Chicken and Cashew Dumplings

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Nuts? In a dumpling? With meat? It may sound unconventional, but this combination works wonderfully. I’m always on the hunt for new types of dumplings and this one adds a wonderful crunch and depth of flavor to the chicken filling. Cooked in the style of gyoza, their dumpling skins become crispy and wonderfully chewy as they cook.

These are a little time consuming to make, but you can make a batch ahead of time and freeze them for later, for when you’re ready to cook them. These hearty dumplings go perfectly with a simple dipping sauce of vinegar, ginger, and soy sauce.

Chicken and cashew dumplings


3/4 pound ground chicken
3 dried shiitake mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped water chestnuts
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup chopped salted cashews
1 1/2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 egg, lighly whisked
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 package round dumpling wrappers
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1. In a bowl, cover the mushrooms with hot water and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain and finely chop.

2. In another bowl, combine the chicken with the mushrooms, water chestnuts, green onions, cashews, ginger, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice wine, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, egg, and cornstarch. Mix well.

3. Lay a dumpling wrapper flat. Using your finger, brush the outer edge with water. Spoon 1 teaspoon of filling in the center. Fold the wrapper over the filling to form a half-moon and fold pleats, pressing with your fingers to adhere until you have a sealed and pleated half-moon. Repeat with the rest of the wrappers and filling.

4. Pour vegetable oil into a large nonstick skillet to cover the bottom. Arrange the dumplings in the skillet with the non-pleated side down. Cook over medium heat until golden on the bottom, about 3 minutes.

5. Pour in enough water to cover the bottom of the dumplings, about 1/3 cup. Cover and cook until most of the water is absorbed and the filling is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Uncover and cook until all of the water has evaporated and the dumplings are crispy on the bottom, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a serving plate and serve warm.

Dry Fried Glass Noodles with Chiles

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I’ve been on a spicy kick lately. Does it have chiles? Copious amounts of chiles? Yes? Will my tongue tingle and will my mouth go numb? Sign me up then.

This Sichuan-influenced dish of glass noodles quickly dry-fried with spices and ground meat is fiery thanks to a healthy dose of chili bean paste and dried chiles. It’s a flexible recipe, so feel free to leave out the meat for a vegetarian version or add vegetables galore to up the health factor. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that this dish is spicy. Pass the water, please.

Dry fried glass noodles


6 ounces dried bean thread noodles
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
6 ounces ground turkey or chicken
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon chili bean paste (tobanjan)
5 dried red chiles
1 green onion, sliced
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

1. Pour enough warm water over the noodles in a large bowl to cover completely. Soak until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain and cut the noodles in half.

2. Combine the rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons of the soy sauce, and cornstarch in a bowl and mix well. Add the meat and stir to coat evenly. Let stand for 10 minutes.

3. Place a wok over high heat until hot. Add the oil, then add the garlic, ginger, chili bean paste, and dried chiles and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Add the meat and stir-fry until it is lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the remaining teaspoon of soy sauce, noodles and cook, stir-frying until well-mixed, about 3 minutes. Stir in the green onion and sesame oil. Transfer to a serving plate and serve.

Sri Lankan Spiced Potatoes

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Crispy potatoes, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Actually, scratch that, let me just cook up a batch of these generously spiced potatoes, which are like potato hash on overdrive.

This classic Sri Lankan dish is spicy, oniony, flecked with umami-laden Maldive fish, and perfectly crisped at the edges. Letting the potatoes brown sufficiently is key to their success — there’s nothing like the combination of that crispy exterior and creamy interior. These potatoes reheat well, too. Not that there’ll be any left over.

Sri Lankan spiced potatoes


2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 sprigs curry leaves
3 dry red chiles, ground (1 to 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon Maldive fish
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon lime juice

1. Bring water to boil in a pot. Add potatoes and boil for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat oil in a pan. Saute onions and curry leaves until onions are translucent.

3. Add potatoes, chiles, Maldive fish, turmeric, and salt. Saute for several minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are browned. Remove from heat and squeeze lime juice over before serving.


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I like to think of kimbap as maki sushi’s lesser-known cousin. There’s rice and there’s seaweed, but the fillings are completely different and the rice in kimbap is seasoned with sesame oil, as opposed to vinegar.

Kimbap is a perfect picnic food: easy (albeit time-consuming) to assemble head of time, tastes delicious at room temperature, and it’s healthy to boot. You can be flexible with the fillings: if you don’t like carrots, don’t add carrots. If you really like spinach, add some extra. Me? I’m all about that pickled radish.


4 cups freshly cooked short grain white rice
3 teaspoons sesame oil
3 eggs
vegetable oil
8 ounces ground beef
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound spinach, blanched in boiling water for 1 minute, rinsed and squeezed dry, and coarsely chopped
6 sticks of imitation crab
6 sheets of nori seaweed
1 yellow pickled radish, cut into thin strips

1. Transfer the warm cooked rice to a large bowl and stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sesame oil.

2. Beat the eggs with 1/4 teaspoon salt in another bowl. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add a teaspoon of vegetable oil. Turn the heat to low and pour the beaten eggs into the skillet, tilting so that the eggs cover the bottom evenly. Cook until set but not browned, about 1 minute. Flip the egg sheet over, cook for another minute, and remove from heat. Transfer eggs to a cutting board to cool and cut into 1/2-inch strips.

3. Combine the beff, soy sauce, 3/4 of the garlic, brown sugar, pepper, and 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a bowl. Heat a skillet over high heat. Add the beef and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the meat is browned. Remove from heat and let cool.

4. Mix the cooked spinach with 1/2 teaspoon salt, the remaining garlic, and the remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a bowl.

5. Heat half a teaspoon of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the crab sticks and cook for about 1 minute, then flip them over and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and set aside.

6. Divide the rice into 6 portions and place a nori sheet on a bamboo mat, shiny side down. Spread 1 portion of rice evenly over the nori, leaving a 2-inch border at the top. Spread 1/4 cup of the beef mixture in a thin strip across the middle of the rice. Press it down with a spoon so it stays in place. Put one sixth of the spinach, a crab stick, a few egg strips, and a radish strip on top of the beef. Pick up the bottom edge of the mat and use it to roll the seaweed up and over the fillings, then continue rolling up the seaweed, using the mat, until you have a neat roll. Remove the roll from the mat and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make 5 more rolls. Arrange on a plate and serve at room temperature.

King Oyster Mushrooms with Broccoli

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And just like that, Thanksgiving is over. It’s time to atone for this year’s gluttony so I’m seeking out vegetables and greens in every meal this week. Mushrooms are in season and king oyster mushrooms in particular are my craving at the moment. King oyster mushrooms are readily available at Asian grocers and are worth seeking out for their meaty, velvety texture. Feel free to substitute with shiitake or even portobello mushrooms, if you prefer.

Tossed with crisp-tender broccoli, this side dish is autumn on a platter. Pumpkin spice flavored everything has nothing on this.

King oyster mushrooms and broccoli


1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3 cups broccoli florets
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 quarter sized slices ginger, crushed
1 pound king oyster mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 teaspoons water

1. Stir the chicken broth, water, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and brown sugar in a bowl to combine.

2. To prepare the broccoli, bring a medium pot filled with water to a boil over high heat. Add the broccoli and cook until bright green and tender-crisp, about 1 minute. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.

3. Place a wok over high heat. Add the oil. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry until they begin to slightly brown, about 3 minutes. Add the sauce and stir to coat. Cover and cook until the mushrooms are tender, about 7 minutes. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook, until the sauce boils and thickens slightly.

4. Arrange the broccoli in the center of a serving platter and arrange the mushrooms around it. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and serve.