I owe my street food exposure to my beautiful mama who would bring me home to Taiwan for the summers when I was little. We unfortunately had to stop going so often once I grew up and she started working full time, but the FOOD and the FAMILY are the things that I remember the most.
She admits she never did much Chinese/Taiwanese cooking, especially after moving to the U.S. in the 70’s, and her mother and father were the ones that could cook up a storm for her and her 7 siblings. Now, her oldest sister has most of the family recipes and they’re hard at work trying to remember, recreate, and translate them to me. If there’s one thing my mom loves, it’s working hard to help out her favorite daughter. I am indeed, the most spoiled child on the planet in so many ways.
Today, after cooking an American meal for my father (also spoiled by her), she whipped up a variation of her sticky rice, scallion pancakes, and her second attempt this week at sweet pickled cucumbers- my aunt’s recipe.
I didn’t photograph the beginning of the dough making process for scallion pancakes, but there are at least two different versions of Chinese fried scallion pancakes. One is smaller in diameter, but thicker, and when torn open, resembles a flaky layered croissant. The other version is thinner, wider in diameter, but very flat and doesn’t have as many layers. We made the prior.
This dough is called hot water dough, and can be used for many things like dumplings, but ultimately you use more hot water than cold. There is also no yeast.
After mixing water and flour together (I need to check the translation, we might have to use bread flour in the next attempt), and kneading it, you let it sit for about a half hour in a generously oiled (veg. oil) plastic zip lock bag… then on to rolling out the dough in one big rectangular, thin, sheet. Ideally, we would smother the top layer with lard, but we didn’t have any readily available, so we used vegetable oil. Then sprinkled salt, and salted scallions all over the dough sheet, leaving a border of unsalted dough for a better seal.
the dough sheet rolled up with scallions inside, sealing the ends.
my mama tearing off chunks of dough from the big roll to form into pancakes
the raw dough chunks turned on their side, then smashed down to open up the spiral layers inside
rolled out flat… like a pancake.
They will start to puff up when fried, squeeze the sides to open up the inside layers to make it puffier and chewy.
yummy fried flaky, chewy, delicate scallion pancakes.
STICKY RICE: version 102948109
My mom and I have been sharing cooking tips that we have been picking up on the different ways of making sticky rice. There’s a ton, they all yield different results, all which are TASTY. This is probably the 11th time in the past few months I’ve cooked this dish, and each time it has been different. We tried, yet another way today.
dried shiitake shrooms, and dried mini shrimp that have been soaked overnight in water, then drained. I don’t know the exact name for these tiny dried shrimp, but they’re used everywhere in Chinese cooking. In fact, you’ve probably eaten them before and not known it. They contribute a pretty big flavor to any dish… tiny little buggers
raw rice being soaked in the water used to soak the dried mushrooms and shrimp. Sticky rice is a shorter, rounder, grain.
after frying together raw pork, ginger, shrooms, and shrimp, the raw rice is added to be fried with fried shallots.
the fried mixture is transferred to a steamer- I like the smell and taste of bamboo steamers over metal- and it’s steamed until the rice starts to get plump, translucent and pearly.