Delicious dumpling and stir-fried vegetable bowls

Terrific mashup of two favourite Asian-style foods!

I am such a fan of Asian dumplings – they’re perfect little bundles of flavour! I love the soft texture of the steamed wonton wrapper that easily yields to the delicious savoury filling inside. They’re available in lots of different versions, including vegetarian, in most large grocery stores or at Asian markets. This recipe is very flexible; for a change of pace, you can fry up potstickers (directions included below) and add them to the bowls instead of steamed dumplings. You can also switch up the vegetables in the stir fry – bok choy and sweet potato would be great additions. If you’re a fan of bowl recipes like this, be sure to check out my egg roll bowls, sushi bowls and Laotian-inspired larb bowls.



  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) water
  • 4 teaspoons (20 mL) rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) white sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon (2.5 to 5 mL) chili-garlic paste (to taste)

Stir-fried vegetables:

  • 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
  • 1/2 medium cooking onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup sugar snap peas, ends trimmed
  • 6 medium-sized button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup (175 mL) small broccoli florets
  • 1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced


  • 6 – 10 frozen prepared Asian dumplings (use larger amount if dumplings are small)
  • Lettuce or kale leaves (to line steamer)

To serve:

  • 2/3 cup basmati rice, cooked according to package directions
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) slivered green onion tops
  • Black or white sesame seeds


  • Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside; also prepare all the vegetables for stir-frying before you cook the dumplings.
  • To steam the dumplings, bring a large pan (with a lid) of water to the boil.
  • Line a bamboo or metal steaming basket with lettuce leaves to completely cover the bottom (so the dumplings don’t stick). Arrange the dumplings in the steamer (don’t have them touching each other); depending up on the size of the dumplings and the size of your pan and/or steamer, you may need to have two pans working simultaneously.
  • When the water is boiling, put the steamer in the pan; cover and steam for 5 minutes if using fresh dumplings; 12 minutes if frozen.
  • If using potstickers instead, place them in a broad, non-stick pan with 1/2 cup (125 mL) of water and 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of canola oil. Place the dumplings, flat side down, and put a lid on the pan. Cook until all the water evaporates and the flat side is golden-brown, 8 to 12 minutes.
  • While dumplings or potstickers are cooking, in a large wok or skillet, heat remaining oil over high heat until almost smoking. Add onion and broccoli and stir then cover pan and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add, mushrooms, carrots, snap peas and red peppers and stir then put the lid back on the pan. Cook, stirring often, until tender but not mushy, about 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Put the hot, cooked rice into two broad bowls. Put the stir-fried vegetables on top of the rice, then carefully remove dumplings from the steamer, using tongs, and arrange them on top of the rice and vegetables.
  • Pour the sauce over top of each bowl then garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onion tops.

Serves 2.


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The spirit of the season shines at OCH Foodworks

Ottawa: time to order your holiday tourtières!

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Old-fashioned crescent rolls

Delicious buns a great accompaniment for many meals!

If the only crescent rolls you’ve ever had came out of a refrigerated tube, then you’re in for a real treat when you taste these ones. Not to be confused with their flakier, richer-tasting cousin, the croissant, crescent rolls are a traditional favourite often served with meals such as soups or stews. The few extra steps required to manipulate this yeast and egg bread dough into light and fluffy crescent rolls are well worth the effort. We love them brushed with garlic butter but you could easily use olive oil or plain melted butter instead. Unbaked crescent rolls freeze beautifully, making it easy to bake up a few at a time.


  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) warm water
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) yeast
  • Pinch white sugar
  • 2 3/4 cups (650 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) white sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon (3.5 mL) kosher salt
  • 1 cup (250 mL) very cold butter
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) butter


  • Put the warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of sugar over top. Stir together and set aside to activate.
  • Place the flour, 3 tablespoons (45 mL) of sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
  • With the coarse side of a box grater, shred the cold butter into the flour mixture and toss with two forks (or your fingers) to combine, breaking up any clumps of butter.
  • Whisk the milk and egg together in a measuring cup or small bowl, and add to the flour/butter mixture along with the yeast mixture.
  • Stir until the dough gathers into a ball (use your hands if necessary) then transfer to a sheet of plastic or beeswax-coated cloth; wrap and refrigerate for 30 – 60 minutes.
  • Dust the work surface with flour (or roll between two large sheets of parchment paper), and roll the dough out to a rough rectangle shape, about 1/2-inch thick.
  • Fold the dough into thirds, like a letter.
  • Turn 90 degrees, roll, and fold again, adding a bit more flour as needed (if using parchment paper very little flour will be needed).
  • Repeat 3 more times (ending with a fold after the fifth rolling) then wrap the dough and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
  • With a sharp knife, cut the block of dough crosswise into 3 equal portions.
  • Roll each portion out into a long rectangle, about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick, 16 inches (40 cm) long and 5 inches (12.5 cm) wide.
  • Cut the dough into skinny triangles (about 4 inches / 10 cm wide at thick end of the triangle) and roll each piece up, starting at the wide end. Tuck the pointy end under the roll.

