Steamed Shrimp Cocktail Dumplings

If I see shumai on the menu, I’m getting them. They remind me of our dinners out at our local Chinese spot, Jade Billows, where I ate as a kid. There’s something about that chewy, pillow-y texture of the wontons that’s super craveable and familiar.

I make a lot of shrimp cocktail. It has slowly evolved from what should be a special occasion appetizer, to something I make at least twice a week. I can make cocktail sauce with a blindfold on. We’ve upgraded our monthly ketchup supply to a 64 ounce bottle, and we probably eat more horseradish in a month than the average American eats in two years.

So combining these two shrimp-loving appetizers was a no-brainer. This is another serious Frankenstein recipe for the books. The cocktail sauce – you guessed it – is an Asian-flavored version of the cocktail sauce we all know and love.

This was my first times folding, and steaming, dumplings – so I enrolled the help of a Google search to find ways to steam the dumplings without the traditional bamboo steamer. Some genius thought up the idea of balling up aluminum foil and setting the plate a few inches above simmering water. It worked like a charm. Not only does it save me from attempting to create room for a cooking tool I literally do not have room for, it’s idiot-proof.

The best part? Now you can make steamed dumplings whenever you want. You can substitute equal portions ground pork in the recipe below, or minced sautéed mushrooms, water chestnuts and carrots to make veggie dumplings.

I think sheer volume is the biggest plus to making your own dumplings. When I order Chinese takeout, there’s never enough dumplings. What person is satiated with six shumai? They’re like oysters, I just can’t eat enough.

So go to town on these – make fifty of them if you’d like. Any leftovers will get eaten, just like your Chinese takeout always does. Trust me. 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2.

  • 1 1 / 2 lb. shrimp, peeled, deveined & minced
  • 1 package refrigerated wonton wrappers
  • 3 scallion stalks, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sesame oil, plus extra for steaming
  • 1 teaspoon hot chili oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1 / 4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 egg, whisked

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Make the cocktail sauce. Combine the ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sambal oelek and 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Mix until combined. Set aside.
  2. Combine the shrimp, scallions, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, mirin, fish sauce, 1 teaspoon hot sesame oil, chili oil, 1 tablespoon sambal oelek, salt and pepper. Mix until incorporated.
  3. To make the dumplings, take 1 wonton wrapper, coat the edges with your finger with egg, put 1 tablespoon of the filling in a corner of the wonton, and slowly crimp the edges until the dumpling is in a half-moon shape. Replicate for the others until no more filling remains.
  4. Fill a pot large enough to fit a small dinner plate with 2 to 3 inches of water. Take 2 3-foot pieces of aluminum foil and ball them until they are about 6 inches in diameter. Flatten the tops slightly, and place in the pot, flattened side up. Place the dinner plate so it sits on top of the balls of foil.
  5. Coat the plate lightly with hot sesame oil, and place dumplings on the plate, giving each about 1 to 2 inches of space on either side so they have room to steam.
  6. Once the water is simmering, cover the pot with a lid, and steam each batch of dumplings for 7 to 8 minutes. Remove the dumplings once cooked through, and continue until all batches are done.
  7. Plate the dumplings, serving hot or warm, along with the cocktail sauce.

Scotch Egg Ramen Noodle Bowl

Scotch eggs. Oh my word. Where to even start?

They’re a traditional British snack food, often considered a picnic-ready food – and although they’re pretty much born to be a breakfast food item considering it’s an egg enclosed in sausage, we couldn’t help but figure, eh, let’s just eat these all day long.

I can’t think of a more delicious concept – jammy egg, Worcestershire sauce-doused ground pork, and other savory elements, all deep fried until golden and sizzly. Here, I went with an Asian flair and added soy sauce, fish sauce and sesame oil. I had a hankering for a bowl of piping hot ramen, and wanted the scotch egg to jive with the Asian flavors in the broth.

A local ramen joint – Jinya, is doing ALL the business. Over the past few months, my sister has been ordering from them four to five times a week – no exaggeration. One time, she had Jinya deliver across the city to her office. For lunch. If she’s any indication – those guys are doing ramen right.

I love the new topping options I’m seeing for ramen. An egg is the classic must have protein-booster, but now I’m seeing crunchy fried pork belly, roasted eggplant, slices of American cheese, and other super delicious topping ideas that go beyond just bean sprouts.

Not that there’s anything wrong with bean sprouts.

