Pan-fried Multigrain Calzones with Pork, Eggs and Vegetable Filling

Ok, I know these are not the real authentic calzones you are expecting.  They are more like extra extra extra large pan-fried Asian dumplings.  People make them into these beautiful half moon shape dumplings with pretty wrinkles seal the edges.

Every family has its own unique traditional way to make them.  And probably everyone considers the best ones are made in their grandma’s kitchen.

DSC_8276 2 copy.jpg

I make them at home all the time too.  But this time I substituted regular with freshly ground multigrain flour to make a better healthier version. 

DSC_8252 2 copy.jpg

Like a lot of people, I too, used to hold this biased opinion against multigrain food; thinking they are all rough and tough and taste like cardboard.  However, after I start to make my own multigrain food at home, I realize how wrong I was before.   Multigrain food can be tasty and healthy at the same time!

DSC_8303 2 copy.jpg

Ingredients for pork, eggs and vegetable filling:

400 g ground pork
3 to 4 large eggs
500 g frozen Shepherd’s purse (sold in Asian grocery stores; can be substituted with frozen spinach)
2 tablespoons rice cooking wine
1/4 to 1/3 low sodium soy sauce
1 to 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon corn starch
1/4 cup chicken stock/ water
salt to taste

For multigrain calzones:

200 g multigrain flour
50 g gluten flour
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
a pinch of salt
3/4 cup water (give or take a couple tablespoons depending on multigrain flour mixture)
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (for pan frying)

 

Directions:

I usually buy different high fiber whole grains from Sprouts and Wholefoods market and mix everything together in a big jar later.  Top choices are but not limited to kidney beans, split green peas, yellow peas, barley, oats, wheat berries, lentils, wheat bran, flax seeds, and so on.

DSC_7740 2 copy.jpg

Add 2 cups multigrain mixture to a Vitamix blender dry container.

Grind on high speeds for 20 to 30 seconds.

DSC_7762 2 copy.jpg

Add 200g multigrain flour and gluten flour to a large bowl.

DSC_8172 2 copy.jpg

Add water, salt and oil.  Combine everything together in the bowl and knead into a smooth ball of dough.

I use ground oat for dusting.  And of course, ground oat is made by vitamix too.

Cover with plastic wrap.  Let it rest for 10 to 20 minutes.

DSC_8178 2 copy.jpg

Meanwhile, prepare pork filling.

I usually buy large piece of pork shoulder and grind them into ground pork, and then divide and freeze ground pork for later use.  It takes longer than buying ground pork from grocery but the taste and flavor is so much better.

DSC_8133 2 copy.jpg

Add rice cooking wine, soy sauce, ground ginger, ground white peppercorn, oyster sauce, sesame oil and corn starch.

Whisk clock-wise with a pair of chopsticks.

While whisking, add a tablespoon chicken stock/ water.  Whisk until the liquid is absorbed before adding more.

Defrosted shepherd’s purse

 It might be considered weed here in America.  However, shepherd’s purse is sold like any other vegetables.  It is really a seasonal delicacy only found in early spring time.  Asian people love it for its sweet, delicate, refreshing earthy flavors. 

DSC_8147 2 copy.jpg

Make scrambled eggs with a wok.  Add to the pork mixture along with chopped shepherd’s purse.

DSC_8155 2 copy.jpg

Mix until well combined.  Season with salt to taste.  

DSC_8169 2 copy.jpg

Equally divide multigrain dough into 12 pieces. 

DSC_8179 copy.jpg

I grind oat flour with Vitamix too.  And use it to dust the wooden board and the dough.

DSC_8191 2 copy.jpg

With a small rolling pin, flat out each piece as thin as possible.

Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of pork filling.

Wrap it up.

DSC_8206 copy.jpg

Repeat the process until all is done.

DSC_8211 copy.jpg

Preheat a double sided electric griddle skillet.  Add a couple teaspoons vegetable oil and then 4 to 5 pieces of calzones.  Bake for 3 to 5 minutes.

DSC_8238 copy.jpg

You will know they are ready when the tops are golden brown.

Pipping hot off the skillet, yum!

DSC_8275 2 copy.jpg

Pan-fried Mini Potatoes with Bacon and Spices

I always have a special enthusiasm for potatoes, especially the mini ones.  When I was living in Michigan, we always visited the local farmers market twice a week to buy some freshly roasted coffee beans and newly harvested potatoes.  Those were two highlights during the week.  

If you have ever tried the freshest potatoes dug out the soil the very same day you cook them, it would be really hard to go back to the ones sold in super market stores.  They are so fresh, starchy, hearty, and earthy with a nutty aroma and super creamy texture.  

DSC_6010 2 copy.jpg

One of my favorite ways to cook mini potatoes is to pan fry them with bacons.  The fat rendered from bacons would add a rich porky fatty flavor to the potatoes, which is exactly why they taste so amazingly good.

DSC_6057 2 copy.jpg

Ingredients:

1 lb mini rainbow potatoes
6 to 8 slices of bacons, cut into small pieces
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
white sesame seeds
chopped green onion
spicy chili dry mix *

 

Directions:

Rainbow mini potatoes are sold in most grocery stores.  If you can’t find them, the yellow or red mini ones will be almost equally tasty too.

