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6 notes &

Mushroom Dumplings for Donna Hay Challenge #10

Made some tasty Mushroom Dumplings for The August edition of the Donna Hay Styling & Photography Challenge (DHSPC) run by JungleFrog Cooking. Check out her blog for more challenges and some other great recipes and foodography tips.


For the recipe:

  • I used red habañero peppers instead of chilies because it’s the closest thing my local market had and I wasn’t feeling the 20-mile drive to my nearest international market.
  • I used arugula in place of the cilantro and the micro herbs for similar reasons and because it’s what I had on hand.
  • Among a couple of other smaller subs, I made my own vegetable stock instead of chicken and used hoisin instead of oyster sauce.
  • Threw in some corn into the dumplings because it was calling to me from the fridge and I think it worked out really well.

I know these are pretty big/taboo mods, so I think it’s testament to the strength of the original recipe that it was still phenomenal even with so many changes.


The original image to be replicated by the very talented Chris Court:image
Photo by Chris Court

My Attempt:image

For the shot:

  • I slapped some red habañero slivers on my plain white spoons to achieve a similar effect to that cool red design on the original spoons.
  • I used some galvanized sheet metal I had in the garage (got for less than $10 from Home Depot to make chalkboards). I honestly beat the crap out of it with a wrench and a hammer but somehow only two little dents showed up in the final shot. Bummer.
  • I know my angle and lighting aren’t perfect, but it’s as close as I could get.

Photo on the right by Chris Court

Mushroom Dumplings—from Donna Hay, courtesy of Jungle Frog Cooking


  • 4 cups chicken stock (1 liter) —> (I used homemade veggie stock)
  • 2 cups water (500 ml)
  • 10 cm ginger (peeled and sliced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (lightly crushed)
  • 50g dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon chinese rice wine (Shaoxing)
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar —> (I used palm sugar)
  • 100g fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • micro herbs (thinly sliced red chilli and chilli oil to serve) —> (I used arugula)

Mushroom and galangal dumplings

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 400g mixed asian mushrooms
  • 2 cm galangal (peeled and finely grated) —>(I used ginger)
  • 1 red chili (chopped) —> (used habañero)
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chinese black vinegar (Chinkiang)
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce —> (used hoisin)
  • 1/4 cup coriander (chopped, cilantro) —> (used arugula)
  • 24 wonton wrappers


  1. To make the mushroom and galangal dumplings, heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the mushroom, galangal, chili and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the soy, vinegar and oyster sauce and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir through the coriander. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. Place the wonton wrappers on a clean bench top dusted with rice flour and brush the edges of the wrappers with water. Place 2 teaspoons of the mushroom mixture into the center of each wonton wrapper and bring each corner together to form a pyramid shape. Cover and set aside.
  3. Place the stock, water, ginger, garlic, dried shiitake mushrooms, rice wine and sugar in a saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Strain the broth and return to the saucepan. Increase the heat to medium, add the dumplings and fresh shiitake mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes or until wontons are transparant. Top with microherbs and chili and serve with chili oil. Serves 4-6

Note from Jungle Frog Cooking

  • Some of the ingredients in this recipe might be a little harder to find if you do not have an Asian store nearby. Some of the substitutes you could use are:
  • Galangal - you can use ginger here
  • Shaoxing rice wine - sherry is a reasonable substitute
  • Chinese black vinegar - a mild balsamic might be a good substitute here although it is not entirely the same. If you do not have balsamic, try a regular good vinegar
  • Dried Shiitake mushrooms - these might be hard to find too although the dried mushrooms are quite essential for the taste of the broth. Try another type of dried mushroom you can find

Filed under cooking donna hay donna hay styling challenge food mushrooms mushrooms dumplings photography recipe

5 notes &

Garlic Potatoes with Marsala Sauce

Like chicken marsala, but without the chicken…or the marsala.

It’s actually “Mashed potatoes with cheap-generic-red-wine-reduction sauce.” But that isn’t as catchy.

My bf is the not-so anomalous vegetarian that doesn’t like vegetables. Challenge accepted, I say. Fortunately, he’ll eat pretty much anything I set in front of him, no questions asked—including vegetables. This meal, the “wine mushroom thing” as he calls it, is one of his favorites. I’m pretty sure he has no idea what’s in it, but he likes it.

Garlic Potatoes with Marsala Sauce
Serves one giant portion (my bf’s hibernation meal), or two smaller servings

Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 medium starchy potatoes, rinsed (cool folks leave the skins on, fyi)
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed/finely minced (or to taste)
  • 2 tbs Butter
  • Roughly 3/4 cup of dairy, from any combination of milk, cream, cream cheese, or sour cream. I generally do a mix depending on what I have on hand. Add just enough dairy until you have a creamy texture. 
  • A bit of hard cheese such as asiago or parm, grated (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A sprinkle of chives if you’re feeling fancy
  1. Cook whole potatoes until fork tender (either nuke, bake, or steam—I think steaming is the fastest)
  2. While potatoes cook, put the butter and garlic in a large bowl (putting them in alone at first ensures that the hot potatoes will melt the butter and slightly cook the raw garlic)
  3. Mash the cooked potatoes in the bowl with the garlic and butter. I like to slice the potatoes a bit before mashing so that you don’t get giant pieces of skin.
  4. Add in the rest of the dairy (I know it seems like a lot, but the starchy potatoes will absorb the liquid it as you mix)
  5. Salt and pepper to taste
  6. Set aside…or sneak spoonfuls while making everything else

"Marsala" Sauce

  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 large portobello mushroom, or equivalent smaller portabellinis, roughly 2 cups when thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste (I usually forgo salt and pile on the pepper)
  • 1 cup red wine (any will do, don’t waste your good stuff on this)
  • Small handful of Sun-dried tomatoes (optional—my bf hates them, but I love them in this)
  1. Melt butter in a skillet on high heat. Toss in the mushrooms and onion if using. Let brown for 5 minutes or so, stir, cook another few minutes.
  2. Pour in the wine, pepper and sun-dried tomatoes. Cook until wine has reduced to a thick syrup. Remove from heat.
  3. Pour sauce over mashed potatoes. Serve with grilled cauliflower or other tasty veggie. Top everything with a sprinkle of asiago. Mmmmm.

Filed under marsala wine vegetarian cooking recipe food photography mashed potatoes red wine portobello

9 notes &

Baked Jalapeno Poppers

Ever gotten jalapeno oil in your eyes? Yeah, it’s a bummer.

Not that I would know how that feels—I’m not an injury-prone idiot…

By “baked” I really mean the lazy man’s version of jalapeno poppers. I like cheese, I like jalapenos. I just combined them in the easiest way I could without any complicated breading or frying.

It’s weird, within the same batch, one popper will be super sweet and not the least spicy, and another popper of comparable size will be hot as hell. It’s odd. As a rule of thumb, if you can’t handle spicy don’t make these bake them longer on a lower heat before broiling.

I usually eye-ball ingredients when I make this, and when I measured I was making 6 billion for a cookout. Amounts might’ve wonkied a bit in the process of scaling down. Fortunately, this is a really flexible recipe. Worst that could happen is you and up with some leftover filling or jalapenos, but hopefully the ratios should work out close enough.

Jalapeno Poppers
Makes 2 dozen poppers

  • 12 Jalapenos
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese (could probably use cream cheese or ricotta)
  • 1/4 cup chopped hard cheese (I used a a bit of parmesan, some asiago, and reybener that I had)
  • 1/4 cup cheddar
  • Optional*—I threw in 1/4 cup each of some havarti and some jarlsburg because I had them on hand. (If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m sort of a quesophile. And by “sort of” I mean a hard-core eat-a-grilled-cheese-sandwich-without-the-sandwich-part addict.)
  • 1 small onion or 1/2 medium onion, finely diced
  1. Halve lengthwise and seed the jalapenos (plant the seeds, or use them to flavor something later if you’re feeling thrifty) (when you halve, cut along the side that makes the deepest poppers)
  2. Mix the rest of the ingredients together and then spoon a liberal amount into each jalapeno half.
  3. Place in a baking dish (don’t even need to oil) and bake @ 350 for about 30-40 minutes or until jalapenos have lost their bright color and are tender.
  4. Turn oven up to broil and place under the broiler for a minute or two until the tops get a little crispy.
  5. Serve while hot. Mmmm.  
  6. Eat with sour cream if too spicy.