This bowl features all my favorite umami flavors – or at least, what I consider umami flavors for my weird palate. Mushrooms, cheese, egg and pork from the scotch egg, toasted sesame seeds, grated onion, spicy chili garlic paste, and corn for a bit of sweetness.

How do you like your ramen to be topped? What’s a cool addition that’s a bit out of left field? I’d love to hear your favorites! 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 1.

  • 1 egg plus 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 / 3 lb. pork sausage, out of its casing
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 dash soy sauce
  • 1 dash fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil, plus 1 dash
  • 1 / 4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 / 4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon wasabi powder
  • 1 3 oz. package ramen noodles
  • 1 quart chicken or beef stock, homemade or store-bought
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 1 yellow Kraft Singles American cheese slice
  • 1 / 4 lb. mushrooms of your choosing, sliced thick
  • 1 / 4 cup corn
  • 1 / 4 white onion, grated
  • 2 Thai chilis, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon Dynasty Hot Chili Oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Salt, as needed
  • Pepper, as needed
  • Enough vegetable oil to reach two inches-high in a fry-safe pan

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Toast the sesame seeds. Add them to a dry, hot pan. Toast them on medium-high heat for 5 to 7 minutes, tossing often, until the seeds are golden brown and aromatic. Set aside.
  2. Combine the ground pork, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, and 1 dash sesame oil, along with a few grounds of black pepper. Set aside.
  3. Cover an egg with water in a small pan, and bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes, and remove from the heat. Place the egg in an ice bath, and allow to sit while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  4. Coat a saute pan in olive oil, and add the mushrooms. Sprinkle with a large pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Saute for 5 to 7 minutes until the mushrooms shrink and become tender. Set aside.
  5. Prepare the scotch eggs. Combine the flour and the wasabi powder in a bowl. Set aside. Take the egg out of the ice bath and smash the egg on both sides, slowly rolling the egg until the shell slides off. Take the pork mixture and flatten it, putting the egg inside and carefully enclosing the egg in the ground pork, until it’s covered evenly on all sides. Place the egg in the flour mixture, then the beaten egg, then the panko bread crumbs. Set aside.
  6. Heat the vegetable oil in a fry-safe pan – enough that the oil rises 2 inches high in the pan. To test the oil readiness, put a pinch of flour in the oil. If it begins to sizzle and brown, the oil is ready to use.
  7. Place the scotch egg in the hot oil with a slotted spoon. Turn the egg carefully throughout the cooking process, about 4 minutes total, until all sides are browned. Remove the egg from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
  8. Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a separate pot, and add the garlic. Saute the garlic in the oil for 3 minutes or so. Add the quart of stock, and bring to a low simmer. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes or so, until the stock has concentrated slightly. Add the ramen noodles, and cook according to package instructions, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  9. Serve the ramen in bowls, topping with the corn, Thai chilis, sauteed mushrooms, grated onion, chili oil, toasted sesame seeds, American cheese and the scotch egg, cut in half lengthwise. Serve hot.

 

Ahi Tuna with Asian Barbecue Dipping Sauce

Ina Garten’s recipe for Barbecue Sauce includes Asian and Mexican flavors like soy sauce and chili powder – giving the sauce a more rounded edge. I love the idea of hybrid cuisines – and the Mexican Asian fusion restaurants I see continuing to pop up here in D.C. mean it must be a crowd-pleasing combo. Chorizo potstickers, anyone?

The way her story goes, she made three sauces – a traditional barbecue sauce, an Asian barbecue sauce and a Mexican barbecue sauce. Instead of selecting one, she figured, why not just mix them together?

Here, I honed in on perfecting the Asian barbecue sauce – that brings out Asian flavors and condiments, while still having that traditional barbecue sauce color, consistency and caramelized brown sugar goodness.

Mixed with Kewpie mayo, you’re in for a hell of a lot of spicy, sweet, salty and fishy undertones in a silky dipping sauce. It’s the perfect palate pleaser to go along with a ruby rare Ahi tuna steak, sliced thick.

I’m in the midst of taking a food safety manager class in order to be able to cook in commercial kitchens. I knew it would open my eyes to the sheer number of food-borne illnesses that, if you were a play-it-safe kind of person, might lead you to eat boiled rice for the rest of your life.

But when it comes to something as good as rare Ahi tuna, I’m always willing to take that risk. No amount of facts and statistics are going to sway me to order a well-done cheeseburger. Or avoid those $1 oyster specials.

I think all of us unpasteurized cheese-eating, raw seafood tower indulgers show a true love for food every time we place that order or buy that ingredient. That’s living if I’ve ever seen it.

