cooking class #7

cooking class #7 was chinese food! yay!!! mmm… chinese food… so good. this class was taught by nancy hall (professor/dean hall’s wife). i think nancy has come to most of the cooking classes this term, and she often works with our group. she’s originally from taiwan (cough cough… i have no comments about taiwan. of course not.) this night was really busy and full of recipes. fun and yummy of course though. oh, and nancy got a bunch of recipes from Pei Mei’s Chinese Cookbook (Taiwan, 1969). AND, for the measurement T of any recipes from pei mei’s, that means one of those large asian soup spoons, not tablespoons.

take a look:

cooking class 7
from the top going clockwise: rice, beef steak chinese style, kung pao chicken, dumplings, sweet and sour pork, dry cooked string beans, honey walnut shrimp with lettuce.

dumplings/pot stickers

2 1/2 c flour
2/3 c boiling water
1/3 c cold water
3/4 lb. ground pork
4 oz. shrimp, shelled
3 dried black mushrooms
10 oz. cabbage
1 T chopped green onion
1 t chopped giner
2 T soy sauce
2 t salt
2 T sesame oil
3 T vegetable oil

1. add boiling water to flour, mix with chopsticks, then add cold water, and knead it very well, lt stand for at least 15 minutes covered with cloth.
2. add shrimp (cut into small pieces); green onion, ginger, and soy sauce, salt, sesame oil. mix thoroughly with pork until thickened.
3. cook the cabbage in boiling water about 2 minutes, plunge into cold water, squeeze dry, and chop finely, squeeze dry again, add to No. 2 mixture.
4. remove the dough to floured board, knead again until smooth. divide the dough into 40 pieces. flatten each piece with hand and droll into 2 1/2″ round thin pancake, put 1 tablespoon of filling (no. 3 mixture) in center of the dumpling skin then fold over to make a half circle and pinch edges together. (note: leave the end open or close for pot stickers and dumplings, respectively).

for pot stickers:
5. heat a flat frying pan until hot, add 2 tablespoons oil, when oil is hot add enough dumplings to cover the bottom of the pan without overlapping (approx. 20 to a 10″ pan). cook until bottom is golden (about 1 min.), sprinkle with water, cover and cook until water has evaporated.
6. add 1 tablespoon oil to side of pan and fry another half minute. place a serving plate over the frying pan and invert the pan quickly. now prepare the remaining portions. these may be kept warm by covering.

for dumplings:
7. boil a pot of water, then add dumplings, wait until it boils, add 1/2 cup water, repeat three times. dish out dumplings.

comments: these dumplings were way more involved than the ones we make at home (making your own skins is hardcore!), but they were very tasty. i thought the freshly made skin was tasty, but not tasty enough that i would no longer buy ones at the store. the store ones are almost as good. i really like shrimp in dumplings 🙂

honey walnut prawns
(modified from recipe)

1 lb. large or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 c walnuts
1 c water
1 c sugar
2 c oil
1/2 c cornstarch
1/2 c egg whites
2 tbsp honey
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tbsp condensed milk
1/2 c oil

1. rinse walnuts, then boil in water for 2 minutes. decant with water.
2. dissolve 1 cup of sugar in 1 cup of water, add walnuts and boil for another 2 minutes, take out walnuts and set aside.
3. heat 2 cups oil until almost smoking, then deep fry walnuts until they are shiny and brown, no longer golden.
4. place walnuts on cookie sheet, let cool.
5. mix cornstarch and egg whites together to form a thick, sticky texture and mix well with shrimp. set aside.
6. mix honey, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and condensed milk in a medium bowl until smooth.
7. heat oil until boiling, then deep fry the shrimp until golden brown. drain, then fold in honey mayonnaise mixture. mix well.
8. arrange lettuce on a platter, put shrimps on top and sprinkle with walnuts.

comments: ok, so every time someone has ordered this at a restaurant, i think it is disgusting. chinese people don’t use mayonnaise! what the hell is that? BUT, this recipe was actually surprisingly light and tasty. the sauce was more like a glaze not this nasty mayo paste that some restaurants use. i actually like this dish when it is prepared like this.