Filed under Jalapenos jalapeno popper spicy food recipe photography cheese broiled healthy cooking

16 notes &

Vindaloo and Garlic Naan

I fantasized in the weeks leading up to spring break about using the much-needed downtime to catch up in all my classes, maybe even get ahead. I told myself, “don’t worry about that calc III project or that physics lab report, you can do that over spring break.” And then when spring break finally kicked off, it became “you have a whole week to do that, no need to rush. Relax a little.” Guess what didn’t happen? At all. I think I knew all along that I would miserably fail at being productive. I accept that now. 

I did, however, do some cooking.

Oooh yeah. That lovely lady is a vegetarian potato vindaloo—which would be redundant because the “aloo” in “vindaloo” means “potato,” but ironically the dish doesn’t always feature its namesake—mounted on top of a heap of cardamom-infused basmati rice and served with some garlic and butter-slathered naan, which I tend to use as a shovel spoon. (It’s not a run-on if you ignore all grammar rules use em dashes).

We washed this all down with some mango lassi, which I didn’t get a chance to photograph. If you’ve never had it, your life is incomplete it’s a thick drink made of yogurt and sometimes milk and mango pulp with cardamom and occasionally other spices.
Sig change! I know it’s unoriginal, but it gets the job done.

I remember a few years back when a recipe called for “fresh coriander,” I got really frustrated that none of my go-to markets carried it and headed to the local Indian shop. With my “coriander” in hand at the checkout, I realized that it bore an uncanny resemblance to the familiar cilantro. Big “Oooooohhh” revelation there. Not one of my finer moments.
I know I’ve said this before about broccoli, but same applies to cilantro/coriander. The stem has plenty of flavor and is totally edible. Give it a go. The cool kids are doing it.

Naan—adapted from Kurry Leaves

  • 1 1/4 oz packet of yeast (about 2 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/4 cup warm (not hot) milk
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbs yogurt
  • 1 tbs oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat bc it’s what I had on hand)
  • 1/4 water or as needed
  • More olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter—melted mixed with 3 cloves garlic—pressed or finely minced
  • Chopped cilantro if you want it to be all pretty
  1. Temper the yeast by adding the warm milk and sugar to it and letting it sit in a warmish area for about 10 minutes. It should look frothy/foamy. If it doesn’t, it didn’t work.
  2. Once your yeast has got its mojo going, mix in the yogurt, oil, and salt.
  3. Add in the flour.
  4. Add as much water as is needed to make a thick dough. (Will probably be more than what is listed)
  5. Once you’ve got a good dough going, drizzle a little oil over it and set it somewhere warm to rise for an our or two (After that period of time you should have a wonderful, elastic dough).
  6. Roll out golf ball sizes of dough. (I tried something I’ve never done before and really think it worked. I used a little bit of water instead of flour on my rolling pin and surface. It worked like a charm. If it’s not working for you, go back to flour, but give it a go.)
  7. Fry naans, one at a time, in an oiled skillet. Optional: Cook one side in the skillet and the other over an open flame if you have a gas burning stove. Loved it.
  8. Drizzle fresh naan with butter and garlic and sprinkle on the cilantro.


  • Olive Oil
  • 1 large onion or two small/medium, roughly chopped
  • 1 large potato, pre-cooked (I just nuke for a few minutes)
  • 5 roma tomatoes or 2-3 of a larger variety, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh ginger (a 1/2-1 inch piece)
  • 1 tsp chili powder* (or as many fresh chopped chilies as your taste buds can handle)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper**
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom**
  • 1/2 tsp cumin**
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika**
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon**
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves**
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • Chopped cilantro—several handfuls

*This was pretty mild for us but a dinner guest was kind of choking from the heat, so use caution. Maybe start out with half the amount and add to taste.

**If you’ve got a good garam masala mix, you could use that instead.

  1. Fry the onion in the olive oil on high until it gets a little color. Add the tomatoes and cook for another minute or so.
  2. Turn off the heat and add the garlic and ginger. Let them cook from the residual heat for a few minutes while the mix cools a bit.
  3. Blend the onion/tomato mix in a blender with the tomato paste, vinegar, and spices. It might help to mix all the spices together separately and then taste as you add. Blend until smooth or desired consistency is reached.
  4. Return mix to the stove and stir in the potato and a handful or two of cilantro, heating until everything is uniformly warmed.
  5. Top with additional cilantro and serve with basmati rice and/or naan.

Filed under vindaloo food indian vegetarian potato healthy recipe cooking naan na'an.