November 30, 2022

rubbedindetroit

Qualified food specialists

How to make dumplings, chicken curry puffs and more from ‘The Woks of Life’

6 min read

The Leung family started their blog, “The Woks of Life,” as a way to keep their cross-continental family close through cooking heritage family recipes.

Now, in their debut cookbook, Bill Leung, Kaitlin Leung, Judy Leung, and Sarah Leung are expanding their stories, experience and recipes with a new audience.

The family welcomed “Good Morning America” into their kitchen and shared a few recipes below.

PHOTO: The book cover of "The Woks of Life."

Clarkson Potter, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC

The book cover of “The Woks of Life.”

“Sour Spicy” Napa Cabbage Salad

2 scallions, white and green parts julienned

1 1/2 teaspoons Ultimate Chili Oil (page 275), or to taste

1 teaspoon grated garlic (from 1 large clove)

1 teaspoon light soy sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns

Break the napa cabbage into individual leaves and wash them, then shake off any excess water. Slice the leaves crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Use a salad spinner to thoroughly dry the shredded leaves.

In a large bowl, mix the napa cabbage with the scallions, chili oil, garlic, light soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, ground Sichuan peppercorns, and salt to taste.

Toss thoroughly, until all the cabbage is evenly coated. Serve immediately.

Fast Sizzled Cucumber Salad

3 large garlic cloves, minced

2 to 3 teaspoons Sichuan chili flakes

2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

1/4 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns

1 1/2 pounds seedless English cucumbers (about 2 medium)

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste

To a small heatproof bowl, add the garlic, as much of the chili flakes as desired, the sesame seeds, and ground Sichuan peppercorns.

In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Turn off the heat and pour the oil over the garlic and spice mixture (it should sizzle!), using a rubber spatula to scrape all the oil from the saucepan into the bowl. Let cool (to expedite, transfer to the refrigerator).

Trim the ends of the cucumbers and cut the cucumbers into pieces about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch thick.

Add the cucumbers to a medium bowl, then add the rice vinegar, sugar, salt, and the cooled oil mixture. Toss to combine and serve.

Pork, Mushroom & Cabbage Dumplings

10 medium dried shiitake mushrooms

2 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon white pepper powder

two 14-ounce packages round Shanghai-style dumpling wrappers (about 40 wrappers per package, depending on the brand) or Homemade Dumpling Wrappers

Chili oil or dipping sauce, for serving

PHOTO: The Leung family of "The Woks of Life" cooking together for their new cookbook.

Clarkson Potter, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.

The Leung family of “The Woks of Life” cooking together for their new cookbook.

To make the filling: Place the mushrooms in a medium bowl and cover with the hot water. Soak for 2 hours (or overnight), until fully rehydrated. Reserve half-cup of the soaking liquid (leaving behind any sediment at the bottom of the bowl). Trim and discard any tough stems from the mushrooms, then finely chop them.

Slice the cabbage leaves lengthwise into thin strips, then finely chop them crosswise. Place in a large bowl and stir in the salt. Set aside for 30 minutes (no more!) to allow the salt to draw the water out of the cabbage.

Heat the neutral oil in a wok or large pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until they are softened and just beginning to crisp around the edges. Let the mushrooms cool.

To a large bowl, add the pork, Shaoxing wine, light soy sauce, ginger, sugar, sesame oil, and white pepper. Add 1/2 cup mushroom-soaking water and stir vigorously with a pair of chopsticks or a wooden spoon for 10 to 15 minutes, until it forms a cohesive paste. (Alternatively, stir with a rubber spatula until the pork absorbs most of the liquid, then mix in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed for 7 minutes.)

Squeeze the napa cabbage dry, then add to the bowl with the pork along with the mushrooms. Stir for another 2 to 3 minutes, until the cabbage and mushrooms are incorporated into the filling.

Assemnle the dumplings: Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. If using store-bought wrappers, have a bowl of water nearby. Holding a dumpling wrapper in your hand, dampen the edges with some water. If using homemade dumpling wrappers, you do not need the water to seal them. You will, however, have to roll out each wrapper just before filling (see instructions on page 86).

Put 1 scant tablespoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper and fold the circle in half, then pinch the wrapper together at one end. Make pleats on one side of the wrapper, sealing the dumpling as you go, until you reach the other end. Press the pleats together and use a little more water, if necessary, behind the pleats to make sure the dumpling is completely sealed.

Place the dumpling on a sheet pan, then repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling, ensuring the dumplings are not touching each other on the sheet pan. After assembly, the dumplings must be immediately cooked or frozen.

Cook the dumplings and serve: To cook the dumplings, you can boil, steam, or pan-fry them, depending on your preference. See opposite for instructions on each. Serve with the chili oil and/or dipping sauce.

Chicken Curry Puffs

For the filling
1 tablespoon neutral oil
12 ounces ground chicken or turkey
1 cup diced yellow onion (about 1 small onion)
1 large garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon madras curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon cornstarch

For assembly
Homemade Puff Pastry, or one 17-ounce package frozen puff pastry
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
Black or white untoasted sesame seeds, for topping

Make the filling: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until it turns color, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Add 3/4 cup of the water, the curry powder, sugar, salt, black pepper, cumin, and turmeric. Stir and cook for 2 minutes to let the flavors meld.

In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and the remaining 3 tablespoons water, then add to the chicken mixture, stir, and simmer until thickened. You’ll know it’s ready when there’s no pooling liquid. Transfer the filling mixture to a medium bowl and let cool. You will have about 1 3/4 cups of filling.

Assemble the puffs: If your puff pastry is frozen, let it defrost at room temperature for 35 to 40 minutes. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

If using rough puff pastry, unfold it carefully to ensure there are no rips or tears. Cut it into 2 equal rectangles and put one half back in the refrigerator while you make the first batch of curry puffs. (If using store-bought pastry, you’ll already have 2 equal sheets. Take one of them out and leave the other in the fridge.) With a rolling pin, lightly roll the pastry into a 12-inch square. Then cut the square into nine 3-inch squares.

Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling into the center of each square. Brush 2 adjoining edges with the beaten whole egg. Fold the square diagonally to form a triangle, pressing the edges together, then crimp the edges with a fork. Transfer the triangle to the prepared baking sheet and continue until you’ve assembled 9 puffs. Refrigerate this first batch to chill for up to 1 hour while you repeat these steps with the remaining sheet of puff pastry.

Transfer the second batch of puffs to the refrigerator to chill for at least 15 minutes.

Bake the puffs: Position two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, then preheat to 425 F.

Brush the puffs with the beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Transfer the puffs to the oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 400 F.

Bake for 14-16 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until the puffs are golden brown. Let them cool for 5 minutes before enjoying.

Reprinted with permission from The Woks of Life by Bill Leung, Kaitlin Leung, Judy Leung, and Sarah Leung, copyright © 2022. Photographs by Sarah Leung and Kaitlin Leung. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.

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