Friday, February 7, 2014

Chinese Dumpling Instructional, Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy New Year!
2014 is the year of the green wood horse, a high energy year of rapid progress, unexpected and fleeting opportunity, potential for scandals and for those with a business involving wood or fire 2014 will be a particularly lucky year. 

Chinese New year began on the new moon of the 31st in the tiger month of January, and will continue until the full moon on Feb 14th, plenty of time to celebrate and observe ancient rituals for the new year and sacred meanings of symbolic foods like dumplings.
Dumplings/Jiaozi for Chinese New Year and Spring Celebration is a tradition dating back to the Sung dynasty. These luscious and delicate little bundles of exquisite flavors and textures are the original comfort food. 

Pictured above is a Green Tara dumpling in honor of the green wood horse. This is one of the beauties of dumpling making, creativity rules and the variations are endless. Master Chinese dumpling making and you are on your way to mastering the cousins of Chinese dumplings,  momos, piorgi, vaenyaky, ravioli, tortellini among others, 'dumplings' in all their guises are universally loved.

 Dumpling making is easier than it looks and can be done solo, but much like tamale making at Christmas, labor intensive dumplings are reserved for celebrations. Making them is traditionally a community event involving friends and family, potentially a deliciously fun pre-party.

Click on images to expand

Keep your first attempts simple with one or two fillings and start with the store bought round dumpling wrappers. After you have made them a few times I highly recommend the handmade dumpling wrapper, it's a little thicker than store bought and allows for all organic flour, addition of veggie colors and gluten free flours.

Dumpling Filling:

Finely minced ginger, garlic and green onion with lotus root or water chestnut for crunch is the foundation for multiple fillings and will be used in the two below. One part ginger-garlic mix to three parts vegetable mix.
Here we have ingredients for two fillings

On the left is a Green Tara ingredients: baby bok choy, edamame, broccoli, kale, baked tofu and shiitake mushroom for body, cilantro and thai basil.

Broccoli, spinach, bok choy, kale or napa cabbage should be lightly blanched for 60 seconds  until bright green and immediately plunged into ice water to rapidly stop cooking. Place leafy green veggies in paper or cotton towels and squeeze as much liquid out as possible.

On the right is Orange Tara ingredients : roasted delicata squash, shiitake, maitake and beech mushroom with baked sprouted tofu.
Kobucho squash or pumpkin are equally delish

Hard winter squashes like pumpkin or kabocha can be placed whole in a 350º oven for 30-56 minutes to make cutting easier.

Dumpling ingredients must be minced very fine.
Place 4oz minced veggies in a bowl, add 2-3oz ginger-garlic and green onion mix, add 1oz minced lotus, add a teaspoon or two of hoisen sauce and a drizzle of sesame oil to taste. And do taste as you the create your filling. Traditional Chinese dumplings use little or no garlic, Japanese gyoza uses much more garlic.
Be careful that your filling does not get too wet.


  Prepare your assembly area, everything must be prepped and ready to assemble before you start.

Do not try to rush the assembly, dumpling making is a mindfulness practice, much like Japanese Ikebana-flower arranging, and requires the maker surrender to the process.

Have a clean cutting board, stack of dumpling wrappers, damp paper towel to keep skins from drying out and another to cover made up dumplings, a small dish of water to moisten dumpling edges and your pre made fillings neatly arranged for easily assembly. Extra minced ginger, chili paste or hoisen to add to dumplings for extra kick.

  Each dumpling skin will hold a rounded teaspoon of filling, chopsticks are perfect for picking up just the right amount of filling. Moisten the edges of the wrapper, and moisten edges again after making your fold.
Select your dumpling fold, shown is a simple crescent fold with the edges crimped up towards the center as seen in the bottom picture, but be creative, invent your own fold! 
Dumpling skin colors reflect the ingredients, 
and if you make your own skins your dumplings can be many colors. Try beet or pomegranate powder for pink dumplings, pumpkin powder  for orange dumplings and spinach powder for green dumplings

As dumplings are assembled keep them covered with a damp paper towel. 


