Andy asked for potstickers the other day. As soon as he mentioned it, I started craving them myself. If there was one Chinese food that I love above all and could eat every day, it would be a potsticker. The delicious ground pork filling wrapped in a won ton skin and then both fried and steamed...served with a delicious soy dipping sauce. It just doesn't get any better than that!
Yet I've never made them. I guess I thought the process would be difficult and daunting. But then Andy mentioned them, and that craving just wouldn't go away. Since ordering takeout was definitely not in the budget, I needed to buck up and make them myself. I had a recipe that I've been holding for a very long time. I'm not even sure where the recipe is from, but I do have an idea that it might be from Ming Tsai, from way back when he was on The Food Network. It may not actually be his recipe, but that's the best guess I have.
I picked up the ingredients and assembled my helpers, for this was a perfect task for little hands. In the end, I decided to cut the recipe in half, since there was just the four of us. Together the kids and I mixed and measured and then it came time to stuff the dumplings. Zander made one, but didn't like getting his hands dirty, so then he took the supervisory position. Abigail, on the other hand, was a great helper, stuffing dumpling after dumpling with me. It really didn't take us long to get them all filled and lined up on a baking sheet.
I had to wing the cooking. The recipe I had written down didn't have any cooking instructions, so I decided to fry first, then add water to steam. This worked perfectly! I fried the dumplings in a non-stick pot, and after they were a gorgeous golden brown on the bottom, I poured in about 1/2 cup of water, and added the lid. They steamed away, and when I pulled them out a few minutes later, I just couldn't wait. I got the second batch going in the frying pan, and then cut a dumpling in half- first to check to make sure it was done. But secondly, to give it a taste. Abigail walked in and I gave her a taste. She'd never had a potsticker before, and her eyes grew wide with the delight in her mouth. She was hooked. So I took a second dumpling and cut that in half as well- giving one piece to Andy, and one to Zander. Zander as well, enjoyed that first bite, promptly following me to the kitchen to wait for dinner to be done so he could have his fill.
I served the potstickers with some peanutty noodles (which apparently I haven't shared before, I'll do that soon), and we ended 2007 on a very high note. The kids both gobbled down as many potstickers as they could, although they both preferred dunking theirs in ketchup over the soy-ginger dipping sauce. The Asian Dumplings with Soy-Ginger Sauce were a huge hit for my family. And since I now know how easy they are to make, we'll be making them again very soon.
Asian Dumplings with Soy-Ginger Sauce
1 pound ground pork
1 cup scallions
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon grated ginger
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups finely chopped napa cabbage (green cabbage is acceptable)
water for sealing wrappers
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon grated ginger
2 Tablespoons finely chopped scallions
2 or 3 drops sesame oil
Mix meat, scallions, soy sauce, ginger, and black pepper together. Add cabbage and mix well. Lay out 2 or 3 won ton wrappers. Add a scant tablespoon to the center of each won ton. Brush water around the edges, and carefully fold over the won ton wrappers, keeping the meat mixture in the center, and sealing all the edges. Pleat and fold as desired to desired shape. Set aside on a baking sheet that has been dusted with flour while making remaining dumplings.
Combine sauce ingredients and set aside for the flavors to meld.
Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick saute pan. Gently set dumplings in the pan. Fry for 3 or 4 minutes, or until the bottoms are a nice golden brown. Working quickly, add 1/2 cup water to the pan and quickly put on the lid. This will steam the dumplings and complete the cooking. Cook another 3 to 4 minutes, shaking the pan a few times to keep the dumplings from sticking. Remove from the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes before serving.
Serve with dipping sauce.
*Alternately, the dumplings can be completely steamed in a steamer pot to avoid the frying process.