Food Theory

Dumplings origin

All dumplings of the world origin

All dumplings of the world origin What’s the dumplings origin? What do ravioli, pierogi and gyoza have in-common? Are they all a kind of a dumpling? Is there one OG dumpling, the Ancient Dumpling that birthed all the variety of dumplings that we enjoy in present times? If you’re unfamiliar with any of the above, here’s a quick explanation for each: Indian samosas A type of a fried of baked dumplings, stuffed with spiced potatoes, peas and typically onions. Ukrainian vareniki A very close sibling of Polish pierogi. Vareniki can be stuffed with a big variety of fillings, both savoury and sweet. The most popular varies, however, except for potato one, is cottage cheese. Italian tortellini Typically an egg based pasta dough, stuffed with a mix of regional cheeses, meat, egg and regional spices. Noticeably, tortellini are often cooked and served in a broth. Chinese wontons A dumpling that is fried as often as steamed or boiled. Typically wontons are made of a very thing wheat dough and filled with a mix of vegetables and meat. Russian pelmeni Boiled dumplings, filled with a mix of minced pork, beef and onions, and often fresh herbs. Served with sour cream. Japanese gyoza A dumpling of very thin unleavened dough, filled with a mix of minced pork, cabbage and mushrooms. Typically fried on one side to create a combination of various textures. Served with either sweet and savoury sauce, or a highly acidic savoury sauce. Polish pierogi Probably the most recognizable Polish food. Pierogi is a type of dumpling, that could be stuffed with both sweet and savoury fillings. Most popular filling though is potato and cheese. Greek Ravioli A type of ravioli typically filled with feta, halloumi, dry Greek regional cheese, eggs and Mediterranean spices (cumin, oregano, thyme, etc), served with Greek yogurt. ORIGINS Now let’s talk about dumplings origin There is a food history research that suggests that there’s actually no way that OG Dumpling of all dumplings had come from China itself, since Chinese “didn’t have good flour milling technology till the Han dynasty [202BC-220AD]” – Eugene Anderson, food and nutrition scholar, professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of California. In fact, food researches have no clue what’s the dumplings origin, based on the presently available archaeological and historical food research.  There’s one area of food research that might help in finding the origins of dumplings: language. Miranda Brown, professor of Chinese studies in the department of Asian languages and cultures at the University of Michigan, suggests that language plays a fundamental role and possibly is our only help in determining what was first: the ravioli or the Chinese dumplings. To summarize all the leads from one language to another, it may seem like that the dumplings origin lay in Turkish language. Who would have guessed that? … but not in Turkey itself. The migration of the Turkic peoples from Central Asia is where food scientists believe the origins of stuffed dumplings can be found. The Turks were a tribe related with the Xianbei people, who were in turn related to the Mongols, who began invading China in the early fourth century. They originated in the Altai region, where Mongolia, China, and Russia converge. The migration of the Turkic name for stuffed dumplings: “mantu”, gave rise to the Korean “mandu”, Greek “manti”, and Chinese “mantou”. This direct language correlation and similarity supports this theory of their dumpling evolution. The words for stuffed dough / pastry in Russian “pelmeni”, Ukrainian “vareniki” and Polish “pierogi” also have Turkic roots. When the dumplings had reached China, they were certainly widely adopted across various provinces, giving them various shapes, stuffings and cooking methods. Later on with the rise of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), the Chinese-Turkic dumplings gained popularity in Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and other parts of Southeast Asia.  What about European dumplings origin? In Europe certainly the most dumpling-loving nation is Italy, who has tones of varieties for stuffed pasta: tortellini, tortelloni, tortelli, cappelletti, culugionnes, medaglioni, anolini and many more.  Anderson asserts that it is likely that the Arab conquistadors and traders who brought stuffed dough with them from the Middle East though the eastern Mediterranean are the ones who gave the Italians the idea of stuffed dough packets. While as Spanish and Portuguese got their dumpling varieties: empanadas and empadas, the same way.  Would you agree with these dumplings origin theories? And what’s your favourite type of dumpling? Check out this cool Map of Spread of Dumplings across Eurasia My online CULINARY ACADEMY ENROLL Other Blog Posts You Might Like EASY guide to creating recipes like a Chef Read HERE>> Modern Paella Amuse Bouche recipe Read HERE>> Apple Fett puff pastry pie recipe Read HERE>>