  • Place the crescents 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 1 hour or until puffed and approximately doubled in size.

  • NOTE: You can freeze some or all of the crescent rolls as soon as you shape them; place on a parchment lined tray and freeze till solid (about 1.5 hours) then transfer to an airtight container for up to 6 months. Remove from oven and let rise for one hour per the above instructions before baking.
  • While dough is rising, put butter and minced garlic in a microwave safe dish (or do this in a small pot on the stove) and cook over low heat for 1 – 2 minutes, until butter has melted and garlic has softened. Let sit for 15 minutes then strain through a small sieve, retaining garlic-infused butter and discarding garlic. Alternatively, you can use plain melted butter (if garlic is not preferred).
  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Lightly brush the tops of the crescent rolls with the melted garlic butter (or plain melted butter) then bake for 10 – 12 minutes until golden.

  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 18 – 20 rolls.


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Paula Roy’s Favourite Foods Season 2, Episode 12 recipes

Super side dishes to dress up any meal!

I am often asked for side dish recommendations to make meals more interesting. It seems many people have their favourite methods of cooking meat and meat alternatives but are sometimes stumped about how to move beyond mashed potatoes, plain rice or pasta to accompany their protein of choice. In this episode of Paula Roy’s Paula Roy’s Favourite Foods on Rogers TV Ottawa, I’m delighted to share three of my favourite side dishes which are sure to perk up any menu. Click on the titles below to jump straight to the recipes.

Fragrant rice with cauliflower, turmeric and lemon

Roasted carrots with balsamic mascarpone and pistachios

Raw root vegetable carpaccio


root vegetable carpaccio

Use the search function on this site to access the archive of recipes from all episodes of Seasons 1 and 2 of my show.




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‘Clean out the fridge’ meatball soup

Make a hearty and satisfying meal in less than 30 minutes!

Inspired by classic North American-style Italian meatball soup, this version is fast and flexible. I vary the vegetables depending upon what needs using up in the fridge. Squash or sweet potato are great additions, for example, and you could easily use finely chopped spinach, Swiss chard or bok choy instead of the kale. The soup freezes beautifully though it will thicken as the pasta absorbs more liquid, so you may want to add a bit of stock or water when reheating. You can make your own meatballs (see my recipe at the bottom) or use frozen, fully cooked ones; whichever you choose, add to the soup near the end so they don’t fall apart.


  • 3 dozen small fully cooked Italian meatballs (about 1 inch / 2.5 cm) (see below)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) finely diced onions
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) finely diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) finely diced celery
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) finely diced sweet green or red pepper
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) beef or chicken broth
  • 1 28 oz (828 mL) can diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup (250 mL) tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) each dried basil and oregano
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) Worcestershire sauce
  • Pinch hot pepper flakes (or more, to taste)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup (250 mL) baby shell pasta or other small pasta (use gluten-free pasta if preferred)
  • 2 cups (500 mL) finely chopped kale
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Freshly grated Parmesan for serving


  • If making your own meatballs, prepare them first (see recipe below) and put them in the oven to bake. If using frozen, fully cooked meatballs, thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes before starting soup.
  • Heat oil in a large pot, InstantPot, or pressure cooker. Add onions, carrot, celery and diced pepper. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables have softened, 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Add broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce and seasonings. Stir to blend well.
  • Add pasta and cover pot; increase heat in a conventional pot to bring to a boil, then reduce heat so soup is bubbling but not ferociously. If using an InstantPot, close the steam valve and use the soup setting.
  • Check the pasta after 15 minutes (10 minutes if using an InstantPot or pressure cooker) to see if it is approaching al dente (tender but not mushy); when it is, add cooked meatballs and kale. Cover and cook for 5 minutes longer.
  • Serve hot, garnished with freshly grated Parmesan.

Makes 6 servings.



  • 1 pound (454 g) lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) panko or other fine bread crumbs (use gluten-free if preferred)
  • 1 large shallot, finely minced (or ¼ cup / 60 mL minced onion)
  • 1 teaspoon (15 mL) Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) salt
  • 1 egg, beaten


  • Preheat oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine ground beef, panko, shallot, Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, pepper, salt and egg. Mix until combined.
  • Using your hands or a small cookie scoop, shape into 36 small meatballs. Compress them just enough to hold together but avoid packing them too tightly as this will make them a bit tough in texture. Place the prepared meatballs on the parchment-lined baking sheet as you shape them.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Let rest on counter until it is time to add them to the soup.


