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My Rules…a Continuing Effort to Be Better

Thailand 2017, by Reggie Soang

I used to think the career of a chef is simple and straight forward; you work your way up the rank and you become a chef, and then you’d enjoy the perks that come along with the hard work, the end. However, the road to becoming a chef is rather winding and surprisingly, without a summit. Being a chef does not conclude my journey, but rather just another pit stop off a long, exhausting, and yet rewarding climb in my pursuit to eat and cook good food. And at some point, being a chef and earning a title is no longer that important, and engaging in the work inside of the food industry becomes my sole motivation to wake up everyday and do it repeatedly.

Over the years, I had many lows. I had debts and I drank, and I hated the vicious cycle of waking up hungover and going to work, and doing it again, though at times that the camaraderie was worth it. I started on the recovering journey when I realized that what I wanted did not exist and never will. “Making it as a chef” is as abstract as “being successful”, at what point does my success complement the role I embody when I take off my chef jacket? To me, the greatest chefs are the ones who take an interest in other subjects, who are family-oriented, and who devote their time to teaching and mentoring. Being a chef embodies the role of a counselor, an entrepreneur, an innovator, and a great parent.

I am a patient of my own after seeing the worst of myself through job losses and breakups. I grip onto the faith that my continuous effort to be the best version of myself will lead me to a more joyful life. To achieve honesty, integrity, and accountability, I continuously write rules for myself in order to steer me towards a more pragmatic path. I’d like to share my rules here.

  1. Life is not easy and fair, and don’t try to make it so.
    • I knowledge my privilege and therefore will not play the victim card in any circumstances. The secret is…I had played the victim card quietly in my own world for some time and it’s only hindered my progression to be a better friend, a more thoughtful partner, and a more understanding chef. I will not allow myself to do it again.
  2. Do not be surprised by the absurdity of this world
    • Humans are capable of loving and hating; don’t let others surprise me with their effort to bring me down. Use their negativity to learn about compassion and develop a growth mindset. On the other hand, believe that others are capable of loving me as I am capable of loving them.
  3. Happiness is the byproduct of my hard work. If I don’t work hard, I don’t deserve to be happy. Nevertheless, I can be joyful and content with my life during the process.
    • I find happiness after winning a pick-up basketball game. I find happiness after cooking a delicious meal for my friends and anonymous guests in the restaurants. These happiness are the byproduct of my consistent practice and training. To achieve any of these happiness, I first have to find joy doing the work, and be content with my total effort, even if I fail.
  4. Turn the page
    • I am the author of the book on my life. Own up to my mistakes, make amends, and then turn the page and start over, but never forget.
  5. 10,000-hour mastery only gets you a better job, not the best job
    • Everybody can cut or dice an onion, what makes my onions better than his or hers? The best job does not need the “perfect diced” onions, but the finest onions for the job.
  6. Dissect opportunities through gratitude because chances are…I was lucky.
    • None of the jobs I have ever had was because I deserved it. No one is entitled to a job regardless of his or her experiences or background. Opportunities show up because life is a lot like luck. Be consistent, and keep doing what I am doing, let luck takes its course and grab onto the opportunities.
  7. Give my obstacles credit
    • Obstacles and fears push me to be creative and to overcome challenges. I have been defeated by fears and overwhelmed by obstacles, and I have had many bad days. I have also learned that obstacles and fears don’t sympathize with my circumstances, my pride and ego will only feed my own denial, and it’s only my acquired humility and growth mindset that will help me navigate through my time on this planet.
  8. Time is the most expensive currency
    • There are two items in my world that I won’t get back: the death of my loved ones and time. Death and time work hand in hand. Life is short…but how short? Time is precious…but how precious? I don’t have the answers and time does not wait for me to figure that out.
  9. My role is to support
    • One of the best ways to lead is to support. Being in a supportive role, I could empathize with the pain, create a joyful environment, and live with no regret. The most dreadful thought is to have lived but not have lived to be the best and kindest.
  10. Constantly define and refine the concept of success for myself
    • Currently, being a great support, being content with myself, living with intention, and looking after my health are on my scorecard for being successful. I have to feed each category with a healthy dose of attention to achieve my own success.

