I think that pork dumplings are my favorite because pork meat is more fatty than other meats, and there's a ton more flavor. I sometimes like to combine the meat with very finely shaved cabbage too because I like how it makes the texture of the meat softer and less condensed, so the inside doesn't taste like a meatball. If you don't want to use cabbage, you can just add in more scallion for a softer inside.
This filling recipe is enough to fill up about 30 dumpling wrappers. I love to serve them with chili oil, black vinegar and/or soy sauce. Boil as many as you want but you can freeze the ones you don't plan on eating for up to a month or two in the freezer!
You can purchase dumpling wrappers at your local Asian grocery store. I buy round gyoza wrappers from the freezer section at Tink Hall market in CLE's Asia Town area.
My life hasn't been the same since Ewa and Jeromy from @nom_life brought over their favorite kind of chili oil. I put that shit on everythingggg. I've bought chili oil before but I think it's way better when it's from the Asian grocery store and there's actual chunks of good stuff in there like garlic and pepper flakes.
The inspo behind this recipe comes from a combination of sauce recipes from @thewoksoflife's blog and then what the older man at the Asian grocery store said to do. :)
It turned out WAY too spicy at first - like I was slightly crying, lol. I ended up taking all of what I made and separating the oil from the flakes - then added neutral oil back into the flakes little by little and taste testing with plain crackers. It was still insanely spicy, so then I added in about four tablespoons of brown sugar and that mellowed out a bit.
I think the main source of that heat is coming from all of the red chili flakes...so you could use less of them if you can't handle really spicy things, your end product will be more of a thin oil than a chunky oil.
This recipe makes about 2 1/2 cups of chili oil and it's good in the coldest part of the fridge for about a month.
How to make:
My mom told me a long time ago to start putting cornstarch in my chicken marinades when I'm making a stiry fry and it literally changed my life. It gives the chicken a better texture and flavor because the starch binds together the liquid ingredients in the marinade and seals them to the meat.
I started using this "Pepper Sa-te Sauce" I found at the Asian grocery store and it's a game changer. The ingredients are chili, garlic, bean oil, spices and salt so it's very spicy and heavy on the garlic. SO MUCH FLAVOR.
This recipe makes enough chicken for two people. If you want more of it, you can double the reicpe. I served the chicken with my hand-made Chinese noodles but you could do rice or something else instead - click here for the noodle recipe.
How to make:
Bryant and I love to take roadtrips to places we've never been and now that we have little Basil (and he's great in the car) we are even more about it. I heard from a couple of different people that Asheville, NC has a great food and craft beer scene. When I saw it was an 8-ish hour drive I started looking at Airbnbs and the rest is history!
We stayed in a more rural area to the east of downtown Asheville. Everywhere we wanted to go was within 15-30 minutes of where our Airbnb was located and we were able to access Uber perfectly fine. Everyone was super friendly and down to earth, we had a great time exploring (and drinking.) It's a really dog friendly town which we loved.
I got sick on the last day of our trip so we weren't able to explore as much as we would of liked! We wanted to check out Biscuit Head - but there was a huge line out the door and we didn't anticipate that.
I would definitely reccomend visitng Asheville during the warmer months. It was really cold when we were there in early Janurary and I would of loved to enjoy the outdoor patio scene.
We love using Airbnb when we travel. It's fun to be able to pick out exactly what type of home you want to stay in and we absolutely loved the look and feel of this tiny house. Basil was a big fan of the faux fur stool.
Burial Beer Co. (Dog Friendly)
This was our favorite spot! We had drinks here after dinner on Friday night and then realized it was dog friendly, so we came back with Basil on Saturday afternoon for some day drinks. It kind of felt like we were drinking in a friends basement or decked out garage - very cozy.
Buxton Hall BBQ
This was our favorite meal of the trip for sure. We LOVED the fried chicken sandwich, it was massive which is always good. The hush puppies, pulled pork and macaroni salad was really good too and they had a "sauce bar" which I loved.
Wedge Brewing Co. (Dog Friendly)
The Wedge was super tiny on the insdie - but in a really cool, artsy area. There was plenty of seating outside, but it was too cold for us! There were alot of spunky vibes in terms of decor, I wish I would of taken more photos. (I'm pretty sure we saw a few plants growing out of babydoll heads...v interesting.) We met a couple different groups of people who were also visiting for the weekend and of course, it was because everyone wanted to meet Basil. :)
The Funkatorium (Sour Beers)
Here, Bryant and I learned that we are not fans of sour beer. However, we thought this place was really cool and I've never seen so many barrels in my entire life. Definitely a hipster joint.
I am the noodle and dumpling QUEEN so we stopped here and got food to-go on our way back from day-drinking on Saturday. I ordered the dumpling special and then the drunken noodles with pork - both were really good. (I liked the noodles better than the dumplings - but that might of been because the dumplings were cold by the time I got around to eating them.)
This is one of the cutest places I've ever eaten at - although I think it might be a chain and I try to stick away from those when I'm traveling. I loved all of the wooden decor inside and the stone fireplace outside on the patio was beautiful. The chorizo taco was by far my favorite - so good. Very small tacos, I probably could of eaten one more.
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