Dumplings of all kinds generally freeze very well. Dumpling may be placed on a cookie sheet in the freezer until frozen (1 hr) and transferred to a ziplock or freezer safe glass container for dumpling awesomeness anytime in the next 3 months.  Frozen dumpling will need an additional 1-2 minutes cooking time


Method One: boiling.  Boiling requires a stock pot of boiling water with a dozenish dumplings added and as the water returns to a boil a cup of cool water is added to the pot. The cool water calms the boiling,  the agitation from boiling can tear apart the dumplings and adding cool water slows the agitation. You will add cool water four times, allowing pot to return to a boil before each addition of cool water.
Method Two:  pan fry/quick steam method commonly referred to as 'potstickers'. For this method you will take your freshly made dumplings and place them in a hot skillet with a little peanut oil, make sure the skillet is hot before adding oil. Add dumplings, add water until dumplings are half immersed, Cover and reduce heat to medium until boiled dry. Remove cover and turn dumplings over, add enough water to immerse 1/4 of each dumpling. Cover and boil dry, remove lid, dumplings should be golden brown and steamed through. 
Method Three:  steaming. Take a large stock pot of boiling water and place a bamboo steamer basket with raw dumpling atop the boiling water, cover and cook 10 minutes.

Dumpling Garnish:        

Chopped cilantro leaves, green onions, sesame oil or any nut oil, sesame seeds or anything that reflects the contents of the dumpling

Flavoring Agents and Sauces:

Pictured: Organic soy, Sesame Oil, Seasoned red Vinegar, Mirin, Sake, Plum Vinegar, Chili Paste, Hoisen, Cilantro, Thai Basil, lemon grass

Season your filling mix with any combination of the above flavoring agents. Tasting is essential to great cooking, please taste as you go along.

Basic Dipping Sauce 
one part Red Vinegar
one part soy sauce
splash of sesame oil
minced ginger and garlic
Optional: chopped green onion or cilantro, chili oil or paste
Experiment with different vinegars, bamboo and black vinegar work great and even balsamic is particularly nice with green veggie dumplings.
This sauce also doubles as a fab stir fry sauce

Sweet Chili Sauce
2oz filtered water
4oz organic sugar (coconut sugar is great but tricky)
4oz rice vinegar
splash of sherry
3-4 minced garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed chilies, and/or minced habanero, thai chili or jalapeño to taste
Bring to a boil in saucepan, allow to boil 10 min.
Whisk together 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch with 3-4 Tablespoons water, add to sauce pan after mix has boiled 10 min. Reduce heat and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and taste, more sugar, vinegar or dried crushed chili can be added to taste.
Refrigerate. Excellent as a quick sauce for Asian noodle or rice and veggies dishes

Dumplings and Beverages

Tea is traditional, but for dim sum lovers that had the habit of Coca Cola with their dim sum, Om recomends any nice, bubbly mineral water

Procuring Ingredients:

Mitsuwa , east side of Centinela just north of Venice Boulevard
3760 S Centinela Ave Los Angeles, CA 90066
Phone number(310) 398-2113
Nijiya, east side of Sawtelle just north of Olympic
2130 Sawtelle Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone number(310) 575-3300
Galleria Market on the corner of Western and Olympic Blvd
3250 W. Olympic Blvd Los Angeles
Wing Hop Fung in Chinatown on Broadway between College and Alpine
727 N Broadway Los Angeles, CA 90012
Ranch 99 in San Gabriel Square at the corner of Del Mar and Valley
140 W Valley Blvd San Gabriel, Ca

For more dumpling ideas including their cousins ravioli, samosas and others

 visit the Om Chef dumpling board on Pinterest 

Saturday, February 1, 2014 For Local Services

Om Chef is now on as a personal chef and wellness coach. Thumbtack is a little like Angies List and allows you to submit a request for bids for a variety of services. I found an excellent tree trimmer and nontoxic home cleaning service before adding Om to their roster of providers.

It's a great site if you happen to need almost any kind of service, but do keep in mind the provider in paying to send you a bid, so only submit requests you're serious about. 

private chef

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Chemo Friendly Boxed Lunches

Chemo Friendly Boxed Lunches
Perfect for chemo days, a bento style boxed lunch with extra snacks and tummy calming teas, all neatly packaged in a travel friendly box.  A delicious selection of om made, high protein and nutrient dense comfort foods created for the uniques needs of those receiving or recovering from chemotherapy or radiation. Fresh, organic, nutrient dense, low sugar  and high protein, soups, wraps, nut breads, nut and seed bars, yogurts, custards and granolas.
Delicious variety  in small portions.
All Om cuisine is Om made, nothing prepackaged, gmo and preservative free, zero refined sugar and refined grains. Delivery available in Pasadena, Ca.
When ordering please specify omnivore, vegetarian, vegan and if raw foods are allowed.