sweet and sour pork
(pei mei’s chinese cookbook)

1 1/2 lb. pork tenderloin
1 ea. small green, yellow, and red pepper
1 8 oz. can chunk pineapple
1 carrot, peeled
6 c vegetable oil
1/2 cornstarch

pork marinade
1/2 t salt
1/2 T soy sauce
1 T cornstarch
1 T cold water
1 egg yolk

seasoning sauce
3 T vinegar
4 T sugar
4 T tomato catsup
4 T cold water
3 t cornstarch
1 t salt
1 t sesame oil
1. pound pork with the back okf a cleaver then cut into 1-inch cubes. soak with marinade for at least 1/2 hour.
2. slice carrot and peppers into approximately 1 1/2″ pieces.
3. heat 6 cups oil. while oil is heating, coat each piece of pork with cornstarch. when oil is ready, fry pork until brown and done (about 2 min), take out, reheat oil then fry once more until crispy. remove pork and drian off oil from frying pan.
4. put back into frying pan 2 tablespoons oil, fry carrot first, add peppers and pineapple, stirring constantly. add the seasoning sauce continuing to stir fry, until thickened. turn off the heat. add the pork, mix well and serve immediately.

comments: ok, this dish is kind of the kind you eat when you eat americanized chinese food (btw, panda sucks), BUT this was americanized chinese food at its best. it was very tasty. i think a lot of these dishes were kind of not hardcore chinese food, but even though some of them are kind of americanized chinese food, they had really tasty sauces and were pretty simple. i personally am more about chinese chinese food, but i did enjoy these dishes

kung pao chicken
(pei mei’s chinese cookbook)

1 lb. chicken breast
8 pcs. dry red pepper
1/2 c unsalted peanuts (without skins)
1 t ginger, chopped
1 large of 2 small bamboo shoot(s)
1 small carrot, peeled
1 T soy sauce (to soak chicken)
1/2-1 T cornstarch (to soak chicken)
5 c vegetable oil

seasoning sauce
2 T soy sauce
1 T wine
1/2 T brown vinegar
1 T sugar
1 t cornstarch
1/2 t salt
1 t sesame oil

1. cut chicken into 1″ cubes, add 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch, stir evenly in one direction and soak for half hour.
2. wipe clean, remove tips and seeds of dry red pepper, cut into 1″ long pieces.
3. fry chicken in boiling oil for a half minute. remove chicken and drain off oil from frying pan.
4. cut bamboo shoot and carrot into 1″ cubes.
5. heat 2 tablespoons of oil to fry dry red pepper until it turns black, add ginger, bamboo shoot, and carrot, and chicken, stir quickly, next add the seasoning sauce, stir until thickened and heated thoroughly; turn off the fire. add the peanuts, mix well just before serving.

comments: i actually wanted this to be a little spicier. this dish was decent, but it wasn’t what i imagine when i think of really good kung pao chicken (gong bao ji ding). i think green village (in san gabriel) has really good kung pao.

beef steak chinese style
(pei mei’s chinese cookbook)

2 lbs. beef tenderloin
1 lb. green cabbage
1 t salt
1/2 T cornstarch paste
3 c vegetable oil

beef marinade
3 T cornstarch
1/2 C cold water
1 t meat tenderizer
1/2 t baking soda
1 egg white
3 T cooking oil

seasoning sauce
3 T tomato catsup
1 T worcestershire
1 T wine
1 T sugar
5 T cold water

1. cut beef across the grain into 1/2″ thick 2 1/2″ square pieces. place the beef in the marinating sauce. turn the pieces so that every piece is thoroughly soaked with the sauce. add cooking oil. turn occasionally. marinate for at least one hour.
2. heat the oil. deep fry the steaks until done, turn once. take the steaks out. drain the oil.
3. heat 2 tablespoons oil in same frying pan, pour in the seasoning sauce and bring to a boil. stir in the cornstarch paste until thickened. put the steaks into the sauce and mix well.
4. arrange the steaks on a platter, pour the gravy over the steaks.
5. boil the green cabbage in boiling water about 1 minute, plunge into cold water and squeeze dry. fry with 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt, and 1/2 cup soup. after 2 minutes remove and drain dry, lay in platter around the beef.

