Boiled Shrimp and Chive Dumplings
The Bund Shanghai Restaurant in San Francisco’s old Chinatown is named after the old colonial business district along the Huangpu River in Shanghai. It gets good reviews online and so it was the first place I tried during my visit. Like a lot of restaurants in Shanghai the Bund provides a bowl of small crunchy peanuts as a free appetizer. Continue reading
I am busy writing up some posts from my trip to San Francisco but in the mean time check out Andrea Nguyen’s recent post over at Viet Word Kitchen. She compares Shenzhen Southseas Grains Industries “Special Dumpling Flour” to unbleached Gold Medal all-purpose flour for making dumplings.
Steamed Veggie Dumplings
Moshi Moshi is one of my favorite restaurants in Western Massachusett’s Pioneer Valley and is the best sushi restaurant on the Northampton-Amherst axis. Sam, the owner and head sushi chef, knows all his regulars by name and often gives out samples of new sushi rolls he is trying out. Sam and his wife are originally from Korea so they will also whip up Korean dishes for regulars. Stand out dishes to try include; the spicy-crunchy-tuna hand roll, the okominyaki pancake, the tempura sweet potato sushi roll and the grilled mackerel. The weekday lunch time Bento boxes are a great deal and another bonus is that he has a satellite radio tuned to a great roots reggae and ska channel. Continue reading
The guy’s gear and gadget blog, Cool Materials, just did a Sriracha taste testing, that’s right Huy Fong is not the only game in town. Although the much discussed “Greta Huy Fong Sriracha Shortage of 2014″ never really happened it is good to know we have alternatives. Spoiler alert: Shark Brand does not win.
I bring this up because Sriracha is my favorite pepper sauce for making dumpling sauce, it adds both pepper spice and vinegar tang to a dipping sauce.
My dipping sauce:
2 parts soy
2 parts rice vinegar
1 part water
a few drops of sesame oil
Sriracha to taste
China Blue has a pretty wide selection of dumplings so I on my first visit I only tried the pork filled ones. I recently went back to try the vegetable potstickers and the steamed vegetable dumplings. It turned however that these two menu items are the same dumpling, just cooked differently, so I substituted the Shanghai Shumai for the steamed veggie dumpling.
The Dumplings: China Blue makes a really good vegetable potsticker filled with a fine mince of vegetables which I think included at least spinach, carrots and mushrooms – the restaurant is a little dimly lit so it was hard to tell. The filling had a nice savory, bright and fresh flavor that was slightly sweet from the carrots. The wrapper was a pale green color and fried to a nice crispy crunch on the bottom. I thought these dumplings were really successful and they didn’t seem like just an after thought on the menu for vegetarians. China Blue could probably step it up to another level though and offer a different type of dumpling for the steamed dumpling. Continue reading
My vegetable dumplings
The Lunar New year is Friday the 31st and traditionally New Year’s eve celebrations involve making dumplings. Eating dumplings for the New Year is thought to bring good fortune – the shape of the dumpling is said to resemble that of ancient gold ingots, to represent prosperity. The Washington Post just ran a story, how-to video and a photo gallery on one family’s preparations for Korean New Year celebrations. They make 600 deep fried dumplings for 60 guests – both meat and vegetarian style. The traditional Korean New Year meal is duk mandu guk, a soup of simmered meat-filled dumplings and glutinous rice cakes.
For the New Year I am starting a new feature for Dumpling Hunter, reviews of store bought frozen dumplings. I have had a wide range of experiences with store bought frozen dumplings, from excellent to horrifying. I’ll sort it out for you, so that you don’t need to experiment.
Whole Foods Vegetable Potstickers: Rating
Whole Foods makes a frozen vegetable potsticker that may be the worst dumpling I have ever tried. My problem with them was that the filling was mushy and gloppy. The packaging lists rolled oats as one of the filling ingredients, which I think is where the mushiness came from. Maybe when they are steamed the oats form a porridge inside the dumpling wrapper. I managed to get through only one of these dumplings.
Whole Foods sells them in packs of eight and, while not labeled as such, there are no meat or dairy products listed among the ingredients so they appear to be vegan. The ingredients include “Yeast Extract” which is a way to add MSG into packaged food without having to label it as such. Yeast are high in glutamate, the G in MSG, add water and salt and you have MSG. The packaging advises against using the microwave to cook them and recommends that you pan fry the dumplings until one side is golden brown and then add some water to the pan to steam them to finish them off.
I give these dumplings – 0 stars.