Category Archives: China

Steamed Wontons

I will never forget the first time I stayed at my boyfriend’s parents house in Brisbane and his mom made these amazing steamed won tons using a bamboo steamer in a wok.  I had never seen anything like it but was surprised to learn how easy they are to make once you get the hang of how to stuff and pinch a wonton together.  I made these for some friends who came to visit one weekend and they loved them so much that they both bought bamboo steamers so they could make them at home too.

If you don’t have a bamboo steamer, I highly recommend that you invest in one – they are $20 or less and they are great for won tons and steaming other things like vegetables, fish, etc….the possibilities are endless.


  • 1 lb (about 500g) ground beef
  • 1 packet of square or round wonton wrappers
  • Fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • steamed rice (optional filler for the wontons if you want to make a lot on a budget!)


Mix all of the ingredients (except the wonton wrappers) with your hands in a bowl until evenly mixed through.

Place a wonton wrapper in the palm of your hand and brush a tiny bit of water around the edges with your finger.  Spoon one spoon full of the mixture into the center of a wonton wrapper.

Pinch the edges of the wonton wrapper together at the top so that no beef is exposed.

Heat water in the bottom of the wok on high heat.  Spray each level of your bamboo steamer with cooking spray.  This is very important because the wontons will stick to the bottom and cause a mess if you don’t.  Arrange the won tons in each level of the bamboo steamer.

Stack the levels of the bamboo steamer and top with the steamer lid.  Allow the wontons to steam for about 20 minutes or until the meat in the wonton is no longer pink.

Serve with plum sauce or sweet chili sauce.


Beef, Shitake, & Snow Pea Stir Fry

(This photo: Bon Appétit)

Since mushrooms are in season right now and popping up in recipes everywhere, I picked up a bunch from the farmer’s market and have used them in several dishes recently. The first was Kevin Gillespie’s creamless corn, which turned out okay but the one that was the biggest success was the Beef, Shitake, and Snow Pea Stir Fry from October’s Bon Appétit.

I do a lot of Asian inspired cooking so luckily I had all of the sauces on hand for this one. If you plan to do a lot of Asian cooking, I highly recommend investing in some Asian sesame oil since it adds such a distinct flavor to the dish (and smell to your kitchen!). You can also pick up hoisin sauce at any grocery store these days for about $3 a bottle.

I love using Chinese five-spice powder because it covers all five flavors of sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, and salty to balance the yin and yang in food. You can find it in some grocery store ethnic sections but I found mine at a Chinese supermarket.

I followed the recipe as written, but instead of snow peas, I used sugar peas because that’s all I could find at Trader Joes. I also substituted Sambal Olek (an Indonesian chili sauce) for the chili-garlic sauce since that’s what I had on hand and it adds more of a kick. All in all it took me about 20 minutes to get this together.

My picture isn’t as good as Bon Appétit’s, but just bear with me until I get a better camera than my iPhone…

Beef, Shitake, and Snow Pea Stir Fry

Bon Appétit (October 2010)

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  • 1 1-pound top sirloin steak, cut into 2-inch-long, 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 12 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, thickly sliced
  • 8 ounces snow peas
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced, divided
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, divided
  • 5 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder


Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger and mushrooms; stir-fry until mushrooms are tender, about 3 minutes. Add beef to skillet; stir-fry until beef browns but is still pink in center, about 1 minute. Add snow peas, half of green onions, and half of cilantro; stir-fry 1 minute. Stir in hoisin, chili-garlic sauce, and five-spice powder; sauté until peas are crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with remaining green onions and cilantro.