Category Archives: party

Steamed sticky pumpkin balls

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In Chinese tradition, we don´t eat dessert after the main dish. We believe that eating sweet things after dinner will be difficult to digest.
But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have desserts. During big events or festivals, we make special snacks or food. The kind of food depends on which festival, like Mooncakes for the Moon Festival.

Sticky rice (glutinous rice) is used quite often for making desserts in southern China. Desserts made by sticky rice can be steamed, deep fried or cooked in a sweet soup.
Today I am going to make steamed sticky pumpkin balls, because now is the pumpkin season (okay, it’s a little late, I know.)

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What do we need

- pumpkin (peeled)                       500g
- sticky (glutinous) rice powder     400g
- sugar                                          50g
- grated coconut                           10g

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How to make it

First peel the skin of the pumpkin and cut into thin slices, so that they are easy and fast to steam.
Then steam 15 minutes until soft.
Take the steamed pumpkin and place in a big pot. Add sticky rice powder, stir good until it becomes like dough.
Roll small balls of around 4x4cm, then put them in a steamer and steam for 6 or 7 minutes more.
After the sticky balls cool down, brush a little water on them, and roll them in grated coconut.

TIP: You shouldn´t eat too much glutinous rice, because it is difficult to digest. If you have made too much dough, you can freeze it, but first make balls of it. Later you can steam them and sprinkle with grated coconut.

Original Champignon mushroom

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The most delicious food is the simplest to cook.

A few years ago we were in a Korean BBQ restaurant in Tianjin, China. The owner came to our table and showed us how to BBQ champignon mushrooms: she took off the champignon’s stem, and placed the cap upside down onto the barbecue. 1 Or 2 minutes later, the champignon’s cap filled up with water. The owner said: “Add a little bit of salt, drink it’s water first, then eat it”. We did, and never forgot it!

Even though now is not the BBQ season, we still can cook these champignon mushrooms in a simple way.

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What we need:

- Some champignon (or common) mushrooms
- Some salt
- Some black pepper

How to do it:

First clean the mushrooms and take off their stems.
Heat some butter in a frying pan, and wait for it to melt. Then, place the champignon hats upside down into the pan and cook on small fire. After about 1 minute,  the champignon’s water begins to come, two more minutes as water almost fills the “champignon’s bowl”, turn off fire, sprinkle salt and black pepper.

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Tip: you also can use a cover to cover the pan after you put all champignons in it, 1 or 2 minutes. This way is more fast, and champignons will become more softer.

Beef pie

Beef pieI was planning to make dumplings, but I forgot to take out the dumping skins from the freezer, so, I needed to improvise. The beef pies I made are great as a snack, lunch or side dish. You don’t need many ingredients to make them, but some baking skills are required. These are spicy pies with a stuffing of beef mince, union and chilies. Obviously you can leave out the chilies if you don’t like spicy food. In that case you can try adding diced leek or sweet peppers

Beef pieShopping:

  • Wheat flour (use bread-flour if you can)  (800 grams)
  • Beef mince (400 grams)
  • Union (2)
  • Fresh chili peppers (4)
  • Ground black pepper (1 tablespoon)
  • Sesame oil (2 tablespoons)
  • (Sunflower) oil (4 tablespoons)
  • Some olive oil
  • Salt (1 teaspoon)
  • Soy sauce light (2 tablespoon)
Beef pieGet to work!

Step 1: making the dough:

Take a large bowl and add all the flour, then add some warm water and knead until the dough becomes flexible. Then add some olive oil. The amount of water you need depends, so just add a little at the time until the dough is good enough to fold into any shape.

Step 2: the filling

Chop the union and chilies in fine pieces. Then add the ground pepper, sesame oil, salt an soy sauce and mix well

Step 3: making the pies

See HERE for an example. First roll the dough into a long sausage and cut it into pieces of about 3 cm. Put one drop of olive oil onto your hands and rub them. Then, take one piece of dough and spread it out. Then use a rolling pin or, as I used, a small empty bottle, and roll out the dough into a long leaf. Spread the filling onto the leaf (not too much!) and roll it up and place it on its side. Make sure you leave about 3 cm of the leaf left at the end. Don’t put filling onto this part, (this part is for closing the pie, otherwise if there is meat on it it, it won’t stick). Then use your palm gently to push down the roll into a flat pie. This part is most fun! But don’t push too hard though, otherwise you will have broken pie! (See photos for an example)

Step 4: baking the pies

Heat oil on a low fire. Fry the pies for 4 to 5 minutes on one side and flip them, then fry the other side 4 to 5 minutes. See below

Beef pie

TIP: these pies are delicious warm or cold. I bring them to work to eat them (and share with my hungry colleges!) Have fun!