Quilts and Other Stuff from Frances

The Joys of Hosting International Students

We have been having so much fun with Qingru and Luhan over this last week and on Saturday they told us that they wanted to cook dinner for us…..dumplings!!!

We first had to do some shopping so started out at an Asian Food store so that they could find Garlic Chives (Chinese Chives) and Long Beans.

Then it was on to Walmart.  I had a wonderful time watching the girls as they ran up and down aisles, looking at everything and comparing the price to what they would have found in China……


At 4:00 pm they said that it was time to start making the food so we headed off to the Kitchen and started pulling out bowls, woks, and seemingly every other dish in the whole house!!!

Qingru started out by making the dumpling batter.   She didn’t measure anything, but just used various amounts of flour, salt and water and a WHOLE lot of elbow grease as she kneaded and kneaded the dough…..


She put it aside to rest and started cleaning the long beans and getting them ready to steam…..


….and washing and chopping the Chinese Chives….


Luhan began by thinly slicing the beef…..


….and making a marinade of Soy Sauce, Peanut Oil, Corn Starch and pepper.  She marinated the beef for about 30 minutes before cooking.

Qingru scrambled some eggs and added them to the chopped chives…..


And, Luhan chopped the steamed Long Beans and added  some chopped green onions and the ground pork…..


At this point there was a bit of conversation because Qingru cooked the pork before adding it and Luhan added it raw.  We decided that raw was fine.

Now came the really interesting part of the cooking.  Qingru started working on the dumplings…..first getting the dough ready…….


…..and then rolling the dumpling wrappers out……

At this point, Qingru told us that this was a basic skill that every girl should have and that a prospective Mother-In-Law would ask her future DIL to make dumplings to show whether she was worthy to be married.  After watching her do this, I told her that she was ready to be a bride!!!!

I had to get in on the act and tried rolling them myself…..


I could roll them out ok, but I was REALLY slow and they were not as round and perfect as Qingru’s.

Then came the time to add the fillings.    Again, there was another conversation as Luhan crimped them in one manner and Qingru did them a different way.  Michael knew that I was videoing so he kept asking them questions as they worked…..

Next, Qingru peeled several cloves of garlic, mashed them well with a pinch of salt and then added a bit of Cider Vinegar…..


Now it was time to start cooking the dumplings.   She brought a pot of water to boil and carefully placed the vegetable dumplings into the water, trying not to burst any of them.   When they came back to a boil, she added enough water to stop the boiling and then let them come to a boil again.   She did this one more time and then declared them done.   When she was cooking the meat dumplings, she brought the water to a boil 4 times instead of 3.


While this was going on, Luhan started cooking the beef and tomatoes in the wok.   She used a very tiny amount of oil and only stir-fried it for a few minutes….


To set the table, Qingru put a small amount of the garlic mixture in each of our small bowls and poured a bit of the dumpling water into the larger bowls for us to drink.


We all ate with chopsticks….two of us were a bit slower!!!  We dipped the dumplings into the garlic sauce before eating and it was spicy and wonderful.  The beef and tomatoes was the perfect accompaniment to the dumplings!!


We all posed for a photos….  first the girls and I before dinner…..


….and then a very satisfied Michael after the meal……


While Michael and I cleaned the kitchen, the girls continued making dumplings and about 30 of them sit happily in my freezer as I write, waiting for another wonderful meal!!!


We were telling the girls how much we appreciated the meal and loved the food and Qingru said that we honored her by enjoying the food.   We assured her that we would be happy to honor her ANYTIME.   They have asked to cook again so we are looking forward to a wonderful meal on Monday!!!

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