The Dish: Chef Joanne Chang

Chef Joanne Chang grew up in Texas and Oklahoma with a love of both baking and learning. She graduated from Harvard with an honors degree in applied mathematics and economics, becoming a management consultant before ultimately pursuing a career in food. 

In 2000, she opened Boston's Flour, which now has seven locations. Last year, she won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Baker. Myers + Chang, followed in 2007, inspiring her fourth cookbook "Myers + Chang at Home: Recipes from the Beloved Boston Eatery."

Here are some of Chang's signature recipes: 

Indonesian fried chicken and ginger-sesame waffles 

Fried chicken ingredients

1 fresh Thai bird chili or jalapeño
1 stalk lemongrass
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
One 3- to 4-pound whole chicken, split, with the backbone out and quartered (see Note)
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fish sauce
1 lime, halved
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 to 3 quarts vegetable oil, such as canola, for frying
1 recipe Ginger-Sesame Waffles (recipe follows)
1 recipe Honey-Sesame Butter (recipe follows)
1 recipe Surprising Sauce (recipe follows) 

Directions

1. Thinly slice the Thai bird chili, making sure you are wearing gloves (and please don't touch your face). Set aside in a small bowl. Peel and discard the dry papery outer layers of the lemongrass; cut off the top two-thirds of the stalk, which is also dry and papery, along with the very base and discard. Thinly slice the bottom third of the stalk, where the stem is pale and bendable, and add to the bowl with the chili. Add the turmeric and stir to combine.

2. Lay the chicken pieces in a shallow baking dish. Season evenly with the salt and pepper and then sprinkle liberally with the fish sauce. Rub the chicken all over with the lemongrass mixture (get to know your bird!). Squeeze the lime all over the chicken. Throw the lime halves, skin and all, into the dish. Pour the coconut milk over the whole thing and turn to coat. Cover lightly with the plastic wrap and marinate overnight (or as long as you have -the longer, the tastier) in the refrigerator. 

3. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator, remove the plastic wrap, and add about ½ cup water to the baking dish, and cover with aluminum foil. Roast for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle. The chicken can be parbaked up to 2 days in advance; store it with the cooking liquid in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

4. In a large, deep, flat-bottomed saucepan, heat 3 to 4 inches of vegetable oil to 350˚F or until a cube of bread fries to a nice golden brown in 10 seconds. Shake the marinade off the chicken and fry a few pieces at a time, turning the pieces occasionally, until deep golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of each pieces registers 165˚F, 10 to 12 minutes per side. Remove from the oil and drain on a paper towel-lined plate; salt each piece liberally when done.

Ginger-sesame waffles ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons peeled and finely minced fresh ginger (about 2-inch knob)
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds 

Directions

1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, melted butter, sugar, ginger, and sesame seeds. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and fold together gently. Pour into a blazing-hot waffle iron and cook as directed according to the waffle iron instructions.

Honey-sesame butter ingredients

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil 

Directions

1. In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients until well combined. The Honey Sesame Butter can be made up to 2 weeks in advanced and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using. 


Mama Chang's pork and chive dumplings with black pepper-scallion sauce 

Dumpling ingredients

8 large napa cabbage leaves, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 pound ground pork (don't choose super lean ground pork or your dumplings will be dry)
1 cup minced fresh garlic chives or regular fresh chives
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger (about 1-inch knob)
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
One 16-ounce package round wheat dumpling wrappers (we like Twin Marquis brand)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as canola, plus more as needed
1 recipe Black Pepper-Scallion Sauce (recipe follows) 

Directions

1. Place the cabbage in a large bowl with the salt. Toss well and set aside for at least 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, garlic chives, soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil and use your hands to mix all the ingredients thoroughly together. Set aside 

2. Take the cabbage in your hands and squeeze as hard as you can. You will be amazed by the amount of water that comes out. Squeeze out as much water as you can and add the cabbage to the pork mixture. Mix well with your hands until the filling is well combined.

3. Fill a small bowl with warm water. Lay a dumpling wrapper on a clean work surface and scoop about 1 tablespoon of the filling into the center of the wrapper. Dip your finger in the water and paint all around the edge of the wrapper to moisten. Fold the wrapper over in half to look like a half-moon. (This always reminds me of making a taco shell.) Pinch just the top of the wrapper together, leaving the sides exposed and open. Start pleating the left side of the dumpling: hold the dumpling on the top, fold a pleat on one side of the wrapper about halfway down the arc toward the center of the dumpling and press it into the facing side of the wrapper. Repeat the pleating almost to the bottom of the arc so that you have two pleats on the left side of the dumpling. Repeat the pleating process on the right side of the dumpling, again pleating toward the center. When the dumpling is completely pleated, you should be able to sit the dumpling on its bottom and it will look like a little love seat. The smooth side of the dumpling will be the seat and the pleated side will be the back of the couch. Continue with the rest of the dumpling wrappers and filling until the filling has been used up. The dumplings can be made up to 1 week in advance and stored uncooked in an airtight container in the freezer. The easiest way to freeze them is to place them on a flat plate or tray and freeze until the dumplings are completely frozen, then transfer them to a resealable freezer bag or an airtight container and return them to the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator on a flat plate before cooking.