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Elevate your charcuterie game

Unique condiments take boards from ordinary to outstanding!

It seems everywhere I go these days, people are dishing up cheese and charcuterie boards. I think it’s a great trend because it’s a way to cater to lots of different tastes and allow people to graze as little or as much as they like. When I’m designing a board, I try to think about contrasts – of flavour, texture and even visual appearance. I offered a whole bunch of tips about building a better charcuterie or cheese board in a recent Shepherd’s Coffee Talk segment with Marlene Shepherd and Kathie Donovan (which you can watch here), and one of the things I focused on was having unique condiments to add pops of unexpected flavour. Below are links to a few of my favourites (click on the titles to go straight to the recipes), all of which would make great hostess or holiday gifts. Happy entertaining!

Caramelized Onion and Cranberry Chutney

Sweet and spicy candied bacon

Roasted Nuts with Maple, Chili and Rosemary

Crunchy Curried Cauliflower Pickles

curried cauliflower pickles

Grainy maple-whisky mustard

Search the archives on this site for more delicious inspiration for your charcuterie creations!

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Delicious learning at the new Pelican Seafood School of Fish

New classes offer tips and tricks to make preparing fish a breeze!

I feel so lucky to have grown up eating lots of fish thanks to my Maritime heritage. My mom’s skill and my love of being in the kitchen meant I learned how to cook it properly starting from a very young age. The same is not true for everyone, including lots of people I’ve met thanks to my television and magazine work. I’ve been told often that they are frustrated by their lack of knowledge about how to prepare fish and seafood, which Health Canada says we should be eating it at least twice per week. Good news, people of the Ottawa area: The new Pelican Seafood School of Fish is here to help! I attended the trial run of their new cooking class series and if I had to sum it up in just three words, they would be fun, foolproof and fabulously delicious (ok, that’s four words).

Designed to help cooks of all skill levels become more comfortable and successful working with fish and seafood, the Fishy Fundamentals class teach basic seafood shopping know-how and preparation methods while offering up tried and true simple recipes, tips and tricks. I can say from experience that this class can turn even the most timid seafood novice into a confident cook.

Nathan Rogers, executive chef Ben Baird and wine expert Lauren Hayes were engaging and knowledgeable instructors at the School of Fish.

Classes are held in Pelican’s prep kitchen, located onsite at their bustling seafood market and restaurant. They are led by executive chef Ben Baird, two-time medallist at the prestigious Gold Medal Plates competition in Ottawa, supported by oyster and seafood expert Nathan Rogers with wine pairing expertise from Lauren Hayes. For just over an hour and half, our group enjoyed hands-on cooking time while tasting perfectly-paired wines as we socialized with each other and the Pelican team. Ben and Nathan are super knowledgeable and circulated throughout the kitchen constantly, making sure everyone stayed on track.

We were welcomed into the kitchen with glasses of bubbly and soda; seafood towers (including freshly-shucked oysters, tuna tartare, jumbo shrimp and more) were on hand to whet our appetites for the evening’s main event. Individual cooking stations complete with aprons, tools, pans and portable gas burners were set out on the stainless steel worktables, beckoning us to dive into the action.

We learned about selecting oysters then, after a shucking demonstration, we tried our hand at popping the shells open and slurping back the deliciousness inside. I’m a long-time oyster fan but have always left the shucking to my husband; with Ben’s explanation I felt like a pro by the time I opened my second one ever. A few extras were shucked around the table and placed on salt-filled platters, then Ben and Nathan applied a delicious topping to transform them into Oysters Rockefeller which we enjoyed after they had a quick trip into the oven.

Having all the ingredients prepped and measured made the class a joy for everyone as we could focus on the seafood and it kept things moving along at a perfect pace. Our second course was mussels; after learning how to select and clean them, we each cooked some up with our choice of sauces (Thai Curry or white wine and cream) and devoured them with crusty bread and an excellent wine selection.

Scallops and salmon fillets rounding out our cooking and dining experience, the latter two being pan-seared then added to pre-garnished plates. A dish of Pelican’s heavenly maple crème brulee was the perfect sweet finish. To learn so much and enjoy an impressive quantity of delicious food seems like a real win-win. Getting to saunter away without doing any dishes was the icing on the cake for me!

I would love to come back to the School of Fish with my book club or even a group of neighbourhood friends; it would also be perfect for a corporate teambuilding activity. The next three sessions are sold out but there are Fishy Fundamentals classes as well as other delightful offerings now scheduled for the first few months of 2020. Find out more and register on Pelican Seafood Market and Grill’s website.

Note: I was invited to be a guest at the Pelican School of Fish but my opinions, as always, are my own. 

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