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2 as an appetizer.

  • 1 lb. Ahi tuna steak

F o r  t h e  M a r i n a d e

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 teaspoon hot sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 / 4 teaspoon powdered wasabi
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper

F o r  t h e  A s i a n  B a r b e c u e  D i p p i n g  S a u c e

Makes 2 cups.

  • 1 / 2 can tomato paste
  • 1 / 3 cup ketchup
  • 1 / 4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 / 4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 / 2 small medium white onion, small diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sambal oelek
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon hot sesame oil
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish
  • Scallions, sliced, for garnish
  • Salt, as needed
  • Pepper, as needed
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Kewpie mayo, as needed

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Mix the marinade ingredients in a snug, shallow dish. Marinate the Ahi tuna steak for as long as possible, preferably 1 hour.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onions, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper, and saute until the onions are completely translucent, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for additional 1 minute. Proceed to add the rest of the ingredients, with the exception of the Kewpie mayo. Stir until all ingredients are fully combined. Simmer on low to medium heat for 20 minutes, until the sauce is reduced slightly.
  3. Allow to cool. Combine equal parts Kewpie mayo and barbecue sauce until you reach your desired amount of dipping sauce, mixing until the sauce is uniform throughout. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds, if desired. Chill the sauce in the fridge while you prepare the tuna.
  4. Heat a cast iron skillet with a coating of olive oil. Remove the tuna from the marinade, and place in the hot pan. For a rare finish, cook the tuna for 90 seconds on each side.
  5. Remove the steak immediately from the pan, and slice thick against the grain. Serve alongside the dipping sauce. Eat immediately.

 

Steakhouse Surf & Turf Fried Rice

Seafood. Steak. In my experience, it’s calorically dangerous to put those two together. If I’m really doing surf and turf at a restaurant, you’ll hear all about it. And the waiter will make more than one trip to retrieve the extra clarified butter I asked for.

How did I run out? Because I’m drenching my food with clarified butter as liberally as an eleven year old drenches their crinkle fries with ketchup. I don’t just douse the lobster or King crab legs with butter. There are others – the steak and likely potato side(s), maybe even the table bread – that are getting the clarified butter treatment.

If I were one of those unforgivable sins I’d be the gluttony one.

Throwing this duo together in a fried rice? A mind&%$#. I don’t know how I didn’t think of this sooner.

Fried rice can be as traditional or as funky as you want it. There are a few must-have Asian condiments that are going to give the rice that “fried rice”-ness, but besides that, the proteins and vegetables are an open casting call.

I gave myself leeway to go non-traditional on the vegetables, almost mimicking the sides you’ll get at any high end seafood & steak restaurant. The result is an extra decadent profile of flavors, and you get the upside of eating something that is unopposed in its ability to make us feel good and full.

I used King crab meat but upgrade to the lobster, if you can. You can always have shrimp in your fried rice. If you’re cooking it for someone else, well, there’s your excuse right there!

Enough talk about excuses – go get your wok nice & hot and start frying! 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2.

  • 2 cups 1 to 2 day-old takeout white rice, or 2 cups cooked homemade 1 to 2-day old medium to short grain white rice
  • 6 – 8 oz. filet mignon, cut into medium-sized cubes
  • 1 1 / 2 lb. King crab legs, cooked, shelled, and meat removed
  • 1 handful fresh spinach
  • 6 stalks asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 / 2 lb. white button mushrooms, stems removed & sliced thick
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 / 2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 egg yolks, for topping
  • 1 / 2 stick butter, salted or unsalted
  • 1 / 2 large shallot, small diced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish or oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili oil
  • 3 / 4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons parsley, minced

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Cook the white rice according to package instructions if making your own. Drain in a colander and allow to dry out while you cook the rest of the dish.
  2. Heat the butter and neutral cooking oil in a large skillet. Add the shallot, and sauté on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the asparagus and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, mushrooms, spinach, and cook until the spinach is wilted.
  4. Add the beef, and cook until the beef is browned on all sides.
  5. Add the rice, soy sauce, fish or oyster sauce, sesame oil, chili oil, salt and pepper. Turn up the heat to medium-high, and stir all the ingredients, allowing the rice to adhere to the bottom of the skillet so you get crispy bits of rice throughout the mixture.
  6. After about 5 minutes of cooking the rice, stir in 2 tablespoons of the parsley and gently fold in the bulk of the crab meat, leaving some for garnish.
  7. Serve hot, topping each plate with an egg yolk and the remaining minced parsley for garnish.