All dumplings of the world origin Read More »

creating recipes like a Chef

EASY guide to creating recipes like a Chef

Easy guide to creating recipes like a Chef Creating recipes might be one of the most challenging tasks when it comes to cooking, culinary arts and being a Chef in general. You might find yourself sometimes looking at these amazing fine-dining dishes that Michelin Star Chefs post on Instagram, TikTok or Youtube, and you tell yourself… wow! How did she come up with this?… It looks incredible, but also unachievable!  What’s the though process here? Where to start from? Well, if that you, you’re in luck! Because that’s exactly what we’ll be breaking down in this blog post, on the example of creating recipes that are a fusion of cuisines.  Hopefully, after reading this blog post on creating recipes, you’ll get from the point of someone who silently admires the works of famous Chefs, to a position of a person who can create your own unique, beautiful and most importantly delicious dishes! Dishes that tell your culinary stories. Case study: Creating fusion recipes Sit down and think, is there a specific cuisine that feels close to your heart and your want to address in your dish? For example, let’s say your family heritage comes from Asia, but you live in the US now, and you’d love to share some true Asian flavors with your American friends. If that’s the case for you, here we go! You got yourself a theme for your first independent dish: American classics with Asian flavors, a.k.a. Asian-American fusion. Let’s take this example and use it for our first case study. Make 2 Lists First of all, creating fusion dishes is A LOT of fun! It’s one of my favorite things to do in cooking. When I need to create a dish that’s a fusion of certain cuisines,  I’d usually take my notepad out and make 2 lists. 1 list for each cuisine, and include in each things like staple dish, iconic flavours, ingredients of each cuisine, and so on. Whatever comes to your mind when you think of the food of that particular country. So for example, in the list of American cuisine I’m writing: Burgers, pizza, soda drinks, high sugar levels, BBQ, ketchup, smoke, hot dogs, fast-food themes, steaks, corn, pumpkins, ranch… sorry my American friends, if what comes to my mind is too unhealthy sounding… you might have totally different things on your list, depending on where exactly you come from in the US, and your family traditions. So just do you, do your own list. And the same goes for Asian list: I have here: rice, sushi, miso, soy sauce, tofu, spice (like … Asia is also a very broad generalization, I’m just giving you an example here… you maybe narrow yourself down a bit more to a specific country or region). Is there anything in-common? Step 2, once you get 2 lists. Look for things that both of this cuisines have in common. For example, American burger has ketchup in it, and in Asian cuisine you find sweetness is also a beloved flavour. So why not, substitute Ketchup for an Asian style sauce? Or in classic burger you’d use these milk buns, why not substitute those with Asian steamed buns with a touch of sesame seeds and sweet umami sauce? You see where I’m going with this? Now it’s your time to brain storm your lists. Once you get this 1st idea, all the other ones would usually start flowing your way, you’ll need to keep up with them to note everything down. I’d recommend to write as many ideas, as you can come up with. It’s always better to have a choice at the end. If you find this blog post useful and would like to learn more about cooking like a Chef and scale UP your overall culinary game, check out my online Culinary Academy. My online CULINARY ACADEMY Start today for just $50

EASY guide to creating recipes like a Chef Read More »

Tapioca Maltodextrin

Tapioca Maltodextrin (all you need to know)

Tapioca Maltodextrin (some manufacturers may also call it “N-Zorbit M”) is a modified tapioca starch. As you might remember, from my video on Kuzu, natural starches absolve water and get swallen by it. Therefore, that’s how they thicken liquids. However, natural starches are sensitive to acidity, sugars & fats! In other words, natural starch will not interact in any way with products high in fats. Fat will coat the starch molecule and prevent it from absorbing water. That’s exactly where modified starches come in place. Tapioca Maltodextrin was modified in a way that it can interact with oily & fatty products. It also does not require any heat exposure to get activated, unlike natural starches. [siteorigin_widget class=”WP_Widget_Media_Video”][/siteorigin_widget] With TM you can make powders out of any oily/fatty products. Think about Nutella, caramel, Parmesan cheese, walnut oil, hazelnut oil, etc. The other cool property of TM is that it increases the volume of the end product. This property is often used by commercial food manufacturers, who powder different fatty products to make them less fatty and lower in calories, while remaining the same volume. And finally, it’s worth noting that while TM does not give any off or starchy taste to the end product, if you are working with ratios above 50-60% it will give a very slight sweet taste (like in Peas & Nori tarlets example). If you want to learn other cool culinary techniques, click HERE. You can also see more of my video recipes HERE.

