My sister left a strange looking bag of something in the freezer that happened to be soup dumpling mixture. (Sorry, I don't have a picture of that) I'm not good at wrapping soup dumplings, but I decided to throw some extra ground pork that I had in the freezer into the soup dumpling mixture to make somewhat soupy dumplings.
I know, they just look like regular dumplings.
And I don't have anything interesting to say about them.
But they're so good.
During this past year's Christmas, my family celebrated what we like to call "Dipmas". Everyone had to make a dip, so I decided to make dumplings (and dipping sauce to go with it). One of my aunts made shumai, so this ended up turning into "Dip and Dumpmas". Okay, maybe that name doesn't sound as good.
I really like ordering shumai when I get dimsum, and for some reason I figured that everything I order from dimsum places must be way above my cooking level. But I saw my aunt's shumai, and it was really good, and I thought "I can totally make this."
I asked her for the recipe, and she actually sent me a screenshot from allrecipes, but I thought, "This is fine, I can search for it."
...No I can't. There is no "shumai" recipe in allrecipes. I even tried various spellings of the word like "siu mai". I eventually decided to google "allrecipes shumai" and I found a very shumai-looking recipe called "Hawaiian Pork Hash". Of course Google knows what I'm looking for. Apparently this is Hawaii's version of shumai.
I had never folded shumai before. It took me a few tries before finding a method I liked. At first, I just kind of scrunched it all together, but that looked kind of ugly. Soon I realized that I just needed to make little folds in a spiral pattern.
Hey, I'm really happy with my improvement just from my first to second batch.
The other part of this that was a little scary to me was steaming the dumplings because I had never used a bamboo steamer before. I looked up youtube videos to learn how to do this and there is a lot of conflicting advice. Do I place the steamer in water or not? Do I wait for it to boil, then put the steamer in, or just put it in at the start? Do I need another contraption to keep the steamer baskets up higher?
Plus, I hate watching videos to learn things. Most of these youtube videos are kind of obnoxious. I ended up going to my most trusted source for Asian cooking, The Woks of Life. I took out my largest pan, filled it up with some water, brough it to a boil, and then placed the steamer basket in and let it cook for 12 minutes.
This was a lot easier than I expected.
Great, easy recipe, but there are things I think should be tweaked:
Well, maybe I'll just use the Woks of Life recipe next time.
But I am very happy with my first attempt at shumai and I am definitely making this again at some point.
Since I didn't go and see my family on Thanksgiving, my friend invited me over for a (very small) Friendsgiving. Small in the number of people, but definitely not in the amount of food. I offered to bring dumplings, which ended up being a huge hit. I had fish tacos during Chinese New Year last year, so I figured dumplings for Thanksgiving was appropriate.
I actually already had dumplings in my freezer, because of course I did, but I decided to make more because you can never have too many dumplings. At this point, I don't really even use a recipe anymore. This is what I put in the filling this time:
And for the sauce (No measurements, because who knows how much of everything I added):
Of course, the key to making good dumplings is to just microwave a small bit of filling and try it, and if it needs something, add it.
I also had to buy a new non-stick pan because my last one was ruined when we brought it on our last camping trip. This is the first time I attempted to arrange the dumplings in a fancy circle. It did not end up that fancy. I don't know how my sister makes it look so nice.
But as always, it was delicious.
Look at the bottom of that dumpling! You don't want to know how many times I attempted to take a close-up picture of one.
Day 30 (Friday): I don't know what it is, but work is starting to exhaust me. I'm trying to find more easy meals to make. So I decide on some Sesame Chicken.
The original recipe doesn't call for broccoli, but I figured we should have some vegetables. And contrary to the comments on Budget Bytes for this, I think there is plenty of sauce. Maybe even too much sauce. We boiled the broccoli for a few minutes before mixing it in with the chicken, but now I'm wondering if it would have been better if we roasted the broccoli first. I'll try that next time. Overall, this still tasted good.
Day 31 (Saturday): I had a virtual game night on Saturday, so I wanted to do something easy. We've had dumplings in the freezer, so this seemed like a good time to cook some of those. We also had some iceberg lettuce in the fridge, along with other various veggies, so it seemed like a good idea to make some salad. When I think of how to use iceberg, my mind immediately jumps to those salads you get at Hibachi restaurants.
Yes, we had dumplings from two different batches. Look at that color contrast.
Day 32 (Sunday): Another thought about using up lettuce is to put it in soup. So we figured, let's make some noodle soup! We were thinking we might want to make Pho since we're stuck at home all day, but that requires way too many herbs and spices that I don't currently have, so we're making Teochew Noodle Soup 粿条汤 instead.
This made me realize I don't have those large Asian bowls. We still made it work with smaller ones.
We actually never ended up putting lettuce in this. But it doesn't matter, noodle soup is always a good idea.
Day 10 (Saturday): It's the weekend! My sister is losing track of the days as every day feels the same. But since I don't have work, I decide that it would be a good time to make dumplings since it takes me a while to make dumplings.
Of course I didn't think about the fact that my sister is an amazing and super fast dumpling wrapper. She probably wraps four dumplings in the time it takes me to wrap one.
She actually wasn't as happy with this batch as she usually is. I think we need a larger meat to veggies ratio. But I still thought it was delicious. So delicious, that we forgot to take a picture immediately and didn't remember to do so until we ate half of them.
Day 11 (Sunday): In keeping with the theme of making more elaborate meals on the weekend, we decided to make pizza. From scratch. That's right: homemade pizza dough and homemade pizza sauce. I used half a can of crushed tomatoes in our soupy pasta on Friday, so I turned the other half into pizza sauce. It was really easy!
My favorite pizza is BBQ chicken, but if I want a more traditional cheese and tomato sauce pizza, my favorite topping is tomato. I love tomatoes on pizza.
Not only that, we also made cheesy bread! I used to eat cheesy bread all the time when my work would order pizza from a place called Giovanni's which made the most amazing cheesy bread. Unfortunately, one time they were super late with their delivery so the admin team decided to never order from there again ):
But, who cares! I can make my own cheesy bread! Well. My sister can. Dough still kind of scares me.
It was kind of awkward making both since the pizza needed to cook at 425 and the cheesy bread needed to cook at 375 but we made it work. We actually have a decent amount of pizza sauce left! Maybe we'll make more cheesy bread later?