January 11, 2021
When I lived in Wichita my sister came out and taught me how to make sushi roles. Rather than purchasing one of the fancy rollers that are available, she taught me how to make the roles by hand using a small bamboo mat. After we made a variety of roles, we went to the local Asian market and looked for appropriate plates and dinner ware to serve it on. The two settings were plastic, but it looked really cool with its matching design (is that Grecian around the outside?). While the intent was to use this for one-on-one Japanese meals, I never really used it until last night. That is when Melissa and I had pot stickers.
While I have been intrigued (and enjoyed!) the nuances of making Chinese dishes for many years, I now have two Chinese nieces who have challenged me with their own posts. One of the questions I had wondered was why the dishes came out at different times when I was part of a large group at a restaurant. When I began to make the actual dishes, I realized each dish is a separate creation. That means each dish is made, sent to the table, and then the next dish is made. That is what I have also done when I served a large group at parties. That is how I have seen Dim Sum (small plates) served as well.
This last weekend I was challenged to make pot stickers, also known as Chinese dumplings. I found an amazing receive (I do not use recipes, but this was different) that suggested the ingredients for the dumplings. I went to the grocery to find the suggested wraps, but they did not have them. I decided to improvise (surprise!). While I made the dumplings and the filling tasted incredible, there was a major failure. The dumplings stuck to the parchment paper I used to line my bamboo streamer. When I looked for “steamed dumplings” online later, it suggested using lettuces leaves or oiling the bamboo to keep it from sticking. Regrettably, I did neither. They ended up as a mass of tasty broken dumplings.
Thoughts: There are the times (rare?) when my refusal to use a recipe results in failure. Even with the recipe for the dumplings I changed the ingredients for the filling. The recipe called for frying the dumplings and Melissa prefers them steamed, so I changed the cooking process. I was wise enough to know the dumplings would stick to the bamboo steamer, but the choice of parchment paper merely changed where the dumplings stuck. Far too often we only follow the advice we believe to be relevant and ignore the reason for the rest. Sometimes this works, but other times it results in failure. Even now we only follow the of advice we believe to be relevant. This explains our failure. Follow the science. Change is coming and it starts with you.