Chef George Chen creates three classic dumpling recipes from his award-winning restaurant, China Live: Shanghai xiao long bao (XLB) soup dumplings; Sichuan working hands dumplings; and sheng jian bao (SJB), the most popular dim sum dish on the menu. All of China Live’s dumplings are made fresh daily by its talented dim sum team and feature several classic Chinese cooking techniques that are both delicious and fun. Try them at this unique, authentic and interactive event.
Read below for a full transcript of the conversation.
George Chen - When you're talking to me, you got to be really close.
Amie Stevens - All right, good afternoon, good evening. My name is Amy Stevens, Deputy Regional Director with First Republic Bank in our Boston office. Thank you all for joining us today at our Dim Sum demonstration with famed Chef George Chen. Today, I have the pleasure of introducing entrepreneur, restaurateur and chef, George Chen. For more than 35 years, George Chen has worked in several of the top restaurants in Los Angeles and San Francisco bay, bridging food and culture from the east and west. He opened his first restaurant in James Beard Award nominated Beetle Nut in 1995, which introduced different Asian cuisines in the form of street food. After the success of Beetle Nut, George went on to launch several restaurants, including long-life noodle company, Shanghai 1930 and Roosevelt Prime Steakhouse, all receiving top reviews and accolades from the press and media. His current project as Executive Chef and Founder, China Live, was established in 2017 in San Francisco's, historic Chinatown. The China Live complex including Cold Drinks Bar and Eight Tables has changed the perception of Chinese cuisine in the west.
This food Emporium provides an immersive food and beverage experience for all the visitors. For his efforts, Chef George has been awarded Eaters Restaurant of the Year, Time Magazine's Greatest Places in the World and the U.S Congressional Award for culinary excellence. Before we start, a quick housekeeping note. You're welcome to submit questions during the demo. To submit a question, please use the Q&A icon at the bottom of the screen. We'll try to answer as many questions live during the demo. Also this event is being recorded and the replay will be posted on the First Republic website. With that, I welcome chef George Chen. Take it away, chef.
George - Hello everybody, good afternoon wherever you are. We're really thrilled to be here for the First Republic Bank's signature series of chef's demos. And today we're going to do some Chinese cuisine featuring Dim Sum. And one of the reasons we're doing it now is because it's the Harvest Moon Festival, which culminates on the 11th of September this year. And so Harvest moon is one of the most important holidays in the Chinese calendar besides the spring festival, the new year's, and then Autumn Moon is so important. It's when families get together. And for Harvest Moon, one of the things that you must have is moon cakes, and moon cakes have, a lot of them have a little duck yolk inside. You see that? And that's because with lotus cream and different flavors, even make them from chocolate. So we take inspiration from the Harvest Moon festival to also show you how to do several dim sum today. But do you all know why the Harvest Moon festival came about? Cindy, you want to tell the story?
Cindy Wong-Chen - Well, here's my favorite story. The typical Harvest Moon was on earth at a time when earth had 10 suns, and there was a terrible drought on earth. So the emperor Coven, which is Hu Wei, the great Archer, and asked him to shoot down nine of the suns, therefore saving life on earth. Now as a reward, the emperor gave Hu Wei an immortality elixir but there was only enough for one person. Hu Wei wanted it to be immortal, but he loves his wife Chunga more. So he gave her the elixir for safe keeping. One day when Hu Wei was out hunting, the evil apprentice came to that house to try to steal the elixir. Chung Ur in an attempt to keep it away from him, drank the elixir, immediately ascended into heaven and resided on the moon. When Hu Wei came back home and found out what happened, he took a table, placed food on it, took it outside, stared at the skies, hoping that Chung Ur would join him. So today on a full moon night, we look at the fair moon, we can still see the image of Chung Ur there.
George - Yeah, so we were all kids. I remember that was one of my favorite times. Not only can you have moon cakes, but you get to go stare at the moon and see if you see that beauty, you know, the Chung Ur, in the silhouette of the moon. And we always say, yeah, yes, we see her, right?
Cindy - And this was an amazingly romantic story. And as a kid, I loved hearing it over and over again.
George - Anyhow, so that's the story of moon cakes but today we're not making moon cakes, we're going to make dim sum. So we're going to take these away. And show you some basic preparation for dim sum. We're going to do four dim sum today. We're going to do four of our favorites that we sell here at China Live. We're going to start with the Xiao long bao which is the soup dumpling, or SLB, now very popularly know and Xiao long bao is the one that's got, is hot handmade and it is steamed and it is juicy inside, it's got broth. Second one, we're going to do a vegetarian pot sticker for some people who prefer vegetables. We can put anything in there actually, how you fold that. Then we're going to do our number one seller, sing jun bao, it's a pan fry steamed dumpling that is cooked in a big giant paya, pan that I brought here from Shanghai. And everybody loves that favorite dumpling because it's crispy and it's juicy inside at the same time. Finally, we're going to do what I call the Sichuan working hands, which is a wonton noodle filled with pork. We also use impossible meat as well and that comes glazed in a chili blob with some Sesame paste and spices. So we're going to do that in a second. I know it's a lot to absorb, the recipes will all be online. But let me just show you a little bit about the Chinese pantry. By the way, these vegetables are from Cindy's garden.
