Tag Archives: Chinese culture

Vegetarian Baozis

FOOD: Making your own Chinese vegetarian, oil-free dishes

Baozis (steamed buns or dumplings) have been a popular food in China for hundreds of years. In the Mei-hua trilogy, it is Guei-lung’s favorite snack. In the trilogy, as is probably true today, the most popular baozis are meat filled. Usually stuffed with pork. However, it can also be vegetarian, as many who practice Buddhism or who have given up meat for various reasons would prefer.

Either way, baozis are not too difficult to make. The most difficult part probably is making the bun look elegant by closing the bun up with a series of pleats! You can see these pleats in the picture on the dumpling flour package below.

Here’s a recipe for a batch of vegetarian dumplings for you to try.

Dough:

I used a package of dumpling flour that I found at a local Asian market. I followed the directions for making the dough printed on the back of the package–except for omitting the oil recommended. This made 8 large buns.

If you don’t want to make your own dough, you can also buy a loaf of unbaked bread dough from your local grocery store. I’ve done this in the past, and it works just fine. Plus, it allows you to enjoy your own baozis if you’re short on time. There will be some differences in the final product, but not much.

Vegetarian filling:

660 grams finely chopped green veggies. I used bok choy

 60 grams finely chopped mushrooms.

I used rehydrated xianggu mushrooms. After rehydrating them, squeeze out all excess water or they will be too moist and make your buns sloppy.

   3 slices of ginger

   ½ tsp salt

1 ¼ tsp sugar

   1 Tbl soya sauce

   1 Tbl corn starch  

Prepare the filling:

Mix the salt, sugar, corn starch and soya sauce together in a small bowl.

Stir-fry the mushrooms and ginger for a few minutes in a non-stick pan, adding a Tablespoon of water as needed to keep the mushrooms from sticking.

Add the salt, sugar, corn starch and soya sauce mixture to the pan and blend.

Add the finely chopped green veggies and cook for several minutes. Until the greens wilt and are well mixed with the mushrooms.

Remove the 3 slices of ginger.

Put aside to cool.

Prepare the dough:

Roll your dough into a log shape and cut into 8 equal pieces. This will give you a large sized baozi. Shape each into a ball.

Flatten the balls into a disk shape 5-6 inches in diameter. The edges, which will be pulled up and together around the filling, should be thinner than the middle or the filling might break through the bottom.

Form the baozi:

Spoon a generous teaspoon of filling into the center of the disc. Pull the dough up over the filling and pinch together in pleat-like fashion completely enclosing the filling. Let the buns rest for 30 minutes.

To cook: Place the filled buns in a steamer (either seam side down or up). The buns may double in size, so leave a space between each one. Steam for 15 minutes. Remove the steamer from the heat and let it sit another 5 minutes before removing the lid.

To reheat leftover buns, microwave for 30 seconds or re-steam.

If you give this a try, let me know how it turned out for you.

Enjoy!

MOVIES: Historical Chinese–The Sword and The Brocade

There are many historical Chinese movies and serials available on the Internet. Periodically, I will talk about some that I thought were interesting or fun. They will all be historical– whether dramas, mysteries,  adventures, or even fantasy. I hope you enjoy learning about them and go watch them, too.

#锦心似玉 #TheSwordandTheBrocade #WeTV

ENG SUB【The Sword and The Brocade 锦心似玉】EP01 | Starring: Wallace Chung, Seven Tan, He Hongshan, and Daddi Tang

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtaKlLEdLic

Premiered Feb 28, 2021

Captions in English & Chinese

Set in the Ming Dynasty

The Sword and The Brocade is a Chinese historical serial set in the Ming Dynasty. The costuming and setting are extravagant, as befitting the characters’ upper class status. Definitely, a feast for the eyes.

The story takes place in an extended family including a matriarch, her two sons and their families. The older son, General Xu Lingyi carries the responsibility of protecting the Xu name and ensuring its future. He is married to a wife and two concubines and has two young sons. After his first wife dies, he marries her younger step-sister, Luo Shiyiniang.

