salted turnips, dried mung beans (green), dried red beans, dried black beans, dried lotus seeds and dried red dates (actually dried jujubes). Also there's dried salted fish, dried oysters, dried scallops and dried shrimp.

Mar 12, 2012
chow_fun in Home Cooking

pumpkin pie question

That may be true, but the OP used the Libby recipe. I believe the recipe calls for the toothpick test. If the OP skipped that step, that can explain why the results were mushy.

Mar 02, 2012
chow_fun in Home Cooking

"Butter and line" a pan?

The buttering, flouring and lining the pan is just extra insurance that the product doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.

When you cut parchment rounds, the paper will not cover the bottom completely. As a result, some of the batter will seep around the paper.

Feb 28, 2012
chow_fun in Home Cooking

pumpkin pie question

It sounds like you're not cooking the pie long enough to set the filling. Wiggly is kind of a subjective way of gauging doneness. How wiggly is wiggly? The toothpick test is more definitive.

Feb 28, 2012
chow_fun in Home Cooking

Ham Baking Temp

I usually follow the instructions on the package, usually a Costco spiral ham, which I believe recommends heating to 140F. Time and temps I forget.

I used a thermometer and took out around 135F.

Feb 27, 2012
chow_fun in Home Cooking

pumpkin pie question

I'm not sure what you mean by mushy. Mushy inplies not set?

Before you start using thickeners, I would use an extra egg in the recipe to see how it turns out.

To check if the pie is done, I usually use the toothpick test. Insert a toothpick in the center of the pie, if it comes out clean, the pie is done.

Another alternative is to use, lactose free whole milk.

Feb 27, 2012
chow_fun in Home Cooking

Can you make chinese crispy noodles at home?

Those crispy noodles are simply deep fried fresh noodles.

Feb 16, 2012
chow_fun in Home Cooking

Parboiled Rice [moved from Home Cooking]

I like making Mexican rice, Red Beans and Rice or Jambalaya with converted rice.
The only other suggestion is to add a little more liquid when cooking converted rice.
I grew up eating rice everyday. I actually like converted rice or brown rice since it's different from regular long grain rice.

To be honest, I'd rather have bread or pasta instead of rice. I guess I've burned out on eating rice by high school.

Feb 16, 2012
chow_fun in General Topics

How is "Feeding the Dragon: A Culinary Travelogue Through China with Recipes"?

While searching Amazon, I came across "Feeding the Dragon: A Culinary Travelogue Through China with Recipes" by Mary and Nate Tate.

Anyone try the recipes?
Good read?

Jan 13, 2012
chow_fun in Home Cooking

Adopting - or not - foreign eating customs in the US

One dining habit I see Koreans, Japanese and Northern Chinese do while eating is to take large bites. My brother and I call it chimpumking.

Oct 26, 2011
chow_fun in Not About Food

PB & J dilemma - Please weigh in!

As a guy, I support your husband on this one. The "cross-contamination" is from a clean source. It's no big.

The same goes for mayo and mustard.

What would wig me out is seeing fingerprints or someone dragging their finger through the PB.

Oct 19, 2011
chow_fun in General Topics

How do you feel about the proposed shark fin ban? (moved from Ontario board)

I've had shark fin. It's one of those dishes that a host will spend money to show they're honoring the guest.

It's all for show based upon an archaic tradition and belief.

I have no issues with the ban, but I'm an ABC.

Oct 14, 2011
chow_fun in Food Media & News

whats a pork lover to do?

A simple and delicious way to go is to sprinkle on a little salt and pepper, a few small shakes of garlic powder and onion powder. Rub it in and let sit 30 minutes for the "flavors" to soak in.

You can brush on a little oil before grilling, but that's all you need to do.

The smoke from the charcoal adds a lot of flavor too.
You are using charcoal to grill, right?

Jul 19, 2011
chow_fun in Home Cooking

Dim sum dough

General rule of thumb that should help - knead 5 to 10 minutes.

If it has wheat flour (gluten), kneading until the dough is smooth and satiny takes about 10 minutes by hand. There's no real added benefit for extra long kneading.

For non-gluten doughs (wheat starch, rice flour, tapioca flour/starch... etc), you just knead until smooth and satiny, but that only takes a couple minutes since there's no gluten to develop. If the dough uses boiling water, add the hot water and mix for about 30 seconds with chopsticks (okay if it still looks lumpy), cover for about 5 minutes to allow the starch granules to gelatinize (absorb the water and cool a little). Next you would hand knead until smooth, about 5 minutes.

End result... knead 5 to 10 minutes should work whether you're using a wheat flour based dough or a starch based dough.

Jul 19, 2011
chow_fun in Home Cooking

Hom Bow?

I grew up in SF and the term was new to me too.

How Bow is the generic term for any savory bun whether it be baked or steamed bun.

My preference is for steamed Gai Bow which is typically what I've found in the Vietnamese delis. The different textures and flavors of the chicken, water chestnut, shiitakes and hard cooked eggs makes for a great meal.

Apr 04, 2011
chow_fun in Greater Seattle

No Asian Food Network Chefs....why not?

Actually I don't find it lame or insulting.
FN's host are all cast from the same mold so an Asian Rachel Ray holds not interest for me.
PBS Create is the way to go.

Mar 19, 2010
chow_fun in Food Media & News

Where to find vinegar mother in Seattle?

What do you do to keep the mother alive?

I have a mother of vinegar from my white wine vinegar experiment. It would a shame to flush it now that I'm done.

Jan 06, 2009
chow_fun in Pacific Northwest

Where to find vinegar mother in Seattle?

As mentioned, you can try brewing supply stores.

Another alternative is to use raw, unfiltered apple cider. I've used Bragg's (from the local health food store) with success at making white wine vinegar.

Jan 06, 2009
chow_fun in Pacific Northwest

Calling all food bloggers: why do you do it?

After receiving a comment from the USSR, out of curiosity, I installed a counter and mapper on my blog. Much to my surprise, I'm getting 40 hits a day from various parts of the world. Wow! So much for trying to keep my on the down-low. lol.

Apparently, the most popular pages are barbecued ribs and making your own corned beef.

To be honest, I'm shy about my blog, writing and picture taking... I've been kind of sloppy at proofreading and taking pictures. Now, I feel like I have to do a little more for the occasional visitor.

In regards to dishes that fail, I post it all. If I'm experimenting with a recipe and it flops, it's on the blog. I detail what I thought of the recipe and what I would do next with the recipe.

Sep 03, 2008
chow_fun in Food Media & News