When my mother came up with the name of her first cookbook the term "All-American" only seemed fit. After all, she was 1st generation Chinese married to an American, Irish, Norwegian man living in Nebraska where traditional Chinese ingredients were not made readily available. It isn't until now that I truly understand the meaning of the All-American... (read more)

Archive for January, 2009




Sweet & Sour Sauce

This popular sauce is ideal for dipping egg rolls and fried wontons.

½ cup sugar
½ cup ketchup
½ cup white vinegar
½ cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

In a small bowl, dissolve 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of water. Mix well.

To Cook:
In a small saucepan, mix sugar, ketchup, vinegar and water together. Cook and stir over medium heat and bring to a boil. Add the dissolved cornstarch immediately. Stir for a few seconds until the sauce thickens and becomes clear. Remove from heat. Serve the dipping sauce warm or at room temperature.

Makes 1-½ cups
Preparation and cooking time: 6 minutes




Pan Fried Gyoza Dumplings

My mother makes hands down the best Chinese Potstickers. Here’s a convenient take on her traditional recipe which requires no dough making! The Gyzoa is a like small sized Potsticker with thinner dough. It’s traditionally a Chinese hors d’oeuvre made popular by the Japanese and a hit with just about everyone I know!

1 package fresh gyoza skin wrappers (12 oz. or 14 oz.)*
1/2 cup water for sealing  the gyoza
Canola oil or Pam cooking spray
1 cup water (divide 4 times for cooking each batch of gyoza)

½ pound head cabbage (8 oz.)
1 teaspoon salt and ¼ cup water to marinade the cabbage
1 pound lean ground pork
2 scallions, including the green top
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger root
1 egg
2 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
2 teaspoons pure sesame oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar

Sauce for Dipping:
3 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon red hot chili oil (optional)

Shred cabbage and finely chop. In a bowl, mix the cabbage with 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ cup water. Use one hand to mix the cabbage with the salt water for 1 minute. Leave the cabbage to rest and marinade in the bowl for at least 15 minutes.

Wash and trim the green onions, finely chop. Peel and finely grate the fresh ginger root. Use another bowl to combine the ground pork with the onions, ginger root, egg, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and sugar. Mix together thoroughly and set aside.

Use both hands to pick up a small amount of marinated cabbage and squeeze to drain the salt water from the cabbage. Drop into the meat mixture bowl. Continue until all the cabbage has been squeezed dry of salt water. Mix the cabbage with the meat mixture together thoroughly and set aside.

To Assemble:
In a small bowl, fill 1/2 cup water for assembling the gyoza. Place a round gyoza wrapper in the palm of your hand. Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of the wrapper (careful not to overstuff the wrapper). Use the fingers of your free hand to moisten all sides of the exposed dough (around the filling) with water. Fold the wrapper in half and pinch the top. Then crimp each side of dough tightly with your fingers to seal. Tap the sealed dumpling to flatten its bottom so that it stands upright. Repeat to finish assembling all the gyoza.**

To Cook:
Spray cooking oil onto a non-stick 10 inch frying pan over medium heat. Place about 16 gyoza dumplings in the pan. Add ¼ cup water to pan, cover with lid and cook for approximately 6 to 7 minutes. When the water is absorbed and the bottom of gyoza is lightly browned, the dumplings are ready. Serve immediately or use spatula to transfer the gyoza onto a cookie sheet, cover with tinfoil (so the gyoza skin will not dry out) and keep warm in the oven. Repeat to cook remaining gyoza. Serve with dipping sauce if desired.

Makes 60 to 65 gyoza
Preparation time: 1-½ hours
Cooking time: 4 batches about 25 to 28 minutes

*Gyoza Wrappers are 3 inch round, thin, soft, fresh flour dough. They come in about 65 pieces and are sold next to the wonton wrappers in the produce section of most supermarkets.
**You can make the gyoza ahead of time and freeze on a flat tray. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag and keep frozen for later use.




Boiled Soy Sauce Eggs

When my mother was a young girl in school, she was always delighted to see the soy sauce egg in her lunch box. They made for a great snack. The Chinese also believe that eggs symbolize a round, smooth year so they are an ideal treat for a birthday or Chinese New Year!

12 large eggs
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt to boil the eggs
2 scallions, including the green top
1 oz. fresh ginger root
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce (kikkoman brand)
1 tablespoon rice or cooking sherry wine
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons red hot chili oil

To Cook:
Place eggs in a medium size pot with 4 cups of water and salt over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium, cover the pot and boil for approximately 10 minutes. Drain the hot water from the pot, rinse the eggs with cold water and peel off the egg shells. Wash and trim the green onions, slice them in half. Use a heavy knife to crush 1 oz. fresh ginger root. Place the peeled hard-boiled eggs back into the empty pot. Add green onions, crushed ginger root, water, soy sauce, wine, sugar and chili oil. Cover pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for approximately 25 minutes while stirring the eggs occasionally. When all the liquid is nearly absorbed, the eggs will become reddish brown in color. Remove pot from heat. Discard the green onions and ginger root. Let the eggs cool for 20 minutes. Cut each egg lengthwise in half and then into quarters. Serve the eggs room temperature or cold. If any sauce remains, just spoon some on top of the cut eggs for additional flavor. Refrigerate the eggs. They taste even better the next day.

Makes 12 soy sauce eggs
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: Total about 40 minutes




Hot Pepper Shrimp

Hot Pepper Shrimp is a spicy dish however if you really like hot, you can take it up a few notches by not removing the seeds of the jalapeno. Any variety of fresh chili pepper may be substituted for the jalapeno peppers. Of course fresh shrimp is super but for the sake of convenience, I also enjoy frozen shrimp. It’s available whenever I feel like it and it comes already peeled and deveined. What a time saver!

1 pound medium size raw shrimp (31 to 40 count per pound)
3 fresh green jalapeno chili peppers
½ red bell pepper
2 scallions, including the green top
½ oz. fresh ginger root
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil (for cooking in a non-stick wok or a fry pan)

2 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
1 tablespoon rice or cooking sherry wine
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon white vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon pure sesame oil

Peel, devein and rinse shrimp. Wash and cut jalapeno peppers in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and cut crosswise into ¼ inch pieces. Cut the red bell pepper into 1 inch strips.  Wash and trim the green onions, finely chop. Peel, thinly slice and then chop the ginger root into small pieces. In a small bowl, mix the sauce ingredients together however add the seasme oil at the very end and set aside.

To Cook:
Heat oil in a non-stick wok or a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, brown onions and ginger for a few seconds. Add shrimp into the wok. Stir-fry for approximately 2 minutes until the shrimp changes to pink in color. Be careful not to over cook the shrimp. Add jalapenos and red bell peppers. Mix well. Stir the sauce mixture and pour into wok. Stir-fry for one more minute. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 -20 minutes
Cooking time: 4 minutes

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