Friday, February 19, 2010

Chive Pockets (韭菜盒子) and Tofu 'Fish'

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Chive pockets and tofu 'fish' are classic Chinese dishes that I've had a lot of times but never made for myself. I tend to have mixed level of confidence when it comes to cooking Chinese food. On the one hand, I think -- I've seen it done, it's so easy! On the other hand, I can never quite remember what goes into a dish. So I just end up "winging it" with mixed results.

I thought the chive pockets are quite good, but the tofu 'fish' recipe needs improvement. So I will post just the chive pockets recipe for now while I work on the tofu 'fish' recipe. For the chive pockets, you'll need:
  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1/2 cup of ice water
  • 3 cups of chopped chives
  • 1 1/2 cups of diced five-spice flavored bean curd
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped wood ear fungus
  • 2 scallion stalks, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of minced ginger
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • salt to taste
Add flour into a stand mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment. Add a pinch of salt. Turn stand mixer on low. Add boiling water slowly and mix until incorporated. Then slowly add ice water until dough comes together. You may need a little more or less than 1/2 cup. Replace paddle attachment with hook attachment. Knead the dough on medium-high until smooth, about 4 minutes. Place dough into a bowl greased with canola oil or vegetable oil. Cover with wet tea towel or paper towel. Let the dough relax for 20 to 30 minutes. The dough will not increase in size, but it will appear smoother after relaxed.

In the meantime, combine all other ingredients and mix well. When you're ready to work on the dough, divide it into 12 equal portions. Roll out each portion into a thin round disc. Place chives mixture into the middle of each disc. Fold one flap over. Pinch close the pocket and crimp the edges.

Spray a medium non-stick skillet with canola oil spray and place the skillet over medium-low heat. Place chive pockets onto the skillet, pan fry lightly on each side until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Serve as is or with vinegar and ginger dipping sauce.


Here's a picture of the tofu 'fish' dish. It's a black bean sauce tofu over some bean curd stuffed with mung bean sprouts. I think the four chilies that we put in there pushed it over the edge. The sauce also tasted different... not quite what I was looking for. I think this might be a situation where a little advice from mom will go a long way.

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