Pot (not of the cannibis variety) Stickers

8 Aug

The taste of mom’s home cooking sure brings back fond childhood memories. Days that were carefree filled with watching afternoon cartoons after school. Then being yelled at for not doing my homework first before having free time. Then getting yelled at again for not studying after finishing my homework. That is all then followed by running away from the feared feather duster for getting that A- on that spelling test. You know what? That was not very fond memories after all. If I could now only block all of that out and just remember the home cooked meals, then that would be great.

Back to the topic, my mom decided to finally make some pot stickers from scratch this past weekend and lucky me got to help. After hours of slaving away folding each dumpling individually, the reward was amazing. Now I know the frozen pot stickers sold at the market are still quite good, but the filling in homemade ones are so much better. The meat taste and texture is different from the mass of indistinguishable stuff in the frozen stuff. If you stick to making less than 20 pot stickers then it should only be about 30 minuets worth of folding time, but that depends on how quick you are with your hands. If you need to make more, well perhaps it would be more efficient to stick with the frozen ones unless you have an extra set of hands. The finished products looks something like this:

The recipe for the filling is as follows:

1/2 lbs ground chicken or pork

1/2 lbs of roughly ground shrimp

1 egg white (save the egg yolk for sealing the dumplings)

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sugar

3 Tbs sesame oil

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 Tbs minced fresh ginger

1/4 Cup fine chopped cabbage or napa

1/4 Cup fine chopped scallions

For the skin

I usually use store bought frozen white (not yellow) wonton skins. Regular dumpling skins tend to be too thick and end up chewy and doughy, so wonton skins work a bit better. These can be purchase in the frozen isle of any Asian market. It is just a lot more convenient to use store bought skins since making them from scratch will take a really long time.

Direction:

Roughly chop shrimp until it becomes a course paste. You don’t want it so course that the shrimp is still in cubes, but you don’t want a smooth paste either. Mix the shrimp and ground chicken/pork.

Chop cabbage/napa until it is about no more than 1/4 inch. You don’t want large chunks, or the dumplings may end up crunchy. So the same for the scallions

Mix all the ingredients for the filling and get ready to start wrapping.

Place about a even tablespoon of filling (not too much filling or it may burst open) on to the center of the skin. Dab the edge of the skin with the egg yolk. Fold the skin over and seal edges with your fingers. You can try to make fancy folds on the edges, but that take a lot of time and a lot of practice to get right, so for beginners just stick with the simple half fold.

After all your dumplings are folded and read for cooking. Heat up a large flat pan that has a lid with some cooking oil over medium heat. place the dumpling into the pan so that the meat sits at the bottom and the folded edge is pointing up. It is okay if the dumplings are touch and close to each other. Fill the pan with the dumplings up with water until the dumplings are half way covered with water (should cover the meat part most of the way) and cover with the lid. Cook covered for 4 minuets from when water boils (be careful of the water boiling over if you are using a very shallow pan) and uncover to let cook until water evaporates. At this point be careful of oil splattering. If you are not using a non-stick pan, add additional oil as need to prevent sticking. Let the dumplings cook until the bottom is a nice golden brown.

Boiling Option:

Boiling the dumplings instead of pan frying them is of course a healthier option. If you want to boil them, then bring a pot of water to boil. Make sure your dumplings are sealed tight or else the filling with just all spill out. Add the dumpling into the water and boil for about boil for about 4 minuets. Take one out to check if the meat is cooked all they way. Make sure to not boil to many at one time to avoid the dumplings from sticking to each other. Also, do not keep at a rolling boil. Lower the heat to a gentle boil so the dumplings do not burst.

You can just eat the boiled dumpling by itself with the sauce or you can put them in a chicken stock soup.

The sauce

1 part soy sauce

1 part red vinegar or worchestershire sauce

1 part water

Sesame oil and sugar to taste

fresh thinly sliced ginger

Chili sauce to taste

The sauce is variable depending on personal preference. The most basic is the soy sauce and sesame oil mix. I like mine with soy sauce, vinegar and sugar. Some may only want chili sauce, but its all up to you.

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