Make Way for Dumplings
Chinese Pork Dumplings
If you have the right recipe, Chinese dumplings can be as much fun to make as they are to eat. We started by making a boiling water and flour dough that is easy to roll out and is moist but not sticky. For our filling, we added vegetable oil and sesame oil to ground pork to mimic the richness of the fatty pork shoulder that is traditionally used. Soy sauce, ginger, Chinese rice wine, hoisin sauce, and white pepper added flavor, and cabbage and scallions contributed subtle crunch. Mixing the filling in the food processor was quick and tidy; it also developed myosin, a protein that helps the filling hold together when cooked. We swapped the traditional multipleat crescent for a simpler two-pleat shape. Our recipe makes 40 dumplings, so you can cook some right away and freeze some for later.
Bringing Home Scallion Pancakes
by Andrea Geary
Forget casinos and racetracks: I do my gambling at Chinese restaurants when I order scallion pancakes. Hitting the jackpot means digging into deep golden-brown flatbread wedges with crispy exteriors that break away in flaky shards to reveal paper-thin, scallion-studded layers within. But as luck more often has it, I usually end up with floppy, pallid triangles with doughy inner leaves that fuse to form a single dense, gummy layer. I decided it was time to stop leaving good scallion pancakes to chance and develop my own recipe.
Ode to Onions
We started our caramelized onions in a covered nonstick skillet over high heat with ¾ of cup water. The water and steam helped the onions quickly soften. Then we removed the lid, lowered the heat to medium-high, and pressed the softened onions into the bottom and sides of the skillet to allow for maximum contact with the hot pan. Instead of finishing with sugar or honey as many recipes call for, we added baking soda, which speeds up the reaction that converts flavorless inulin (a polysaccharide present in onions) to fructose.
by Lauren Savoie
Colorful Dutch ovens, turbocharged blenders, and flashy knives may hog the spotlight, but the most essential piece of equipment in our test kitchen just might be the humble paper towel. We use paper towels to sop up grease, water, and other messes; to blot meat and dry herbs; to scrub gritty stovetops and counters; to oil grill grates; to wipe out cast-iron skillets; and simply to dry our hands. It took 96 rolls—88,608 sheets—to find one phenomenal paper towel.