I rock!

Since I couldn’t be with my family, I had a very pleasant and nontraditional Chinese New Year’s dinner by myself. It’s a holiday, after all, so I decided to take this opportunity to indulge. I devoted several hours of my afternoon to preparing a much more elaborate dinner than my usual. I’m completely exhausted now, but it was a delicious dinner and I am so pleased with my accomplishment.

I’d been wanting to try out wheat starch dumplings ever since I bought my dim sum cookbook before Christmas. I didn’t have shrimp for har gow, so I just mixed up what I had in the kitchen: textured soy protein, imitation crab, carrots and onions.

It was an unexpectedly yummy mix and it made a ton of filling, so I fried some of it with rice for lunch.

After I’d washed my dishes and cleaned up the kitchen a little, I made the wheat starch dough for the dumpling wrappers. I’d always heard this dough was hard to make, so I was apprehensive, but it turns out it’s super easy and quick. You mix together wheat starch, tapioca flour and boiling water, some salt and oil, and then knead the dough, shape into logs, cut the logs into rounds, and flatten the rounds under the blade of a cleaver. Much easier than trying to roll out the squishy dough, but I wasn’t able to flatten the rounds to as thin as they should have been. That’ll be a goal for next time. Unexpected bonus: you pour boiling water into the starch, and then you knead as soon as you can handle the dough. That warm soft dough is like a heat pack. Wonderfully soothing to my hands and wrists.

Here are the dumplings on an oiled tart pan, ready to go into the steamer. (I had twenty-four dumplings and only one cake pan in which to steam them, so I used a pie plate and two tart pans too.) You can see the dough is opaque before it’s cooked.

The dumplings steam for eight minutes exactly, and come out looking translucently beautiful!

The wraps were too thick, but overall these were great for a first attempt.

I mixed extra dumpling filling with sticky rice to try and make a glutinous rice bowl, but it turned out really uneven and kind of fell apart when I unmolded it. To my surprise, though, I liked this best of the three dishes I made tonight.

I also made a kale and seaweed soup with konnyaku noodles, but it was underseasoned and definitely overshadowed by the other dishes.

It may not be the traditional New Year’s dinner, but hey, it’s my party. I ate until I was completely stuffed and thoroughly enjoyed myself. The eater me thinks the cook me is totally awesome.

More photos here.[link broken, but I’ve added one more photo below]


[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at satsumabug.livejournal.com.]