February 2014
Boxed Lunch Basic: soup de jour, mini wrap de jour, almond cinnamon butter, Om apple-cranberry sauce, sprouted grain toasts, hummus, mini sprouted grain triple cinnamon rolls, ginger-rose tea

Boxed Lunch Basic II: soup de jour, mini samosas, almond cinnamon butter, Om mango butter, sprouted grain toasts,  hummus, mini berry breakfast bread pudding, ginger-rose tea

Boxed Lunch Deluxe: soup de jour, mini wrap de jour, mixed mushroom terrine, hummus, Om apple-cranberry sauce, Om pear butter, sprouted grain toasts, almond cinnamon butter, sprouted grain banana bread, dark chocolate budino, 2 servings ginger-rose tea……Ample portions provide for a convenient, nutrient dense lunch and bonus dinner 

Boxed Lunch Deluxe II: soup de jour, mini wrap de jour, leek tart, white bean and kale hummus, whole wheat lavash crackers, mini Moroccan GF carrot and nut breakfast cakes, apple-cranberry sauce, mixed berry chia puddings, avocado-cacao bread, Om granola, ginger-rose tea……Ample portions provide for a convenient, nutrient dense lunch and bonus dinner 

Boxed Lunch Deluxe II: soup de jour, mini wrap de jour, leek tart, white bean and kale hummus, whole wheat lavash crackers, mini Moroccan GF carrot and nut breakfast cakes, apple-cranberry sauce, mixed berry chia puddings, avocado-cacao bread, Om granola, ginger-rose tea……Ample portions provide for a convenient, nutrient dense lunch and bonus dinner 

Mary's free range, natural chicken is available as a soup and/or wrap addition for those desiring more animal protein.

March 2014
A sampling of dishes for March boxed lunches.  All dishes are 100% organic, use whole plant foods, mildly seasoned, and packaged in small portions


Monday: White Bean with Sage, 
Tuesday: Pumpkin & Ginger bisque, 
Wednesday: Spring Minestrone,
Thursday: Danish Split Pea, 
Friday: Harira, 
Moroccan chickpea and lentil.
Daily: Mixed Mushroom, Kombu Magic Mineral Broth

Mini Wraps: 
 Tarragon Chicken or Chickpea salad
Herb Roasted Veggies
Om Fresh Herb Falafel

Assorted Dishes:

Mixed Mushroom Terrine
Mixed Mushroom Mini Turnovers

Chickpea Hummus
White Bean and Spinach Hummus

Mini Quiche

Nutrient dense and delicious snacks:

Apple Sauce…..Braeburn, Fuji, 
and Granny Smith slow cooked with
Pear Butter…..lush mix of pears, star anise and cardamom

Om sprouted grain banana bread
Om sprouted grain Avocado Cacao bread
Om GF Carrot & Nut breakfast cakes
Sprouted grain toasts…perfect vehicle for hummus, 
nut or fruit butters

Om sprouted buckwheat granola, grain free
Om nut and seed bars, grain free

Enlightened Sweets:
Chocolate budino…mini budino with espresso
 and antioxidant rich dark chocolate and cacao nibs
Chia pudding cup…high protein
Matcha Panna Cotta

Ginger Rose Lolipops …made with fresh with all organic ingredients

Ginger-Rose tea…treats nausea
Lavender or rose scented hand wipes

Om cuisine follows the guidelines and work of Dr. Neal Bernard, Dr. Thomas Lodi, Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Dean Ornish, Chef Rebecca Katz and wellness coach and cancer survivor, Kris Carr. Om Culinary style reflects the influence of Alice Waters,  chef Annie Somerville, chef Charlie Trotter and Julia Child. Om cuisine is easily adapted to a Ayurvedic,  Macrobiotic, Yogic, Gluten Free or Nut Free diet
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. - Hippocrates

Friday, November 29, 2013

Aspirin at bedtime cuts morning heart attack risk

Taking aspirin at bedtime instead of in the morning might reduce acute heart events, according a new study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2013.
There is a body of research that suggests the majority of heart attacks occur in the morning. So taking aspirin before bedtime may be the better bet as it allows time for the medication to thin the blood, which reduces the risk of heart attack.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Dean Ornish: Healing through diet

Dr. Dean Ornish wants you to live longer, and have more fun while you're at it. He's one of the leading voices in the medical community promoting a balanced, holistic approach to health, and proving that it works. The author of Eat More, Weigh Less and several other best-selling books, Ornish is best known for his lifestyle-based approach to fighting heart disease.
His research at the Preventive Medicine Research Institute (the nonprofit he founded) clinically demonstrated that cardiovascular illnesses -- and, most recently prostate cancer -- can be treated and even reversed through diet and exercise. These findings (once thought to be physiologically implausible) have been widely chronicled in the US media, includingNewsweek, for which Ornish writes a column. The fifty-something physician, who's received many honors and awards, was chosen by LIFE Magazine as one of the most influential members of his generation. Among his many pursuits, Ornish is now working with food corporations to help stop America's obesity pandemic from spreading around the globe.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Nuts for Longevity

