Steamed or Pan Fried Dumplings

I remember learning about Chinese New Year back in elementary school. Well…truth be told, the only thing I truly recall are the red envelopes that were filled with money and an abundance of oranges or was it tangerines? 

Fast forward to my adult life.

Working several years at a Pan Asian television station, I have discovered a little more about the festive holiday; not just from my Chinese coworkers, but also Vietnamese and Korean.  I was lucky enough to share stories with my Asian friends and colleagues, be part of their lavish festivities, as well as receive those ‘lucky’ red envelopes. Our television station even produced several annual Lunar New Year Parades and Festivals in Los Angeles, as well as Pasadena for many years. 

Today, to celebrate the closing of Lunar New Year, I will share my homemade dumplings recipe.  It’s super easy….AND requires very little ingredients. In fact, you probably have all of the ingredients in your fridge already. 

I was craving dumplings one day and didn’t have much in my fridge and I was way too lazy to go to the market. So I just grabbed what little veggies I had in the fridge and made do.  I decided to make the wrappers from scratch because, let’s face it…it’s more fun and satisfying that way.  And also because there isn’t an Asian store close enough to where I live. goes it. 

And just a note…these are NOT authentic Chinese dumplings. Just my own Westernized, quick and easy, ‘this will do for now’ experiment.



½ cabbage – thinly sliced

1-2 carrots – shredded or thinly sliced

2 stalks green onions

½ pack of mushrooms

5 Garlic Cloves - chopped

½ white or yellow onion – chopped

Olive Oil – about 2 tablsespoons

Soy sauce – to taste

Ground pepper – to taste

Sesame Oil – to taste

Water – half a cup

Oyster Sauce – optional


Dumpling Wrapper:

1 ½ cups of all purpose flour

½ cup of hot water

Corn starch

Instructions for the Filling

Heat a pan or wok and add Olive Oil. Next add the garlic and sautee.  After about a minute, throw in the chopped onions and continue to sautee until the onions look shiny and soft. 

Place the cabbage in the pan and stir slowly.  Add a little water.  After about 3 minutes, when the cabbage is slightly cooked and tender, add the carrots and mushrooms. Slowly add more water. 

Season your filling with soy sauce, ground pepper, sesame oil, (optional oyster sauce) to taste.  Cover your pot and let it simmer.  Regularly stir your mix so it is evenly cooked. 

About a minute before your filling is done, add the green onions.  (I don’t like my green onions overcooked). Once your veggies are cooked, you can turn off the pot.  If your water evaporates before the filling is fully cooked, you can add a little more water.

Let Cool

While your filling is set aside to cool, you can start working on the dumpling wrappers.


Instructions for the Wrappers:

In a bowl add the flour and slowly pour in the hot water and stir until the water and flour are mixed together.  Then, using your hands, knead. If you notice the dough is sticky, add a little more flour.  It should not be sticky.  Cover the dough and set aside for 30minutes.

Add a little cornstarch to your work surface to prevent it from sticking.  Now cut your dough into pieces and flatten with a rolling pin.  You can roll into squares or circles.  You can stack the wrappers on top of each other.  However, remember to use cornstarch in between them to prevent from sticking together.

Add the filling into the wrapper and seal the dumplings using water.  You can pinch the wrappers to close or use a fork to seal the dumplings.

Steam the dumplings or pan fry to a golden brown. Enjoy!


Dipping Sauces: you can use store bought dumpling/gyoza sauce or sweet chili sauce, or make your own sauce from home.  I prefer mixing soy sauce, vinegar (or rice vinegar) and ground pepper. Usually the ratio for the soy sauce & vinegar is 2:1. (Lemon can also be used as a substitute for the vinegar). 


This past week, I’ve been on a seafood kick. Maybe it’s because we just got back from an extremely short trip to Seattle where all we ate was seafood. And I felt like the three days…(well, one full day and 2 half days, which really totals to 2 days) just wasn’t enough. I wanted more…more Pike Place, more ferry rides, and yes…more seafood.

So, what’s a girl to do?  Make it herself. 

Here’s my quick and easy way to whipping up a Garlic Shrimp Scampi atop some pasta, with a side of French Toast….carbs anyone?



3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

4-5 garlic cloves, chopped or minced (I love garlic so I used about 6 cloves)

1 cup of dry white wine. (I used sauvignon blanc)

Salt to taste

Red pepper flakes to taste

Ground black pepper to taste

1 ½ pounds of large shrimp (I used headless and deveined which was more convenient and less time consuming. All I had to do was peel).

½ cup of fresh chopped parsley

Half of a freshly squeezed lemon juice

Pasta of your choice (I used spaghetti)


In a hot pan, place butter and olive oil. 

Once butter is melted, add the chopped garlic and sautee for about a minute or two. 

Next, add your white wine, salt, pepper flakes, black pepper and let simmer for about 3-5 minutes; depending on how thin/thick you like your sauce. 