The theme of each episode is the growing love and respect between Lingyi and Shiyi in spite of their union being an arranged marriage. Shiyi was chosen as a wife for Lingyi because—after his first wife died—the matriarch wanted someone to care for Lingyi’s son. However, the matriarch herself and all of the women in the family were biased against Shiyi due to her drive for independence and her low status as a concubine’s daughter. Eventually, through consistent optimism, loyalty to the Xu family, and strength of character, Shiyi earns her place in the family.

This series is about how an extended family and its internal relationships affect each of its members in different and dramatic ways. Its about finding love after entering an arranged marriage. And, I believe, its about gender roles: how they can be stifling and crippling or open to change.

A New Year’s coming!

It’s hard to believe that we’re almost to Chinese New Year’s Day again. The year slipped by so quickly! I hope you all had a productive and prosperous year of the Rooster. It was a wonderful year for me, as you might have noticed on my books tab: the third book in my Mei-hua trilogy, Trapped, was nominated for an Agatha Award and for a Silver Falchion Award. Both are great honors.

 

While I don’t know everything this new year of the Dog will bring, one thing for sure is that I am coming out with a new early Ming Dynasty series. The first novel is Deadly Relations.

Deadly Relations launches on—you guessed it—February 16th, Chinese New Year’s Day. Continue reading

Monkey King, Sūn Wù-kōng, Sun Wuh-kong 孫悟空

It’s spring and I’m beginning my gardening in earnest. We have a fairly large flower/native plant area, which—hopefully—both the wild life and we can enjoy together.   In looking at a picture our brother-in-law took of my husband and me in the garden, I realized that I was wearing a distinctive t-shirt our daughter gave me.  Emblazoned on the front is an image of Monkey King, Sūn Wù-kōng, Sun Wuh-kong  .

Monkey King, Sun Wu-kong

Monkey King, Sun Wu-kong

Continue reading

Qingming Festival 清明節 Qīngmíng Jié, Ching-mirng Jier

Tomorrow, April 5th 2014, Chinese everywhere celebrate Qingming Festival 清明節 Qīngmíng Jié, Ching-mirng Jier.   On this day families go out to the cemeteries and clean the tombs of their ancestors. By honoring the dead, people also recognize the blood tie which binds their family together. It’s a day of family unity. Continue reading

More Chinese festivals: Jing zhe驚蟄 /Shangsi jie上巳 節

We’ve just celebrated 2 rather high profile Chinese holidays: New Years and the Lantern Festival.  Most people know something about these holidays.  They are fun, colorful, and celebrated by Chinese and non-Chinese around the world.  This picture was taken at the St Louis Missouri Botanical Gardens in 2013.

Lantern Festival at MO Botanical Gardens 2013 Jing Zhe Insects Awaken March festival

(my photo)

But there are many other less known festival days that are tied to traditional Chinese culture.  Some of these are tied to China’s solar calendar, some the lunar calendar, and some have become intermixed.  One such holiday may be 驚蟄 Jing zhe, Insects Awaken. Jing Zhe Insects Awaken March festivalThe holiday comes in the 3rd month (note  People’s Daily Online).  I believe this festival is also called the Shangsi Festival [上巳 節 shàngsì jié, shanghsih jier], which today officially lands on the 3rd day of the 3rd month of the lunar calendar*. Traditionally this began the farming season in most of China.

It is said that the thunder of spring rains awaken the insects who have been hibernating all winter.  There are a range of activities to mark this day, such as a sacrificial ceremony held near water where people could clean themselves and rid themselves not only of dirt but also of last year’s bad luck. Driving out evil and bad luck is a critical part of this festival. Wormwood was hung in homes to drive out insects, rats and snakes.

Celebrants also called back the spirits of relatives and awaken their own spirits. And, as often happens, people would go outside and enjoy picnics and hikes.  After all, winter was over, the spring rains had started and there was new life everywhere.

Another custom the People’s Daily mentioned was that in some areas the white tiger was honored.  This was done to avoid disputes during the coming year. If someone angered or displeased the tiger, that person would have conflicts with others during the year. I especially like this story because it exemplified how important maintaining peaceful coexistence with your neighbors and family was.