Friday, June 4, 2010

Chinese Chives Box (韭菜盒子)

Chinese Chives Box, a bread pocket or pancake with a basic stuffing of chives and ground pork, is a popular Northern Chinese cuisine. This is one of my favorite dishes that I always order from restaurants but have never thought of making at home.  I stumbled upon this and learned it from a 3 segment cooking show posted on You Tube.  I decided to try it for the first time,  and everyone who tried it said it was really good.


  • 3 c flour
  • 1 c boiling water*
  • 1/2  c cold water *
  • 1 bunch of Chinese chives, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. small shrimp, shelled and chopped
  • 1 lb. ground pork 
  • 2 eggs (optional)
  • 1 small package Chinese vermicelli, soak in hot water, drained and chop to short pieces.
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp salad oil 
  • 2 tsp salt
  • white pepper
  • black pepper
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil


    1. Pour flour into a big bowl and pour boiling water over the top of the flour.  Stir quickly with a pair of chopsticks until flour is mostly wet with hot water. This is what it looks like after stirring with the hot water.

    2.  Pour in the cold water little by little to the flour and mix them well until dough is soft and sticky.   I only added 1/4 cup and it was already sticky enough.

    3. Cover the dough and let the dough rest for 20 to 30 minutes (this relaxes the gluten and makes it easier to roll out). Or, oil the dough and place it in the plastic Ziploc bag so the dough will not dry out.

    4. Combine pork, shrimp, and vermicelli in a big bowl, add in all the spices and liquid sauce, and mix well. Mix in the chives last.

    5.  Take the dough out from the bag after 30 minutes.  Sprinkle some flour on a cutting board and roll the dough into two ropes.  Work with one rope at a time, covering the rest to prevent drying.  Divide each rope into a few equal parts. Shape and roll out each part into a flat round dough about 4 inches in diameter.  Sprinkle flour on your hand and the dough whenever you feel it's too sticky to roll out, but use it lightly.

    6. Place 2 tbsp of mixed ingredients onto each flattened round dough, fold it over, and seal it by pressing the sides into a semicircle. Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a frying pan and place "boxes" into pan and fry for 3 -5 minutes on low heat on each side until golden brown. Cut in half to check and make sure the pork is thoroughly cooked.

    7. Serve with a dipping sauce of 1:2 ratio of soy sauce to vinegar.

    It's best to serve some soup to accompany this dish.  I served the pork pickled mustard soup this time.  You can freeze any uncooked stuffed boxes.  They can be fried without defrosting anytime.

      Important tips:

      *The ratio of the water and flour is important in making any dough.  The formula is  3:1+1/2 (Flour:Hot Water+cold water).  The boiling water must be used and poured over the flour and mixed well first before any cold water is used. 

      *Always measure the flour and water with the same measured cup. Do not pack flour and level off with a flat knife.

      *I found it is easier to handle the flour by patting some oil over and rested it in the Ziploc bag.

      According to the show,this dough is good to use for all baked and fried recipes, but it will not work for recipes that require steaming, such as steaming dumplings or buns.

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