Tuesday, December 18, 2012

YANG MAMA (Cooking with a Taiwanese Mom from California)

Yang Mama is Taiwanese, used to live in the Philippines, now resides in California, can understand and speak English and Tagalog but is most comfortable with her native Mandarin. She cooks Taiwanese specialties learned from her grandmother, and this year, 2012, is my lucky year because she graciously accepted our plea to teach us some of her treasured recipes.

I've attended many cooking and baking classes and demos, and I have to say this one tops the list because it was peppered with irreverent asides and funny anecdotes, it includes a slow-mo video that needs major editing work or else it should be rated R-18, and while waiting for the dough to rise we exchanged stories on "how we came to be in Hong Kong". So it was an afternoon of kitchen tips and tricks, love stories and "green" jokes galore. I'm not sure how Yang Mama thought of us (and our craziness) afterwards...but when we saw her again at a Christmas Party she seemed warm enough. At least I think she hasn't warned her daughter yet to remove us from her friends list on FB. :)

Preparing the dough. She could not stress enough how important water temperature is.

Mixing the dough

All honest to goodness home cooks use whatever they have on hand- like a small plate instead of a spatula or scraper

This ball will soon rise. In the meantime, we made the filling.

We chopped and chopped and chopped.

And chopped.

Mixing the meat using chopsticks

Yummy filling with the right texture that went straight to the chiller

While letting the bao dough rise and filling rest, we made the dough for the green onion pancake

Those hands- best dough kneader

Here comes the fun part!

Laying the dough flat and discovering the secret way of brushing the oil

Sprinkling it with green-like splashing paint on a canvas

Rolling it up and letting the ends kiss

Flattening it-the onions are now embedded like microchips

Pan-frying then drum roll please....ta-da!

Tip number 100+: Do not rest pancake flat on surface so the undersides crisp up

The dough for the bao is ready after an episode of "HK love stories"

We pinched and poked it- this was definitely a hands-on class

Yang Mama's strong hands...

shaped this beauty! If only my cheeks were this soft and smooth.

Cutting it up

After placing the filling inside, Yang Mama did some deft hand twirling and here it is!

My feeble attempt that is no match for Yang Mama's bao

Pan -frying these babies

Adding water to steam the insides

A few other beautiful things made from the same dough: siomai, dumpling and empanada

Wheeee! Look at 'em golden brown buns!

They were steaming hot and oh so good! Gone in seconds!

Thank you Tehlin and Yang Mama for a wonderful afternoon. Can't wait for the next lessons! (Yes, plural form lessonS)

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