Sunday, March 13, 2011

Chive Boxes

I love all dumpling'ish foods such as dumplings, pot stickers, steamed buns and of course chive boxes, also known as jiu cai he zi in Chinese.

Garlic chives or Chinese chives are much more potent than regular chives and I love the flavor and fragrance.  I started growing garlic chives in the garden, but I still don't have quite enough to make a decent batch of chive boxes, so store-bought will have to do for now.

The main components of chive boxes are egg, glass noodles and of course chives!  If you like, mini dried shrimp make a tasty addition as well.  And if you decide that you don't like the flavor of garlic chives, which can be a bit strong, you can easily substitute it for other veggies such as spinach and even add some ground pork or shrimp to make your own tasty creation!

I'm also submitting this dish to Weekend Herb Blogging which is being hosted by Chris at Mele Cotte.  Check out the other submissions if you get a chance!

- All Purpose Flour
- Hot Water
- Garlic chives
- Glass noodles aka mung bean noodles, cellophane noodles, etc.
- Eggs
- Salt and/or soy sauce
- Sesame oil

- Mix together the flour and hot water (about 2 parts flour to 1 part water) until a nice smooth dough is formed.  Cover it and set it aside.
- Chop the chives into 1/2-1/4 inch bits.
- Scramble the eggs in a pan with a bit of salt and/or soy to taste.
- Soak the glass noodles in hot water until soft and pliable.  Then chop the noodles into approximately 1 inch lengths.
- Mix the chives, glass noodles and eggs together in a bowl.  Season with soy sauce and sesame oil as needed.

- Cut off a chunk of the dough and roll and stretch it into a rope of about 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter.
- Slice the rope into approximately 1 inch chunks (depending on how big you want your chive boxes to be and how thick you like the skin to be), turning the rope 90 degrees in between each cut so that you the dough doesn't get flattened into an oval.

- Smoosh each chunk into a circle, dust with flour, set aside, and cover them with a kitchen towel so that they don't dry out.
- Using a wooden dowel, roll out the dough into a circle (or as close to it as you can get).  I find that rolling the dough from the edge closest to me halfway to the center of the circle and back out with my left hand while using my right hand to turn the dough a quarter turn in between each roll of the dowel works best for me.
- When you have achieved the desired thickness (depending on how dough-y you like your chive boxes to be), you can use a cookie cutter to get a prettier circle, but I'm lazy and don't bother with this step.
- Place some filling in the center of the dough and wet the edge of half the circle with water.  Bring the wet edge and the dry edge together (sort of like a taco) and press the edges together.  You can make pretty pleats if you want, but it's really not necessary.  Just make sure it's closed tight.
- Set aside and repeat until you are out of dough or filling.
- Heat some oil on medium in a non-stick pan.  Place as many of the chive boxes in the pan, seam side down, as you can.
- If you want, add a bit of water to the pan as if you were cooking potstickers.  You can also cook them without water too.  Both methods work and will just give you a slightly different texture in the dough.
- Let them cook until the crust is a crunchy and has a light golden brown.  Flip them and cook the other side until light golden brown as well.
- Serve plain or with a mixture of black vinegar and soy sauce.
- You can also freeze these and pop them back in the pan to reheat whenever you're in the mood for them!