I practice these rules everyday. Through my own practice, I’ve become more confident and assured of myself. I embrace uncertainties, and these rules guide me through the noises and bring out the best version of myself even on a bad day.

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NYC Community Supported Agriculture: Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons and Anchovies

Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons and Anchovies, by Reggie Soang (click on the image for the YouTube video)

Caesar salad is simple and delicious. The perfect Caesar dressing is tangy, salty, and bright. The tanginess comes from the vinegar, the saltiness comes from the anchovies and Parmesan, and the brightness comes from the fresh lemon juice. Caesar salad is a salad in its simplest form: fresh romaine lettuce and crispy croutons. When the lettuce and croutons are covered in the perfect dressing, this salad is brilliant and delightful!

For the latest Chef Reggie’s Cooking Series:

Caesar Salad with Whole Wheat Sourdough Croutons and Anchovies
Serves: Enough croutons and dressing for 6 to 8 salads

Ingredients:
For the Croutons
2 cups torn sourdough bread, into bite-size
2 tablespoons EVOO
Pinch of Salt

For the Dressing:
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Champaign vinegar
2 Tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cloves fresh garlic
7 anchovies fillet
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

To complete:
1 head Romaine lettuce
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
3 anchovy fillets
1 tablespoon EVOO

  1. To make the croutons, tear up the sourdough (or the bread you choose to use) into bite-size and let the bread sit on the counter and dry out for an hour
  2. Meanwhile, wash the Romaine lettuce and dry the leaves. Set them aside in the fridge until ready to use.
  3. Next, make the dressing by first grate the garlic onto the chopping board. Add the anchovies to the garlic and chop them together until forming a paste.
  4. In a bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, dijon mustard, Champaign vinegar, water, and ground black pepper.
  5. Add the garlic-anchovy paste and grated Parmesan, and stir to combine.
  6. When the sourdough croutons are nice and dry on the surface, toss them in olive oil and salt, and then toast them in a skillet on medium heat until golden brown. Cool to room temperature before using them in the salad.
  7. To make the salad, dress the lettuce with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and Caesar dressing, and then rub the dressing into each leaf to make sure it is distributed evenly. Add the croutons and toss them with the lettuce and the dressing.
  8. To plate, place the bigger leaves at the bottom of the plate, and then add the croutons. Repeat by layering the lettuce and the croutons, and place the smaller leaves towards the top. Add more grated Parmesan and anchovies fillets around the salad, and drizzle a little more olive oil to finish. Bon appétit!
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NYC Community Supported Agriculture: Fried Rice with Pickled Cucumbers, Spring Onions, and Peas

Fried Rice, Pickled Cucumbers, Spring Onions, and Peas, by Reggie Soang (click the image for the YouTube video)

For the latest Chef Reggie’s cooking series:

Fried Rice with Pickled Cucumbers, Spring Onions, and Framed Eggs
Serves: 2 portions

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:
2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons salt, plus 1 more teaspoon
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup fresh peas
1/4 cup diced carrots, medium dice
6 tablespoons cooking oil, divided in half
1/2 cup diced red onions, small to medium dice
1/2 cup chopped spring onions
4 cups cooked/day old long-grain rice
2 eggs, beaten
NY-Style Deli Pickles, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Ground black pepper
Grated Parmesan, optional