Then add the shrimp and cook for about 3-4 minutes.  Add your lemon juice and parsley and mix around in the pot.

Once the shrimp are pink they are done.  Do not overcook.  I cooked mine at exactly 3 minutes, turned off the stove and kept it in the pot for no longer than two minutes.   

Immediately serve on top of your pasta and a side of French bread. Enjoy!

Sidenote: If you’re still not happy with the consistency of your sauce, take the shrimp out of the pan and let the sauce simmer a little more.  Also, do this if you think the sauce is too tart.  This has happened to me before.

Lastly, let me know if you make this dish and please send pics.  

Burnt Crumbs

Burnt.... isn’t exactly the word you’d want to describe your food or restaurant. But that didn’t stop childhood friends and business partners Paul Cao and Minh Pham.  The two co-own restaurants, Burnt Crumbs, Burntzilla, and a food truck called, Burnt Truck, among many of their other food vendors. 

Burnt Truck

Burnt Truck

In 2010, Paul and Minh started their luck in the food truck industry with Burnt Truck and Dogzilla. A few years later, they opened their first brick and mortar restaurant, Burntzilla. This past year, with all the success from their various businesses, they opened Burnt Crumbs in Huntington Beach, at Pacific City in Lot 579 as well as in Irvine at the Los Olivos Center. 

Dogzilla Truck

Dogzilla Truck

Burnt Crumbs @ Pacific City, Lot 579 in Huntington Beach, CA

Burnt Crumbs @ Pacific City, Lot 579 in Huntington Beach, CA

Burnt Crumbs is their latest venture where they specialize in gourmet and handcrafted sandwiches that are all, pretty much made from scratch. This includes their vast selection of breads, from rye, sourdough, ciabatta, biscuits, to their meats, hand cut fries and potato chips, and all down to their special mayos and sauces. Also, let’s not forget their special garlic aioli sauce which I’ve begged both Cao and Pham to sell in a jar…yes, it’s THAT GOOD.  If I could, I would spread and dip that aioli on EVERYTHING!  

Crispy Pork Sandwich

Crispy Pork Sandwich

Let’s start with the Crispy Pork Sandwich served on their house ciabatta bread.  The pork shoulder is perfectly cooked, chopped up and mixed into their own version of salsa verde sauce. They definitely stack up the sandwich with plenty of crispy pork and the chili lime mayo they lightly slather on the sandwich adds a nice and refreshing kick to the meal.  The cracklings, or what I call, chicharon (which is also made in-house) tops the sandwich.  I love chicharon so that didn’t last.  I went straight to eating those crispy little things.  They didn’t stand a chance.

11 day Pastrami Sandwich

11 day Pastrami Sandwich

The Pastrami sandwich was one of the best pastramis I’ve tasted in quite some time.  Very moist and tender.  It just melted in my mouth.  I only got a chance to snag a half a sandwich because it turns out, everyone loved it as much as I did.  And we were all racing to grab a piece of it. 

Southern Fried Chicken

Southern Fried Chicken

The Southern Fried Chicken.  Who doesn’t love Fried Chicken? And Gravy?  Burnt Crumbs do not skimp on their ingredients.  They give you a huge piece of Fried Chicken.  It is like a dinner instead of a lunch portion. Their house biscuits are made from scratch and you can tell by how fresh it taste and how soft it feels.  This ALSO melts in your mouth.  That Sriracha Honey sauce is tasty and not too spicy so that it doesn’t override the rest of the flavors in the sandwich.

Spaghetti Grilled Cheese

Spaghetti Grilled Cheese

Spaghetti Grilled Cheese.  First off, the picture does not do this meal justice.  This sandwich is what they’re pretty much known for.  Google or youtube Burnt Crumbs and the first thing that comes up is this sandwich.  It looks and smells amazing! I was so excited to taste it.  I did get an order of the sandwich.  However, after eating the previous 3 meals (and their hand cut fries and hand cut chips) I was completely full!  I was planning on taking it home.  But, one of my other friends beat me to it and walked out with it. Not cool! I’m not even going to complain.  I was going to do the same thing.

Without getting a bite in, what I CAN tell you is that it smelled amazing!  And if the smell means anything, then it’s definitely a must try! The aroma of the garlic, marinara and mozzarella just filled me up.  I was watching others eat it and the cheese just spreads and is oh so gooey.  That’s the sandwich most people seemed to order while I was there. Just writing about it now, my mouth is watering.  Looks like I’m going to have to head back to Burnt Crumbs sooner than I thought.

For those that prefer a lighter, and not so meaty meal, they do have other choices including the PBJ which is a homemade pretzel peanut butter, blueberry jam, and sliced banana sandwich.  They also offer a variety of avocado toasts, salads including a kale, wedge and Caesar.  They also regularly add new items to their menu.  For more info and to check out their latest meals, you can head to their website at

In the meantime, check out my visit to Burnt Crumbs below: