Category Archives: Culinary trek around the globe

Dim Sum and then some…

Asia or Bust part 2

On the menu today: Pork Dumplings and Ginger – Curry Sweet Potato Fries.

My new  bamboo steamer cooked the dumplings perfectly. I researched how to get the best results when making dumplings, and the one consistent piece of advice I found, was that I should line the steamer with something. This “something” could be any number of things from damp tea towels to banana leaves. I decided to use parchment.

I found a website that sells steamer liners, and basically all they are is parchment circles with a lot of little holes to allow steam through.  Using a wooden skewer, I was able to achieve proper “air flow”. The liners worked really well, and made cleaning the steamer so simple. I highly recommend using them.

What a great way to end our “tour” of Asia!

 Pork Dumplings


14 ounces ground pork
2 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry or orange juice – a great sherry substitute
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 egg white, lightly beaten
4  teaspoons cornstarch
24 wonton skins


     Place the ground pork, scallions, soy sauce, sherry or juice, sesame oil, sugar and beaten egg white in a large mixing bowl and mix until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Stir in the cornstarch, mixing until thoroughly incorporated with the other ingredients.

Spread out the wonton skins on work surface. Place a spoonful of pork mixture in the center of each wonton skin and lightly brush edges with water.

Bring sides of skins together in the center of the filling, pinching firmly together (it’ll look like a little purse).

Line  steamer with parchment and arrange wontons inside.

Cover and steam for 5-7 minutes, until dim sum are cooked through.
Serve immediately.

Dipping Sauce

Makes about 1 cup

2 tablespoons Spicy Sambal 

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

In a small bowl combine the sambal, vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Mix until well combined.

Ginger – Curry Sweet Potato Fries


2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and unpeeled

1/3 cup canola oil

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon garam masala

2 teaspoons ginger powder

2 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced

Kosher salt and pepper to taste


Trim 1/4 inch from the ends of each potato, then shave the sides to make rough rectangular shapes. Cut the potatoes lengthwise into 1/2 – inch-wide slices. Stack the slices and cut into 1/2 -inch – wide fries.

In a large bowl, combine the oils, masala, ginger and scallions. Add the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and toss well.

Place heavy sheet pan in the oven and heat to 400 degrees. Remove pan, dump fries onto it, and using a spatula, seperate the potatoes. (The potatoes should sizzle when they touch the pan, if they don’t, remove them from the pan, return it to the oven, and continue to heat it for a few minutes. Then return potatoes to pan)

Bake the potatoes until golden brown, 10 -15 mins. Checking periodically to make sure the potatoes are not browning to quickly.

Turn the potatoes and cook an additional 10-15 mins. until crisp outside, soft inside.

And here you have the 4 – year – olds version of an Asian dinner :


Posted by on pmpFri, 20 May 2011 21:21:40 +000021Friday 4 , 2011 in Culinary trek around the globe, Recipes


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Asia or bust…

(a culinary trek around the globe with a 4 year old foodie)

This week’s culinary travel pick was….Asia. Yes, I know there are many places within Asia that we could have explored, but when a 4 year old is doing the selecting, we get what we get.

We started our “travels” with a trip to the Asian District. There is a market there that is out of this world. Every time we go there I feel like an Andrew Zimmern roadie. The place is packed floor to ceiling with foreign delights and freakiness. Which only ads to the charm. You can select your own live fish which will then be beheaded right before your eyes, (we usually steer clear of this section). On our latest visit we found an item labeled “Ground Cucumber” – a giant, brown earth grub. Cucumber? Hmmm. The fresh produce is amazing, with so many choices at reasonable costs, it is hard to leave without some exotic perishable.

I bought a new bamboo steamer (for only $8.99) and ingredients to make fresh dim sum, peanut noodles, and array of other “staples” to have on hand. I am most excited to use the steamer. Dim Sum is one of my all time favorites.

We then went to the library and took out some books about Asia, and Kiki’s Delivery Service, a movie by Hayao Miyazaki  

One of the books we took out was The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale by Ying Chang Compestine which after reading, Isaac said “Wow mommy, that was a good book, I thought it was going to be lame”. Lame? Where did he pick up THAT word? At least he used it in the right context.

An astonishing fact about Asia: the majority of Muslims reside in South Asia instead of Middle East, which is essentially known for its Muslim population.

I did not know this. Did you?

The first thing we made was Sesame Peanut Noodles.