There are heirloom tomatoes and the grapes are, she actually has grapes that are probably as wonderful, but Chinese pantry, don't be intimidated by it. There's some basic ingredients that everybody should have when you're making Chinese food. The essentials are ginger, scallions and garlic. This is kind of like the way the French call miere trois. In New Orleans, they call holy Trinity when they add peppers. Bell pepper, sweet peppers. The basis of this is these are considered Quinn vegetables, meaning they're there to flavor. So Buddhists actually can't eat these three ingredients but Chinese always start with this because they're harmonious together. And so most, not all dishes start with this, but when you're cooking at home, whether you're stir frying some shrimp or chicken breast, start with minced garlic. You can mince in any dice form or minced ginger or you can slice ginger thinly and scallions. And then when you heat up the wok like this, hot, you throw that in first, let the flavors come out. That's your base, that fragrance is going to finish everything out. So don't burn it. Just remember when they're starting to caramelize and brown and the flavors come out, turn down the heat and then get your other ingredients together. Ginger is really a wonderful potluck. And sometimes you don't have a shaver, Chinese people just go like this and you can shave ginger very easily. Garlic, you guys all know how to do that. And scallions, you can cut them many different ways and sometimes
Chinese use shallots and many other things. So this is kind of the base. And then in terms of sauces, you have soy sauce, okay? You have vinegar. This is a dark vinegar from, Chinese have vinegars from every province. So this is a jung kao from Sichuan province and you have some Sesame oil and some rice wine. So if you have these three and this, you're pretty good there. And a little toasted Sesame, doesn't hurt and a little chili's. This is chili oil we make in house. This is a Sesame paste for the one-time dish we're going to do and this is a sort of a seasoned soy mixture that we use with the dumping dish. And long peppers for people would like it. Here we have some grounds Szechuan peppercorn and some red pepper. These could be Szechuan, they could be Cayenne, it could be whatever you like. Salt, sugar, white pepper. We don't use as much black pepper, but white pepper is the central ingredient. So that's kind of like the Chinese pantry. There's many, many other ingredients, but if you have kind of this, you don't really need the last row, but kind of just here, you could balance those flavors because with any new cooking, you need all the flavors to balance. So you have soy, you need acids. So the vinegar balances that, right? And then the fragrance comes from the sesame oil. The wine always helps to glaze and bring flavors together. And then you have the Chinese, you know, holy Trinity here now. We just call it, you know, when we do this, we call it pao shong to bring all the flavors together. So that's the pantry. And then what we're going to do is now come around the other side and start to make some dumplings. Oh, by the way, dim sum, what does that mean?
George - Dim sum means touch of the heart. When I was a child, our family would gather on Sundays to eat dim sum and drink tea. Dim sum, much like, blue bloods do, having a Sunday night dinner together. Dim sum is dainty and delicate and always was accepted trade. I was born here, but my family is from Canton and for the Cantonese, dim sum is a ritual. Absolutely and you hear a young cha, that's Cantonese for with tea.
George - Yes, and it literally means drink tea. But when we say young cha, that means we want to go and eat dim sum and drink tea.
George - And tea is a perfect compliment to dim sum. That's why, you know, you can have a beer if you want, but tea is the perfect compliment. We have switched a lot of our own teas. We have a whole line, but I also created a beautiful teapot that's got a strainer and a cap, but this is called really cool. It's just a little bamboo shape. This is called the A treasure tea which has eight ingredients and it's very balancing. And so if you had put, like, this is got the Jasmine pearls and chrysanthemum, goji berries and so forth, put that in there, pour the hot water in, you let it steep and then when you see the color infuse, you take the top over and you just take the strainer out and now you drink it like coffee. I always find teas, loose teas to be most enjoyable, but if you can enjoy it easily without the fuss, and, you know, not all green teas are in teabags. This is a great, so, come and get one in China Live. Anyhow, let's move to dim sum. Let's go to the other side.
George - Hi Bonnie.
Bonnie - Hello.
George - Hello Bonnie, how are you? we have Bonnie, my head dim sum chef. She's very young but super talented and my wife over here. So first of all, what we're going to do is Xiao long bao. So now, Bonnie is the expert so she can roll the dough with, you know, we make everything fresh here, right? If you can't do this, you can try to buy the round wrappers and try to do Xiao long bao. Xiao long bao is more delicate because the skin is very, very thin. So you see, she's going to gently roll that out. And it's really takes a lot of touch because it's got to be very even, right? So you see, and it's almost perfectly, look how soft and gentle that is, right? And then now she's going to make one for you. And now, Bonnie is better than me and my fingers are too big, but, well, you see, there's 18, at least 18 folds. And she has created a little chimney on top because the Xiao long bao has to breathe, right? So, see, and so this, all our Xiao long bao is handmade, not machine made. A lot of places, they're machine made. See, I mean, it takes a little bit of practice. Cindy and I was still trying to perfect our technique on this one. You see? See, there it is! How perfect that is, huh? And then when you steam up, they expand and we're going to sear some of these up. So...
George - Xiao long bao is known for the broth, or the juiciness.
George - Absolutely. So we have a order over there and I'm going to go ahead and fire that up while you keep making some, stay with her.
Noelle Schulenburg - Hi chef, we have a quick question for you.
George - Yes.
Noelle - Chef, we have a couple of people asking where you purchase the wrappers if you are unable to make them at home?
George - The wrappers are really available. The wonton wrapper, the square ones are available at Safeway. The round ones, you have to go to Asia market. And I don't expect you guys to do that at home, but if you're very ambitious, you can try, you know, but the wrappers are really, I mean, this has become one of the most...people love dumplings, you know, dim sum is such a rage now. So I'm going to steam some up over here. Okay. So what I'm going to do, here's your order. Oops. These are the just made previously put about six for the paper. It's on, let's get that higher, there we go. And when the steam...try not to pick a little bit. Probably takes about 10 minutes and then they'll, we'll enjoy it, actually. Try some of these when they're ready. So our producer, director, Doug, my partner over there, will let me go when the steam starts going, but so we're going to wait for that and enjoy that and usually enjoy that with some... shredded ginger and black vinegar. We have a whole line of sauces, which I'll show you the second. Now, while that's steaming. we're going to work on the next one. , honey? Oh, by the way, before that, we want to show you how to do the pork, right? The mixture. So you can go to the market and ask your butcher for ground pork and Chinese like a little bit of fat in their fillings because little richer gives a little bit more of a mouthfeel.
This is about 30% that lean pork or, you know, for us here at China Live, We use kurobuta pork, which is a lot fattier. So, you know, it's a better pork. It's American kurobuta. And so what you do is you can, if you're really ambitious, like Bonnie, you skins, you boom boom boom boom boom, right Bonnie? I don't want you to do it. So, you chop chop chop. And then when you put it in the mix, into this mix, it is kind of like those ingredients over there, okay? Most people don't put garlic in the dumplings, but you can. Generally it's ginger, scallions, maybe some cilantro stems, but cilantro will cook very quickly. So you don't want to use too many of the leafy part, because that would get kind of dark. A little bit light, soy sauce, Sesame oil, and then a little bit of white pepper and salt, and sugar, a little bit of sugar to taste it. Whenever you mix any of these things, just take a plastic spoon, mix it up and then taste it, say, oh yeah, it's pretty good. And then you can mix it in with the meat. And then that becomes the, this one, the Xiao long bao, doesn't have any scallions in it because it's very pure. Okay, because also, where's the gelatin? Oh, it's right here, ah. So one of the secrets for a good Xiao long bao is pork gelatin, okay? That's organic pork gelatin. And what is pork gelatin? Pork gelatin is when you cook down pork and you get that layer, you get the fat off the top, get the layer that's kind of translucent. That's gelatin, that's like the aspect. And that's really good and rich. And so we actually fold this into this and make Xiao long bao, that's where the broth comes from.
We don't try to inject them, it's too much work, it doesn't work. Anyway, we're going to do pot stickers next, right Cindy, pot stickers? Good yeah, for pot stickers, okay? So today we're doing the vegetarian mix and this vegetarian mix is got some mustard greens, some chopped tofu, some shitake mushrooms, a little bit of carrots. Look, Chinese food is very versatile. There's no hard rules. You just want to make sure the vegetables have consistent texture. So you don't have something cut too big, like, if you cut the carrots too big, then it's going to dominate your mouthfeel. Everything is about texture with Chinese food. So she's got a nice fix over here. And then now we're going to make some pot stickers. Cindy you ready for some pot stickers?
Cindy - Well who doesn't love pot stickers?
George - Yeah, and so there are many ways to do pot stickers. Cindy, why don't you come over here next to Bonnie, all right? And see if you could do this, follow Bonnie along, right? Now with this, they don't really need an egg wash because you're pinching it, right? You're pinching it, so only on one side. So let's watch Bonnie one, okay? And you could probably slow the video down when you're learning, watch this. You start there, you press down, you do that, you press down, you press down, you pinch, you press down, you pinch. Now you see the opening is getting smaller, right? Oh, those are very nice. Beautiful.
George - That's beautiful Bonnie.
George - Okay!
George - That's a good smile right there. You know, that, your dentist would be proud, Jesus. Nice, Cindy, you want to try and make one?
