Sake Gumi
My weekend was spent cooking and baking. This is as usual, if you know me. It was nice outside throughout the weekend, but I kept myself in the kitchen. This is my stress remedy. Some people might enjoy sitting outside, go for a walk, drink their sorrows away (I do that all the time), go dancing (I did it Friday night), jog or work out (not for me), but cooking is the best way for me to feel calm.

I'll show you what I created.

Not shown is the homemade tofu. Instead of painstakingly cooking soy beans, I bought soy milk at a Japanese grocery store. It was from a tofu store in Kyoto, and contained just soy and water, so I thought it would make a decent one. Yep, I was right. It was very tasty.

Also I made bunch of Japanese style pickles. For this, I will post a detailed method soon. Unlike western style pickling, Japanese do it a very weird way, very stinky, and uses things like egg shells, rice bran, beer, etc. Sounds fascinating, right? Behold, my obsession with pickling will be revealed shortly.

Below is umami porn. I have a party coming up this weekend, and this is one of the items I will serve. I made them and they are in my freezer waiting to be cooked. My famous dumplings. It's just ground pork, Chinese chives, ginger, salt, pepper, soy sauce, and egg. I buy skins since it's too much to make them. How uniformly assembled! I didn't use Joyce Chen's dumpling maker, FYI.

Remember my post on the Japanese vegetable delivery service? That huge daikon radish turned into daikon, chicken and pumpkin cooked in soy base soup.

Japanese green pepper (which is a lot thinner than American kind) stuffed with ground pork, with a thick teriyaki style sauce.

My friend went home to Indonesia and brought this back. Krupuk, or shrimp crackers. They are awesome. It's simple cooking, just fry them.

When it's dry, it's just about, say, 3 inches.

Check out this video. It's ALIVE!!! How it grows is quite amazing. I have no idea what's in it, but after you fry them, the whole house smelled like fried fish... Pretty gross, and somehow, something was stuck on the frying pan, which took me like 10 minutes to clean. Normal food shouldn't grow like this, so there must be some foreign ingredients in this. But it tastes good. Shrimp+Cracker+Fried= AWESOME!

Finally, the highlight of this weekend was making authentic New York style bagels. My cooking mind is very bi-polar. While I was making dumplings, I decided to make bagels. I don't think ahead, and when I feel like making something, I just go buy ingredients and make them. When I was reading about New York style bagel, the key item was malt syrup. So I went to Whole Foods, where I saw Chace Crawford in front, and while I was texting that information to my friend Molly, Bobby Flay was talking RIGHT next to me. My celeb sightings for the weekend!

Back to bagel making. The recipe was something like this.
11 1/4 cups of bread flour
3 3/4 cups of warm water
3 1/2 table spoon of yeast
5 teaspoon of sugar
2 1/3 teaspoon of oil
5 teaspoon of malt syrup
5 teaspoon of salt

Mix water, sugar and yeast, rest it till it kind of bubbles up. Then add salt, syrup and oil.

Add flour, and it makes VERY stiff dough. Knead it for 10 minutes. It was VERY stiff and I almost thought it was too stiff and about to add more water, but it is supposed to be stiff, so I just kept kneading.

Finally it became the shape and texture it should be, and I put it in a bowl to rise.

After its risen, some recipe says to make a string and attach ends to make round shape, but my recipe said to make a tight ball, then put your finger through in the middle and make a hole. What a brilliant idea!

Then the distinctive part of bagel making, you boil them for 45 seconds each side in hot water and malt syrup mixture.

Bake them in 400F for 17-20 minutes, and check this out! This will make umami porn, for sure.

Maybe I have some Jewish blood in me somewhere. Come to think of it, I do sometimes talk like a nagging Long Island mother. That might be why my challah bread, as well as these bagels are pretty close to professional level!





    kayoko on

  • OMG @ your bagels…! they look amazing and i bet they were sooo delish when they were fresh from the oven… and uber KUDOS on your beautiful dumpling skills!

    kayce. on

  • This made me laugh and clap my hands with joy

    Sonja on

  • you are unf&ckingbelievable.
    Mazel Tov on your homemade bagels

    Hamamama on

  • WOW!! I’m so impressed. I want to eat ur homemade dumpings! YUMMM!

    Meanwhile, I almost passed out from exhaustion after making 1 dish:

    I have much to learn from you!

    ambitious on

  • I want to eat that chicken daikon pumpkin

    Sonja on

  • Every sentence is a gift!!

    Sonja on

  • What makes your bagels perfect is the tiny hole in the middle. I can’t stand bagels with big holes. The cream cheese falls right through!

    Chris on

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