4. You need a large, heavy, flat-bottomed skillet with a lid or a nonstick skillet with a lid. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil. When the oil starts to shimmer, carefully add as many dumplings as will comfortably fit in the skillet and turn the heat down to medium. Cook without moving the pan until the dumpling bottoms are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Check by lifting them up with your fingers and peeking underneath. Add about 2 tablespoons water to the bottom of the pan and immediately cover with the lid. The pan will sizzle and steam up immediately, so don't be startled. Shake the pan from time to time to keep the dumplings from sticking. Let the dumplings steam for 2 minutes, at which point most of the water will have evaporated. Add another 2 tablespoons water to the pan, cover again, and steam again. Wait till the water has mostly evaporated again and repeat one last time with a final 2 tablespoons water. Turn off the heat, keep covered, and rest for 1 minute. Uncover and turn the heat back to medium-high to crisp up the bottoms. Remove from the pan. Continue in the same manner to cook the remaining dumplings, adding 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan at a time as needed. Serve immediately with the Black Pepper–Scallion Sauce.

Black pepper-scallion sauce ingredients

2 scallions, white and green parts finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
1 medium garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons black Chinkiang vinegar
1[1/2] tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, such as canola
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon chili oil
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper 

Directions

1.Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend quickly until combined but not totally smooth. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Stir well before using. 


Hakka eggplant

Ingredients

3 pounds medium Japanese eggplant (9 or 10 eggplants)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
11/2 teaspoons kosher salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 recipe Hakka Sauce (recipe follows)
1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (use less if you are not a big spice fan)
1 cup fresh Thai basil leaves (about 1/2 bunch)  

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and place a rack in the center of the oven. With a sharp knife, remove the stem from each eggplant and split the eggplant top to tail into two long pieces. Lay the flat sides down on a cutting board and cut each piece into 1-inch chunks. Do the same to the rest of the eggplant. Place all the eggplant in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, salt, black pepper, and ½ cup water. Pour the mixture over the eggplant and toss very well with your hands. Transfer the eggplant to a large baking dish or a rimmed baking sheet (pouring any remaining liquid over the eggplant) and bake for 15 to 20 MINUTES. When it is done, the eggplant will be soft and you should be able to prick it easily with a fork. Remove from the oven and set aside. 

2. Place a wok or large, heavy, flat bottomed skillet on the stove and heat over high heat. Add the eggplant (no need to add oil) directly to the wok and stir for 1 minute. Add the Hakka Sauce and red pepper flakes. Toss and cook until the eggplant is well coated with sauce, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the basil and give the whole thing a good toss. Place in a large bowl and serve family-style. 

Hakka sauce ingredients

½ cup hoisin sauce
½ cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons Shaoxing cooking wine (or substitute dry sherry or dry white wine)
1 teaspoon black Chinkiang vinegar
1 teaspoon thick soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch 

Directions

1. In a medium sauce pan, whisk together the hoisin sauce, low sodium soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, rice vinegar, black vinegar, thick soy sauce, and sugar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons cold water until smooth to make a slurry. Whisk the slurry into the pot. Simmer, while whisking, until it is shiny and coats the back of a spoon, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. The Hakka Sauce can be made up to 1 week in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Homemade fortune cookies

Ingredients

3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs whites
1 teaspoon almond extract or vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil, such as canola
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt 

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg whites, and almond extract until combined. Whisk in the oil first, then the flour, ginger, and salt until well combined and free of lumps. Pour the batter into an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 1 week. The batter needs to sit for a bit to fully absorb the flour into the whites. Preheat the oven to 325°F and place a rack in the center of the oven.

2. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Carefully crack the eggs into the pan. Cook until the tops of the whites are set but the yolks are still runny, 2 to 3 minutes. If the butter starts to spit, it is a sign the heat level is too high. In this case, turn the heat down to low. Remove the pan from the heat and use a spatula to remove each egg from the pan.

3. Garnish each bowl with a sunny side-up egg, 1 tablespoon of the sambal, 1 tablespoon of the sliced scallions, and 1 tablespoon of the shallots. When you eat this, break the egg up and mix it into the rice with the sambal, shallots, and scallions. 