George - So, pinch at the end first, right?
Noelle - Hi chef, we have a couple questions here for you while we watch them make pot stickers.
George - Okay.
Noelle -So we have a couple of people asking about the soup in the Xiao long bao.
George - Xiao long bao, yes.
Noelle - Can you say what makes this soup?
George - What makes this soup? Well, you could, it has to follow it. It can't be like a liquid because you can't fill liquid into a dumpling. So you really have to get a thick, like if you have chicken stock, that's really reduced at home and you put it in the refrigerator and it kind of gets gelatinous-like? You know? You can like, you got to work really fast though. You got to take scoop of that, dump it in your pork or you can, if you don't like pork, you can use beef, no problem, or turkey, chicken even, you know, maybe thigh meat and fold that in with a little ginger, spices, and that will work, but you don't have to be that perfect. Like Bonnie did the Xiao long bao, which is steaming right now. You could see the steam coming out, right? And then we're going to show you those in a second, right? And so this is, you know, professionally cured, organic pork gelatin. So, you know, when we're doing the volume we're doing, we can do that. Oh hey, good job.
Cindy - Oh I did better that time!
George - Hey good job, better than me, all right, okay.
George - That was fun Bonnie.
George - So this is, I'm going to show you how to cook this in a second, okay? Doug, could you turn on one of those pans for me? That big one right there. Okay, hold on one sec, let me turn around. I got it Doug, thank you.
George - Yeah so, subtle is better than way. Perfect, very nice.
George - All right so, Dougie, you're going to come over here. Let's turn that on. And Bonnie made some earlier. Now you guys can buy like frozen pot stickers from your market. And all of my friends say, oh my God, what do I do with these things? You know, most people would just try to fry them up. You can't do that, right? Because they're frozen. Pot stickers can, we don't, but you can use frozen pot stickers and make really good pot stickers at home, right? The trick is, actually very easy. You need a heavy pan, like cast iron pan, and put just a little bit of oil, okay? And you glaze it. Raise the pan well, okay? And while you're doing that, you just put these down And in China, because, you know, everywhere there's so many people, they crowd these so you get the whole pan and they stick together. That's why they call it pot stickers. And you're saying, how's that going to cook through, okay? Well, this is the proper way to make pot stickers in the traditional way. Most people boil them and then try to... try to fry them up again. But here, well that's got a layer of oil, You gently, gently put some water... on there. And then, you get a grain level cover. You don't need to, you don't need one. Let's see if these are ready. Oh my God, they are. See how they've gotten really big? These are ready. Okay. I'm going to bring these over here. And Bonnie, you want to show them how to eat these? You have the spoons? Okay, over there? I'll get it, there you go.
This is ginger. So traditionally you always eat Xiao long bao with ginger and a house-made vinegar. This is infused with ginger and a hawthorne. It's a berry from Northern China. So here's some ginger, here's some vinegar. We have a whole line of sauces here at China Life. And Cindy's really good at... Have a, . Gentle now, don't break them. Okay, so, . So shing is not difference, middle heart, be careful. Chinese language always is very cute. You want to? So I'm right handed. So you want to put the seated spoon in your left hand and a chopstick in your right.
George - Okay, so Bonnie cheats. She puts a very good ginger in first. That's okay. You know, gentle, ooh! Okay, you see this? Oh my God, you see all that soup? Okay, all right, well that happens. Cindy, you want to try to not break one? Maybe this right here? Gently. All right.
George - So you want to gently lift.
George - Why don't you just-
George - Oh, ah.
George - Okay, all right. And then Cindy, go ahead and do your thing.
George - And then you want to put chards of tuna, a couple chards.
George - Very hot.
Cindy - Yeah, depends on how much you like. And then, I pour the vinegar.
George - Let me do this.
George - And just the...
George - You put the vinegar right in the little chimney on the top.
George - And until we put the broth inside, you want to find the hole around here. Again, all the juice, and he can eat the rest. That's delicious.
George - Yeah, it's very delicate dumpling and oh, that looks good, yum. I haven't had lunch yet, yum. I'll have to have that later. Good? So that's your perfect Xiao long bao. It's a lot of work, that's why you want to come to the China Live and enjoy them because at home, they're like, even if you're really good at dumplings, it's tough. Okay, so back over here, we're going to turn this heat down a little bit and... yeah, they're steaming away. And when the steam is gone, you know that they're kind of almost ready. So, here, I can just use this. Just steaming there. So these are fresh, so they don't take that long. So for frozen ones at home, don't turn it up too hot. You want the bottom to crisp and the steam to take the tops to cook through but the layer of oil on the bottom, is what crisps up the bottom, browns them, right? So now that, you know, we'll see, okay? These are getting there.
Noelle - Chef, are these pot stickers gluten free or are you able to make them gluten free?
