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Chinese dumplings: make them at home, like in a restaurant – Italian Cuisine


You've often ordered them at restaurants, it's time to try making them at home. They are wraps of thin dough, which contains a delicious filling. They are part of the dimsum, small samples to be enjoyed in a bite, and are made with different shapes and cooking


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In recent years, the Chinese cooking has become all the rage in all our cities. The Asian specialties they can be enjoyed in elegant restaurants, informal bars or as street food. And above all the ravioli, which in English are called dumplings (literally, "gnocchi"): dumplings with various shapes and fillings, always delicious. They are part of the so-called dim sum, small bites that in China can make up a rich breakfast or accompany tea. Transported in our tradition, they can also become the main course of an oriental menu home made. Because, with the right tips (and a few shortcuts!), They're not difficult to pack at home. So as to amaze guests by showing off new skills and flavors.

The pasta
The most common one is generally made from wheat flour and water alone, although there are also versions based on starch, egg or colored by the addition of different ingredients. In most recipes, they make it floppy disks obtained with a technique that is the opposite of the Italian one. If we use to roll out the dough, then cut it into discs, Chinese cooks work it one ball at a time, which they roll out with a small rolling pin: in this way, it is possible to obtain a very thin sheet and avoid waste. If you still want to try your hand, here is the recipe and technique.
How to prepare the pasta. For about 20 ravioli, mix 200 g of Flour with about 100 ml of warm water, a tablespoon of oil delicate extra virgin olive oil (or peanuts) and a pinch of salt, until a soft and homogeneous mixture is obtained (you may need a little more water). Let it rest for half an hour, covered with plastic wrap.
194838 "src =" https://www.salepepe.it/files/2022/01/stesura-dischetto.jpg "width =" 210How to roll out the dough. Form the dough into a roll and remove a piece the size of a walnut, leaving the rest covered by the film. Form one ball, press it lightly with your palm into a rather thick disk and roll it out: with one hand, roll the rolling pin, while with the other, rotate the disk, so as to maintain the round shape, until you obtain a sheet of about 8 cm in diameter, 2 mm thick. To prevent the dough from sticking, work on the surface floured or pass it slowly and rolling pin with a piece of kitchen paper anointed of oil.

The alternatives
The Chinese technique, which involves spreading and rotating the disk at the same time, requires a certain dexterity. Of course, nothing prevents you from proceeding "Italian" using the pasta machine and cutting the sheet obtained with one stencil about 8 cm in diameter. You can reshuffle and rewrite the clippings to reduce waste as much as possible. Even easier? in all Asian stores they sell packets of frozen sheets, square or round, ready to be filled.

The colored pastes
The colorful bundles are very fashionable in the trendiest restaurants. A delicate color yellow it is obtained by adding a carrot boiled and pureed or a tip of turmeric. The green is obtained, as for our lasagna, thanks to a handful of spinach, also boiled, well squeezed and blended, the Red with juice of beet. For a black decided add the base with a spoonful of cuttlefish ink: you will get a perfect pasta for delicate sea fillings.

The fillings
The most classic filling, found in all restaurants, mixes pork meat (not too lean: the ideal would be with a quantity of fat equal to about 50%) e shrimp pulp. They are combined with the dough Chinese cabbage, spring onions, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil and spices. But just like our filled pasta recipes, the variations are almost infinite and can be based on beef, veal, duck, lamb, chicken, shellfish or simply vegetables, for example carrots, mushrooms and bamboo.

The closure
After placing the filling, and before sealing, moisten the edge of the dough with a finger dipped in water, which will help attach the edges. Depending on how they are closed, Chinese dumplings take different names.
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They are called jiaozi those in the shape of a crescent, also similar in name to gyoza Japanese. They can have the edge simply sealed, leaving it smooth, or folded in dense folds.

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The shao mai they are baskets left open that allow you to glimpse the contents.
THE wonton they are bundles obtained from square sheets: the flaps are gathered on the filling and sealed in a sort of tuft.

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The shao long bao they are rounded little bags closed with dense folds.

