15 June 2009

The Daring Cooks: Potstickers

This month's Daring Cooks challenge was Chinese dumplings/potstickers (aka gyoza in Japanese), hosted by Jen of Use Real Butter.

I was so excited when I found out this was going to be my first Daring Cooks challenge. I love potstickers, but I'm not sure I would have ever thought, "Oh I should try to make that..." But am I ever glad I did make them! The process turned out to be relatively easy (although time consuming) thanks to Jen's thorough and clear step-by-step instructions on her blog.

Here is the wrapper dough:

It was a little dry at first, so I added some extra water and then it was GREAT to work with. It rolled out so easily (oops, I forgot to take a picture of the unfilled wrappers...) and was so simple to make. I used a basic pork and cabbage filling to stuff the dumplings.

Here are some of the pleated dumplings. This was also easier than I imagined it being. Once I got the hang of assembling the dumplings, things started to go a lot faster.

I decided to make potstickers (as opposed to dumplings which would be boiled or steamed) and here is where I messed up.

You're supposed to fry the dumplings in a little vegetable oil then, when they're golden brown, add some water, cover the pan, and let the water cook off. I added too much vegetable oil in the beginning, so I thought there was water in the pan longer then there actually was (I could see the extra oil in the bottom of the pan and thought it was water.) As a result, my potstickers got a little... extra brown...

...But they were still delicious! The recipe makes a bunch and they freeze very well. Here are the extras ready for the freezer.

I will definitely be making these again. Probably this week. I love that it makes so many and we can just have them ready in the freezer for a quick meal! I have noticed several other people have made dessert dumplings and deep-fried them, which I am also looking forward to trying. I'm thinking stuffing them with apples or berries and cream cheese or something like that...

Here's the original recipe:

Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers

pork filling
1 lb ground pork
4 large napa cabbage leaves, minced
3 stalks green onions, minced
7 shitake mushrooms, minced (if dried - rehydrated and rinsed carefully)
1/2 cup bamboo shoots, minced
1/4 cup ginger root, minced
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp corn starch


shrimp filling
1/2 lb raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
1/2 lb ground pork
3 stalks green onions, minced
1/4 cup ginger root, minced
1 cup water chestnuts, minced
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp corn starch

Note: you will want to double this for the amount of filling listed - I just tend to use leftover pork filling for soup meatballs. A single batch will yield about 40 dumplings depending on size.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup warm water
flour for worksurface

dipping sauce
2 parts soy sauce
1 part vinegar (red wine or black)
a few drops of sesame oil
chili garlic paste (optional)
minced ginger (optional)
minced garlic (optional)
minced green onion (optional)
sugar (optional)

Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly (I mix by clean hand). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the dough, Method 1: Place the flour in the work bowl of a food processor with the dough blade. Run the processor and pour the warm water in until incorporated. Pour the contents into a sturdy bowl or onto a work surface and knead until uniform and smooth. The dough should be firm and silky to the touch and not sticky.[Note: it’s better to have a moist dough and have to incorporate more flour than to have a dry and pilling dough and have to incorporate more water).

Make the dough, Method 2 (my mom’s instructions): In a large bowl mix flour with 1/4 cup of water and stir until water is absorbed. Continue adding water one teaspoon at a time and mixing thoroughly until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. We want a firm dough that is barely sticky to the touch.

Both dough methods: Knead the dough about twenty strokes then cover with a damp towel for 15 minutes. Take the dough and form a flattened dome. Cut into strips about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Shape the strips into rounded long cylinders. On a floured surface, cut the strips into 3/4 inch pieces. Press palm down on each piece to form a flat circle (you can shape the corners in with your fingers). With a rolling pin, roll out a circular wrapper from each flat disc. Take care not to roll out too thin or the dumplings will break during cooking. Leave the centers slightly thicker than the edges. Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper and fold the dough in half, pleating the edges along one side (see images above).

To boil: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add dumplings to pot. Boil the dumplings until they float.

To steam: Place dumplings on a single layer of napa cabbage leaves or on a well-greased surface and steam for about 6 minutes.

To pan fry (potstickers): Place dumplings in a frying pan with 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil. Heat on high and fry for a few minutes until bottoms are golden. Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Cook until the water has boiled away and then uncover and reduce heat to medium or medium low. Let the dumplings cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat and serve.

To freeze: Assemble dumplings on a baking sheet so they are not touching. Freeze for 20-30 minutes until dumplings are no longer soft. Place in ziploc bag and freeze for up to a couple of months. Prepare per the above instructions, but allow extra time to ensure the filling is thoroughly cooked.

To serve: Serve dumplings or potstickers hot with your choice of dipping sauce combinations.


Mary said...

I think you did a great job. Your pleating looks almost professional. Congratulations on a challenge well done.

Audax said...

What a great effort and your pleating is top notch and remember potstickers came about when some chef BURNT fried dumplings and then steamed them and found out that they where delish. Even when overbrowned they still taste great. Wonderous posting yours cheers Audax

Anonymous said...

You have to start using the term "over caramelized".

Hillary and Jonathan said...

Over caramelized... I like that. :)

Jen Yu said...

Have you got great pleating skills or what?! Those are stunning little beauties waiting to be fried up. Bummer about the slight burning, but... I think you did a terrific job and look at all of those extras you had to freeze :) yum! Congratulations on the challenge, you nailed it.

Bree said...

It's said that people need a little carbon in their diet to maintain good health...I figure the slight, ah...blackening...is you just taking extra care of your family! :D

I heard today that Ithaca is the birthplace of ice cream, as if I needed another reason to visit besides seeing you! haha

ice tea: sugar high said...

Who would notice about the brown bottoms when your pleats are that perfect.. I'd love mine extra brown,extra crunchy, extra YUMMY =)

Evan said...

I burned some, too, and they were still delicious. Extra-crunchy.

Lisa Michelle said...

Hey, burnt makes them extra xrispy. Like toast, you can take a knife and scrape it off..it really does work! Anyway, they came out terrific, perfectly pleated too! Nice job!