  1. Make pickled cucumbers by adding 2 teaspoons of salt and sugar and mix them together. Let them sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water up to a boil and cook fresh peas for 10 seconds and chill them down in cold or ice water. Use the same boiling water and cook diced carrots until tender.
  3. Heat up a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat and add half of the oil (3 tablespoons). When the oil shimmers, add red onions and sauté until tender, and then add spring onions and carrots.
  4. Keep sautéing red onions, spring onions, and carrots until they are caramelized. Set them aside on a plate. Wipe off the skillet and put it back on the stove.
  5. Add the rest oil to the skillet. When the oil shimmers, add the beaten eggs. Stir up the eggs and chop them into little chunks with a wooden or rubber spatula. Add the rice into the skillet and fry the rice with the eggs.
  6. When the rice is heated and becomes fluffy, add the soy sauce and stir to combine.
  7. To finish the fried rice, add the pea and the veggies from step 4 back into the skillet and toss to combine. Grate fresh Parmesan on top, and serve hot. Bon appétit!
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NYC Community Supported Agriculture: Zucchini Bruschetta with Basil and Grilled Sourdough

Zucchini Bruschetta with Basil and Grilled Sourdough, by Reggie Soang (click on the image for the YouTube video)

Zucchini in the summer is flavorful and juicy. Cook the zucchini until tender and smash it until nice and creamy, and then spread the zucchini on the grilled bread for a quick and healthy meal. Grate some Parmesan or your choice of cheese on top to make it more irresistible. You will be making this dish over and over!

For the latest Chef Reggie’s Cooking Series:

Zucchini Bruschetta with Basil and Grilled Sourdough
Serves: enough zucchini to 4 pieces of toasts

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons cooking oil
5 cloves fresh garlic plus 1 more for rubbing the grilled sourdough
2 pieces zucchini, cut to large chunks
1 teaspoons salt plus a pinch for the sourdough
1 teaspoon dried chili
1 tablespoon lime juice
3 tablespoons chopped Italian basil
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoons grated cheese, such as Parmesan, Aged Cheddar, or Pecorino
2 pieces of sourdough
2 tablespoons EVOO

  1. Heat up a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Add the cooking oil and wait until it shimmers, and then add garlic chunks. Cook the garlic chunks until golden brown.
  2. Add zucchini when the garlic is golden brown and sprinkle the dried chili flakes on top.
  3. Cook the zucchini until tender and caramelized. Use a spatula and another tool with a flat surface to press on the spatula with zucchini underneath. Smash the zucchini until nice and creamy.
  4. Add a healthy squeeze of lime juice and basil and stir to combine.
  5. Set aside the zucchini and grill the sourdough. Grill the sourdough on the stovetop with a rack until nice and toasty. Alternatively, use the broiler in the oven or a toaster. Rub both sides of the bread with raw garlic, drizzle the olive oil on top and season with a pinch of salt.
  6. Serve the bruschetta by placing a generous amount of zucchini on top of the bread. Finish the bruschetta by adding chopped parsley, freshly grated cheese, and more EVOO. Bon appétit!
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NYC Community Supported Agriculture: Pea Smash on Grilled Sourdough

Pea Smash with Grilled Sourdough, by Reggie Soang (click on the image for YouTube video)

Fresh and seasonal peas are tender and juicy. Take advantage of peas’ superb quality by blending them with basil and cheese to make a pesto, and then spread it on a piece of grilled sourdough. Tender and juicy peas don’t last very long; peas get starchier and drier as the season goes on. To keep the peas fresh for later use, cook them quickly in boiling water and chill them immediately in cold or ice water. Store the peas in a ziplock bag and freeze them.

For the latest Chef Reggie’s Cooking Series:

Pea Smash on Grilled Sourdough
Portion: serves 8 pieces of bread

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
3 cloves fresh garlic plus 1 more clove to rub the sourdough
1/4 cup blanched and skinless almonds
1 cup fresh peas, out of the shells
4 cups/1 bunch basil leaves
1/4 cup EVOO, plus more for the sourdough
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Cheddar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 slices sourdough or any crusty bread

