Garlic chive pockets 韭菜餅, and memories of a TV set made of a heart rate monitor

Posted on Updated on

Garlic chive pockets 韭菜餅

When I was a little girl, I was fascinated by my cousin Yang’s skills in making dumpling wrappers.

Yang was the eldest daughter of my 2nd aunt. My aunt joined the army and met her husband in Northern China. They settled there for over 10 years before moving back to GuangZhou and re-trained as experts for mending medical equipment. My aunt made our first TV set out of an abandoned heart-rate monitor. It was the only TV set in the neighborhood. I still remember watching a green and grey version of the ‘Sound of the Music’ on the 3-inch diameter screen. It didn’t have a protective case in the back – we could see all the wires and connections. My grandfather put all his newspapers next to it. One time,  grandfather asked me to fetch him an old paper. I climbed up the drawers under the TV and reached for the paper.  I felt someone hit me with a stick from behind. I turned and looked, my grandfather was sitting at his desk working on something, and there was no one else in the room. I was zapped by electricity from the TV set!

Cousins from GuangZhou
A rare photo of the cousins in early 70s. Clockwise from top left, Yong, Zhi, Yang, Jie, myself

Anyway, Yang was a true master of the rolling pin from a young age – she could make hundreds of wrappers in no time at all. Her fingers were magic and I used to watch her whenever I had the opportunity. Their apartment always smelt of noodles, dumplings and aged vinegar… yum!

Being a ‘southerner’, my rolling pin skills are lacking – I am just too slow. To get around my deficiency, I discovered that my Italian pasta machine can produce wheat based wrappers rather efficiently. The trick is to first roll a small amount of dough into a ball, then press it to a round disc, and put it through the pasta machine a few times rotating each time. To show off my newly developed ‘skills’, I made these northern style garlic chive pancakes with eggs, Chinese mushrooms  and shrimp shell.  The traditional pancake uses heaps of garlic chive and has as a very strong taste. In this recipe, I used smaller amount of garlic chive and added chicken and mung bean vermicelli for extra texture and flavor.

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »