Posts Tagged With: Great Khan

Pork Shumai

Chinese Appetizer

PORK SHUMAI

INGREDIENTS

2 garlic cloves
1″ ginger root
2 green onions
1 pound ground pork
½ tablespoon cornstarch
¾ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons rice wine or dry sherry
½ tablespoon sesame oil
1½ tablespoons light soy sauce or soy sauce
40 wonton or gyoza wrappers
3 or so leaves Napa cabbage (You may substitute parchment paper. Be sure to punch holes in it.)
soy sauce for dipping

SPECIAL UTENSILS

kitchen towel
steamer
x-ray goggles

Makes 40 pork shumai. Takes 1 hour.

PREPARATION

Mince garlic, ginger root, and green onion. Add garlic, ginger root, green onions, ground pork, cornstarch, salt, rice wine, sesame oil, and soy sauce to large mixing bowl. Mix with hands. Add 1 tablespoon pork mixture to middle of wonton wrapper. Wet finger with water. Run finger around edges of wrapper. Wrap sides of wrappers around pork mixture. Seal edges with together with hands, starting at the bottom. Repeat until you have enough dumplings to fill steamer’s basket. Covered completed dumplings, shumai, with damp kitchen towel until they are ready for the steamer. You will likely need to steam the shumai in batches. Make another batch while the previous batch is being steamed.

Add water to bottom part of steamer until it is 1″ from reaching the steamer basket. Bring to boil using high heat. While water comes to boil, line steamer basket with 2 Napa cabbage leaves. Place dumplings on cabbage leaves.(This keeps dumplings from sticking to basket.) Leave ½” gaps between shumai. Cover steamer and steam at high heat for 5 minutes or until done. (If you neglected to pick up x-ray vision goggles at your store, you may sample one.) Remove steamed dumplings, shumai and serve. Continue until all batches have been steamed. Dip in soy sauce as desired.

TIDBITS

1) Pork shumai comes from China.

2) Chinese spare ribs also come from China.

3) As do Chinese horoscopes.

4) And Chinese fireworks.

5) We can thus conclude someone from China invented Chinese checkers.

6) Although glass marbles have been invented and produced several times throughout history and in many different locations, their popularity is cyclical.

7) Indeed in the Middle Ages, adults generally forbade children to engage in any games, whether it was Pin the Tail on the Giraffe’s Neck (PTGN) or play marbles.

8) PTGN would have died out naturally as a recreational pursuit as no child during the Middle Ages could have pinned that high on a giraffe, even if he stood on his tippy does.

9) Playing Marbles (M) also waned in popularity. Medieval Children (MC) had to hike to the wheat fields to get away from parental supervision. Unfortunately, marbles got lost immediately in the amber waves of grain. (This image would ultimately inspire our great song “America the Beautiful.”) No more marbles for play, no more games of Marbles.

10) The game Marbles came to China with the Polo brothers in the thirteenth century.

11) The Great Khan loved the game. And since he loved the game so did all his Chinese subjects. Marbles Mania (MM) was poised to take off in the Land of the Panda.

12) But alas, the Polo brothers only brought enough marbles for one game of Chinese checkers. Then tragedy struck, a mighty wind blew away two marbles. A diligent search by the palace guard recovered one marble. Not enough for a game.

13) The Polo brothers, Marco and Ralph, tried diverting the Great Khan’s wrath by giving him three-and-twenty shirts with short sleeves, and a button-down collar. Sad to say, Khan didn’t cotton to these Polo Shirts. He even ordered the brothers’ execution. Things looked grim for the Polos. Only an IRS audit could have made things worse.

14) Then woo hoo, a divine wind blew dozens of pork shumais from the imperial kitchen onto Khan’s Chinese checkers boards. The game was saved for imperial household. The Chinese peasants could now partake as well. Laborers, at the end of a hot day, would invite neighbors over for a nice game of Chinese checkers, then dine on the pork-shumai marbles after playing was done.

15) Health restrictions in 1857 prohibited the use of pork-shumai marbles. (See Dr. Amos Keeto’s work, The Great Chinese Pork-Shumai-Marble Plague of 1856.) From that year on, Chinese checkers would be played only with glass marbles. Now you know.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

Categories: history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Grilled Ham and Dill Havarti Cheese Sandwiches and the Discovery of America

Fusion Entree

GRILLED HAM AND DILL HAVARTI CHEESE SANDWICH

INGREDIENTSHamAndDill-

6 tablespoons butter
8 slices of your favorite bread
1 pound slice deli ham
6 ounces dill Havarti cheese

PREPARATION

Cut butter into 4 equal pieces or pats. Cut havarti cheese into 8 equal slices. Add 1 pat of butter to skillet. Melt butter using medium heat. Add 2 bread slices to skillet. Quickly Add 1/4 of the ham slices and 2 havarti slices to one the bread slices. Put the other slice butter-side up on top of the ham and cheese.

Grill for 2 minutes on medium heat or until bottom slice is browned on bottom. (Unless you have a skillet made of transparent aluminum, you will have to use your spatula to take a peek.) Carefully flip sandwich over and grill other side for 2 minutes or until the new bread on the bottom is golden brown and cheese has melted. (Note: cooking times for this sandwich will tend to become shorter with each new sandwich as the skillet absorbs more and more heat.)

TIDBITS

1) On April 1, 1491, Chef Bjorn Havarti sailed west from Copenhagen, Denmark, to discover a shorter route to the empire of the Great Khan. His voyage lasted just two minutes Remarkably, Mr. Havarti had not succeeded in hiring and keeping a crew. To this day, in Denmark, attempting a great task with woefully insufficient resources is called, “pulling a Chef Bjorn.”

3) Apparently, the Danish chef had prepared a bon voyage dinner of lutefisk. Four of their senses damaged beyond repair by contact with lutefisk, the entire crew elected to stay ashore. Before Bjorn could raise funds for another voyage, Christopher Columbus would discover America*. Bjorn was destined to be forgotten for two tidbits.

4) * = Columbus was not the first to discover America. Arriving before him were the First Americans who crossed over the land bridge from Asia, possible voyagers from China, and Vikings. Apparently, America can be discovered many times. You just need a new starting point.

5) Okay, I look out my window and see America. I hereby state that I am the first one to discover America from my home in Poway, California. April 24th will now be known as Chef Paul Day.

5) Chef Bjorn learned his lesson and devoted his life to discovering a truly tasty food. On April 1, 1920, just 429 years later, he succeeded with his pièce de resistance, Havarti cheese. He died just one day later, exhausted but triumphant.

– Chef Paul

4novels

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and novels are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

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