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Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: Eating House 1849

Restaurant Insider

May 8, 2022

Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO

ANNE LEE speaks with Eating House 1849’s ROY YAMAGUCHI

Cooking with Roy Yamaguchi is always a fun experience. The set way is Roy’s way in his kitchen, meaning we improvise, do not measure, and use spatulas as spoons to taste. His motto is “cooking comes from the heart and not a recipe.”We met the star chef at Eating House 1849, where the menu concept embraces the food heritage here that was started by plantation workers.

While there, Roy showed me how to make the restaurant’s most-requested item: Pork and Crab Pillows.

We start with the chile soy dipping sauce made from scratch.You can serve it warm or chilled, and it can also be used for steamed or seared fish, chicken or beef. Add chile flakes and cook it in oil. Roy prefers to use peanut oil, but for those with allergies, use canola, grapeseed or extra-virgin olive oil. As the temperature gets hotter, the flavor and color from the chile will be extracted, and the oil will turn orange. Cook for 15-20 minutes.

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In a sauce pot, combine, white wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar and red wine vinegar.

“You can use one (vinegar), but I use three just to make it complicated,” Roy jokes.

To balance the sweetness, add shoyu. If you use too much shoyu, dilute with water. We want to dissolve the sugar, so use a warm sauce pot.

We then add the chile oil, and the amount is based on how much spice you want. It’s always important to taste as you are cooking, and Roy recommends letting the sauce sit overnight to bring the out the fluorescent intensity of the color.

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Add a dash of salt, oyster sauce, more green onion and cilantro. Roy encourages you to visualize and taste the flavors as the ingredients are dispersed.

We next take square wrappers to make the “pillows.” Put the filling in the middle of the wrapper to create a firm pillow, not a fluffy, as Roy believes in being generous with the fillings.We then use egg wash around the edges to seal the folded sides. Take a fork and press the ends with the prongs to make lines, which creates a seal that prevents it from falling apart when cooking. Dust prepared pillows with cornstarch.

Take a steamer basket and add the pillows over boiling water and cook for about 3 minutes. The basket makes it easier to take the dumplings out without having to fish for them.

Believe it or not, my pillows turned out pretty good! The quality of the ingredients and the instruction from the master chef himself made this recipe easy and fun to make.

Pork and Crab Pillows

Ingredients for pork and crab pillows

• 1 1/4 pounds ground pork

• 1 1/4 pounds 51/60 shrimp, half in the food processor, half medium diced

• 4 ounces blue crab

• 1/8 cup minced garlic

• 2 tablespoons minced ginger

• 12 ounces finely minced water chestnuts

• 1/2 cup finely minced cilantro

• 1/2 cup minced green onions

• 1/2 cup oyster sauce

• 1 package square wonton wrappers

• 1 egg

• 2 tablespoons crispy garlic

• 2 cilantro plouches

salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions for pork and crab pillows

In a large mixing bowl, gently mix the pork, shrimp, water chestnuts, garlic, ginger, cilantro, green onions and oyster sauce. Mix in the blue crab, careful not to break up the crab too much. Season to taste.

In a small sauté pan, cook off a small patty of the mix to see if adjustments to the seasonings need to be made.

Lay out 10 of the wonton wrappers at a time so the wrappers do not dry out. Place 1 ounce of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Brush each side with egg. Fold over one side toward the center overlapping the filling. Repeat on the other side giving you a rectangular shape. Press down the edges with a fork in order to create a good seal. Place on a sheet pan that has been sprinkled with cornstarch so the pillows will not stick.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Place the pillows into the boiling water for 5-7 minutes.

Remove the pillows from the water using a slotted spoon and immediately toss with a little bit of the sauce. Place the pillows in a shallow bowl and spoon over more sauce. Garnish with cilantro and crispy fried garlic.

Makes 50-60 pillows.

Ingredients for shoyu chile vinegar

• 2 cups canola oil

• 1/2 cup red chile flakes

• 16 ounces soy sauce

• 4 ounces rice wine vinegar

• 4 ounces red wine vinegar

• 1 ounce white distilled vinegar

• 3 ounces granulated sugar

Instructions for shoyu chile vinegar

For chile oil: Heat canola oil in a small pot with the chile flakes over medium heat. Cook for approximately 15 minutes. Remove from heat and steep for an hour. Strain oil through a fine mesh strainer and discard the chile flakes.

Combine the soy sauce and vinegars into a mixing bowl. Whisk in the sugar until completely dissolved. Add the strained chile oil to taste.

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