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Chinese Chive Box (韭菜盒子)

Jiucai (韭菜) is garlic chives which is the main ingredient. Hezi (盒子) means box or pockets. In this recipe, it refers to its wrapper; kind of like a dumpling but much bigger and it is pan-fried until golden brown. You can think of it as the Chinese empanadas. It is super delicious and let’s get started.

Ingredients

For the wrapper

For the filling

Instructions

Make the dough for the wrapper

  • Combine the all-purpose flour and salt. Mark a line through the middle of the bowl to roughly divide the flour in half.
  • Pour the hot water to one-half of the flour and stir to mix. Let it cool for 5 minutes.
  • Dissolve the yeast into the room temperature water and pour it into the other half of the flour. Stir to mix.
  • Knead all the flour into a rough dough. Add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and continue to knead until the oil is well absorbed. Cover and rest for 10 minutes.
  • Knead the dough again until smooth. Shape into a log then wrap with a plastic film. Let it proof for 20 minutes.

Make the filling

  • Heat your wok until it is smoking hot. Add 2-3 tbsp of oil and swirl it around to cover the bottom of the wok. Turn the heat to low and pour in the beaten egg. Stir with a pair of chopsticks as fast as possible. By doing that, the egg will be scrambled into small little bits. Take it out and set it aside.
  • Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Turn off the heat and use it to soak the mung bean noodles for 1-2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  • Dice the mung bean noodles into 1/2 of an inch long pieces. Mix with 1.5 tsp of dark soy sauce so it is nice and brown. Coat the noodles with 2 tsp of sesame oil to prevent stickiness. Set it aside.
  • Dice the garlic chives and coat with 1.5 tbsp of sesame oil. The oil will protect the chives so the sodium won’t draw out too much moisture from the chives. Otherwise, your filling will turn out watery and soggy once you add the seasonings. You can use this trick for any vegetable fillings.
  • Combine the mung bean noodles, fried egg, diced chives, dried baby shrimp, and garlic. Season with 2.5 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tsp of 5 spice powder, and 2/3 tsp of salt and toss to mix thoroughly. Set it aside.

Wrap the chive box and cook

  • Divide dough into 12 even pieces, 45-50 grams each.
  • Roll them into round smooth balls, then into round wrappers (5 inches in diameter).
  • To wrap the box, just put some filling in the middle of the wrapper. Fold it in half. Gently push out as much air as possible. Press the edge tightly and make pleats all the way around.
  • Pan-fry the chive box in cast iron skillet over medium heat until golden brown. Each side takes 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve on its own as breakfast or side dish.