Rinse the potatoes under running water.  Add to a pot of boiling water along with a couple teaspoons of salt in it.  Cook the potatoes over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until you can easily piece them in the center with a fork.

BTW, the potato skins can help them to stay in shape. I like to leave them on the potatoes.  

DSC_5932 2 copy.jpg

Cut every potato into two halves.

DSC_5946 2 copy.jpg

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.

Add bacons. 

Sauté the bacons until slightly golden brown.

DSC_5952 2 copy.jpg

Add potatoes

Reduce the heat to medium low.  Flip the potatoes occasionally.  Keep cooking over medium low heat until they are golden brown.

Season with salt and black pepper

DSC_5972 2 copy.jpg

Sprinkle with chopped green onions, white sesame seeds and spicy chili dry mix.

DSC_5980 2 copy.jpg

Continue to cook for another couple minutes.  Remove from heat and serve hot immediately.

DSC_5992 2 copy.jpg

It is so true that bacon makes everything taste better! O(∩_∩)O~

DSC_6020 2 copy.jpg

*  Chili spice dry mix is available in Asian grocery stores.  I love to make my own at home.  It is quite simple to do so.  Separately dry roast chili peppers, Sichuan pepper corns, sesame seeds, cumin and peanuts.  And then grind them together into fine powder with a coffee grinder or vitamix.

The mix can be used in sautés, BBQ, grilling or salads. 

Go ahead play with the spices.  It is easy to make some simple mix with big flavors! 

DSC_6114 2 copy.jpg

Mini Goledn Egg Dumplings with Pork Filling

Febrary 4th is the date for traditional Chinese New Year in 2019.  On this day, most Chinese families get together from all over the places to celebrate the beginning of a new year.  It is kind of like Thanksgiving in America, but longer and more festival. 

On the last evening of lunar year, it is also a tradition to make serve a marvelous feast which could take up to weeks’ preparation.  

Now since we are living in the United States, we still celebrate Chinese New Year, just on a smaller scale.  I still make some traditional Chinese food on this day.  Egg dumplings are one of them.

DSC_6309 2 copy.jpg

Egg dumplings are a must for New Year’s feast.  The beautiful golden color resembles gold and more money incoming in the New Year.  The shape of flower means good luck and blessing in the New Year too. 

DSC_6257 2 copy.jpg

Ingredients:

180 g ground pork
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 to 2 teaspoons rice cooking wine
1/2 teaspoon oyster sauce
2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 cup chicken stock/ water
5 large eggs
salt to taste
vegetable oil for cooking

Directions :

Add ground pork to a medium bowl, along with ground ginger, rice cooking wine, oyster sauce, soy sauce, ground white pepper, and salt.  Whisk clock-wise with a pair of chopsticks.

DSC_6119 2 copy.jpg

While whisking, add a tablespoon chicken stock/ water.  Whisk until the liquid is absorbed before adding more.

DSC_6123 2 copy.jpg

Add a pinch of salt to the eggs and beat them until smooth.

DSC_6133 2 copy.jpg

I use a cast iron pancake puff pan to make egg dumplings.  It is super efficient because I can make 7 of them at a time. 

DSC_6157 2 copy.jpg

Heat the pan over medium low heat.  Spray with oil.  Add a couple teaspoons of beaten eggs to each hole.  Swirl around a little bit.

Add teaspoon ground pork filling to each of them.

DSC_6177 2 copy.jpg

Fold them over.

Once egg dumplings can hold their half moon shape, remove from pan. 

Repeat the process until all done.

DSC_6203 2 copy.jpg

Assemble all egg dumplings in a plate like a big flower. 

Add to a steamer.  Steam dumplings over high heat for about 6 minutes.   The steaming time may vary with dumplings’ sizes and shapes.

DSC_6228 2 copy.jpg

They can be served hot or cold.  Aren’t they pretty?

The rest of our New Year feast also includes boiled free range chicken with dipping sauces.

DSC_6369 2 copy.jpg

med bass with ginger and oyster sauce

DSC_6405 2 copy.jpg

Purple daikon salad

DSC_6378 2 copy.jpg

Cucumber salad

DSC_6395 2 copy.jpg

Spinach and tofu salad

DSC_6375 2 copy.jpg

Steamed sweet rice with nuts and red beans paste

DSC_6417 2 copy.jpg
DSC_6431 2 copy.jpg

Homemade Wontons with Pork, Shrimps, and Shiitake Mushrooms with Chili Sauce

Wontons and dumplings are two of the most popular and widely popular breakfast choices across the whole mainland China.  There are restaurants, diners, food vendors selling all kinds of wontons.

 But the best ones are not always found in fancy and expensive restaurants, but on the streets.  Some food vendors and small diners have been making and selling wontons for generations.  Years of experience make them experts in very single steps of making wontons from broth to seasoning.

I learned how to make wontons by eating them for breakfast for a long time.  The best ones are freshly made, cooked and served.  So a lot of wonton restaurants have been wrapping and cooking nonstop since they open the door in early morning.  During my wait, I always peeked through kitchen window to see how it is done. 