comments: this was also a pretty decent dish, but i think if you have tenderloin, other recipes would probably better suit the quality of the meat.

dry cooked string beans
(pei mei’s chinese cookbook)

1 1/4 lbs. string beans
2 oz. ground pork (optional)
2 T dry shrimp
2 oz. salted mustard tuber
2 T chopped green onion
2 t chopped ginger
5 c peanut oil
1 T sugar
1/2 T brown vinegar
2 t salt
1 T sesame oil
2 T soup stock (or water)

1. choose young, tender and short green beans. remove tips and strings but do not cut smaller.
2. soak dry shrimp in warm water about 10 minutes. chop into small pieces. cut salted mustard tuber into small pieces.
3. heat oil very hot, deep fry string beans until they are wrinkled (about 3 min). remove beans and drain off oil from frying pan.
4. put back only 2 tablespoons oil in pan and fry the pork, chopped ginger, dry shrimp and salted vegetable, add salt, sugar, and soup stock/water. then add the string beans to fry pan, stir well over high heat until the sauce is gone.
5. add vinegar and sesame oil and sprinkle in chopped green onion, stir well.

comments: we didn’t have the right beans when we made this, so we didn’t fry the beans. we blanched them and then stir-fried them. i love beans.
anyway, overall this was a really tasty meal. yes, some of the recipes were kind of americanized, but they were made well. i enjoyed this meal very much. for dessert, tom ordered some almost jello and ba bao fan (eight treasure rice pudding) from a local restaurant. no one seemed as excited about the ba bao fan so i took a bunch home (after eating a bunch already). check it out:

spoils of class
ah, the joys of being in this class

iron chef america

last night i watched the iron chef america flay/delaurentiis vs. batali/ray battle. it was quite exciting. bing and christina were watching it at the same time too so we were talking about it online. i was rooting for rachael ray and mario batali because rachael ray says “yummo” and mario is awesome. his food always looks so good and it’s always kind of playful and simple; he takes traditional recipes and flavors and reinvents them. and he makes it seem so effortless. plus he is very knowledgeable about all the different regional foods in italy.

anyway, i’m not going to reveal the winner.  DON’T GOOGLE IT!!!  watch it.  it’s 1.5 hours.  (giada has a big head!)


turkey lasagna

kathy made this yummy lasagna in the summer, and i really liked it so she emailed me the recipe.  thanks kathy!

turkey lasagna florentine

9 long lasagna noodles
1 pkg. lean ground turkey (approx. 1-1.25 pounds)
2 teaspoons bottled or fresh minced garlic
1 jar (28 oz) spaghetti sauce
1 container (15 oz) ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1pkg. (10oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, as desired
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups (8 oz) shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese

1.  cook noodles according to package directions.  drain, but keep moist.
2. meanwhile, cook turkey and garlic in a large skillet over mediuym heat until turkey is no longer pink, stirring occasionally.
3.  add spaghetti sauce; simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4.  combine ricotta cheese, egg, spinach, pepper flakes and nutmeg.  mix well.
5.  spread 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce mixture in bottom of a 13×9 inch baking dish.  layer half of noodles over sauce; sp0on cheese mixture over noodles.
6.  spoon 1 cup sauce over cheese; repeat layering with remaining noodles; cheese mixture and sauce.


7.  cover with foil and refridgerate over night.
8.  when ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
9.  bake for 50 minutes or until bubbly.
10.  sprinkle mozzarella cheese over lasagna; return to oven and continue baking 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
lasagna baked
stove view

lasagna baked top
top view

makes approx. 8 servings / 380 calories, 32 g. protein, 26g carbs, 17g fat, 105 mg. cholesterol, and 600mg. sodium per serving.