  1. Using a food processor, blitz up almonds and garlic, using the pulse setting on the machine, until they are crumbly.
  2. Add peas and basil and blitz them up with garlic and almonds on pulse setting again until everything is homogenized. Add cheese, and repeat with the blending.
  3. Turn the food processor on full speed and stream in EVOO. Blend the pea mixture until it is spreadable.
  4. Scrape the pea smash into a bowl and stir in lime juice and more EVOO to adjust the consistency. Season with salt.
  5. Set up a rack on the stovetop to make a grill. Alternatively, turn on the broiler in the oven. Grill or toast the sourdough until nice and toasty, and rub raw garlic on both sides of the bread. Drizzle some olive oil on the sourdough and sprinkle a pinch of salt on top. Spread the pea smash generously on the toast and serve. Bon appétit!
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NYC Community Supported Agriculture: Cucumber Yogurt Salad, Charred Spring Onion, and Fresh Peass

Cucumber Yogurt, Charred Spring onions, and Pea, by Reggie Soang (click on the image for the YouTube video)

In-season cucumbers are sweet, juicy, and crunchy. Cucumbers and yogurt are delicious together; the tang from the yogurt complements the cucumbers’ subtle sweetness. Charred spring onions give amazing depth of flavor. Serve this salad with a slice of grilled sourdough to mop up the yogurt and dressing at the bottom of the bowl!

For the latest Chef Reggie’s Cooking Series:

Cucumber Yogurt Salad with Charred Spring Onions and Fresh Peas
Serving: 2 portion

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes (not including inactive time)

Ingredients:
3 cucumbers
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 stalks spring onions
2 tablespoons fresh peas (use frozen ones if fresh ones aren’t available)
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of dried chilies
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons EVOO plus 4 more tablespoons
2 pieces of sourdough
1 clove fresh garlic

  1. Cut cucumbers into bite-size and season with salt and sugar and toss them around. Set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Dress the spring onions with cooking oil and season them with salt. Place the scallions under the broiler and roast them until nicely charred. Cool the spring onions and cut them into 1/4-inch length.
  3. To shell the fresh peas, clip off the tip on the side of the pea pod and pull the stringy part off across the top. Open the pea pod and release the peas individually.
  4. Bring a pot of water to a boil and boil the peas for 10 seconds. Cool them down in cold or ice water immediately.
  5. Set up a rack on the stovetop to make an indoor grill. Alternatively, turn on the broiler in the oven. Grill or toast the sourdough until nice and toasty, and rub raw garlic on both sides of the bread. Drizzle some olive oil on the sourdough and sprinkle a pinch of salt on top. (if using a broiler, put the bread under the broiler and toast them. Watch after the bread carefully.)
  6. Place the yogurt in a bowl and add salt, dried chilies, lime juice, and 2 tablespoons of EVOO. Stir everything to combine.
  7. Strain the cucumber and squeeze out excess liquid. Place the cucumbers on the yogurt and sprinkle charred spring onions and peas on top. Drizzle with more olive oil to finish. Serve the cucumber yogurt salad with the grilled sourdough. Bon appétit!
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Recipes

Buns & Dumplings – Wontons in Chili Oil with Asparagus

Wontons in Szechuan Chili Oil with Asparagus, by Reggie Soang

Wontons with Szechuan chili oil is one of the most popular Chinese dishes. In this recipe, I am frying some spices in the oil to make the chili oil more flavorful. Wonton filling is made out of ground chicken, which is delicious with the addition of ginger, scallions, garlic, white pepper, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil. Serve the wontons in chili oil and flavored liquid, such as chicken stock, and then add some chopped herbs, vinegar, and more soy sauce to boost the overall flavor. Wontons with Szechuan chili oil is brilliant on the palate and joyful to share at the table.

