Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Potstickers and Hot Oil

Along the lines of traditional I went on a pot sticker journey. I needed something fun and easy to teach my cooking class. I looked through the notes that I kept of the things they wanted to learn and dumplings was a choice. Pot stickers( Chinese, steamed and or Pan fried) or gyoza (fried) are one of my ultimate favorite foods. Not eating meat poses a slight problem in the land of Pot stickers; usually when you get these wonderful fried treats they have pork, chicken, and shrimp a winning combination assorted meats. I have tried a few different kinds of veggie pot stickers "Ling Ling" is the best brand I have found so far but most do not cut it. They are stinky and usually filled with rice, tofu, and to much cabbage... I did a little bit of Internet and cook book research and came up with an amazing Veggie Pot sticker!

In Chinese cooking they have a traditional mirepoix: GGS (Garlic Ginger and Scallions) in the US our Mirepoix is Onion, carrot and celery. When cooking Chinese savory food I think it is fairly important to use GGS it gives whatever you are cooking an immediate "Asian" flavor.

Instead of using tofu or rice to fill these bad boys up, I used Nappa cabbage, Shitake Mushrooms, and Baby Bok Choy... For flavor I sauteed GGS, a yellow onion, carrots and a yellow bell pepper. I then Added a ton of shitake mushrooms two baby bok choy and half a head of nappa cabbage. I also added a couple pinches of Chinese five spice powder, a tablespoon or so of Tamari (this is instead of salt) and a teaspoon of rice vinegar. You can always use salt and pepper, but traditionally salt is not used in most Asian foods. (There a lots of salty fermented soy products and different sauces to use in place of salt.)

The grocery store was out of the round gyoza wrappers so I used the small won ton wrappers. It is important to use either the gyoza or won ton wrappers and NOT egg roll wrappers because the gyoza and won ton wrappers are meant top be steamed or boiled where as the egg roll wrappers are meant to be fried only.

Once the filling has cooled you want to place a heaping spoonful in the middle, coat the edges of the wrapper with water, fold edges over and seal. I made mine all triangle shape, you can get incredibly creative as long as the edges seal up so your filling doesn't fall out.

I tried making these two ways, first round I fried till brown then added water and covered so they could steam as well... yummy this was a more soft pot sticker with a browned bottom...
The second way was fry on both sides only which gifts you a crispy more Japanese style dumpling. Both ways excellent and efficient just be careful if you choose to add water. Hot oil and water do not like each other so if you don't have a cover to put over the water you are entering a HOT oil flying zone which creates bad burns. The oil is also very unpredictable so it flies everywhere and anywhere.

To dip these I used rice vinegar, tamari, brown sugar, red chili flakes and scallions. If you like a lot of vinegar flavor add less sugar.

The kids were impressed, my dinner guest was impressed, and I am very excited to have come up with a GOOD vegetarian pot sticker recipe!

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