Terasi ingredients

2 teaspoons vegetable oil, such as canola
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced into rings
3 scallions white and green parts thinly sliced
3 medium garlic gloves, sliced
4 fresh Thai bird chilies, sliced, including seeds
1 ½ teaspoons shrimp paste 

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 200°F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Go open all your windows - even if it's the dead of winter.

2. In a small skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. When the oil starts shimmer, add the shallot, scallions, garlic, and chilies. Fry, stirring continuously, until everything is very, very dark, almost black and burnt looking, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the shrimp paste and fry for 1 minute until it caramelizes. Spread out onto a small baking sheet and toast in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. It should be crunchy and not wet. You should be able to crumble it between your fingers. Place it into a coffee or spice grinder and pulse until its like a coarse powder or chop it up with a knife. The terasi can be made up to a week in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature. 

Crispy shallots ingredients

4 medium shallots
2 cups vegetable oil, such as canola, for frying
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 

Directions

1. Thinly slice the shallots on a mandoline or with a very sharp knife; they must be super-duper thin and as evenly sliced as possible. In a small saucepan, stir together the shallots and the oil and place over medium heat.

2. Stir the shallots until the oil barely starts to simmer, then cook until the shallots turn golden brown, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate. It will take 15 to 18 minutes total from cold oil to finished. Dust the shallots with the salt and let cool. The Crispy Shallots can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Nasi goreng

Ingredients

1/2 cup vegetable oil, such as canola 
12 ounces ground pork 
24 medium (36/40 count) raw shrimp, peeled and deveined 
11/2 cups small-diced pineapple 
1 bunch scallions (8 or 9), white and green parts chopped (about 1 cup) 
4 teaspoons Terasi (recipe follows) 
3 teaspoons kosher salt 
5 cups day-old cooked white rice 
1 cup fresh Thai basil leaves 
2 teaspoons unsalted butter 
4 large eggs 
4 tablespoons sambal oelek 
4 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts, for garnish 
1 recipe crispy shallots (recipe follows) 

Directions

1. In a wok or a large, heavy, flat-bottomed skillet, heat ¼ cup of the vegetable oil over high heat until it shimmers, about 1 minute. Add half the pork and cook, stirring continuously with a spatula or wooden spoon, until the pork starts to brown. Be careful not to splash the oil! Add half the shrimp to the wok and stir until they start to turn pink, 1 to 2 minutes. Add half the pineapple and half the chopped scallions and cook over high heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons of the terasi, and 1 ½ teaspoons of the salt. Stir vigorously to make sure everything in the wok is seasoned well. Add half the rice and break up any clumps with the spatula. Add about half the basil and toss for 2 minutes. Divide the rice between two bowls. Clean out the wok and repeat with the second half of the ingredients. Divide the rice between two additional bowls.

2. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Carefully crack the eggs into the pan. Cook until the tops of the whites are set but the yolks are still runny, 2 to 3 minutes. If the butter starts to spit, it is a sign the heat level is too high. In this case, turn the heat down to low. Remove the pan from the heat and use a spatula to remove each egg from the pan.

3. Garnish each bowl with a sunny side-up egg, 1 tablespoon of the sambal, 1 tablespoon of the sliced scallions, and 1 tablespoon of the shallots. When you eat this, break the egg up and mix it into the rice with the sambal, shallots, and scallions. 

Terasi ingredients

2 teaspoons vegetable oil, such as canola 
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced into rings 
3 scallions white and green parts thinly sliced 
3 medium garlic gloves, sliced 
4 fresh Thai bird chilies, sliced, including seeds 
1 ½ teaspoons shrimp paste 

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 200°F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Go open all your windows - even if it's the dead of winter.

2. In a small skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. When the oil starts shimmer, add the shallot, scallions, garlic, and chilies. Fry, stirring continuously, until everything is very, very dark, almost black and burnt looking, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the shrimp paste and fry for 1 minute until it caramelizes. Spread out onto a small baking sheet and toast in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. It should be crunchy and not wet. You should be able to crumble it between your fingers. Place it into a coffee or spice grinder and pulse until its like a coarse powder or chop it up with a knife. The terasi can be made up to a week in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature. 

Crispy shallots ingredients

4 medium shallots 
2 cups vegetable oil, such as canola, for frying 
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 

Directions

1. Thinly slice the shallots on a mandoline or with a very sharp knife; they must be super-duper thin and as evenly sliced as possible. In a small saucepan, stir together the shallots and the oil and place over medium heat.

2. Stir the shallots until the oil barely starts to simmer, then cook until the shallots turn golden brown, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate. It will take 15 to 18 minutes total from cold oil to finished. Dust the shallots with the salt and let cool. The Crispy Shallots can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.