For the latest Chef Reggie’s cooking series:


Wontons with Szechuan Chili Oil
Serves: makes 60 wontons

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes (not including inactive time)

Ingredients:
For the wonton dough
300g all-purpose flour
3/8 teaspoons (1g) baking soda
Pinch of salt
3 eggs
1 + 1/2 tablespoon (14g) water

For the filling
1 point ground chicken (breast meat)
3 tablespoons chopped ginger, finely chopped
2 sprigs scallions, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, grated
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon sesame oil

For chili oil
1 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon dried chili flakes
1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorn
1 tablespoon white peppercorn
1 stick cinnamon
3 star anise
1/3 cup sambal chili sauce
1 teaspoon MSG
1 + 1/2 teaspoon sugar

Serve with
1 chicken bouillon cube, Knorr brand
4 quarts water
1 teaspoon Chinese Chinkiang Vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon chopped scallions
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 small bunch of asparagus, cut into 2-inch in length

  1. To make the chili oil, fry the spices inside of a skillet or a small pot with canola oil on medium-low heat until all the bubbles on the surface subsides. Strain the oil and reserve the fried spices.
  2. Pour the oil back into the skillet and fry sambal chili sauce, and fry it until all the bubbles subside on the surface. Set aside the oil and let it cool.
  3. Once cooled, blend the fried spices with the chili sauce oil until the spices turn into a paste. Set aside and work on the wonton dough and filling.
  4. Set up a pasta machine for making wonton wrappers. Alternatively, use a heavy rolling pin.
  5. To make the wonton wrappers, make a well in the center of a mixing bowl with flour, salt, and baking soda. Make sure the bowl is big enough to fit a hand in there for kneading a dough. Add the eggs and water into the middle and slowly bring the flour to the center. 
  6. Once a dough is formed, knead it until the surface is smooth and cover it in plastic. Rest the dough for 30 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, make the filling by adding all the ingredients together and use a pair of chopsticks to stir in one direction until it is tacky.
  8. When the dough is ready, divide it into two portions. Shape each portion into balls and cover one with plastic while working with the other one. Roll the ball into an elongated disk and pass it through the pasta machine on the largest setting. Fold the wonton sheets back into a rectangle like folding a letter, and roll it out again through the pasta machine. Do this step 3 times. 
  9. Once the wonton wrapper has gone through the pasta machine 3 times at the largest setting, roll it through each succeeding setting to the lowest/thinnest. Run the wonton sheet through the thinnest setting twice. Cut off the uneven edge and spread the wonton sheet out on the counter.
  10. Cut the uneven edge wonton sheets into strips of noodles and set aside.
  11. Cut the wonton sheet in half by running a knife down lengthwise, and then cut each sheet into squares. The size of the wonton wrapper should be around 2.5 by 2.5 inches.
  12. Put 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center of each wrapper and brush 3 sides with water. Fold the closest side to you upward to make a rectangular pouch. Grab the corners aligned with the fold and pinch them together.
  13. Put 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center of each wrapper and brush 3 sides with water. Fold the closest side to you upward to make a rectangular pouch. Grab the corners aligned with the fold and pinch them together.
  14. Cook the wontons in boiling water; once they are floating on the surface of the boiling water, cook them for 1 more minute. Add the asparagus in the last 10 seconds of cooking.
  15. Meanwhile, prepare a chicken stock by heating up the water with the chicken bouillon cube.
  16. To serve, ladle 1/4 cup of the chicken stock into a bowl and add Chinese Chinkiang vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, chopped cilantro, and chopped scallions. 
  17. Add wontons and asparagus to the bowl and spoon 3 tablespoons of chili oil over the wontons. Serve hot and bon appétit!
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Buns & Dumplings – Wonton and Noodle Soup

Wonton Noodle Soup, by Reggie Soang

Wontons and noodles are a classic combo in a soup dish. The broth is made out of chicken stock, which is called the “majesty soup”, made with chicken, dried shittake mushroom, ginger, scallion, and dried Chinese dates (aka. jujube). Season the soup with soy sauce, MSG, ground white pepper, cilantro, and scallions in a bowl and add cooked wontons and noodles to it, garnish with more herbs, and you’d have a delightful meal!

