New Years impromptu Chinese dinner

I love making wontons.  I’ve only made my own wrappers once, but seeing as how I wanted to try making a few dishes without spending all night on my feet, I went to my freezer to grab ready to use wrappers.
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My original idea was to make wontons, however, my husband called to tell me the grocery store ran out of minced pork.  He asked if they could grind a cut of pork, but the guy said “oh, we just cleaned that!”. With 2 hours until closing, that’s a pretty lame excuse to me. Granted, they don’t have a real meat counter / butcher operation, but still.  Grinding is not hard.

Anyway, I made a shrimp filling (Cantonese ha-gow) with 6 deveined and minced prawns, 3 peeled and minced water chestnuts, 1/2 beaten eggwhite, a pinch of cornstarch, 1/4 cup hydrated shiitake mushrooms, soy, sesame oil, cooking wine, white pepper powder, and vegan hoisin.  I put all the dumplings in a steamer to cook through.

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I found a recipe for braised, stuffed bitter melon online that was super simple and yummy sounding. Click for the recipe .  Of course, this was using pork, as well, but I improvised with fatty ground Chuck.  The brown chopped shiitake
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mushrooms add a little texture.
Gotta blanch the rings of bittermelon first, but it was really fun to stuff them.  I bought 1/4 lb of Chuck, which was way too much filling.  So I froze the rest as patties for later.  My aunt used to make very delicious meat pancakes from extra fillings and serve it over steamy hot rice.  Mmmm.

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I wanted fresh noodles, but not living close to any Asian markets, I had to make due with a packaged Annie Chun egg noodle type from the store.  Braising the stuffed gourds was a breeze in a liitle black bean, garlic and sesame oil mix.  Added a little broth and jalepeƱo to add some zing!

This dish has no name.  It’s just a few things put together in a bowl.  I really wanted some bitter, astringent, spicy flavors, but a little sweetness from the proteins made it work out well. 

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