Cong You Bing: Scallion Pancakes [China]

scallion pancakes

Scallion pancakes are so loved that they have made it from the streets of China to restaurants all over the world. Chinese historians still debate on the exact origin of these pancakes, however the most widely accepted belief is that it originated in Shanghai, a city with a large foreign population of Indians. The support for this theory comes from the fact that the technique behind making scallion pancakes closely resembles that of making paratha, an Indian flatbread.

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Dahi Toast [India]

This recipe is inspired from the Dahi Toast recipe by Priya Krishna and has been adapted to use the ingredients we have in our pantry. We did not, and still don’t, have 30 fresh curry leaves on hand and in this time of shelter-in-place, we made do by replacing it with some bay leaves and lime zest. If you’re looking to try this recipe out but don’t have curry leaves either, some other suggested substitutes include basil, kaffir lime leaves, or lemon balm.

We thought the mustard seeds looked lonely with just the bay leaves and lime zest for company, so we added in a garlic clove and some scallions to jazz it up and give the oil a bit more flavor and body. The yogurt filling is tangy, spicy, and SO good that we’re looking forward to using the extra in a taco, or over some potatoes, or with whatever is for dinner!

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Toast Skagen [Sweden]

When I visited my friend in Sweden, one of the dishes on my must-try list was Toast Skagen. And it did not disappoint. I loved it so much that the night her fiance planned to cook dinner for us, I asked him to include this classic on the menu! Contrary to intuition, with Skagen being a fishing port in northern Denmark, toast Skagen is a Swedish dish invented in 1956 by the Swedish chef Tore Wretman.

The recipe below was originally a no-recipe recipe, where my friend’s fiance obtained a list of ingredients from his brother (who used to mix together the ingredients for toast skagen at his supermarket job) and intuitively combined them following a 1:1 ratio of mayonnaise to creme fraiche; however when I recreated the dish at home, I measured out each of the ingredients from the list for you in the recipe below to give you guidelines on where to start. As with any recipe, feel free to alter it to your tastes.

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Xi’an Beef & Chives Potstickers [China]

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Potstickers are dumplings that have been pan-fried on one side for the crispy bottoms and then steamed to ensure the filling and tops of the wrapper are cooked through. The origin story is that an imperial court chef in the Song dynasty accidentally left a batch of dumplings on the stove for a bit too long and burnt the bottoms of the batch. Without time to prepare a new batch, he brazenly served them bottom-side up, bringing attention to the burnt bottoms and claiming that the burning was intentional. Luckily, the crispy bottoms brought a difference in texture to the traditional dumpling and pleased the members of the court so much that potstickers were born.

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