For the latest Chef Reggie’s Cooking Series:

Chicken Wontons and Noodles
Portions: about 60 wontons

Prep Time: 15 minutes 
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients:
For the Wonton Dough:
2 + 1/8 cup (300g) all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
3/8 teaspoon (1g) baking soda
3 (165g) eggs
1 + 1/2 tablespoon (14g) water

For the Filling:
1 point ground chicken (breast meat)
3 tablespoons chopped ginger, finely chopped
2 sprigs scallions, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, grated
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar

For the broth:
1 stalk scallions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon MSG
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes
2 teaspoons soy sauce

  1. Set up a pasta machine for making wonton wrappers. Alternatively, use a heavy rolling pin.
  2. To make the wonton wrappers, make a well in the center of a mixing bowl with flour, salt, and baking soda. Make sure the bowl is big enough to fit a hand in there for kneading a dough. Add the eggs and water into the middle and slowly bring the flour to the center. 
  3. Once a dough is formed, knead it until the surface is smooth and cover it in plastic. Rest the dough for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, make the filling by adding all the ingredients together and use a pair of chopsticks to stir in one direction until it is tacky.
  5. When the dough is ready, divide it into two portions. Shape each portion into balls and cover one with plastic while working with the other one. Roll the ball into an elongated disk and run it through the pasta machine on the largest setting. Fold the wonton sheets back into a rectangle like folding a letter, and roll it out again through the pasta machine. Do this step 3 times. 
  6. Once the wonton wrapper has gone through the pasta machine 3 times at the largest setting, roll it through each succeeding setting to the lowest/thinnest. Run the wonton sheet through the thinnest setting twice. Cut off the uneven edge and spread the wonton sheet out on the counter.
  7. Cut the uneven edge wonton sheets into strips of noodles and set aside.
  8. Cut the wonton sheet in half by running a knife down lengthwise, and then cut each sheet into squares. The size of the wonton wrapper should be around 2.5 by 2.5 inches.
  9. Put 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center of each wrapper and brush 3 sides with water. Fold the closest side to you upward to make a rectangular pouch. Grab the corners aligned with the fold and pinch them together.
  10. Cook the wontons in boiling water; once they are floating on the surface of the boiling water, cook them for 1 more minute. 
  11. Meanwhile, prepare the broth by adding 4 oz. of the wonton cooking water (or stock) into a bowl with all the broth ingredients. 
  12. Add the wontons into the prepared broth, and then cook the noodles in the same boiling water. Place the noodles on top of the wontons and serve hot. Bon Appétit!
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Recipes

Buns & Dumplings – Curry Puffs with Lemon Yogurt

Curry Puffs with Lemon Yogurt, by Reggie Soang

Curry puffs are the Asian version of an empanada, and they are popular street foods in southeast Asia. To make these at home and keep it simple, use store-bought puff pastry and fill it with potato masala. Either fry or bake them until golden brown and crispy on the outside. Serve hot with a side of lemony yogurt with chopped cilantro.

Chef Reggie’s Cooking Series:

Crispy Curry Puffs with Yogurt Sauce
Serves: 2~3

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour (not including inactive time)

Ingredients:
1 potato, finely diced
1 sweet potato, finely diced
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 medium-sized onion, medium dice
1 head garlic, grated
3 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
1 tablespoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon dried chilies
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon chopped cilantro
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 box Puff Pastry, Pepperidge Farm Brand, defrosted

For the yogurt sauce:
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons EVOO