George - Well, you can try some rice flower, but typical most dim sum is mostly wheat flower. Now there are some noodles that are really good that are wheatless, and so no gluten. I think there's a huge, ooh. See how they are, see? See how beautiful they are? They are ready? Stick to the pot, yes. Get them out before they burn. Turn this off. Okay, so I'm going to come over here. Can I borrow your chopsticks? Yup, I'm going to line these up just like the way I put them in. See the tops are cooked and these are freshly made, just made not too long ago, right? And then, turn this guy around and now you have beautiful pot stickers.
Cindy - How many minutes does it cook inside that?
George - Well, frozen ones again, probably, depending on how high, how many you got in there, probably 15-20 minutes until the scene. The key is don't put too much water in there. That will soggy up the top and go over quickly. People think you can't over-steam, you can. Things actually get, timing in cooking is very, very important. So these are really very nice, crispy on the bottom. And you see, now I'm going to teach you how to make a sauce for this. Hey Doug, Doug has been, yeah, Szechuan, chento, little sesame oil, there you go, get that one, and that one, thank you. So we have, remember earlier? We have these ingredients, okay? And so you want to, ginger is very important. You put some ginger in here, little bit of garlic as well. Minced so it's not so hot, some scallions. Now I like the white and the green. And then if you have, that's vinegar. This is soy, and just, maybe, a couple of spoons and then vinegar one, just balanced, okay? Dougie, can you pass me the sugar? A little bit of a Sesame oil, a little bit of rice wine. And if you like spicy, and it's a little bit of sugar, If you like spicy, boom, right here, and let that, let all the vinegar and stuff break down the, combine all the flavors and this is your sauce. Now, we at China Live create a line of sauces. Chili bean. This is XO sauce. Chili Chris is best Chili Chris on the market. The chili oil you just saw. Extra virgin tea oil.
People didn't even though there was tea oil, let alone extra virgin. If you're cooking with Asian food, you don't want to use olive oil because it's very scented and it's Mediterranean. Tea oil is the best. The vinegar we use, in the house, non-gluten soy sauce. Most soy sauce has wheat in it. Japanese soy sauce tends to be a little saltier and a little more wheat in it, by Kikoman. Tamari, which is more used for nice fish has no wheat, its only soybeans. So Chinese have used most in soybeans. So the best soy sauces are generally from beans and particularly black beans. So we actually do incredibly well. This chili bean sauce is absolutely the bomb. And sometimes people just go, like, see that beautiful paste? This, the secret to this sauce is there's three kinds of fermented beans in there. Soybeans, flava beans and black beans and they're toasted and then we make it all in house. So this is incredible. So, Cindy, you want to give my pot sticker a shot?
Cindy - I would love to George.
George - Yeah?
Cindy - I'd love to.
George - You want to try one? Try one, tell me. Try my sauce too, okay? So this, you can put a pot sticker, you can lace this when you're at home. Go ooh, yeah. So you have company coming over. Yeah, now it's a great appetizer, right? Yeah like yeah, there you go. Yeah, try one. So long, oh, it's vegetarian, so you don't even have to worry about because those vegetables are almost perfect, right? And it's so beautiful and green and that chili sauce is the bomb. Now you know how to make pot stickers at home and, not that hard once you get used to it.
Noelle - Chef, it's perfect that you're making vegetarian pot stickers because we have quite a few non-meat eaters here in the audience.
George - Right.
Noelle - People have any tips or suggestions on how to create more flavor with your tofu on how to infuse more flavor?
George - On the vegetables, what is the green that you recommend? Well, it is, we're very seasonal here. We have our own farm up in Petaluma before. And, so we're right next to Chinatown. So whatever comes in the season, we look at it. Right now, baby bok choy and mustard green are really good. Gai Choi, which is mustard green, is very nice. It's got a little mustardy flavor to it. If you want a little bit greener, you can even use Swiss chard or kale because you're not cooking this a lot. But the tofu is, you know, vegetarians, tofu is wonderful protein substitute. There's five spice, there's different flavored tofu. This is not the soft silken tofu, okay? This is pressed tofu and they're spiced with five spice. With five spice, in Chinese cooking, five spice is like when people talk about Indian curry, this curry spice is a mixture of like 20 different things. But there's a basic one, same thing with five spice, you know, five spice, you got peppercorns, you got cloves, you got star anise, Szechuan peppercorn and so, in these combination, Casea, tangerine peel. These are Asian spices. If Doug pans, over to the top shelf in my kitchen here, you see all that? Those are a lot of the spices in China are not that exotic. You know, people think, oh my God, they're like really weird. No, actually China uses more bay leaves in their cooking than in Western cooking.