16 oz noodles (you can use spaghetti, linguine, or fresh wheat flour noodles – really any noodle of choice) I used fresh wheat flour noodles:

1 bunch of green onions

2 Tablespoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

3 garlic cloves minced

2/3 cup all natural no sugar added peanut butter

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup hot water

1 Tablespoon cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)

1 teaspoon white sugar


Cook pasta according to directions on package.

Meanwhile, combine oil and onions in a skillet. Saute over medium heat until tender. Add ginger and garlic, cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes.

Mix in peanut butter, soy sauce, water, vinegar and  sugar. Remove from heat.

Toss noodles with sauce, and serve either hot or cold.


O shokuji o o tanoshimi kudasai


Posted by on pmpWed, 18 May 2011 19:58:33 +000058Wednesday 4 , 2011 in Culinary trek around the globe, Recipes


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down under…

(a culinary trek around the globe with a 4 year old foodie).

I decided last week that we really needed to start learning more about our planet. And in my house, what better way than through food.

Each week Isaac will pick a country from the giant map he has hanging in his room. We will research facts and make at least one meal indigenous to that country.

This week he pointed to (as he called it) “the big island”, also known as Australia.

He claimed a spot on the couch and helped me look up recipes online. We talked about Kangaroos (a lot), I read an article about the woman who claimed a “Dingo ate her baby”, he thought calling me “mate” was a double bonus because he was pretending to be a pirate and after about 3 hours we both decided we were versed enough in Australian facts to  pass as Aussies  at least make a meal the natives would be proud of.

We settled on  Aussie Meat Pie and Pork & Fennel Rolls.

(we did not make these on the same day, that would be meat OVERLOAD)

Off to the store for ingredients.

Thankfully there was no Kangaroo in the meat pie recipe,(I found more than a few that did )  There are some things I don’t want to explain to a very curious 4 year old  with a vivid imagination and questions I am not prepared to answer. Plus, I don’t think our local spectacle grocery store carries it.

Fun fact about Australia: Apparently, the first European settlers in Australia drank more alcohol per person than any other community in the history of mankind.

Now that, is interesting.

We made it back from the grocery store scar-less, unless you count the scars on my retinas from seeing one too many women dragging one of their 20 children around like a rag-doll, swearing loud enough for everyone 6 isles over to hear, and filling carts with enough soda and fried food to feed a small nation, oh wait, she IS feeding a small nation.

Ok.Focus. Back to the recipes.

Aussie Meat Pie


     900g (2 lbs) beef rump steak, trimmed, chopped (round steak)      (note: I used my food processor to “mince” the steak, and it worked great)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
3 rashers bacon, trimmed, chopped (a rasher is 1 slice of bacon)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons plain flour
2 cups beef stock
1/2 tablespoon thyme
1 pie shell (I cheated and used a deep dish crust I bought at the store)
1 sheet frozen ready-rolled puff pastry, partially thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten

Process steak until mixture resembles mince. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and bacon. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until golden. Add mince. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up mince, for 6 to 8 minutes or until browned.
Add tomato paste and flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until combined. Add stock and thyme. Stir to combine. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30 minutes or until sauce has thickened and meat is tender. Season with pepper. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.Fill pie shell with steak mixture. Top with puff pastry. Trim excess. Press edges together with a fork to seal. Using a small sharp knife, cut a small cross in pie top. Brush with egg. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden.

Pork & Fennel Rolls


 1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp mustard powder
1 onion, finely chopped
80g sliced pancetta, chopped
450g (1 lb)  pork mince –  (I used ground pork)
1 1/2 cups  fresh breadcrumbs
2 Tablespoon  parsley
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
2 eggs, lightly beaten
375g (1 package, 2 sheets)  frozen puff pastry, thawed

      Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a tray with baking paper. Toast first two spices in a dry frying pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Pound the spices in a mortar and pestle (or coffee grinder like I did) until finely ground. Stir in mustard, set aside. Return pan to medium heat. Cook onion and pancetta for 5 minutes or until onion softens, stirring. Add spices, then cool.
Add onion mixture to a large bowl with pork, crumbs, parsley, zest and half the egg. Season and mix well, then refrigerate until needed.
Lay both puff pasty flat on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Shape pork into two sausages, about 12 inches long and 2 inches wide. Place 1 sausage on each pastry rectangle, then roll up to enclose. Turn rolls seam side down, brush with egg. Cut on an angle into 2 inch pieces, then place on tray and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and cooked. Serve with chutney. I made a tomato chutney.But I think any would be tasty with these rolls. Or even without, they were yummy!

Tune in next week to see where the foodie takes us.


Posted by on pmpWed, 04 May 2011 18:04:46 +000004Wednesday 4 , 2011 in Culinary trek around the globe, Recipes


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