The cooking
The most delicate ravioli are cooked steam powered: the traditional ones bamboo baskets, placed on a wok with 2-3 fingers of water, they give a jiaozi, shao mai And shao long bao a pleasant hint of wood but can be replaced with the common steel baskets of a normal one steamer. The bottom of the wooden baskets is protected with special perforated discs of baking paper (they can be bought in oriental products stores) or simply with cabbage or lettuce leaves. After steaming, i jiaozi can be passed on one plate very hot (sometimes in restaurants they are called "braised") to form a crunchy crust, even more golden if they are fried for a few moments in very hot oil, on one side only, taking the name of guotie. THE wonton they are steamed or boiled in water and served in broth, but there are also versions deep fried in which the ravioli are fried immersed in abundant oil.

How they are served
The traditional accompaniment is a few drops of soy sauce. Some recipes (especially if fried or grilled) go well with the sweet and sour sauce, even spicy. While the more delicate shrimp-only ravioli are dipped in a mix of soy and black rice vinegar, similar to our balsamic vinegar.

The recipes
Once you have learned the technique, it's time to put it into practice with the recipes we have selected for you. Unless otherwise noted, use the base paste (for about 20 ravioli) that we have told you about. Or, in all cases, the ready-to-use frozen sheets.

194846 "src =" https://www.salepepe.it/files/2022/01/jiaozi-alla-piastra.jpg "width =" 210Grilled Jiaozi. Mix 250 g of pork meat ground with 50 g of prawns (weight already shelled) chopped. Join one carrot and 2 spring onions, chopped in the mixer, a pinch of mix 5 Chinese spices (mixture of anise, Sichuan pepper, cinnamon, cloves and powdered fennel seeds, can be purchased in Asian stores), 100 g of Chinese cabbage in very fine julienne, 2 cm of ginger fresh peeled and grated, a teaspoon of sesame oil and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Cover and leave to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge. Divide the filling on 20 ravioli discs and close them in a half-moon shape (to taste, creating folds on the edge). Steam them for about 13-14 minutes, until the pasta begins to become almost transparent. Grease the bottom of a large non-stick pan with a veil of sesame or peanut oil, heat well and pass the ravioli 1-2 minutes, on one side only. For 4 people.

194847 "src =" https://www.salepepe.it/files/2022/01/wonton.jpg "width =" 210Shrimp and mushroom wonton in broth. Beat in a bowl a egg with 50 ml of water, add 150 g of Flour and work the mixture until you get a smooth and elastic paste (add, if necessary, more water a little at a time). Wrap it in cling film and let it rest for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, soften 20 g of dried mushrooms (shiitake, without the stems, or local mixed mushrooms). Squeeze and chop with 400 g of prawns (weight already shelled) and 3 spring onions (white only, but keep the more tender green stems aside). Season with salt, pepper and add half a teaspoon of ginger fresh grated. Roll out the dough to a thickness of 1-2 mm and cut into squares of 8-9 cm on each side. Fill them each with a teaspoon of filling and close into a bundle, sealing well. Steam the ravioli for 5 minutes and serve in small bowls with chicken broth hot (one liter in all), the green of the spring onions and a grind of pepper. For 4 people.

194848 "src =" https://www.salepepe.it/files/2022/01/shao-mai-al-manzo.jpg "width =" 210Shao mai with beef and chives. Chop 20 g of chives and mix it with 250 g of beef ground (not overly lean), a egg beaten, a tablespoon of soy sauce, a pinch of sugar, the tip of a teaspoon of potato starch, a thread of sesame oil, one of wine of Chinese rice (or white wine), salt and pepper. Spread the filling into balls on 20 ravioli discs and close the dough around the basket, leaving it open at the top. Steam the ravioli for about 10 minutes. For 4 people.

Francesca Romana Mezzadri
January 2022

Posted on 01/10/2022


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Plant friends: 7 varieties to keep at home – Italian Cuisine

Plant friends: 7 varieties to keep at home

The (surprising) effects of the plant world on our lives are known, but did you know that a ficus can be a prodigious air purifier?

“A beautiful thing is an eternal joy”. Thus proclaimed Mary Poppins, extracting from her magic carpet bag a large plant (perhaps a variety of Philodendron, a plant belonging to the Araceae family often found in our homes) to brighten up her room. What Mary perhaps did not know was that keeping one or more plants in the house not only has a decorative and highly therapeutic function for the mood (how much did we need green in the last year? How many windowsill gardens were born?), But it is also a powerful filter to purify the air. We asked Rita Baraldi, researcher of the National Research Council of Bologna, Institute for BioEconomy (IBE-CNR), to explain to us how they work and which varieties are best suited to the various environments of our homes.