There's bay leaves in the chili oil that we infused, in so many things. So five spice tofu is already seasoned. So when you taste it, you're going to get some of that flavor. If you want seasoned vegetables, little salt, little sugar, little vinegar, just a little bit for the acid and mix it up, taste it, and it should taste good to you. I think it'll be fine. Even before you put these, you know, nice condiments like this on there, or the chili bean paste. So try this at home. It's not that hard. Also, if you are not good at that floating thing, right? You could literally, I've done this when people, oh, I can't, I can't do that. I say, yeah, don't worry, okay? You can just press the middle, right? And then take the pinch size and pinch it, okay? Press the middle and pinch it, okay? Make sure it's well sealed. It's not as nice, but it works, okay? And you can still get that flat bottom. Because when you cook something with a flat bottom, get that, see that even surface? So that's fine too, right? So don't be intimidated. You could, hey, if you're...well hopefully we don't get locked down again but if you're really bored at home and you can like, okay, do that, if you've got a lot of time, squeeze them, right?
George - And the Chinese have a saying that families who make dumplings together, stay together.
George - Yeah we make dumplings everyday. That's why Cindy won't leave me. All right so next, we're going to do our SJB, which is Sheng jian bao. The Sheng jian bao is the most popular dish along with Xiao long bao in Shanghai. You see it in every street, there these big, big giant cast iron pipe pans. And we actually brought those in to China Life, in the whole, exhibition, kids can sit around and watch dim sum be made. And they spin these things generally, and they create a beautiful, nice bottom and juicy inside. So skin's a little bit different. I took her sheng jian bao and made a pot sticker. She's going to be mad at me, but that's okay. So Bonnie is going to show you how to make sheng jian bao. Cindy, get in here. So here we go. And these sheng jian bao was my favorite snack growing up. My dad used to get like a paper bag full of them all just hot and the smell would just kill me. And you see, it's almost like a Xiao long bao, right? But, what we do is actually cook them and flip them, right? So this side is crunchy. So we actually like that. Cindy, you want to try one? And so when you're trying to do this at home. Say you have the pot sticker skin, you want to try it this way? Why not, okay? Because if you're not perfect, we're hiding it, right? So, and this is the recipe from Yang's fried dumpling in Shanghai. Very famous place, my God, but they use a lot of lard and pork fat and so delicious, but probably not as salty. So our version is a lot better, a lot healthier than that. There's still lots of flavors and juiciness, but oh, there you girls go.
Cindy - I had a good teacher here.
George - You're a good teacher, right? So this is not as delicate as the Xiao long bao where you have to be a little more precise because they're facing up with the chimney. This one doesn't have a chimney and she's actually folding that knob on the bottom and folding it over so that when you fry them, they're beautiful. And I'm going to show you an order, what they look like when they're done. Okay, you guys keep holding.
Noelle - Chef, where did you first learn how to cook?
George - I love to eat, so you have to learn how to cook. I worked in so many restaurant. My mom was really excellent cook and my father was a Korean diplomat and an ambassador to Singapore and a number of other places. My grandfather was a provincial governor in China. So I was around food a lot. And I worked for Cecilia Chang when I was in college at Berkeley and I learned a lot from her too. And she had the famous restaurant Manger. I've had, I've worked in 12 restaurants growing up, put myself through school, even though I came from, you know... An uppity family in China. But, you know, here in the United States, you do what you can and I gravitate towards food though, because I guess that's where my talent lies. So this is the finished product that we made earlier. So you see how crispy and punchy that is and the tops are soft. And this was sitting a little bit because you don't have time to make these in those big paella pans. So you can do this at home in the skillet like I did with the pot stickers, right? So these are delicious. We're not going to eat these. Then finally, we're going to do, working hands! So we're going to take these away. Over here, let's not waste those because that's my lunch. Working hands is actually a kind of name. I kind of came up with myself. They're essentially wontons, right? And this is the easiest one you can make at home. And wontons you could, like wonton soup, you can float these in chicken broth, vegetable broth. You could make these out of vegetable filling if you want. And these wrappers, okay, you can buy the market. Right, remember these? Right at the market, right? And here, Cindy is the extra. I'm going to do one and just show you where's the egg.
George - Oh we're using that.
George - I like a little egg wash. Makes it stick a little easier. Chinese always beat eggs with chopsticks. Okay, so we're all together now. Oops, sorry guys. Not to be messy here. So we're going to put a little bit of, this mixture, and this can be Turkey, chicken, and pork. This one's got, you see the green in it? This has got some cilantro. It's got some scallions, ginger and if you like garlic flavor, you can put a little garlic. And you season it. And then the thing is you fold across into a triangle, right?
Cindy - Can I do the wash?
George - Yes. So, oh yeah, you don't need it, but you can use your fingers or you could do that, you want some?
Cindy - No thank you, a little bit more for me.
George - Okay, and you fold that up, okay? Right? Sort of like a ravioli. Here's the tricky part. You take the middle finger, you press, you take the bottom side of this edge and funnel it over to the top of this edge and press. And then you flip up. So now you've got a little, like a little boat, right? Perfect, oh, you're almost coming apart.
