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Last night two of my favorite things came together to create a perfect evening of laughter, discussions, and friendship. Dinner & Movie. A new friend had never seen the movie Working Girl. Yes, I know…a misfortune that I simply could not tolerate. So, I invited her over for dim sum. Dim Sum is a Cantonese meal of small snacks, dumplings and soups similar in fashion to Spanish Tapas or small plate meals. It allows you to create a huge variety of things to snack on while you chat.
If you have never been fortunate enough to go out for proper dim sum, it is definitely a great experience. My favorite place in NY is a HUGE family style location in the heart of Chinatown. It is as traditional a place as it comes with a vast array of options whizzing by on steaming carts usually by women speaking in Chinese dialects. Since I don’t speak a lick of Cantonese, Mandarin, or anything else… I usually smile and stupidly ask in english what is in each basket… to which I can get a varying degree of short accented English responses. Silly American… Yes, I know. But, that’s part of the fun. I love feeling like I’ve traveled to a different country..trying new foods and learning new things…while still being in NYC.

Katie and I had experienced that restaurant together with one of her friends visiting from out of town. This is where she made the mistake of telling us she had never seen Working Girl. I mean, Yes, there are some that hate Melanie Griffith… I am not one of those people…but there are those out there. But, Working Girl! Ugh Classic 80’s shenanigans riff with big hair, shoulder pads, awful makeup and HUGE stars! Well worth the watching! But, I digress. Last night was the second night of my teaching a one on one class to Katie. She wants to learn to cook, and well I am having fun teaching…since the on camera portion of this site is taking longer to get going then I had anticipated…again I digress.

Since we were watching Working Girl… I thought it only appropriate that we made our own dim sum dumplings. Can you say FUN FUN FUN! We made gyoza, wontons, egg rolls and my newest signature drink experiment Lavender Dream. It was a blast and VERY EASY to do. The supplies for our meal were inexpensive, quick to locate, and simple to prepare: Napa Cabbage, Bok Choy, Chinese Chive Flowers, Green Onion/Scallions, Shrimp, Crab, Parsley, Cilantro, Garlic, jalapeno, Soy Sauce, Carrots, Zucchini, Bean Sprouts, Gyoza/Wonton/Egg roll wrappers and Ginger. The entire lot cost about $25.

In a little more then one hour we 1) cut up and prepared the filling 2) rolled tons of dumplings using lots of techniques ranging from simple to complex 3) Ate and Ate and Ate our selves silly as we began to watch our movie. It was a blast! I am still FULL! The best part of doing this for me was 1) It really was not difficult to do 2) It was fun and delicious 3) it was an amazing experience to share with some one else. No where in the process did it even come up that our meal was also SUPER NUTRITIOUS! Shhh, don’t tell.

90% of our meal was made up of vegetables… the rest was lean protein in the form of fish with the carbs coming in from the dumpling wrappers. We steamed the dumplings instead of deep frying them saving ourselves all the grease. As for the egg rolls, we rubbed a little oil on them, placed them on a parchment lined baking sheet and baked until they were crispy. They still had that signature crunch we all like from egg rolls but, with out having a mouth full of grease! We used low sodium soy sauce and lots of aromatic spices and herbs. We took a street food that is generally deep fried and greasy and made it equally delicious with a fraction of the fat and no guilt. No one even noticed! No one missed all the grease. That’s the goal of this kind of switch in our lives…enjoy the food you love while increasing the good stuff and minimizing the bad! Simply delicious!

Try this recipe at home!

Bon Appetit!

** Make this meal! Take photos and send them to me! I’d love to see how yours turn out.**

Shrimp Vegetable Gyoza Filling
1 lb Shrimp
1 large bunch of chinese chives
1 Cup napa cabbage
1 Cup bok choy
1/2 Cup of Parsley and Cilantro
1 tablespoon garlic
1 tablespoon jalapeno
1 tablespoon of ginger root powder or 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
1/2 tablespoon celery root powder
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1-3 tablespoon crushed chili pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon granulated garlic powder.
1 tablespoon granulated onion powder
Large pot with steamer basket
Foil or large leaves of thick green like cabbage, collards, etc

Options: you can make all vegetarian, beef, pork, fish, or any combination there in. Add different vegetables: mushrooms, bamboo shoots or carrots. The sky is the limit

Put several cups of water onto boil.

