Sunday, June 14, 2009

DC: Oh how I love thee, sticky pot stickers

I was SUPER psyched to see Dumplings as this months challenge for Daring Cooks. I love to order these morsels as appetizers at Asian restaurants. Thin dough wrappers filled with countless combinations of sweet and savory, spicy and crunchy. I was in foodie bliss. I got started on this challenge early, because right now I am actually sitting in the airport on my way to Greece for ten days with a friend!! YAY! Talk about last minute posting. Anyways, back to the goods. These potstickers are SOO good its ridiculous. I could eat an entire batch. I literally had to restrain myself. I stuck with the original recipe provided, except I changed the pork to ground chicken, and made ground chicken ones and shrimp ones. The ground chicken ones were really good. The combination of spices was perfect, and I added a little bit of chili-garlic sauce to spice it up a bit. The shrimp ones were really phenomenal, little chunks of shrimp, crunchy morsels of water chestnut and some heat from that chili-garlic sauce. Delicious! They were SO good!!
The only thing is that stinks is the amount of time you have to put into the dough and actually making the dumplings! They're kinda time consuming, but worth the effort in this case. I would plan to make the dumpilings an entire afternoon so you're not rushed, especially if you're a one person team.

Here's the filling for the chicken ones... yumm
Pleated buns pre cooking
post pan fry
shrimp one in half. yum
Here's the recipe. I love these, and I will take the time to make them again!

Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers

pork filling:
1 lb (450g) 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 (75g) bamboo shoots, minced
1/4 (55g) cup ginger root, minced
3 tbsp (40g) soy sauce
2 tbsp (28g) sesame oil
2 tbsp (16g) corn starch


shrimp filling:
1/2 lb (225g) raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
1/2 lb (225g) ground pork
3 stalks green onions, minced
1/4 cup (55g) ginger root, minced
1 cup (142g) water chestnuts, minced
1 tsp (5g) salt
3 tbsp (40g) sesame oil
2 tbsp (16g) corn starch

dough: (double this for the amount of filling, but easier to make it in 2 batches - or just halve the filling recipe)
2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (113g) warm water
flour for worksurface

dipping sauce:
2 parts soy sauce

1 tsbp chili garlic 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 (up to a day, but preferably within an hour or two).

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.

[EDIT: 5/26/09] There have been two complaints posted about a dry dough and I realize that this rests in the problem of measuring flour which has a different density and hence weight for 2 cups depending on how you scoop it. That is why I also list the weight: 250g. Flour tends to settle over time, so when I scoop it out, I shake several cups' worth back into the container before taking a final scoop of soft, fluffy, flour and I get 250g for 2 cups. When you knead the dough, if it feels hard and dry, then you can add more water. [Warning: it will NOT be a soft bread dough, so don't expect it to be, but it shouldn't be a brick either.] It is perfectly fine to use more than the 1/2 cup listed in the recipe as everyone's climate and flours vary. Use your judgment - this is what being a Daring Cook is about. We are trying to cultivate a sense of intuition so that recipes are general guidelines from which you can expand your own style.

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 - about 1/16th inch. 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 in post for how to fold pleats). Keep all unused dough under damp cloth.

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.


Jen Yu said...

Serious gorgeousness. I love that you added the chili sauce to the filling!! I'd love to do that too, except I think others wouldn't eat them. Very well done and I'm thrilled you liked the recipe.

Elizabeth said...

These dumplings look great! The chicken is a wonderful idea, and the shrimp look fantastic, too. Great job on an awesome challenge!


Jen Yu said...

Great job on your challenge! They look terrific (yum). And now you get to enjoy your trip Great browning on the bottoms too!

lindsay said...

nice presentation, haha.