Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pot Stickers....A Daring Cooks Challenge

This month's challenge was hosted by Jen from use real butter. She has chosen Chinese Dumplings made from scratch. This has been on my to do list for many years, so it is good that I can now cross it off my list. I was a little hesitant to start with this one as it is a bit time consuming, and there is a lot going on right now with the year end coming up for school. But I managed to squeeze it in....and I'm glad of it. They were quite easy (I made the shrimp filling and cooked them up as potstickers) although they were time consuming as promised. The full filling recipe made 60 pot stickers for me and I needed 1 1/2 recipes of the dough to complete them. We just polished off 30 for supper tonight, and 30 made their way into the freezer for another occasion. The cat also enjoyed the cutting up of the raw shrimp, and I found the smell of the filling absolutely delicious.

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

OR

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 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 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 in a steamer basket with lid. Steam covered for about 6 minutes.

5 comments:

Jen Yu said...

Wow! Your dumplings look fantastic and I'm so glad that you tried your hand at the technique and were successful. Great job :)

~Madeline~ said...

Great job on your dumplings! I love the sauce drizzled over them in your photo. They look beautiful!

Yarni Gras! said...

sounds wonderful! and the photo is yummy! I've never had a pot sticker but I don't know why.....hmmmm

Alison said...

Yum, yum!! These look so good! I'm going to add this recipe to my repetoire & give it a try (perhaps over the holidays in a couple weeks when things aren't so hectic!) I've made other kinds of chinese-style dumplings, but never pot stickers & I've never made dough! Super impressed with you!!

LittleRed said...

Thanks for all the positive comments! I loved the shrimp filling and now I need to try the pork one....maybe when I get back from holiday;)