I was born in Hong Kong and lived there for the first twelve years of my life. I grew up in a food-obsessed culture. Food is the reason to gather. It is often the subject of conversations. In my family gatherings, we often speak about what we want for dinner while we're eating lunch. My grandfather was a big influence on why I love food. He introduced me to all types of cuisine when I was just a little girl. I wanted to try everything and became a very adventurous eater. It was our weekly ritual to meet for family dinners either at home or in restaurants. Growing up in a diverse city like Hong Kong, we had easy access to various types of cuisine. In the Chinese culture, we were taught to eat our meals with chopsticks. So when we visited western restaurants we would use knives and forks. Eating with a knife and fork was such a special treat to me because it was different and not something we do every day. As a child, buffet brunch was one of my favorites and we frequented the Peninsula Hotel in Kowloon. I recalled loving the attentive service and, of course, the food. I was ecstatic to see the array of dishes displayed in front of me where I could try anything I wanted and as much as I wanted. I was specifically drawn to the terrine dishes as well as the seafood salads. Consequently, when we immigrated to the U.S., I adapted the food quickly as I always loved western cuisine. I grew up with mostly friends of Italian descent and enjoyed Italian food probably more than Chinese food. Ironically, as I grew older, I found that I longed to learn more about Chinese cookery. I still have plenty to learn but I try to implement as many Asian ingredients in my recipes and document them on my blog as much as possible.
Steamed/Fried Pork and Shrimp Shui Mai with Zucchini Blossoms
1/2 lb of ground pork
1/2 lb of minced medium size shrimp (shelled and deveined)
1/4 lb of minced fresh shitake mushrooms
2 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tspn of Shoxing Rice Wine (or dry sherry)
1 large egg white
1 tsp of white pepper
24 zucchini blossoms (male flower without the baby zucchini attached)
Canola oil for frying
Simple Batter for frying
1 cup of ice water
1 cup of flour
Mix the first seven ingredients together. Test a small spoonful of the mixture to ensure the seasoning is right. Put the mixture in fridge, then start preparing the blossoms for stuffing. Gently rinse and pat blossoms dry. Divide blossoms in half, and cut the stems off for the 12 to use for steaming and keep the other 12 with stems for frying. Carefully open the petal and cut away the pistil with scissors. After the blossoms are ready for stuffing, use a small spoon to fill each blossom with the mixture. Steamed dumplings: fill mixture to the top. The blossoms should be open so they resemble the traditional dumplings. Put 12 zucchini blossom dumplings into a steamer and steam for 15 minutes. Serve immediately. Fried dumplings: fill mixture then twist the top close before adding to the batter. Mix the batter ingredients together. Heat oil until it reaches at least 350 F. Dip each stuffed blossom into the batter and slowly drop it into the pot, repeat process. Fry until golden brown, approximately 5 minutes. Drain on paper towel, sprinkle salt on top then add a splash of lemon just before serving.