I am definitely guilty of taking on more projects than I actually have the time to complete. You may have noticed I am constantly coming up with new ideas for a food series, which is my way of holding myself accountable when I want to learn something new. Hence, the Atlanta Pizza Days, the Bon Appétit series, and the Land of Plenty series.
These obviously take a lot of time, and the projects loom over me, and I end up with long delays between posts. With the arrival of some new cookbooks last week, I think it’s time to put a couple of these to bed. I will continue to eat pizza, and post my findings, but it’s not going to be a series where you can expect a certain frequency of posts. The Land of Plenty series will also be discontinued. This cookbook has taught me more than any other. I’ve learned so much about Sichuan cooking concepts, methods, and ingredients…they have been added to my cooking repertoire on almost a daily basis. I won’t claim I’m an expert, and I am far from putting this cookbook away to collect cobwebs, but I have a large laundry list of cuisines and dishes that I want to tackle. If you do want to keep up with Sichuan cooking in the future, I’ll be posting them as Land of Plenty tagged photos on my Flickr page.
Here’s a summary of the individual Land of Plenty posts:
- Land of Plenty – Announcement post
- Sichuan 101 & Ingredients
- Xie Laoban’s Dan Dan Noodles
- Zhong Crescent Dumplings
- Fried Peanuts, Cucumber Salad, Bean Curd Noodles
- Boiled Beef & Cookbook Challenge Announcement
- Dry Fried Greenbeans
- Gong Bao (Kung Pao) Chicken
- Spicy Cold Noodles with Chicken Slivers
- Dry Fried Chicken
- Red Cooked Pork (Hongshao Rou)
- Challenger #1 – Spicy Cold Noodles/Dry Fried Greenbeans
- Challenger #2 – Dry Fried Chicken/Stir Fried Vegetables w Lotus Root
- Red Braised Beef
- Cold Sichuan Chicken, Hot and Numbing Beef, Fried Lotus Root with Tomato Sauce
- Steamed Pork Buns (today)
With that, here is my last entry in the Land of Plenty series.
I started by stir-frying pork and bean sprouts in spicy fermented Sichuan bean paste, with a splash of soy sauce, and rice wine at the finish.
The dough for the dumplings was similar to many pizza dough recipes. I waited for it to rise for an hour or two.
Then punched it down and waited another 1/2 hour for it to rise again.
I prepared my steaming basket with a layer of cabbage so the dumplings wouldn’t stick to the wood while cooking.
I cut the dough into thirds and floured heavily; the dough was quite sticky.
This was the first attempt, which was a small dumpling. I ended up making them a bit larger than this – maybe a 2” portion of each dough log per dumpling.
Poor form on the first few…
Aaron made a lot of the dumplings, and I think he got very good at it. All the pretty looking dumplings below were his creations.
Three to five dumplings per layer. The hole is purposely left in the top to let the steam escape.
Here’s what they look like 10 minutes later.
Close-up of a nice one.
And the guts…
For a first attempt, this worked out well. Aaron and I probably each ate 10 of them, with each batch getting better than the last. While not nearly as well-formed as any steamed bun I’ve had at a restaurant, the texture and flavor was on point. I liked the larger dumplings as they had more filling to bread. I served these with a dipping sauce comprised of aromatic soy sauce (made with ginger, Sichuan peppercorn, cinnamon stick, and star anise) and red pepper oil.