torsdag den 29. januar 2009

that warm, gooey feeling

rabbit-shaped bao

time-consuming recipes with cheap ingredients are nice to dabble in these days with no job, no school, and no friends. so why not try making those fluffy chinese-style dumplings that i loved to eat from the korean market? and not just any korean market; peking dumpling inside of hannam chain in los angeles. if you could brave the tiny, bustling parking lot then for $6 you could have 6 dumplings the size of your fist (if your fist is the same size as an average asian girl's) with either meat or veg filling. the latter was my favourite; an earthy mix of mushrooms, tofu, cabbage, and vermicelli. usually i couldn't wait to drive all the way home to orange county so i would eat one or two in the car... but at least dumplings are generally easy to eat with one hand. (:

i used this recipe for the dough but instead of dry yeast i used cake yeast. it's much cheaper here in denmark and more widely available. plus it's just fun to work with; becoming a paste as it touches water. if you need a good yeast conversion tool, this one has been working for me. even though we have no steaming materials in the apartment, we are lucky enough to have a rice cooker thanks to my dane! so i just put the steamer rack into the rice cooker and just enough water to fill just below the rack. no one in the apartment has steamed anything in it before so this was a long shot. it is an obh nordica rice cooker with the two options of WARM or COOK. back in california i still fondly remember the sound of my mom's big zojirushi cooker singing "twinkle twinkle little star" once the rice was ready. that one had all the bells and whistles and you could make everything from porrige to sushi rice. *longing sigh*

the first 'test' bao was plain. even these dumplings with no filling are nice since they are slightly sweet. i put it on top of a piece of wax paper since we had no cabbage leaves and steamed it for 15 minutes. when i peeked under the lid, it looked okay... quickly i picked it up and peeled off the wax paper. it's much harder to get it off once it cools.

test bao

it felt and looked right. munch munch... and tasted even better! almost like the ones i used to buy in los angeles! i can't believe i made a fresh yeast, rice cooker-steamed bao! after that, i just went buckwild. :D

see how small the rice cooker is? it can only fit 3 bao!

the next one i stuffed with kimchi. omg... SO GOOD. i didn't take a picture of that one since i ate it so fast. but i knew that my dane might not want to eat this korean spin-off, so i chopped some button mushrooms and stir-fried them with onion and garlic. when the kitchen started to really stink up, i dropped in some hoisin, soy sauce, and sesame oil. folding up the stuffed bao was the hardest part but i kind of got the hang of it towards the end. it was a lot of fun making different shapes like the rabbit and even some accidental human anatomy that formed as the bao split during steaming...

what do you see? (;

the dane seemed impressed. we gobbled them up in no time. there's still half a batch of dough left so tonight i'll try brushing the tops of the bao with beaten egg and then baking them in the oven. maybe today is the day that he tries kimchi dumplings? (:

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