Chinese Dumpling Ravioli with Soy-Cream Pan Sauce

Whoever first called them dumplings is a visionary – because the name dumpling sounds exactly like what they are. A cute little pasta package with filling. Adorable.

Dumplings are the broad term used to describe any dough-filled pocket that can be prepared in many ways – fried, steamed, stewed, fire-grilled – you name it.

Ones that come to mind are empanadas, tortellini or ravioli, pierogis and mandu. An understandably universal culinary concept, every culture has their own version of a protein or vegetable filled dough pocket.

I worship the filling inside Chinese takeout meat dumplings – always have. When it came time to put in requests for our family’s go-to takeout order, you could always count on me ordering wonton soup and dumplings.

This graduated to include crab rangoon, an upgrade to hot and sour soup in place of wonton soup, and some extra, extra hot General Tso’s chicken. “And don’t forget one of those mini containers of spicy mustard!”, I’d annoyingly yell to my parents mid-order.

When I imagined this dish, I knew I wanted to try a meat-filled dumpling. But what about the sauce?

I couldn’t recall every having a soy sauce-flavored cream sauce before. I doubted there was any way it wouldn’t go great with the ravioli, and I was right. Soy sauce is inherently buttery flavor-wise, as is the cream and actual butter that serves as the base of the sauce.

It was extremely good. Just like the no dairy with seafood rule, I can’t think of many dairy-heavy dishes in American-style Chinese takeout. But low and behold – it works incredibly well here.

The most daunting task will be rolling out the pasta, without a pasta maker. Which if you are in the same boat as me, is what you’ll have to do here.

It all turned out OK. The world didn’t end. And of course, rolling it out by hand contributed to a rustic appearance and heartier bite of the homemade pasta. I’m cutting myself some slack here as should you – I’ve only ever made homemade pasta in a cooking class, but do make gnocchi relatively frequently at home.

The Asian condiments used in the pan sauce are the same as those used to flavor the ground pork and mushrooms in the filling, so the dish tastes relatively uniform throughout. I toyed with the idea of adding parmesan cheese or ricotta to the filling, but ended up leaving it out. I bet it would have been even more delicious with a little dollop of cheese folded in. If you do, let me know how it tastes!

I know I’ll be making this dish again, because my boyfriend was cooing as he was eating it. However, by the time that rolls around, I hope I will have purchased a pasta maker attachment to make this pasta rolling task a bit easier. 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2.

F o r  t h e  P a s t a  D o u g h

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Flour, as needed
  • Water, as needed

F o r  t h e  F i l l i n g

  • 1 / 4 lb. ground pork
  • 1 scallion stalk, sliced
  • 4 large button mushrooms, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon mirin
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon hot sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper

F o r  t h e  S o y – C r e a m  P a n  S a u c e

  • 1 / 2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sesame oil, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 scallion stalk, sliced
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Prepare the pasta dough. Sift and combine the flour and salt. Pour onto a hard, cold surface, creating a well in the center. Crack the three eggs in the middle of the flour pile, and fold using your hands until combined. Once in a dough ball, knead 10 times until the consistency is silky. If the dough is too hard and not elastic, add some water. If it is too sticky, add some flour. Place the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow it to rest.
  2. Heat the teaspoon of olive oil in a small skillet, and add all the filling ingredients. Sautee until the pork is completely cooked through, and the mushrooms are browned. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Once the dough has had a chance to rest, remove it from the fridge and begin rolling out with a floured rolling pin on a floured surface. Continue to roll out until the dough is less than 1 / 8 inch thick.
  4. Using a ramekin or other small circular dish, create imprints on the dough, and cut out 20 circles, enough for 10 ravioli total.
  5. Place 1 to 1 1 / 2 teaspoon of the filling on one side of each ravioli dough halve, and pinch the sides together moving in a circular fashion until all the raviolis are enclosed with the filling. Set aside.
  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. In a separate large and shallow skillet, melt the butter, then add the rest of the soy-cream pan sauce ingredients. Let the sauce come to a low boil and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat.
  7. Add the ravioli to the pot, and cook for 5 – 7 minutes until the pasta is tender. Remove the ravioli from the pasta with a slotted spoon and put it directly into the pan sauce.
  8. Plate the ravioli, garnishing with extra scallions and hot sesame oil.
  9. Final step – enjoy this way too much. 😉