Cindy - I egg wash.
George - Your egg wash isn't helping.
Cindy - A little bit more there, thank you darling.
George - Okay, here we go.
Cindy - Okay. I can make another one then.
George - There you go, there you go, right? And so these are so easy. You can, even if you try at home a little bit, I don't mean like insert a big bar, but if you get a little stockpot, put some vegetable oil in there, whatever oil, use a good oil, and don't turn it up too high. Like about 250 degrees. Not that you need to measure, just make sure it's not scolding hot because people often over fry a high temperature. And what happens is the outside is burned and the inside is raw. So you want to cook at about 275, maximum 300 degrees. You can fry these guys up and then like, those crispy wontons that you can't stop eating, you make a little sweet and sour sauce. The sweet and sour sauce is very easy, right? It's a basic, you know, when I was a little kid, it's like, sweet and sour sauce, people would say yeah, is that Chinese? Yeah, they have sweet and sour sauce in China. So you can put a little ketchup, a little vinegar, you know, lemon juice or whatever. Make it sweet and sour, right? And then you dip that or you can add a little samba chili, whatever, and it's delicious. Or if you like oranges, squeeze some oranges in there, mix it up, right? So cooking is very, there's no strict rules. Once you understand how cooking goes, you could probably use that. Or you could put them in a wonton soup with vegetables, or you could fill these with the mushrooms if you want. Like, if you're a vegetarian, chop up some portobellos or shitakes or even cubensis and some scallions, bind it a little bit with a little bit of a tapioca starch or corn starch, even, a little bit, so that the mixtures stick together. And then you fill them the same way and you can put it into a special wonton soup. It's so easy and people think Chinese, Chinese people are all prep, but once you get all this hard work done, then it's really fast and enjoyable. So you can make wonton soup but today, we're going to make working hands. Oh, I didn't boil the water. All right, well you guys keep making and ask questions while I boil on some water.
Noelle - Chef, what is your favorite type of dim sum?
George - Oh my goodness. Well, you know, the Cantonese have, literally, maybe hundreds of dim sum and some of them are really, really delicate. They make them into little animal shapes and fill them with different things. Like I did Xiao long bao with black truffle about 20 years ago in Shanghai and then Cindy and I had that restaurant on Sooner Street and because I found Unon, truffles are really, really good. So that's a fun way to do it a little bit. You know, you don't really need the truffle oil, but if you want to, you could always dazzle a little bit on there. That's a fancy one or, you know, we'd done for bourgeois pot stickers here. You know, if it was not illegal again, okay? So...right? Yeah, that's fine, it's the Cantonese way but you flip it over, okay? So now, flip.
George - Yeah.
George - You just flip it.
George - Yeah just like that.
George - So, my favorite dim sum is the, like, if you go the classic Hong Kong or Udo dim sum restaurant, I mean literally the fish karpat, and you kind of just look to see which one looks great today. You know, because you eat with their eyes first. So, dim sum is so varied. It touches the heart. So I have a favorite. I have to say growing up, SJB's. Those Chan-fried dumplings, I couldn't stay away from them. Xiao long bao, when they're perfectly done and they pop in your mouth. Also, working hands. You call them working hands because also, I do not. But the illusion lichens but I figured, oh it's working with our hands, let's just call it Szechuan working hands, why not? You can come up with stuff. And so we're going to make some of these. Let's make a few more. Let's make, one, two, this is a good one. That is a good one. That's Hong Kong style. Okay, that's fine. Okay, that's fine, this one, is fine. One, two, three, well, we've got to get lucky eight. Okay, this one makes the cut. All right, so what we're going to do is going to boil some water. It takes no time at all. While we're talking about that, we're going to make the sauce for the working hands, okay? So...thank you, Doug. Thank you. So, very straight forward. You always want to balance flavors. So when you're at home, you got good vinegar, some Sesame oil or some Virgin tea oil, or even chili oil. And you've got some chili sauce that you like, okay? You could, is this water? Okay, can I just get a fresh one? Thank you Doug. So when you make the sauce for this, right? I'm going to, can you make it?
Sometimes I let that, I just bring it up and I just put it on top, right? Because it has that vibrancy. But since we're doing this on, you know, computer, TV, whatever, we're going to do it beforehand. Excuse me. So we're going to mix parts of this. This is a season soy vinegar mix. So remember we had the vinegar, the salt, the acid, right? That balances and then there's some white pepper, which is used often in Chinese cooking, right? Oh Bonnie has now popped those in and let those, put in on high fire. Yeah, high fire? Okay good. You want one more? Okay. By the way, my whole team is double vaccinated and we're very, very cautious. We haven't brought all back our tables because I think people are still very conscious about, you know, being too close to people you don't know. So, still, today, you know, socially distance, six feet apart all our tables. And Cindy and I just got a booster shot Saturday. While those are cooking up, when wontons, Doug, we show? When wontons start to float and they get trans, and that opaqueness becomes like, you don't see that color, the color change, it turns kind of white. You need to know they're ready. Don't overcook these and go oh, I can't overcook these, yes you can, they get really floppy when you overcook them. All right, so back to the sauce. You got that season, right? The white pepper, the soy and vinegar, okay, and then, one of the most important ingredients is for my recipe on that is Sesame oil. This is like Sesame-base, right? I just use the A, You guys can probably get that at the local market, right? So I've laced a little zucchini into that, okay? And then chili oil.
