Sunday, June 14, 2009

Daring Cooks - Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers (June 2009)

Yes folks, you can make these yummy things at home…from scratch no less. You just have to have some time and patience. This month’s challenge of making potstickers from scratch sounded like it was going to be difficult, but honestly it was very easy.

So first, a bit about the host of the challenge, Jennifer Yu writes a blog call use real butter. I started reading her blog long before I became a member of The Daring Kitchen. In fact, it was because of her Daring Baker entries that I decided to look into the group! I feel a bit of gratitude for Jen and her wonderful blog. I aspire to one day have this blog be as beautiful, both in written and photographic form, some day.

Now, onto the challenge! The filling was easy enough to assemble once everything was minced. Take your time and actually do the mincing by hand, don’t use a food processor. According to Jen the texture will be much better this way. Besides, the ingredients smell incredible and you’ll be able to enjoy them longer. I had some trouble finding the napa cabbage, but as always, can count on Whole Foods to have my “odd” ingredients. I think my Safeway was simply out of it the day I went looking for it.

Filling Looking and Smelling Great

The next part was the dough and making the dumplings. As you’ll read in the recipe and tips, the stickiness had to be “just so.” The first batch of dough I made I used method #2 (see below), the second batch I used method #1. Personally, I like method #2 better. The dough seemed to come together better and not be as sticky. Once I followed the instructions and started rolling, I realized that this wasn’t going to be so hard.

Rolled and Ready for Filling

Honestly, the hardest part was taking the time to roll them all and then the pleating! Jen’s blog has a great demonstration of how to pleat here. GO LOOK AT HOW SHE DID IT! Mine turned out ok, but hers are simply beautiful! (I’ll wait for you to get back…) Are you back? See?! I told you she was a master!

My Pleats...Not Perfect, But Not Bad Either

Once pleated, they were ready for cooking. I decided to fry mine because, well, who doesn’t love fried foods! SO, again, following the instructions I placed my newly pleated dumplings into the oil. The next step was to add the water…BE CAREFUL! Jen recommends having the lid ready and waiting, and pouring the water in pretty fast (as in all at once!). This step makes a big mess if you don’t put the lid on quickly.

Sizzle, Sizzle, Pop, Pop, Splatter Everywhere!

I must admit, once they were done, they turned out looking great! Even better is that they tasted great! I made the dipping sauce and enjoyed my test run as lunch. Yummmmmm! I froze the rest and have not yet tried to make them from frozen yet. If I have any tips or run into any issues that aren’t mentioned in the recipe I’ll come back to edit this post. In the meantime, here’s the “glamour” shot of these delicious things!

Ready for Eating!

Thanks Jen for a great challenge!

Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers
You can (and should) reference instructional photos and discussion on Jen’s blog post here.

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

DoughNote: You will want to double this for the amount of filling listed, but it's easier to work with in two batches rather than one large one. (Jen tends 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) (I didn’t use because I didn’t have it..wish I would have though!)
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: 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.

Enjoy with Love,

PS…Confession time…this was actually posted very late according to Daring Cooks rules…but hey! better late than never right!?

1 comment:

  1. Lovely looking money shot such a lovely dark colour - and you (& Jen) are right it is much better to mince and not process the filling it really needs the texture. It's good that you do it eventually. Cheers