Only two countries left to go before I complete my world cooking journey, and I just can't bring myself to go there yet. So, in an effort to postpone the bitter-sweet inevitable, I'm circling way back to China (the 36th meal I cooked when first starting out) to make my son Ian's very favorite Chinese appetizer - Pot Stickers.
The name alone should be reason enough to make these delicious pan fried dumplings, and the filling? Well, fugetaboutit. Traditionally eaten as a snack or an appetizer throughout China, these dumplings are actually very easy to make. Prepping the filling takes a little time, but after that, it's a piece of cake. Or a dumpling. I forgot to get ground pork, but I had a small pork sirloin roast in the fridge, so I cut off a chunk and ran it through my food processor - presto. Note to self: grind your own pork and beef dummy; it's significantly cheaper than the pre-ground stuff, sans all the funky additives or filler mix-ins.
I made these this morning, so we had them for breakfast. Who cares if we all have garlic breath for the rest of the day - it's totally worth it. But, if you can't wrap your head around pot stickers for breakfast, they make a perfect appetizer, snack or side dish. And, if you want to make them vegetarian, simply dice up tofu in place of the pork. Enjoy!
Soak for 30 minutes in warm water, then mince (I used my mini food processor)
Filling: Chives, mushrooms, cabbage, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, ground pork and corn starch
Combine all ingredients and mix very well
1/4 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
2 cups finely chopped napa cabbage
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 lb. ground pork
1/2 cup minced fresh garlic chives
1 Tbsp. each light soy sauce and Asian sesame oil
1-1/2 tsp. peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1-1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
45 thin, round wonton wrappers
4 Tbsp. canola or peanut oil
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Ginger-soy dipping sauce
Soak the dried mushrooms in warm water for 30 minutes, then drain, remove the stems and mince the caps.
In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage and salt and let stand for 30 minutes to leach out excess water from the cabbage. using your hand, wring out as much of the water from the cabbage as you can. Discard the water and place the cabbage in a clean bowl. Add the mushrooms, pork, garlic, chives, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, ginger, garlic, cornstarch and white pepper. Using a rubber spatula, mix until very well and thoroughly combined.
To fill each pot sticker, place a wonton wrapper on a clean work surface and brush the edges with water - be sure to keep the other wrappers covered with a slightly damp kitchen towel to keep them from drying out. Place 1 teaspoon of filling in the center of the wrapper, fold the wrapper in half to enclose the filling, then pleat the out edge. Place finished pot sticker on a lightly floured baking sheet. Repeat until all the wrappers are full.
Preheat the over to 250F. In a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil. Add 10-12 pot stickers, flat bottom down and in a single layer. Sear until gold brown on the bottom, 3-4 minutes. Next, pour 1/4 cup of the broth into the pan, cover and let steam until all the broth evaporates and the pot stickers are tender but still firm and the filling is cooked through, 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a platter, cover with aluminum foil and keep warm in the over.
Serve with ginger-soy dipping sauce.
Ginger-Soy Dipping Sauce
5 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1/4 cup light soy sauce
2 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
3 Tbsp. warm water
1-1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. Asian sesame oil
1 tsp. Sriachi chili sauce
2 Tbsp. peeled, minced fresh ginger
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. red jalapeno chile or other fresh hot red chile, seeded and thinly sliced on the diagonal
In a small non-reactive bowl, whisk together the vinegar, light and dark soy sauces, warm water, sugar, sesame oil and chile sauce until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the ginger, garlic and chile. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Also very good with noodles!
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