The complete interview can be found in the January issue, now on newsstands. Here we present some of the varieties with the ability to "clean" the air to choose from.


Dark green lanceolate leaves with white to red heart-shaped "flowers" (spathe). Loves the heat, fears the stagnation of water.


Also known as a phalanx or ribbon, it has long light green streaked leaves and small white flowers. In a bright position, not in current. It resists dry air in apartments well.


We all know it as potos, a climber with heart-shaped green leaves sometimes spotted with yellow. Love the light, not direct. Requires moderate watering.


It is the Christmas star, and it will be easy to find it in our homes at this time of the year. It fears drafts and sudden changes in temperature.


The first with small oval and sharp leaves, no more than 12 cm long, the second with fleshy leaves up to 40 cm long. They love the light, but not direct. They fear drafts.


Rustic plant, typical for outdoor use. It also adapts well to less bright and poorly heated interiors. It requires little care.


It has long lanceolate leaves, from May to August it "blooms" producing spadici (species of small white panicles) wrapped in white spathe. Love humid heat.

Illustration Luca De Salvia

How to cook chestnuts at home: instructions and tips – Italian Cuisine


Baked, boiled, softened with milk or roasted? The scent of chestnuts is unmistakable


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Autumn brings with it the chestnuts, one of the best and most versatile gifts of the forest there is! We think of chestnuts and the unmistakable scent of roasted chestnuts on the street comes to mind. A scent that tastes of autumn. In today's article we will teach you, step by step how to cook chestnuts to recreate that magical atmosphere at home.

So, whether you are organizing a nice outing in the mountains to pick them up or you just feel like it, get yourself a good amount of chestnuts, because they are never enough. Remember: whatever way you want to cook chestnuts, the first step is wash them under abundant running water to eliminate all impurities.

How to cook chestnuts in a pan
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But where do you go if you don't have a perforated pan? Essential. So first get the traditional one perforated iron pan and heat it over very low heat. Meanwhile, with a very sharp knife, engrave horizontally the peel of the chestnuts taking care of Not also cut the fruit and put them in the pan. Raise the heat slightly and move the pan from time to time to roast them well. Once they are ready (it will take about 30 minutes) rub them with a clean cloth to remove the most scorched parts and keep them warm before serving. Obviously, you can cook chestnuts even without using the perforated pan. How to proceed? Place one flame spreaders on the fire and lean on one very large pan, let it heat up and roast the engraved chestnuts until they are well roasted!

How to cook chestnuts in the oven

If you decide to use this method you will need to first of all heat the oven to 180 degrees. The next step is to engrave the chestnuts horizontally and place them on the oven plate. When the oven has reached the temperature, bake and leave cook for about 30 minutes. Again, keep them warm before serving.

An advice: whether you decide to cook chestnuts in a pan or in the oven, remember to transfer them to a clean and slightly moistened cloth to keep them soft and prevent them from drying out in contact with the air.

Roasted chestnuts in salt cooked in a pan

Here, these are ours favorite. Here we find our beloved contrasts between the sweet chestnut and the more savory note given by the salt. Preparing them in this way is also very simple but, remember to use a large pan and above all not perforated. Pour 1 kilo of coarse salt into the bottom of the pan and arrange the previously cut chestnuts, cover with a lid and cook for about 30 minutes. Move the pan from time to time in circular motions; once ready, wrap them in a clean cloth and finally remove the excess salt and burnt parts. Eat them still hot!

Boiled chestnuts
First rule: the proportions. For 1 kilo of chestnuts it takes 3 liters of water. First of all, take a very large pot with high sides, put the chestnuts in it and pour in 3 liters of water. Depending on the use you will make of it, you can decide whether flavor them with a pinch of salt and a few bay leaves or leave them natural. From the moment the water begins to boil, calculate 40 minutes and drain. Now peel them and eat them as they are or use them to prepare roasts, side dishes, chestnuts, sweet chestnuts …
If you decide, instead, to cook them in pressure cooker, the procedure is the same but the cooking times change. In this case, calculate 20 minutes from the whistle, turn off the flame, let it breathe, open the pot and enjoy your chestnuts!

October 2021
Giulia Ferrari

Posted on 29/10/2021


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