Tapioca Maltodextrin (all you need to know) Read More »

Food Innovation

Can you think of a farming method that gives seventy times the yield of traditional farming, that uses 95% less water, produces pesticide-free greens and requires less nutrients for plant development (Vyawahare, 2016)? This farming method first came around in 1911, but only in 1985 did it leave the laboratories and became commercially used (Clawson, 2018). The farming method that I am going to introduce today is the aeroponic farming. Aeroponic farming grows plants in an air environment without using soil. This method is unique in a way that can provide for a completely monitored environment for growing greens. Not only it crosses out the occurrence of any natural diseases, such as Mosaic and White Rust, but does also completely eliminates a possibility of the greens catching the deceases from the neighbouring factories, like we had just witnessed with the recall of romaine lettuce due to a spread of E.coli (Young, 2018). Aeroponic method of farming is also visibly more sustainable: less resources are needed to produce the food (less water and less nutrients), aeroponic farming can be done indoors in any forgotten locations, thus creating jobs in places where the business was abandoned, and also allowing people to farm at home (more on that later), and finally, taking into account that one can utilise a lesser space to produce a larger output of consumer product – it is notably more financially profitable than conventional farming. The embodiment of one of the great ways, how the aeroponic farms can utilise the any space, is the largest by now aeroponic farm, located in New Jersy, that occupies a 70k square foot abandoned factory (Kohlsted, 2017). Another example would be an old subterranean WWII bomb shelter in London, that was converted in a farm, that serves local restaurants (Kohlsted, 2017). Several more amazing examples of aeroponic commercial farming are being developed around the world and exist already. [siteorigin_widget class=”WP_Widget_Media_Image”][/siteorigin_widget] One of the most interesting for me personally ways to utilise this innovation in farming is a possibility to use it in home conditions. Even IKEA had already caught a “fiver” of the aeroponic agriculture by offering to its customers aeroponic kits (Rhodes, 2016). Just imagine how convenient it would be for restaurants, cafes and just home cooks to be able to have fresh, nutritious and diseases-free greens on hand at any time they are needed? There is already a trend for more sustainable cooking in the industry, more seasonal menus, local produce, etc. However, the possibility to grow your own greens and soon vegetables and fruits inhouse could change the game. After visiting Hong Kong and Singapore, I had also become fascinated about the idea of using the natural greens for the interior design. In other words, aeroponic farming can also serve as a great décor for the restaurant creating a better neurogastronomy and more pleasant experience for the customers. At the moment aeroponic farming is already commercially used and is gaining new fans with each day. This farming method can also produce a greater variety of greens, in comparison to any other single conventional farm. However, it is still limited in terms of what kind of plants can be farmed using this method. Nevertheless, continuous research is undergoing and, no doubt, soon we will have aeroponically grown potatoes and pineapples. This farming method is absolutely vital for people right now for the environmental reasons but also can be a more profitable way to farm. Restaurants can also benefit from aeroponic farming: they can order locally organic, disease-free greens any time of the year, and they can also start farming inside their restaurants as well, which can potentially be even more attractive.   References: Clawson, J. (2018, December 6). Aeroponics. Aeroponics research report. Retrieved from: Kohlsted, K. (2017, March 27). 99% invisible. From Home Aeroponic Gardens to Vertical Urban Farms. Retrieved from Rhodes, M. (2016, May 20). Wired. IKEA’s clever kit makes indoor farming as easy as it’ll get. Retrieved from: Vyawahare, M. (2016, August 14).  The Guardia. World’s largest vertical farm grows without soil, sunlight or water in Newark. Retrieved from: Young, L. (2018, November 22). Global News. Public Health says it’s not safe to eat romaine lettuce in Ontario and Quebec. So why isn’t it being recalled? Retrieved from:

Food Innovation Read More »

My new diet for 6 days

Nowadays, it is a norm for a busy restaurant to have no less than 5 guests with restricted diet schedules, would it be an allergy, a food intolerance or a special diet that they try to keep up with. If 2 or 3 years ago, this trend was just emerging, today, it is what the market demands and expects from the Chefs – to be able to adapt and provide options. I myself am living in a vegan household and know exactly just how difficult it can get trying to find suitable options for dining out. However, for this blog, I decided to try the Kcal Counting diet, as I am a forward-looking person, and the bikini season of summer 2019 is not that far ahead… In addition to that, I had also adapted a diet that is suitable for people with peanut allergy. [siteorigin_widget class=”WP_Widget_Media_Image”][/siteorigin_widget] My plan to approach this task of keeping up with 2 diet restrictions, was fairly simple. I am a certified nutritionist and know the basics of food nutrition and kcal count, but just to make my life easier and be more accountable, I’ve decided to make a research on the best mobile app that will count the calories for me. I’ve chosen MyFitnessPal app, it’s free version. All I needed to do was to input the food that I ate that day and its weight, and the app would count the kcal consumed, the kcal lost during exercise and the kcal remaining until my daily goal of 1200 kcal. The down side of using this app was that it contains the database of all the processed foods in North America, but when it comes to wholefoods, it was not that easy to find, so I had to look for most likely alternatives. Since I am trying to eat heathy anyway, I did not need to adopt any new recipes to my diet, I just needed to restrict the portion size. That, at the beginning, required quite a bit of will power. During my first week I was feeling hungry all the time (I actually did 2 weeks of this diet, but here I am showing just the last one). Second week was so much easier, the hunger went away and by the end of 2nd week, I didn’t even want to eat at all, by the dinner time, sometimes. The only thing that I had to substitute in my diet was the snacks. Sometimes, during a busy college day, I used to snack on some biscuits and drink lots of coffee. While during the past 2 weeks, I had decided to eliminate the coffee to a minimum, and eating apples instead of biscuits at school during the times of hunger. The quick summary of my last 6 days of dieting is below. [siteorigin_widget class=”WP_Widget_Media_Image”][/siteorigin_widget] You can also find the recipe for my Baked Aubergine here. For the peanut allergy, I did not do anything special. I do not generally consume lots of peanuts anyway. I only add some glazed peanuts sometimes to my breakfast cereal, so I just substituted them with glazed almonds. Of course, people with real peanut allergy live a much harder life, depending on the severity of it… If their allergy extends just to the point of oral consumption of the allergen, then, they can adapt the same diet as I did, but need to be super careful reading the labels and when going to restaurants need to ensure there was no cross contamination. However, if the person is allergic even to the smell of peanuts, then I cannot imagine him/her going to any restaurants really… taking from the experience of working in the industry – restaurants are not 100% allergy careful. It would be indeed extremely hard to live with such a diet. In order to dine out, one would need to study the whole menu and ensure that there are no dishes with peanuts at all, in order to be safe to visit the establishment. As a Chef, in order to provide options for people with KCal Count diets, I would need to offer half-portion options on the menu. Hopefully, I would never cook any unhealthy dishes full of saturated fats… As for the peanut allergy, I would just need to eliminate this food allergen from the menu altogether. Having a long managing experience, I know that even if I try to provide for all the cross-contamination possibilities, there is always a human factor, and I could never 100% guarantee an absence of any cross contamination. Human life is more important than a possibility to offer a single specific ingredient on the menu. Our food choices are plentiful nowadays, and as Chefs, being creative and knowledgeable, we can afford to eliminating 1 or 2 ingredients. As for the future, I would definitely maintain the kcal count diet. I surely felt healthier, and lighter by keeping this diet. Plus, it was not that hard to maintain once my organism had adopted to it in 2 weeks. However, if the goal is to lose weight, eating healthy will bring you only 40% of results. It is vital to also exercise, in order to see the desirable results.

My new diet for 6 days Read More »