I did that out of bore and curiosity at first, but soon I got attracted and fascinated watching the cooks in kitchen wrapping wontons at lightning speed. 

A bowl of good wonton soup is made up with freshly made wontons and seasonings.  Both are equally important to how the final product taste.

DSC_0991 3 copy.jpg

Ingredients:

200 g ground pork
160 to 200g fresh shiitake mushrooms
10 to 12 fresh shrimps, peeled, divined and chopped
1 to 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon rice cooking wine
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon corn starch
1 egg white
a few drops of sesame oil
salt to taste
1 package of wonton wraps (sold in most Asian grocery markets)

 

Directions:

These are not regular shiitake mushrooms.  They are smaller in size but packed with intense earthy mushroom aroma.  They have signature cracks on the caps.

Use a damp kitchen paper towel to wipe clean the shiitake mushrooms.  In Asia, people believe rinsing fresh mushrooms under running water could ruin their delicate aroma.  The best way to clean them is with damp cloth or paper towel. 

However, there is too much dirt on the bottoms of shiitake mushrooms.  I have to rinse them to get rid of all the dirt.

Add cleaned shiitake mushrooms to a food processor and finely chop them.  

In a large bowl, add chopped shiitake mushrooms, shrimps, and ground pork, along with oyster sauce, rice cooking wine, ground white pepper, ginger, starch, egg white and sesame oil.

Whisk with a pair of chop sticks or wooden spoon clockwise for7 to 8 minutes, or until the filling becomes smooth and silky.

Season with salt to taste.

DSC_0925 2 copy.jpg

Add a couple teaspoons of filling to one edge of a wonton wrap.

DSC_0928 copy.jpg

Roll the wonton half way through, and then pull both ends towards center and overlap them.  Brush with a bit of water or egg wash so that wonton will keep its shape.

DSC_0938 2 copy.jpg

Repeat the process until all the filling is finished.

DSC_0945 2 copy.jpg

Add wontons to a large pot of boiling water.  Cook until all wontons float to surface.   In between, when the water boils again, add 1 cup of cold water to the pot.  Repeat the process one more time later when the water boils again.  Adding cold water to a boiling pot is a traditional Chinese way to cook dumplings and wontons, so that the wontons can be fully cooked without the outside wraps getting too soggy and mushy. 

Add wontons along with a ladle or two broth to a bowl.  Some of my favorite seasonings are but not limited to: sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic water, Sichuan pepper oil, chili oil sauce, vinegar, chopped picked vegetables, chopped pickled daikon, green onion, cilantro, and crushed dry roasted peanuts.

DSC_0967 2 copy.jpg

With a spoon, gently toss everything together.

DSC_1037 2 copy.jpg

Bon appetite! O(∩_∩)O~

Shiu Mai with Chinese Sausages, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Sweet Rice

I posted Shiu Mai with ground pork, mushrooms and sweet rice before: https://www.yankitchen.com/english-blog/2018/11/13/shiu-mai-with-ground-porkmushrooms-and-sweet-rice

It is a very popular choice in Dim Sum restaurants.  Cantonese’s style shiu mai is usually made with shrimps and pork.  I personally prefer the ones made with sweet rice. 

DSC_0523 2 copy.jpg

Shiu mai wraps are usually super thin and come with ruffled edges to achieve flower-like shape.  For the purpose of efficiency and easy operation, when making shiu mai at home, shiu mai wraps can be substituted with wonton wraps.

Ingredients:

1 pack wonton wraps (sold in most Asian grocery stores)
a handful fresh shitake mushrooms
1 cup of sweet rice
1 package of Chinese/ Cantonese/ Taiwanese style sausage  (sold in most Asian grocery stores)
1 to 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
3 to 4 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
salt to taste

 

Directions:

 Wipe the shiitake mushrooms clean with damp kitchen paper towel.

DSC_0340 2 copy.jpg

I use Taiwanese style sausage this time.  They taste quite similar to Cantonese sausage.  

Wonton wrap is available in every Asian grocery market. 

Dice up sausages and mushrooms.

DSC_0399 2 copy.jpg

Cook the sweet rice in a rice cooker.  Sweet rice requires less water than regular rice.  

Fold in soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce and ground white pepper.

Allow the rice mixture to chill for 10 minutes or so.

Fold in diced sausages and mushrooms.  Add salt to taste.  Gently mix everything together.

Add a couple tablespoons of sweet rice filling to center of the wonton wrap.

DSC_0447 2 copy.jpg

Wrap the edges towards the center.  Brush the wrap with water or egg wash if needed. 

DSC_0457 2 copy.jpg

Add a bamboo steamer lined with small squares of parchment paper.  

Repeat the process until all are finished.   The listed ingredients above yield about 50 to 60 shiu mais.  Freeze extra ones if they are too much for a single meal.

Fill a wok with water.  Cook over high heat until water boils.  Add steamer.  Continue to steam over high heat for 12 to 15 minutes.

Serve hot immediately.

The dipping sauce is made with balsamic vinegar + soy sauce + chili oil sauce.