**Note (from kathy):  i ended up making my own spaghetti sauce b/c i didn’t have any… it allowed me to put more vegetables in which was nice.

lasagna piece

comments: mmm… lasagna.  i like this recipe because it’s not too heavy and healthier than some other lasagna recipes (ground turkey instead of ground beef, not too much meat, more veggies, not too much cheese).  kathy’s was really really tasty.  mine was pretty good, but i think i needed a little more sauce.  i used some of the homemade marinara sauce that i made a week ago and froze, so i think the amount i used was a little less than 28 oz.  i didn’t add more vegetables since my sauce had some, but next time i might add more veggies like kathy did.  i took about half the lasagna to ruddock small group where it was easily devoured by 8 of us.  mr. kwa said, “bring more next time!”

clear chinese pork ball and noodle soup

this is another from the essential wok cookbook. i think this is the first 2-star difficulty recipe we’ve tried. whoa! most difficult is 3-stars.

prep time 20 min + 1 hr. refrigeration
total cooking time: 30 minutes
serves 4-6

1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
150 g (5 oz) wom bok (NAPA!)
300 g (10 oz) pork mince
1 egg white
1 1/2 tablespoons cornflour
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/3 cup (80 ml/2 3/4 fl oz) light soy sauce
2 tablespoons chinese rice wine
6 spring onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup (15 g/ 1/2 oz) fresh coriander leaves (CILANTRO), finely chopped
1.5 litres (48 fl oz) home-made chicken stock or 1.25 litres (40 fl oz) purchased stock diluted with 1 cup (250 ml/8 fl oz) water
3 teaspoons grated fresh ginger, extra
200 g (6 1/2 oz) fresg thin egg noodles
finely chopped fresh red chilli, to garnish (optional)

1. heat a wok over high heat, add the peanut oil and 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil, then swirl to coat the side of the wok. add the garlic, ginger and wom bok and stir-fry for 1 minute, or until the garlic begins to brown. as soon as this happens, remove the wok from the heat and allow to cool.

2. transfer the cooled wom bok mixture to a large bowl and add the mince, egg white, cornflour, white pepper, 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of the rice wine, half the spring onion and 3 tablespoons of the coriander. mix thoroughly, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. shape 1 tablespoon of the mixture into a ball using wet hands. repeat with the remaining mixture.

3. clean and dry the wok, then pour in the stock. bring the stock to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes. add the extra ginger, remaining soy sauce and rice wine and cook, covered, for 5 minutes before adding the pork balls. cook, uncovered, for a further 8-10 minutes, or until the balls rise to the top and are cooked through.

4. meanwhile, cook the noodles in a large saucepan of boiling water for 1 minute, or until they separate. drain, then rinse well. divide the noodles among serving bowls, then ladle on the soup. sprinkle with the remaining spring onion and coriander, then add a couple of drops of the remaining sesame oil. serve with chilli and extra soy sauce, if desired.


noodles + stuff
noodles + meatballs and veggies + soup

noodles + stuff + soup
noodles + meatballs and veggies + soup


comments: this recipe was quite tasty. the meatballs were quite nice, and the overall balance of the soup with the noodles and meat was good. we also added some leftover cabbage we had from making dumplings. i made the meatballs first and froze them until it was noodle night. but meatballs in general have a lot of fat, so when i took the leftover meatballs out of the fridge the next day, it was kind of disgusting seeing all the solidified fat. they were damn tasty though. maybe next time i can get rid of some fat. we were thinking maybe we could cook the meatballs in a pan first and drain out some of the oil.

cnn article

last week there was an article about our class on cnn. i think the reporter’s were there for southern night. too bad the article didn’t have pictures.

the article was also posted at the scotsman (scotland!) and yahoo news (this one has a small pic of the class. i’m kind of at the back near cameron).

AND, on the caltech today website, they used one of my pictures!  (scroll to the bottom) 🙂