People who eat nuts, particularly walnuts, are more likely to live longer, finds research in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Medicine. In a longitudinal study, researchers suggest that those who eat nuts more than three times a week have a reduced risk of dying from cancer or cardiovascular disease than non-nut eaters.
People eating more than 3 servings (1 serving -- 28 g) a week of nuts reduced risk of death due to cardiovascular disease by 55% and cancer by 40%. …….more at

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Parkinson's and Diet

According to one study, "vegetarian and vegan diets are effective in treating and preventing several chronic diseases." The adaptation of a low-fat vegan diet can substantially mitigate the impacts of type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and Parkinson's disease....... read more

The possibility that vegan diets could be therapeutically beneficial in PD, by slowing the loss of surviving dopaminergic neurons, thus retarding progression of the syndrome, may merit examination. Vegan diets could also be helpful to PD patients by promoting vascular health and aiding bloodÐbrain barrier transport of more

The Western Diet Causes Parkinson’s Disease more

"Studies have shown that people who use caffeine are less likely to develop Parkinson's disease, but this is one of the first studies in humans to show that caffeine can help with movement symptoms for people who already have the disease," said study author Ronald Postuma, MD, MSc, with McGill University in Montreal and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center. Postuma is also a member of the American Academy of more

2011 case study in the "International Journal of General Medicine" sought to reduce the negative side effects of the Parkinson's medication L-dopa, allowing patients to use larger, more effective doses. Researchers found that by administering a supplement containing 5-HTP, L-tyrosine and a sulfur amino acid with the L-dopa, side effects like involuntary movement, nausea and psychiatric symptoms do not occur, or are at least manageable because the supplement replaced chemicals that the L-dopa depleted or inhibited. A 2010 case study in the journal "Clinical and Experimental Gastroenterology" found that supplementing with 5-HTP and L-tyrosine helped a Crohn's disease patient experience remission once the proper serotonin levels were achieved. Of course, these examples are only case studies, not treatment plans, so more research is needed before the 5-HTP/L-tyrosine combo becomes a commonplace treatment for any more

Friday, October 26, 2012

Crazy, Sexy Cancer Survivor, Kris Carr

The amazing Kris Carr talks chemo, cancer, cooking and SURVIVING stupid cancer!

Kris' website

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pasadena Personal Chef Vegan Fruit Butters, Food as Medicine

Om Peach Butter…no added sugar……awesome mixed into Om multigrain hot cereal, with toast or just as a spoonful of bliss
Saffron- Mango Chutney…..(pictured)…mango, lime, coconut sugar, currants, almonds, chilies, saffron and turmeric

Om Cran-Raspberry sauce.………..lightly sweetened with coconut sugar and ultra high in antioxidants
Raw Om Cran-Raspberry sauce………… lightly sweetened with coconut sugar ultra, high in antioxidants

Click here for Om Personal Chef Menu for fall 2012 

Los Angeles & Pasadena Personal Chef & Vegan culinary Coach

Early Fall 2012 Menu is now available

No assembly required Om made dishes are the ultimate, healthy fast foods.  Menu reflects Om’s most popular dishes and is seasonal with two or three international cuisines highlighted each month. Plant based meals need only be one or two dishes with one having high plant protein such as beans, peas, nuts or seeds.  
 Dishes are designed to be mixed and matched.  
Most Om cooking is gluten free and Om baked items are  available gluten free upon request. Menu is predominately vegan and vegetarian in addition to (R) raw.  
Most dishes are available vegetarian (with eggs and dairy) or vegan (animal product free)
Natures super foods and medicine foods are the stars in Om cooking and this is especially true of Om Sauces and Soups where you will find concentrated herb, spice and mushroom dishes.

One Dish Meals
Vegilicous Lasagna: Multigrain pasta layered with marinara, eggplant, zucchini, baby bella and mushrooms, mozzarella, fresh herbs and Om Marinara
Mushroom Polenta Pizza…….trumpet, shiitake, baby bella, beech and enoiki mushrooms atop an Om Marinara covered  , polenta pizza crust (gluten free)
Turtle Bean Chili:…….black turtle beans, fresh tomatoes, onions, peppers and chilies slow cooked with herbs and spices

Om Veggie Burgers:…..3 kinds of beans, quinoa, assorted veggies, fresh herbs and spices..

Chinese Tempeh Lettuce Cups:….minced tempeh, shiitake,
celery, onion in a secret soy based sauce
Curry My Soul:   ….(pictured) Madras curried root vegetables,
brown basmati and Om made Saffron mango chutney............complete menu is at