To Cook with:
Cooking oil

  1. Make potato masala by cooking potatoes and sweet potatoes in a pot of water first. Cover potatoes and sweet potatoes with cold water and bring the water to a boil. Drain the potatoes and set aside.
  2. cooking onions until nice and tender, and then add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant. Add the spices and a bit more oil to help cooking them until fragrant.
  3. Add the potatoes and sweet potatoes into the skillet and use a spatula to pack down on them gently. Cook undisturbed until the bottom is crispy and golden brown, and then lift the bottom to the top and gently pack down the potatoes again. Do this step a few times until most of the potatoes are browned. To finish, stir in chopped cilantro and coconut milk. Chill the potato masala in the fridge until completely cold.
  4. When the filling is ready, roll out the puff pastry to 1/16-inch thick. Using a 4-in ring cutter to cut out circles and fill the center of each with a heaping spoon of the filling. Brush the side of the circles with water and seal the edges to form a moon-shape pouch. Use a fork to push down on the edge to create pleats. (Alternatively, cut the puff pastry into squares and fill the center with the fillings and then form triangles by folding one corner to the other. Seal the edges.)
  5. To make the yogurt sauce, mix everything together and set it aside.
  6. Set up a shallow fryer by pouring enough oil halfway up in a skillet. Fry each curry puffs in 350 Fahrenheit oil. To get the oil to the right temperature, put a piece of bread into the fryer and wait until it turns golden brown, an indication of proper frying temperature.
  7. Fry the curry puffs on each side for 1 minute or until they are golden brown. Drain off the fat and set them on a rack. Serve curry puffs hot with yogurt sauce. Bon appétit!
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Recipes

Buns & Dumplings – Taiwanese Pot Stickers

Potstickers with Dipping Sauce, by Reggie Soang

Potstickers or gyoza are the crowd’s favorite. They are served in izakaya and famously on the streets in Taiwan. Potstickers come in a couple of different shapes, and the ones in Taiwan are long and skinny. The fillings are made of pork, ginger, garlic, scallions, and some seasoning. Sear each dumpling until the bottom is nice and golden brown and then steam with water. The crispy bottom gives a nice contrast in texture, and the flavor of the char at the bottom is also superb. Dip potstickers in a vinegary sauce to balance out the savory filling.

Chef Reggie’s Cooking Series:

Pot Stickers with Soy Vinegar Dipping Sauce
Serves: 2~3 people

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 30 minutes (not including inactive time)

Ingredients:
For the Dough (makes 10 potstickers)

1 cup + 2 tablespoons (150g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (80g) water
Pinch of Salt

For the pork fillings (make about 30 potstickers):
600g ground pork
5 cloves garlic, grated
3 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
1/4 cup or a small bunch chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1 + 1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon corn starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
2 + 1/2 tablespoons mirin
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water

For the dipping sauce:
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tablespoon sliced ginger
2 tablespoons chopped scallions
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

To cook with:
cooking oil

  1. To make the dough, mix water into the flour and salt and knead until the surface is smooth. Rest the dough for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the filling by combining everything, except water, first. Using a pair of chopsticks or a fork to mix the filling in a circular motion in one direction. Add water and keep mixing until all the ingredients are sticking together. Set aside.
  3. Make the dipping sauce by combining everything together and set aside. 
  4. To make the dumpling wrappers, roll the dough into a 1-inch log and portion to 15g each, about the size of a cherry tomato.
  5. Working one dough ball at a time, flatten it with the palm, and then use a hand to turn the dumpling wrapper in a circular motion while using the other hand rolling the edges out until the entire wrapper is about 3 to 3.5 inches in diameter. The wrapper should be a little thicker in the center.
  6. Put a heaping spoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper and pinch tight in the center on the top. Make one pleat at each end and then seal the edges. Make a few more pleats on the top to tighten the seals. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling.
  7. Heat up a non-stick skillet on medium heat and pour in a thin layer of oil. When the oil shimmers, place the potstickers in and evenly spaced them out and cook them until the bottom turns golden brown. Pour enough water into the skillet to cover 1/4 of the height of the dumplings and simmer for 8 minutes with a lid on. The sound of the sizzling will lessen towards the end and water should be completely evaporated. 
  8. Serve the pot sticks hot with the dipping sauce on the side. Bon Appétit!