Place chives, parsley, green onion, garlic, cilantro in food processor. Pulse until coarse but not a paste. Move to strainer and allow the excess “juices to drain out”

Cut bok choy & napa cabbage. Place in steamer basket for 3 mins until they wilt slightly. Once wilted add to food processor and chop.

Place in a strainer to remove excess liquid.

Place shrimp in the food processor. Pulse. The finished product should still have chunks of shrimp not a paste.

Put all of the chopped ingredients into a large bowl. Stir to incorporate well.

Add garlic, soy sauce, and dry spices to the bowl. Mix well!

Put in the fridge for 10-20 mins.

Wrapping Your Gyoza

This can be done in SOOO many ways. You can use the round Gyoza wrappers or square Wonton wrappers. This process can be as simple or as complicated as you want.

Simple Version:

Lay out several wrappers on a dry cutting board.
Place approximately 1 tablespoon of filling in the center.
Dip your fingers in the bowl of water.
Use fingers to dampen the edges of the wrapper. Work with one wrapper at a time.
Fold the wrapper in half. If using Gyoza wrappers it becomes a half circle. If using wonton wrappers it should become a triangle.
Put in fridge or freezer for 15-20 minutes before steaming
Voila done.

Tradition Crimped Gyoza

Use circle gyoza wrapper

Lay out several wrappers on a dry cutting board.
Place approximately 1 tablespoon of filling in the center.

Dip your fingers in the bowl of water.
Use fingers to dampen the edges of the wrapper. Work with one wrapper at a time.

Hold/ fold like a taco
Hold with left hand, work with right to crimp

pinch farthest left corner.
use right hand to pull a small edge of wrapper onto itself…it will look crimped.
repeat across the wrapper.
pinch the right corner closed.

Place in freezer for 10-20 minutes. Place into steamer basket filled with thick vegetable leaves (cabbage or collards) or aluminum foil. Steam for 5- 8 minutes.

Dipping Sauce
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon crushed chili flakes
1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds or sesame oil
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar (optional)
1 teaspoon onion and garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
A pinch of scallions (optional)

Place water in small microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high for one minute. Add chili flakes and sesame seeds. Cover for 1-2 minutes with a place to allow the flakes to hydrate and seeds to let out so oils. Add the remaining items and stir.

Nutritional Tidbits

Cabbage: Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Dietary Fiber, Manganese, Vitamin B6, B1, B2, folate, Omega 3s, Calcium, Potassium, Vitamin A, Tryptophan, Protein, Magnesium. Filled with anti-oxidants, cholesterol lowering fiber, anti-inflammatory goodness cabbage is amazingly good for your health. It can help lower cholesterol, support your heart and digestive system, and help prevent cancer. Choose from more tender cabbages like napa and bok choy to the coarser green and red variety.

Parsley:Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Folate, Iron. Seen often as a throw away garnish Parsley is actual very rich in vitamins, has anti-inflammatory properties, good for your heart, beneficial oils and flavonoids important to our health. Not to mention an easy way to boost flavor without adding salt! Parsley’s volatile oils-particularly myristicin- have been shown to inhibit tumor formation in animal studies, and particularly, tumor formation in the lungs, so it may also be anti-carcinogenic as well.

Cilantro/Coriander: Dietary fiber, Manganese, Iron, Magnesium. In traditional medicine cilantro/coriander has been used for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties and is being studied for its ability to stabilize/control blood sugar and lower/balance cholesterol. Cilantro has long be used in varying cuisines for its taste but, also for it’s ability to fight salmonella. Researchers in Mexico and US are currently doing more thorough studies on what properties in cilantro can do that.

Ginger: Potassium, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese, Vitamin B6. This root packs a punch of taste and a great nutritional profile. Good for boosting immune system, relieving gastrointestinal issues most notably nausea and motion sickness, has anti-inflammatory properties, and is being researched for its anti-cancer potential notably cell death in ovarian cancer cells.

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