We make our in-house chili oil. There's some actually here. And when that's ready, I'm going to lace this on there. And if you really can take heat, you can sprinkle some chilies. I actually like pasilla peppers. In our kung pao chicken, I actually use more pasilla peppers than Szechaun chilis because pasilla are kind of sweet and spicy if you eat them. These, you know, I'm looking at them and I'm sweating, right? Anyhow, are they ready, Bonnie? Let's put them in a boat. Honey, can you get me a bow? Let's get one down here. Right here.
Noelle - Hi chef. We are coming up, just a couple more minutes left for the webinar.
George - Okay.
Noelle - And have a couple of questions.
George - Time flies.
Cindy - I know, it went by so quickly.
George - I hope you guys are all taking notes because I need to hire some cooks.
Noelle - But chef we were wondering, you know, do you, what type of skillets are you using? Do you have any brand recommendations?
George - Of course mine, but no, you want to use, a wok is the most versatile and you want to use one that's carbon steel. Cast iron is too heavy and the other ones don't work as well. We actually, that actually is in China Life wok that I endorse, so we have it made it in China. So here's that sauce. We'll just glaze it over, right? And then you have to do a little bit of this chili oil too. And then, very importantly, this Szechuan peppercorn powder. A little bit of the red too. That could be any kind of your favorite red pepper. And then, this one you do finish with a little bit of...spice and there it is. You're going to love that. The flavors are a little numbing because the Szechuan peppercorn is actually from Sister Street. And then the heat, the sesame, it's really one of our best sellers. I mean, we don't do a lot of them. Some here we probably do 12 different things then Bonnie does a great job. Sell the heck out of it, you know? Anyways, I think my time's up, there are no more questions, but it was a pleasure doing this with you all.
Noelle - Thank you so much chef.
George - And always light a path to touching our heart.
Cindy - Yes.
George - Thank you for joining us today everyone.
Cindy - Yes, thank you for joining us.
Noelle - Thank you, thank you so much. You know, we do have just one last question. We are curious if you could tell us just a little bit about the China Live complex, and if those restaurants are currently open.
George - All the units are currently open. We're not at full capacity because it's really tough to hire people. The China Live main restaurant where most of all of this dim sum is being prepared, along with beautiful barbecue, like selling a hundred ducks a day, peking duck. That's open seven days a week, nights only. Eight Tables is only open five nights. We're on a one week respite to give you a little break after the summer and we're opening next Tuesday again. My chefs of cuisine is getting married. So I'd given them a little time off. And Sorry Table, so over at Cojuring Spa, it's one of the best factory fires in the country. We have about 25,000 square feet here over three floors. Three kitchens, and so both the parts of culinary Asian culinaria. Cindy is the primary curator of all the great things that we have. Like the jar steamer that we use at home a lot. We develop our own condiment sets. We make everything in house. What we use, we sell, we sell what we use. And so it's really, some people think of us as a Chinese elite, but we're, you know, we are a marketplace where we have our own products and we're constantly reinventing ourselves. You know, it's called China Live because it's the living platform. So, you know, many changes all the time. Like last week I put a couple of new dishes on, being seasons are changing. And so that's, you know, you don't want a menu with 400 things that never changes, you know, basically change one ingredient and call it something else. So we really tried to be changed. Like you said at the beginning of the show, change your perception on Chinese food so that people don't think of it as, oh, it's got to be big portion, cheap, it's probably not healthy, it's not true. Chinese food is one of the great cuisines of the world. And we welcome you to come and enjoy the China Live and experience what we have here.
Suzie Shqair - Thank you so much, chef, Chen, Cindy, Bonnie, and Doug for being with us today. We really appreciate your time. And thank you for sharing your secret sauce behind your cooking techniques and making your delicious dumplings. This was very unique, authentic, and very interactive. I'm sure everyone is excited to try to make them at home or try them at your restaurant. And to all attendees, thank you for being with us. As a reminder, this event was recorded and the recording will be available on our website towards the end of next week. A follow up email with the recipes, instructions, and a link to the chefs website, where you can learn more about China Live, purchase, gift sets, or order food online. Please visit our website firstrepublic.com for a schedule of our upcoming webinars. Thank you everyone. Be well and goodbye.
George - And thank you First Republic.
Suzie - Thank you.