King Dumplings

March 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

Today’s a very rainy day here, so I thought this might be an appropriate meal to post: beef and pork dumplings in King-sized wrappers (made last year). These are way too big, but I didn’t have the option of getting the smaller-sized ones because I didn’t like the ingredients of the ones available. Wrappers should be made with rice flour or they won’t taste very good.

I made these too salty–OOPS!  But we tried to off-set that by making them into a soup (one of my comfort foods)….we had to keep it boiling a long time to pull out the salt! I’ve been discouraged to make them again, but I have two packages of wrappers in my freezer right now! I suppose I could make vegetarian taco cups with them…hhhmmm…

Speaking of…these can be vegetarian—just use whatever veggies you like, but also keep in mind that the water content of each will vary.  So you want to use something that will soak up some of the liquid while it’s in the wrapper. I used flour in mine. You’ll also want to keep in mind the different textures of the veggies when choosing the right combination.

My mom would make hundreds of them for New Year’s Day (she had a few helpers) and freeze them a little first on sheet pans or large plates and then throw them in a bag together. That way, they won’t stick to each other. If you live in a cold place, you can just place them outside in the garage during the winter months and they’ll freeze very quickly.

A pet peeve of mine: when I see dumplings being made on TV and on food blogs, people don’t make them with their hands…they always place a bunch on the cutting board and make a bunch at a time. Then they proceed to awkwardly fold them…still on the cutting board! These are to be made by hand, one-by-one and not factory style, taking care into folding and sealing them. I can’t say that I make mine pretty (as shown by the very chubby dumplings I made!), but my mom is my reference point. There’s a lot of TLC that goes into one dumpling—it’s the single most important ingredient to making home-cooked meals delicious (even if there’s too much salt!)!!!

Dashima and dumplings…..

March 14, 2012 § 1 Comment

THIS is one of my COMFORT FOODS:  dumpling soup!  I grew up eating a variation of this once every New Year’s Day.  My mom would make hundreds of dumplings and turn it into soup, make the deep-fried kind and have each household and family member be able to take home at least another few meals’ worth of dumplings.

My mom makes it with a beef-based broth, but my M-I-L makes a seafood-based broth.  I’ve adapted the latter since its much easier to boil some anchovies or dashima or a combination of both.  The dumplings here are pork, but can be easily interchanged with vegetarian ones.  So on a chilly day, a nice bowl of this soup really hits the spot!

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Here’s how we make it (ingredient list in purple):

  1. Boil pot of water, enough for the meal and a some extra due to evaporation.  The extra amount depends on how much you plan to boil the anchovies and dashima.
  2. Add the anchovies (we have a stainless steel container with holes that we use to place them in—kind of like a much larger version of a loose tea strainer) and several pieces of dashima.  If you don’t have dashima, then skip it.
  3. Keep boiling them and watch the water level.  If it condenses down too much, then add some boiling water to it (I have a separate electric water boiler).
  4. While the broth is boiling away, mix 2 eggs, salt, dashima and a tiny splash of Korean soy sauce in a bowl, but be careful to not add too much of these salty ingredients—its better to under-salt.  Set the bowl aside.
  5. Clean and slice 3-4 stalks of green onions
  6. Slice some garlic, ~3-5 cloves.
  7. The rest of the ingredients are layed out on the counter beforehand because everything must be added quickly or the dumplings will overcook and turn into mush:  dumplings, salt, seafood dashida, Korean soy sauce (again, this is for soup—DO NOT substitute for soy sauce used for dipping), unseasoned dried seaweed sheets.
  8. After at least 20 minutes of boiling, I drop in about 18-22 dumplings (for 2 very hungry people) and the garlic.  Let it come to boil again.
  9. Then quickly add the egg mixture by pouring it over the the fork or chopsticks (whatever you used to mix the eggs), simultaneously moving across the pot.  The point of this is to spread out the egg and get them into thin “strips”.  If you just dump the mixture in the hot water, it will cook into one large egg ball.
  10. Add the green onions on top, cover the pot with the lid.  Once it starts to come to a boil, turn off the flame, making sure the eggs are steamed/boiled, but not too much.  The key is to keep the eggs light and fluffy, so you don’t want to cook them too much.
  11. Heat 2 sheets of seaweed over an open flame (or a dry pan) by quickly moving it around the flame.  The sheets will krinkle up.  Then crumble it all over the top of the dumpling soup.  If you don’t have seaweed sheets, then skip this step.
  12. Serve immediately (minimally with kimchi, of course!).

Note:  Dashi-MA and dashi-DA are different.  Dashida is the powder spice that I mentioned in an earlier post. Dashima is another type of dried seaweed.  I’ve seen some labels  that read “kelp” and others as “sea tangle”.  Honestly, I have no idea what the difference is, so hopefully my photos will help.  This is also used to flavor broth.  It gives the broth a depth of flavor that is hard to explain and gives the soup a clean, refreshing taste.  Once you try it, then you’ll know what I mean.

How to use it:  Its very easy to use—all you do is take a few pieces (~6 pieces for a medium-sized pot) out and drop them in when the broth is boiling.  Since its used to flavor the base, use it at the beginning, before you add your main ingredients and let it boil at least 10 minutes.

Extra Tips:  Dashima can be added to seaweed soup (seen in my birthday post here), spicy Korean rice cakes (which we do add) and there are a ton more, but I just can’t think of any at the moment.

A birthday fit for a KING!

March 2, 2012 § 4 Comments

This ENTIRE meal was homemade, except for the seaweed sheets—I made the {*DELICIOUS*} seaweed soup and my mom made ALL the side dishes, in which at least SIX of them are from her garden! 😛

I should say that we also had kalbi (Korean short ribs) that my mom made, but there was so many side dishes that we served it for dinner (short ribs for breakfast just doesn’t seem appealing).

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배추국 = cabbage soup

March 1, 2012 § 1 Comment

Cabbage soup sounds very unappetizing, but this really is delicious!  If you like the fermented bean paste, then you will really like this soup.

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